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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 16th March 2014
  #871
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Question for the Bias Police: given that the possibility of bias exists at all times and in all situations, why don't you post in every thread here on GS where people are discussing the sound of this or that piece of gear? Shouldn't everyone be warned that they may not really be hearing what they think they're hearing?

Cheers,
Eddie
Probably because in most situations the fact that 2+2=4 is verifiable and accepted...except by those that want to argue that the presence of the number 12 has an affect on that outcome....but not alone...only if 4 is also present..etc...etc...
Old 16th March 2014
  #872
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
@joeq - so how do you account for the reports of improved listening experiences via higher-quality audio?
"reports" - you mean anecdotes?

I don't have to "account" for anything in order to accept the limits of human hearing as repeatedly measured and confirmed. The facts are that double-blinded subjects given otherwise identical audio where ultrasonic content has been removed/not removed can not tell. So if double-blinded subjects can tell the difference between regular and very high sample rate audio, some mechanism other than the mere presence of ultrasonics must be at work.

Because the evidence is overwhelming that we can't hear (or perceive) ultrasonics - which, after all, are by definition sounds we can't hear.

My unwillingness to propose a mechanism does not in any way revive the already-discredited mechanism of ultrasonics - nor does it somehow reverse the findings of all those studies which are simply honest measurements, not tied to any theory in particular or looking to "explain" anything at all. Those measurements are factual. If a hypothesis has to ignore or deny those facts, IMO it is a lousy hypothesis.

If there is an advantage to hi-res music, the reason why will probably turn out to be much more interesting and complex than: "ultrasonic content" ! To me, this obsession with "paranormal ultrasonic perception" is currently the least likely theory there is. A rabbit-hole for sure.
Old 17th March 2014
  #873
j_j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
If there is an advantage to hi-res music, the reason why will probably turn out to be much more interesting and complex than: "ultrasonic content" ! To me, this obsession with "paranormal ultrasonic perception" is currently the least likely theory there is. A rabbit-hole for sure.
If so, my money is on "nonlinear response in the ear vs. constant-delay filters", alternatively "phase shift in minimum phase filters vs. harmonics in the 10k and up region".

IF there is.
Old 17th March 2014
  #874
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
"reports" - you mean anecdotes?
People are reported to have said higher-quality audio sounds better then lower-quality...if you prefer the term 'anecdotes' then that's OK by me but it's probably an unnecessary distinction in the context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
...If there is an advantage to hi-res music, the reason why will probably turn out to be much more interesting and complex than: "ultrasonic content" ! To me, this obsession with "paranormal ultrasonic perception" is currently the least likely theory there is. A rabbit-hole for sure.
You still haven't answered a relatively simple question (one which didn't mention 'ultrasound' at all!): why do people 'anecdotally report' that they prefer the sound of higher-quality audio vs lower quality?

As I see it either they are not actually hearing a difference but think they are (possible)...or there is some other unidentified factor responsible (possible).
Old 17th March 2014
  #875
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
I agree that this is a misstep. The pricing is wrong-headed. High-res people always think that hi-res is an opportunity to charge people MORE.

This is one of the things that killed SACD/DVDA.

It's music industry hubris, in my opinion.

- c
I'm just bummed it's the same old 70/30 deal. I was hoping this was going to be like a For Us/By Us product for musicians. That's something I would have got really excited about. I'd like to try one though. I'm a music geek for sure, but I definitely wouldn't preorder one before knowing what's going in the store. I have kinda obscure taste so I'm not sure if any of my favorite bands or artists would even be included.

My next question - if they are actually going to be remastering all these albums, does that mean a ton of work is about to open up for mastering houses?
Old 17th March 2014
  #876
Dare I add my 2c?
When I first read about an idea to make people care about music again I first thought it was a way of repackaging, to include musician credits, lyrics, info about the recording etc.
That's what we cared about when we were young. I spent hours pouring over the musician credits. Following favourite musicians or producers from project to project.
I spent hours pouring over the studio or gear shots on the sleeve.
As to audio quality, I can see it both ways.
If you look at the camera scene, there is a tremendous emphasis on picture quality. There's a whole band of 'pixel peepers' who constantly trade up to the newer and 'better' camera all the time. The older experienced reviewers have been saying for ages that the sensor quality we reached a couple of years ago is basically as good as you need (effectively the camera equivalent of 24bit, 44.1khz). Then again, camera sales are in a nose dive and it's clear the majority of the public are happy with smart phone cameras, as they are probably happy with smart phone music.
I don't think it's that easy to find HQ audio to buy on the net. I buy WAVs from a couple of retail sites. I agree, I don't need 192khz, and I think the Pono store prices are completely unrealistic….. completely. We're struggling to persuade people to pay - period.
Finally, I do think there is a need for an easy to use home player.
I've gotten used to my iTunes collection, and my playlists. i don't really want to play CDs or vinyl at home. But a player I could travel with, that I could also plumb into my home hi-fi would be very attractive to me.
Old 17th March 2014
  #877
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
if you prefer the term 'anecdotes' then that's OK by me but it's probably an unnecessary distinction in the context....
As I see it either they are not actually hearing a difference but think they are (possible)...or there is some other unidentified factor responsible (possible).
It is a very important distinction. It is the distinction between objective reality applicable to everyone and placebo applicable only to those who are reading the words "192kHz" on the label. If the sound difference disappears whenever I am not told which one is which, I am not concerned in that difference. As a consumer or as an engineer.

If it's placebo, people will just record wherever they feel like it, and then upsample to 192kHz and charge the rubes $10 extra. The customer will get a "better listening experience" because he spent $10 more and thinks he's getting a "high-res" file. And no other reason! Are you suggesting that is morally OK since he IS after all, "experiencing" it? It's an unnecessary distinction!

Quote:
You still haven't answered a relatively simple question (one which didn't mention 'ultrasound' at all!): why do people 'anecdotally report' that they prefer the sound of higher-quality audio vs lower quality?
Because these reports are uncontrolled, you yourself are admitting placebo is a possibility. Placebo could be ruled out, but it would require the same kind of testing you REJECT when that testing places an upper limit on human hearing.

"high-quality" is a misnomer, IMO.

if evidence emerges that people can easily identify high-resolution audio (vs the exact same audio at lower resolution) and consistently prefer it, then my money would be on anything but "Ultrasonics" because these ultrasonic frequencies are already demonstrated to be inaudible to human beings.

That's all I have been trying to say. I don't think it is very complex.

Unlike some people, I do not feel compelled to leap at theory or mechanism. Especially to 'explain' a 'phenomenon' that may not even be "real". But if I did, let's just say that the LAST theory I would leap at, would be the one that is contradicted by really good hard evidence.
Old 17th March 2014
  #878
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inverted314 View Post
I'm just bummed it's the same old 70/30 deal. I was hoping this was going to be like a For Us/By Us product for musicians. That's something I would have got really excited about. I'd like to try one though. I'm a music geek for sure, but I definitely wouldn't preorder one before knowing what's going in the store. I have kinda obscure taste so I'm not sure if any of my favorite bands or artists would even be included.

My next question - if they are actually going to be remastering all these albums, does that mean a ton of work is about to open up for mastering houses?
Yes.

Also: Important to note: You don't have to buy exclusively from the Pono store. You can get hi-res WAVs/FLACs wherever you find them.

I mean, I personally can't think of any Bandcamp albums I wish to hear BETTER, but Pono's just a (purportedly) good-sounding player. Nothing more exotic.

- c

P.S. I have two mastering sessions this week where my clients suddenly feel a lot of anxiety about the resolution of their mixes. I told them not to worry about it, just give me the print.

One client is keen to emphasize they don't care about loudness and they don't want any brickwall/look-ahead limiting. Maybe it's an anomaly. We'll see. But the Pono publicity seems to have affected them pretty heavy.

The net cumulative effect may be that people become more concerned with "future-proofing" their work. We'll see.
Old 17th March 2014
  #879
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I think mastering studios could make a serious amount of dough.

Good time to invest in an ATR102 and a Lavry gold...

- c
Old 17th March 2014
  #880
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As a fan of some fairly esoteric/obscure-but-great music, I'd be psyched if it caused a revival of deluxe "boxed set"-style reissues.

Without the box, of course.

Someone needs to reissue all the Marc Ribot albums, for example.

- c
Old 17th March 2014
  #881
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
Exactly. For every junior scientist here that thinks they have it "all figured out", just try contemplating the known universe on DMT. You will soon realize your knowledge about reality is very small and insignificant and that science and language are currently not sophisticated enough to explain what "reality" truly is!

Music and sound can be explained only in the most superficial terms at the moment. There is still much more to learn.

As Frank Zappa said: "The whole universe is one big note..."
This is all true we're not talking about stuff that we don't already know. Or have the ability to know.

The Pono is not 3 trillion gigabits of data per second. It uses current technology at rates that most of us already have.

So there is no mystery surrounding how good this thing can be. I already have better sitting in front of me.

So while there may one day be an increase in sound quality that truly does blow me away as it has for Neil and his friends. It's not today and it's not the Pono.
Old 17th March 2014
  #882
@joeq - a report is defined as 'a written or spoken description of a situation or event' (Merriam-Webster)...IMO that adequately describes the responses of Pono listeners. I don't see any need to obfuscate that.

Many people listened to high-quality music (on a Pono player) and it sounded markedly better than CD/mp3 quality music. Nearly ever listener used superlatives to describe the experience. Either they were all making a false distinction or some other unidentified factor was responsible.
Old 17th March 2014
  #883
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Many people listened to high-quality music (on a Pono player) and it sounded markedly better than CD/mp3 quality music. Nearly ever listener used superlatives to describe the experience. Either they were making a false distinction or some other unidentified factor was responsible.
Possibilities:
Confirmation bias
Different master
They really can hear a difference
They are being nice to Neil
Emperors new clothes
Old 17th March 2014
  #884
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post

Pono's just a (purportedly) good-sounding player. Nothing more exotic.
Nope. It's either a "great" sounding player or someone is blowing smoke up our butts.
Old 17th March 2014
  #885
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
Possibilities:
Confirmation bias
Different master
They really can hear a difference
They are being nice to Neil
Emperors new clothes
Thank you - that covers it
Old 17th March 2014
  #886
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Nope. It's either a "great" sounding player or someone is blowing smoke up our butts.
Most people haven't heard hi-res audio outside of the studio. That's mostly how I account for that. [Elton John's comment being the most explicit on that.]

- c
Old 17th March 2014
  #887
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philter View Post
No, you aren't understanding. Google "confirmation bias" to see what I'm talking about. The first step to protecting your decision making from confirmation bias is knowing what it is and how common it is. It's a basic human behavior.
I think you have confirmation bias about what you perceive as other people's confirmation bias.
Old 17th March 2014
  #888
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldon2975 View Post
1) Will this soon make .wav files the most commonly distributed and listened to type of file or will FLAC files constantly be preferred due to the desire to preserve bandwidth ? IOW, will FLAC files win out over .wav files due to them being viewed as less costly and less space/time consuming ?

2) Wouldn't it make tracking/mixing/mastering/distribution much easier and simpler if .wav files became THE option, instead of having to convert ?
The conversion is quick. FLAC is a great format imho. 30-50% file size reduction from the source WAV! Still large compared to an MP3, but the same damn sound as your master! Good stuff.
Old 17th March 2014
  #889
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Most people haven't heard hi-res audio outside of the studio. That's mostly how I account for that. [Elton John's comment being the most explicit on that.]

- c
So…

You're explaining their reaction compared to a CD?

I would assume they've heard that outside the studio.
Old 17th March 2014
  #890
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Dude, I have no idea. I don't really care either.

- c
Old 17th March 2014
  #891
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popmann's Avatar
Can I point out something here? It's fine to debate this, being at least originally an engineering site...but, at the end of the day, the new masters DO sound better. It's not terribly subjective. Now, WHY...which component made the most difference and how far can you reduce them without losing quality, is likely not only not a blanket reason across the board. Just like I've found a FEW of the pOno masters to not be significantly better (and at least one worse) than the BEST CD masters--most of which are no longer commercially available and haven't been for years.

So, they DO sound better-don't believe me--go buy some. Risk the $2.49 for your fave song or two. Now, if you take that they DO sound better...the reason for that is irrelevant outside the engineering world, IMO. Also, how much of the public care is relevant--but, has been tested before. Albeit, in 2000 you could still readily and cheaply find CDs. So, now the easy to come by format is WORSE...so maybe EXACTLY the same better tech will be perceived as even MORE different relative to the "other download format".

Just pointing out that most of this discussion is an academic one. I find it odd that any engineer would have an issue with someone offering the ability to sell linear PCM downloads at whatever rate you work at--which at the endof the day is what this is offering.
Old 17th March 2014
  #892
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
Dude, I have no idea. I don't really care either.

- c
Me neither.

all the best.
Old 17th March 2014
  #893
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Can I point out something here? It's fine to debate this, being at least originally an engineering site...but, at the end of the day, the new masters DO sound better. It's not terribly subjective. Now, WHY...which component made the most difference and how far can you reduce them without losing quality, is likely not only not a blanket reason across the board. Just like I've found a FEW of the pOno masters to not be significantly better (and at least one worse) than the BEST CD masters--most of which are no longer commercially available and haven't been for years.

So, they DO sound better-don't believe me--go buy some. Risk the $2.49 for your fave song or two. Now, if you take that they DO sound better...the reason for that is irrelevant outside the engineering world, IMO. Also, how much of the public care is relevant--but, has been tested before. Albeit, in 2000 you could still readily and cheaply find CDs. So, now the easy to come by format is WORSE...so maybe EXACTLY the same better tech will be perceived as even MORE different relative to the "other download format".

Just pointing out that most of this discussion is an academic one. I find it odd that any engineer would have an issue with someone offering the ability to sell linear PCM downloads at whatever rate you work at--which at the endof the day is what this is offering.
Where did you find their store at?
Old 17th March 2014
  #894
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
I find it odd that any engineer would have an issue with someone offering the ability to sell linear PCM downloads at whatever rate you work at--which at the endof the day is what this is offering.
Yeah. Ya know. I'm kinda getting tired of explaining why I have a problem with all of this so I'm going to cut my losses and jump ship.

This Pono looks amazing. I think it's going to change everything for the better.

Finally, I'll be able to hear my mixes in my car sounding even better than in my studio. Extended highs for days. Deep lows. Better stereo image. No ear fatigue.

Even all the digital clipping sounds high-fi now.

While I haven't heard the unit yet, I can tell from it's color that it will sound like vinyl. And that's cool because vinyl is known for it's ability to sound exactly like the master. Which is why we never had to listen back to the first pressings. We knew it was the same. And the fact that wear didn't change each playback was also a plus. Unlike CDs which pretty much sound like rubber bands.

Marketing is awesome. Hype rules. Let's do our best to over-sell this thing. It will surely only serve to help our credibility as engineers. I mean, why would the public take issue with paying twice as much for music when they can't hear the difference?

The only real problem I do see is how do I finish any mixes before October?

I have no idea what it's going to sound like.

Although, if everyone gets a Pono, I know my mixes will sound awesome.

Go Team Pono.

Old 17th March 2014
  #895
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czoli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredSerpent View Post
This is important.
It's an opportunity to right a lot of wrongs, but most people are going to be disappointed, unless expectation bias reaches the levels of mass hysteria..

This might be slightly off-topic, but let's not bandy the word 'perception' around like it's something we all have a handle on.
'Perception' and 'scientifically repeatable' are not words that sit together very well, as anyone that has taken mescaline will readily agree with.
Perception is something that touches on different levels of consciousness, and nobody knows enough - nobody - to start stating what is and what isn't perceived or perceivable.

Pretending that you know what depths human perception reaches, based on a few medical studies is ridiculous.

As for studies, here is the one I referred to before:

http://www.tinnitusjournal.com/image...f/v13n1a02.pdf

It is fascinating, that's all I will say about it.
It could be proven right, it could be proven wrong, but this is no hack study - there are serious implications here.
But is it relevant in terms of earbud listeners, at whatever samplerate?
No.
But in the wider scheme of things, these studies should not be sniffed at, and everyone should be keeping an open mind, because nothing has been proven either way - yet.
Some exerpts of this article are alarming begging the question "What is a safe level of listening when ultrasonic content will be present?"

"Analysis of data to date suggests that progressive loss of hearing in the very high frequencies
(<12 kHz) and tinnitus are somehow related to an increased, intense airborne ultrasonic exposure. Intense airborne ultrasound has been associated with hearing loss, tinnitus, and various nonauditory subjective effects, such as headaches, dizziness, and fullness in the ear. Yet, when people detect ultrasonic components in music, ultrasound adds to the pleasantness of the perception and evokes changes in the brain as measured in electroencephalograms, behavior, and imaging. How does the airborne ultrasound get into the ear to create such polaropposite human effects? Surprisingly, ultrasound passes first through the eyes; thus, the eye becomes but another window into the inner ear."

“Subjective nonauditory effects” or “ultrasonic sickness” characterized by nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and fullness in the ears [4–6,21,22] are also reported to exist after components of intense airborne ultrasonic exposure. The eye window is a functional vibration pathway through the brain to the ear via intracranial fluid conduction and could account for hearing loss, tinnitus, and the nonauditory subjective effects. Consistent with this concept, displacement of the oval and round windows as release mechanisms for fluid conduction to the cochlea could also account for the feeling of middle-ear fullness."

Neil Young may be just like Dan Aykroyd in the famous "Bag 'O Glass" skit
Consumer Probe | Saturday Night Live - Yahoo Screen
"Bag 'O Glass, we're just packaging what the kids want".

Last edited by czoli; 17th March 2014 at 06:10 AM.. Reason: Incomplete side effects
Old 17th March 2014
  #896
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post

Many people listened to high-quality music (on a Pono player) and it sounded markedly better than CD/mp3 quality music..
one of my major objections to this video is how they deliberately pull the old switcheroo by confusing the comparison with mp3 and the comparison with CD. You are so taken in you did not even notice you did it yourself.

"Listen to how much better than the mp3 the Pono sounds, man CDs really suck."
Old 17th March 2014
  #897
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
If so, my money is on "nonlinear response in the ear vs. constant-delay filters", alternatively "phase shift in minimum phase filters vs. harmonics in the 10k and up region".

IF there is.
That seems like a good way of describing the possibilities. At least it deals with variables that CAN affect the range within human hearing...since that is what most of us are still talking about.
Old 17th March 2014
  #898
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Yeah. Ya know. I'm kinda getting tired of explaining why I have a problem with all of this so I'm going to cut my losses and jump ship.

This Pono looks amazing. I think it's going to change everything for the better.

Finally, I'll be able to hear my mixes in my car sounding even better than in my studio. Extended highs for days. Deep lows. Better stereo image. No ear fatigue.

Even all the digital clipping sounds high-fi now.

While I haven't heard the unit yet, I can tell from it's color that it will sound like vinyl. And that's cool because vinyl is known for it's ability to sound exactly like the master. Which is why we never had to listen back to the first pressings. We knew it was the same. And the fact that wear didn't change each playback was also a plus. Unlike CDs which pretty much sound like rubber bands.

Marketing is awesome. Hype rules. Let's do our best to over-sell this thing. It will surely only serve to help our credibility as engineers. I mean, why would the public take issue with paying twice as much for music when they can't hear the difference?

The only real problem I do see is how do I finish any mixes before October?

I have no idea what it's going to sound like.

Although, if everyone gets a Pono, I know my mixes will sound awesome.

Go Team Pono.

Awesome!! This describes the content of at least 50% of the discussions I have!
Old 17th March 2014
  #899
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Yeah. Ya know. I'm kinda getting tired of explaining why I have a problem with all of this so I'm going to cut my losses and jump ship.

This Pono looks amazing. I think it's going to change everything for the better.

Splice___

Go Team Pono.


Didn't you earlier suggest that linear 16/44 is all you need, right? So, sell that. Right now, you can't buy that without mail ordering a CD....is my point. Not get on board with Pono. It's gonna be a huge fail, IMO. It's been done before. But...correct me if I'm wrong that you DO want to be able to buy linear downloads, right? Is there somewhere you can do that now?

Re:where I found their store--while they will no doubt have some exclusives (like Jackson Browne had his HDtracks pulled from sale), this mastering push has been underway now for like 3 years. Farmed out to any number of mastering houses--whether you'd like to buy downloads from HDTracks or SACDs from Mobile Fidelity of Audio Fidelity for the titles they've handles (or the linear 192 conversions FROM their DSD masters)...they've been available for some time.
Old 17th March 2014
  #900
Gear Addict
 

I am sure many here will be a fan of the new Cosmos series. Please pay close attention to Tyson's simple explanation of the scientific method in the first episode.
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