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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 17th March 2014
  #961
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T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_w View Post
.If it looks anywhere near like it's gonna work, I think Apple will upgrade the DAC in all their new hardware offerings, then probably offer ANOTHER upgrade ( remember those iTunes plus upgrades? ) to your music library using iTunes match since it's nice and easy, probably for a lot less money.

Pono dead.

ta-da!
Unless Pono is embraced by the record labels. iTunes does not provide content. Artists and labels do. Record labels have had an adversarial and tenuous relationship with iTunes from day one. iTunes pretty much created/perfected the de facto new paradigm for online music sales. Record labels were late adopting that new delivery system. They would be foolish to not take advantage of a new way of distributing music that is supported my bands/artists/producers.

I'm telling you, if Neil can get other big name artists and labels to fully get behind this venture, iTunes will be stuck selling stupid game apps and other stuff, but they won't have the rights to sell music that's made by legitimate record labels.

I think there's more going on behind the scenes industry-wise than we realize.

Just look in the eyes of Mo Ostin as he smiles and says: "I know how Neil's brain works."

Old 17th March 2014
  #962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Yeah, I have been wondering if Apple adding a better DAC + FLAC support would kill this. But then I wonder if Apple is just going to kill the iPod entirely rather than waste resources trying to bother 'improving' it for such a limited share of their revenue.
In the mid-90s I carried a cell phone, a PIM, a digital camera, and, sometimes, a recorder. I would look at all those pocket-sized devices and think... SOME day these will all be in one unit. I couldn't see much reason why it shouldn't be sooner than later but it took another decade before people got serious about it.

If we saw a real sea change in the audio quality afforded by consumer devices as a consequence of all this, I would be truly delighted. But I sincerely think that's not going to happen.

We might well see an increase in format capacity (though I'm not at all sure that's likely) but I sincerely think that even if the industry were to move to a higher 'resolution' container format, that the actual quality of most consumer device converters would stay low, even as they were extended to cover new formats for marketing reasons. Because, after all, everyone knows more is better.
Old 17th March 2014
  #963
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
Unless Pono is embraced by the record labels. iTunes does not provide content. Artists and labels do. Record labels have had an adversarial and tenuous relationship with iTunes from day one. iTunes pretty much created/perfected the de facto new paradigm for online music sales. Record labels were late adopting that new delivery system. They would be foolish to not take advantage of a new way of distributing music that is supported my bands/artists/producers.

I'm telling you, if Neil can get other big name artists and labels to fully get behind this venture, iTunes will be stuck selling stupid game apps and other stuff, but they won't have the rights to sell music that's made by legitimate record labels.

I think there's more going on behind the scenes industry-wise than we realize.

Just look in the eyes of Mo Ostin as he smiles and says: "I know how Neil's brain works."

I really don't want to laugh but this is greatly mis-informed.

While I agree that the labels are pissed that iTunes stole the "store" idea when the labels should have each just created their own with an outside company tying it all together, the idea that "Neil Young and friends" with their "kickstarter campaign" are going to take down Apple is laughably ludicrous.

Can we also keep in mind (as I assume many of us in this conversation are a bit older) that almost no one in that video is on the radar of the average 15-25 year old?

This is like "Dean Martin and friends" rallying to take down MTV.
Old 17th March 2014
  #964
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
Since this is future proofing, can you guarantee that this will work for small children, people with hyperacusis, and people with genetic disposition to asthma?

Nope, you can't, and for simple, testable reasons.

Perhaps you should do some more research on infant/toddler hearing, some of the effects of asthma, and what hyperacusis is.

Then get back to me, m'kay?
I'm unclear on the point you're trying to make here, JJ. If market forces dictate that we must exceed 16/44.1 delivery, I suggested 24/48 as a reasonable "hi res" alternative. It's an efficient format, already playable by many devices, and it aligns with the far larger film industry's standard.

What does this have to do with toddlers and people with auditory ailments? My interests aren't physiological, so I'm unaware of any research in this area.
Old 17th March 2014
  #965
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
This is like "Dean Martin and friends" rallying to take down MTV.
The perfect cue for one of my favorite jokes:

You know how you can tell which tour bus belongs to the Rolling Stones?

It's the one in the fast lane, going 35 mph, with the left blinker on.
Old 17th March 2014
  #966
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I really don't want to laugh but this is greatly mis-informed.

While I agree that the labels are pissed that iTunes stole the "store" idea when the labels should have each just created their own with an outside company tying it all together, the idea that "Neil Young and friends" with their "kickstarter campaign" are going to take down Apple is laughably ludicrous.

Can we also keep in mind (as I assume many of us in this conversation are a bit older) that almost no one in that video is on the radar of the average 15-25 year old?

This is like "Dean Martin and friends" rallying to take down MTV.
Are you suggesting that no one 15-25 yrs old listens to Mumford & Sons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, My Morning Jacket, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson or Beck?
Old 17th March 2014
  #967
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Yeah, I have been wondering if Apple adding a better DAC + FLAC support would kill this. But then I wonder if Apple is just going to kill the iPod entirely rather than waste resources trying to bother 'improving' it for such a limited share of their revenue.
When you look at how the big players have approached online music services so far, you find that it is pretty confusing, especially when it comes to Apple. Part of Apple's brand is a high quality media experience through ground breaking technologies earlier than everyone else, but you can conclude that is more the case with the picture and video experience rather than with the audio experience, with audio they have simply decided to deliver compromised audio experiences through lossy audio iTunes tunes and medium quality converters. Why, it really does not make any sense, other than that they might have found it worth cutting on audio to cut the price on their products. But this means they are giving away huge market shares and it means Apple customers need other devices beyond their various i* products. And trying to repair this now, seems a little late. One can speculate that they are all waiting to acquire the winning online music service company, that however makes their current music services somewhat obsolete. I find that they play the game against their own nature when it comes to online audio...
Old 17th March 2014
  #968
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popmann's Avatar
Quote:
Unless Pono is embraced by the record labels.
Well, it's actually unfortunately the other way around, me thinks. This is for all intents and purposes a Warner family venture with SOME other label involvement--Neil being the face. It remains to be seen if Universal will participate. What else is left? Sony, Warner, and Universal--that's IT, no?

I've sent email to see what it takes to get independent music for sale there...but, I don't hold a lot of hope. Bandcamp is the way to go as an indie. Even the supposed "70/30 like iTunes" is full of....fine print...no indie gets 70% of the $9.99 for an album sold on iTunes. They take 30%...PLUS CC fees...PLUS the 10-15% whatever third party broker got you onto iTunes. It's more like 50% in you're lucky. Absurd considering that ANY online retailer does nothing to promote or produce your product.

The discussion of distribution of independently produced music is a separate discussion. Bandcamp is the answer at the moment. I will be glad to report back if anyone answers my inquiry at PonoMusic...but, I don't hold a lot of hope.
Old 17th March 2014
  #969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothVibe View Post
with audio they have simply decided to deliver compromised audio experiences through lossy audio iTunes tunes and medium quality converters.
Why, it really does not make any sense, other than that they might have found it worth cutting on audio to cut the price on their products. But this means they are giving away huge market shares and it means Apple customers need other devices beyond their various i* products.
Why? Because market forces dictate features in a product like iPod/iPhone. The average person has no complaints about the sound quality of their iPod/iPhone, so there is no reason for Apple to raise their costs by upgrading converters etc.

IMHO iTunes Plus files, which are 256AAC and DRM free, are "good enough" for pretty much everyone. The 128's, not so much, but people strongly complaining about 128 files is still a very small group so is unlikely to gain much momentum. I think everything will likely go to 256AAC on iTunes at some point, but Apple likely is in no hurry.

If anyone wants to rant about bad compression, take a look at Sirius and XM satellite radio. Crap-tastic, super obvious even to casual listeners. Tracks on iTunes are stellar in comparison.

Apple is squarely targeting average consumers, and consumers will usually pick cost over quality if they are given the choice.
Old 17th March 2014
  #970
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T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
While I agree that the labels are pissed that iTunes stole the "store" idea when the labels should have each just created their own with an outside company tying it all together, the idea that "Neil Young and friends" with their "kickstarter campaign" are going to take down Apple is laughably ludicrous.
I wasn't talking about "taking down Apple", I was talking about competing with iTunes. iTunes sells music downloads. They do not create the music, nor do they fund it's production or own the rights to publish/license it. They make computers and consumer devices and software. Record labels, producers and artists/bands are the ones who provide musical content. With an artist-centric approach and push for better sound combined with the support of the labels who actually own the (very) valuable back catalogs, masters and rights to the material, you have a pretty potent possibility for changing the game.

"He who controls the spice controls the universe" -- Baron Vladimir Harkonnen


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Can we also keep in mind (as I assume many of us in this conversation are a bit older) that almost no one in that video is on the radar of the average 15-25 year old?

Well, I see artists of many different ages and types in that video. I also see some serious industry clout inherently implied that you somehow easily dismiss.

I guess all those aging boomer favorites like Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Jack White, My Morning Jacket, etc will turn off that 15-25 year old demographic?

If you mean more obscure, new independent artists (the ones I'm into and work with) well, they get an even worse deal with iTunes. Plus they worship old heads like Neil. They can only benefit from the push for better quality and a new delivery system of higher quality sound for consumers.

Now if you're talking about the cheesy-ass auto-tuned dance pop made by idiots for idiots well, their view on audio quality and artistic expression is suspect at best. This is not for them, this is for consumers and artists who actually care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
This is like "Dean Martin and friends" rallying to take down MTV.
Dean Martin is cool to a hip 15 to 25 year old!

You know who has the most credibility with me in that video? Jason Falkner. I actually know the guy. His skills in music and audio are way beyond what most here are capable of doing. He's also a really nice guy of impeccable integrity and a (shudder) audiophile. He would not gush so effusively about the Pono if it did not perform to a very high standard. Not for money or publicity. He's turned down projects for big $ because they were not something he was into. He's a true artist that would not sell out to some poorly conceived pipe-dream designed to rip-off artists and consumers.

Like I posted earlier: "What if it works?"

This could be a good thing.
Old 17th March 2014
  #971
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sleepingbag's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
I really don't want to laugh but this is greatly mis-informed.
if you REALLY want to see what misinformed sounds like, read the "music rant" thing he links to in his sig. it's flabbergasting.
Old 17th March 2014
  #972
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
I wasn't talking about "taking down Apple", I was talking about competing with iTunes. iTunes sells music downloads. They do not create the music, nor do they fund it's production or own the rights to publish/license it. They make computers and consumer devices and software. Record labels, producers and artists/bands are the ones who provide musical content. With an artist-centric approach and push for better sound combined with the support of the labels who actually own the (very) valuable back catalogs, masters and rights to the material, you have a pretty potent possibility for changing the game.
I understand what you meant but I think you under estimate the value of the iTunes Music Store to Apple. Without the store (which was created as a loss leader) there would be no iPod. Without the iPod, there would be no iPhone.

So they're not going to let this stuff go.

Plus, while I really don't know the answer to this, why haven't the labels taken that power back? Why let Apple run the show?

Do we think that the big labels haven't spent years trying to figure this out?

Neil Young is going to do it?

As I said earlier, if Apple sees any of this as a success, they'll simply start selling the same files themselves and upgrade their devices if necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
Well, I see artists of many different ages and types in that video. I also see some serious industry clout inherently implied that you somehow easily dismiss.

I guess all those aging boomer favorites like Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Jack White, My Morning Jacket, etc will turn off that 15-25 year old demographic?
Industry clout means nothing to music fans. So I do discount it for a consumer device.

The artists you list are still relevant but I think I said "almost no one".
Old 17th March 2014
  #973
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T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
IMHO iTunes Plus files, which are 256AAC and DRM free, are "good enough" for pretty much everyone.
So that's what we should settle for, "good enough"?

That's setting the bar pretty low these days.

I think the whole point of Pono is for artists and consumers who actually give a **** about quality.They want to have an option that's not compromised and is more than just "good enough", something that is exceptional.

Saying something is "good enough" is just damning it with faint praise.
Old 17th March 2014
  #974
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post

As I said earlier, if Apple sees any of this as a success, they'll simply start selling the same files themselves and upgrade their devices if necessary.

Great. That would qualify for a cultural shift from where I'm looking, if people suddenly want those filers from whoever. As said before, if Pono is the spark for such a shift, amazing.
Old 17th March 2014
  #975
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bambamboom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mershi Duween View Post
So that's what we should settle for, "good enough"?

That's setting the bar pretty low these days.

I think the whole point of Pono is for artists and consumers who actually give a **** about quality.They want to have an option that's not compromised and is more than just "good enough", something that is exceptional.

Saying something is "good enough" is just it with faint praise.
I'll give you 50 bucks if you can tell the difference between a 256AAC and a CD on a consistent basis. Really.

We HAVE to settle for "good enough" at some point in the interest of efficiency, cost, productivity, etc. Microphones, speakers, etc etc, are FULL of compromises, ask any electrical engineer. Just don't ask the marketing guy.
Old 17th March 2014
  #976
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Franco's Avatar
 

One of the things that amazes me in this thread is the serious lack of knowledge of the growing HiDef DAP market by so many so-called "Audio Engineers".

All those saying things like "Let's wait and see" or "I'm not buying it until I hear it" or "Not like it's going to make a huge difference over 320kbps MP3s" simply don't know there's been a growing market for affordable high resolution digital audio players over the last decade.

None of this is "new" for people to be acting like it's something that needs to be proven; it's not like the concept is new; you just don't know there's been a market for something like this for years now. What makes Pono interesting is that it's a HiFi DAP being marketed to/by musicians, who might not want to spend more than $500 on units that cost a lot more, like those made by Astell & Kern.

For me, it's another platform that supports high definition audio, and that's always a good thing. As far as the ****ery that will follow (e.g., re-masters of previous releases at 24/192 that will be upsampled from lower sources) that's beyond me, but the fact that it's going to be possible to not ever have to dither anything, that's exciting.

EDIT: Look, it's going to be like Comic-Con. Once, it was just for geeks and then all of a sudden hot chicks started going and BAM! - Now tickets sell out in a matter of minutes (and there are still people out there saying "What's the big deal, it's just a bunch of geeks playing dress-up!")

Last edited by Franco; 17th March 2014 at 07:52 PM.. Reason: Le Geeks Be Cool!
Old 17th March 2014
  #977
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Great. That would qualify for a cultural shift from where I'm looking, if people suddenly want those filers from whoever. As said before, if Pono is the spark for such a shift, amazing.
Yes. But if it's failure, (which I'm NOT rooting for) it will be seen as a reason for no one else to bother. Including Apple.
Old 17th March 2014
  #978
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Spin it how you like but it's less than 2% of their overall revenue and it's down over 50% year on year...$4.4bn is chump change to Apple.
The last complete year (as opposed to the next quarter which you're citing) it was down 21% year over year, but that was $4.4 billion for the year. And the down quarter you spun (without bothering to specify it was a quarter) was still $973 million for iPod sales alone for those three months. And you still think that's so little that Apple would give serious though to giving it up completely? Sheesh. Of course it's a category that is dying, everyone sees that and Apple's prepared for it - the phone has taken over for most people, and Apple eats a big percentage of the profit there. But it's unsound to think that "Apple is just going to kill the iPod entirely" and time soon and abandon billions of dollars in sales. (Back on topic: funny how Neil Young is moving into a category which is so decisively being decimated by phones though - with a non-mass-market player and albums that are $15-$25. A niche at best.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
They're not going to axe it tomorrow but 5 years from now? Who knows?
You didn't say anything about 5 years from now before.

http://resources2.news.com.au/images...-goalposts.jpg

Old 17th March 2014
  #979
Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
Actually, if you look at the link for the last complete year (as opposed to the quarter after Xmas) it was down 21%, and it was $4.4 billion for the year. Of course it's a category that is dying - the phone has taken over for most people, and Apple eats a big percentage of the profit there - but it's unsound to think that "Apple is just going to kill the iPod entirely" and abandon billions of dollara in sales. Funny how Neil Young is moving into a category which is so decisively being decimated by phones though - with a non-mass-market player and albums that are $15-$25. A niche at best.



You didn't say anything about 5 years from now before.

http://resources2.news.com.au/images...-goalposts.jpg

Hmmm, where were these mythical 'goal posts' then? Did I say tomorrow? Did I say a week from now? Next year? None of those things. Here is my exact text:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat
Yeah, I have been wondering if Apple adding a better DAC + FLAC support would kill this. But then I wonder if Apple is just going to kill the iPod entirely rather than waste resources trying to bother 'improving' it for such a limited share of their revenue.
At what point did I mention a timeframe at all, skira? Where are those "goal posts" in the first place? And what is the 'goal'?

Anyway, I believe Apple will kill the non-Touch stuff sooner rather than later. Obviously the app, TV & movie ecosystem for the iPod Touch models is a bigger overall potential revenue stream. It'll happen, and those are dwindling billions... that's not profit on those devices, is it, just overall revenue - although they have OK margins compared to some companies, if I were at the top of this, I would start to see the pure-music end of business as "a hobby."

Quote:
Originally Posted by skira View Post
The last complete year (as opposed to the next quarter which you're citing) it was down 21%, and it was $4.4 billion for the year.
I can't find anything to correlate this. The Q1 conference call they did in January, which is what I looked up, stated they were down 52% (in units sold, 55% in revenue) since the same time in 2013. On the year, not the quarter.

http://9to5mac.com/2014/01/27/apple-...nce-last-year/
Old 17th March 2014
  #980
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
Yes. But if it's failure, (which I'm NOT rooting for) it will be seen as a reason for no one else to bother. Including Apple.
So we better hope it doesn't fail then, right?
Old 17th March 2014
  #981
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_w View Post
Well, I'm all for better audio all round, and network bandwidth and storage has become cheaper, so why not get back to CD quality, or even better?

I still think $17 is insane for a non-physical reissued album and the suits are delusional.

If it looks anywhere near like it's gonna work, I think Apple will upgrade the DAC in all their new hardware offerings, then probably offer ANOTHER upgrade ( remember those iTunes plus upgrades? ) to your music library using iTunes match since it's nice and easy, probably for a lot less money.

Pono dead.

ta-da!
well to hear them tell it, they are doing this as a "cause" and won't mind sacrificing their product if it brings higher-resolution audio to the world. Someone earlier mentioned how normally when you see that many celebrities pitching something all at the same time it's for a Charity.

It was probably Kenny. heh

as you and many others have pointed out, higher-resolution audio is already offered to the masses via HD tracks and so on. I don't think the price is really going to be an issue because people will still steal it. A quick search I just did yielded a whole bunch of torrents with 24/192 content already.

A number of people in this thread have expressed surprise at the amount of "Facebook Friends" and so on who are rushing to order the Pono, people who did not give them the impression of being Audiophilic or particularly concerned with "quality" before.

I would imagine those people are exactly the kind of people who will gladly overpay for a blingy piece of hardware to show off their "commitment" to music. The music that they then proceed to steal without paying.
Old 17th March 2014
  #982
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
So we better hope it doesn't fail then, right?
Anyone trying to do anything that helps the music business from a quality standpoint has my vote. Hell, I was even thrilled when iTunes Plus was announced years ago.

I just wish that infernal device would fit in my pocket.
Old 17th March 2014
  #983
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Anyone trying to do anything that helps the music business from a quality standpoint has my vote.
And mine.
Old 17th March 2014
  #984
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bambamboom View Post
IMHO iTunes Plus files, which are 256AAC and DRM free, are "good enough" for pretty much everyone. The 128's, not so much, but people strongly complaining about 128 files is still a very small group so is unlikely to gain much momentum. I think everything will likely go to 256AAC on iTunes at some point, but Apple likely is in no hurry.
Ever since 2011, if you sign up for iTunes Match for one year ($25) then any purchased or otherwise owned low-quality files (ripped at any rate, even pirated) in your iTunes library that Apple has in the iTunes store are eligible to be replaced/re-downloaded by you from Apple as 256AAC files as part of the Match program. That's a pretty cheap upgrade plan for anyone with a jumble of downloaded or ripped files of varying quality. (Apple limits your library to 25,000 songs, so if you want to use this you need to split up your library, which is an annoyance.)

As for 256AAC quality, lots of audiophile testing has been done over the years and for most people it's as good as CD quality. And that's in a quiet room. On the street, or in a car, or with junky headphones the differences are undetectable.
Old 17th March 2014
  #985
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
I can't find anything to correlate this.
Then you didn't follow the link in my post. (Yup, that's a link too.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
At what point did I mention a timeframe at all,
You're trying to have it both ways: 'I meant maybe, couldbe, perhaps in 5 years' and '$4 billion is a year, and $973 million in 3 months is chump change so they totally could do it now.' Pick a lane.
Old 17th March 2014
  #986
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skira's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Anyone trying to do anything that helps the music business from a quality standpoint has my vote.
Anyone who has a rational way to definitively help music quality for consumers has mine. But I think the jury's out right now on both sound quality as well as business viability for Pono.
Old 17th March 2014
  #987
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Naysayers gonna Neigh. . .

I prefer to wait until October and hear Neil's creation before passing judgement.

All else here is gaslight and, well, gas.
Old 17th March 2014
  #988
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Anyone trying to do anything that helps the music business from a quality standpoint has my vote. Hell, I was even thrilled when iTunes Plus was announced years ago.

I just wish that infernal device would fit in my pocket.
The Toblerone player may not be their best idea but I'm all for the global concept
A.
Old 17th March 2014
  #989
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
...I just wish that infernal device would fit in my pocket.
I was thinking about the design: it may be more useful than it first appears. The shape makes it quite stable and the distinct profile makes it noticeable...maybe easier to read the screen (if it auto-rotates) and operate without having to pick it up or view from above. Good for use at home, maybe in a car or at a cafe table, etc. I'm not sure about the inner workings but perhaps they would be able to manufacture in a more traditional 'phone-like' profile if there's a demand (which there does appear to be). Maybe the unusual shape is useful for the marketing strategy - to make it distinct from other devices. We're discussing it at least.

Reggie Watts held one in the video and judging by that I thought that maybe it would fit into my jacket pocket; admittedly I'm not a huge fan of small devices. Maybe I should start knitting hipster Pono cases now?
Old 17th March 2014
  #990
I get that they want it to look obvious and "stand out in a crowd" but I'm worried they've gone a bit too far with the sharp-ish corners and boxy look...
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