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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 10th April 2014
  #2761
j_j
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Pono is already overfunded to the tune of millions of dollars, will come out with content in excess of 48/24, people will listen to that and hear that it's better than mp3s (now THAT is really a trivial ABX unlike 96 vs 44.1).
Now, yeah, it should be better than MP3's. So should redbook. Don't forget the tests for MP3 did not actually claim "transparent" but rather "acceptable".

Or, to put it another way, MPEG's definition of "transparent" is "over 4.0 on the CCIR impairment scale. Subjects were still clearly distinguishing between the Redbook and MP3 while handing out that kind of grade.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2762
I would call this an analog stage.

http://www.manley.com/mist.php
Old 10th April 2014
  #2763
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenderboy View Post
who says there is no difference between analoge and digital?

there is a difference...digital is superior to analoge
I KNOW (or at least strongly suspect) you're kidding on a certain level, but let's keep things square here.

Now, if you want to say that state of the art digital audio transcription beats state of the art analog tape, grooved disks, etc, by any objective measure of signal accuracy, then you are on pretty solid ground, I should say.

It's all about the qualifiers.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2764
Lives for gear
 

It's funny that this device comes out now; an era where people have decided that crappy quality mp3s (that anyone with a computer downloads for free) through poor sounding earbuds have more value to them than CD audio, when the difference between low quality mp3 and 44.1 khz 16 bit is FAR greater, even to the average listener than 44.1/16 vs higher sample/bit rates.

So what do they do? They put out a device that plays higher sample/bit rates. Brilliant. The name and legacy of Neil Young add so much weight to the perception of this product, make no mistake about it. But the actual logic/sense /science behind it are the emperor's new clothes.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2765
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post


I'm personally excited to hear the music I produced like I never heard it before.

The way it was meant to sound. Not the way I recorded it.

I have a Pono boner. Or a Poner.
I'm guessing that your poner is shaped like a Toblerone?

Brings new poignance to the old lyric, "Daddy, your key don't fit my lock..."
Old 10th April 2014
  #2766
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
We're still to some extent fixated on the 100% provable objective aspect here, with some funny detours (like insisting on Krell amps and 802s and Manley docking stations as the only objective of exemplary audio quality, when any half-decent single driver speaker will provide a certain type of midrange coherency and when Tripath-based class T chip amplifiers cost almost nothing)

I've been saying all along that there are more auditory experiences out there than simply the ones so aggressively obvious that they can be heard twenty times in a row against all distractions or environment changes. There is this tendency I'm observing to continually push back to the 'only what can be percieved by the ordinary listener, every single time, repeatably!' point.

If you stub your toe once on a trip to the kitchen you've made hundreds of times, you still stubbed your toe. You cannot scientifically prove your kitchen is a toe hazard, and in fact it would be insane to expect that you'll stub your toe EVERY time now that you've become aware of the possibility, but the fact remains that you stubbed your toe, and it may have made quite an impression, too.

If you 'stub' your ear on a really magical instant of music while listening, you have pretty much no chance to prove it meant anything to you, and no weapon other than bare, stubborn assertion. You probably won't have the same experience many times in a row, because you're not a robot. And yet, pleasurable moments of music listening are the only purpose of this equipment, and listening as a human being not as a robot is the only intended way to experience it, whether it's Krells and 802s or Ponos into, say, littlepapercones (shoutout to another toolmaker who likes the promise of these things!) or Beats. What gives you the idea that people liking bass-fan exaggerated headphones will not like what those phones do to a very capable sound source?

From what I know of the specs for the audio files (i.e. MASSIVELY excessive of what's strictly necessary) and the analog section of the device I can tell you what's going to happen to the uneducated listener. (we don't care about the chips, those have become amazing in recent years: it's dependent on those capacitors and jacks and the actual implementation details. I've built enough analog gear to know what you get from hardware that looks like what I saw. It's properly designed gear at a reasonable, non-boutique price)

They will listen to what they get on Pono, and will have MANY moments of sonic beauty right up at (or past) their ability to perceive beauty, catching every special moment in the music effortlessly (just as they would with well-implemented properly designed 48/24 over a good playback system). And they may decide that it's all because 192K is the magic bullet, or they may paint the edges of their Ponos with green magic marker, or who knows what silly thing they might do.

At least somebody's mass marketing high resolution audio, perhaps in the way they MUST. We've been tending to agree that 48K is likely past the limit of what a normal human can possibly hear consistently. How are you going to sell people on "Get back into listening attentively to music! With new 48K! It's a whole, uh, three and a bit K more!" And we've seen what's happened to the industry in the world of mp3s that are worth the free you pay for them.

People will listen to these things and find them rewarding, because people go by their fugitive human impressions, not double-blind tests. Pono is so overdesigned that it can rise above ANY human impression no matter how fugitive. Only the audiophiles with Krells and such will even be able to find fault with the sonics. Great sonics are not that hard these days, it's just that there hasn't been the marketing focus on supporting them. This, nonsense and all, is what it looks like for marketing and popular buzz to be supporting great sound. They get some of the details screwy, but the spirit of the thing is good.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2767
(I bolded the pertinent section in the doubly embedded quote from me immediately below just now for clarity's sake...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1

But I think it's safe to say that most of us 'science types' had already stipulated that, if you turn the playback level WAY up and focus on low level signals like reverb and other tails, then, for sure, given the right material, it is, indeed, going to be relatively trivial for those with a reasonable amount of ear training to differentiate the CD-quality from the 24/96.
Okay, so is that our new baseline?

"it is relatively trivial for good listeners to distinguish 100% between CD quality and 24/96 if they try"

I'm good with that assertion. What I don't get is this. If this is true, why is it a moral obligation for me to accept lower-quality audio just because I'm capable of sometimes not paying as close attention to it?

I think my attention wanders, normally. I want the audio to be there if the attention suddenly reaches for some detail. The fact that 99 times out of 100 I won't be trying that hard is irrelevant. That one time when I get caught by some great musical moment, I want the audio to be there to support it.

Is that okay? Anybody offended by that idea, or prepared to tell me I may NOT have audio quality better than I need in my laziest, most unengaged listenings? I disagree. At this point I'm guessing 24/48 done right (24/96, ideally) covers every possible listening situation I could be in.

If you insist I get only 16/44.1 because many times that's all I can hear, I'm being cheated of my best moments, and that ain't fair! Let me have the moments that are the best of what my poor muddled 45-year-old senses can bring me. Be a sport
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Of course not. Why on earth would you even ask? heh

If you're going to take my statement, you have to take it with the all-important qualifiers:

And, with regard to the rest, let's remind you that you described your efforts as "grueling and unpleasant" in part because you were listening at "painfully loud" levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj

"it is relatively trivial for good listeners to distinguish 100% between CD quality and 24/96 if they try"
This has still not been demonstrated. The assertion is still only that. It isn't a fact.

Alistair
BIG difference between what I had originally written about chrisj's far-from-normal-listening 'listening' tests and how he selectively quoted what I'd written -- while leaving out the qualifiers in such a way as to corrupt the meaning of what I had written, unfortunately.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2768
Lives for gear
 
nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

For me, I think it's awesome the effort that Chris put into testing. I wonder though if that might be too much effort... why not simply SRC down to 44.1 then back up to 96k, then do a/b/x on the original and the new band limited copy? You might argue the SRC might impact the audio quality and might make it easy to tell, but in my experience that wasn't the case (though your ears might be better).

I think it's also unfair to crank up the volume to unreasonable levels... anyone can probably tell bit depth by listening that closely/loudly to a reverb tail.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2769
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuthinupmysleeve View Post
BTW.. if you CAN hear a difference, hit this guy up with your results:

Think You Have Golden Ears? Take the Scientist Challenge!
Has anyone attempted to "enter" this challenge? There doesn't seem to be any mechanism set up for doing that beyond sending the columnist an ABX result sheet, which would be meaningless. Has anyone tried?
That's one of the problems with all this, to my mind. Very few test results to cite beyond the famous one from 2005 (?) (was it the AES?) showing no one could tell.
Old 10th April 2014
  #2770
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
People do crank stuff up crazy loud sometimes. It was a setting on the Lavry. If I'd known you can't crank up test files and call it 'try' (to hear differences), I wouldn't have said 'try'. Still managed to pass that test using regular old playback on the ABX tester, complete with "BEEP!" every time I selected a choice, and the normal settings on my Lavry Black, and HD600s which are not actually the most efficient, loud phones out there. I already have to crank those phones up just to do normal critical listening through them.

If I wanted to practice (and I did) I'd run SlewOnly and put in that not-outrageously-steep filter. If I wanted to CHEAT, I'd have used compression. I could still do that and probably tell all the trials apart, but I admitted when I couldn't under normal crank-em-UP listening conditions. People normally crank up headphones and monitors. Anytime you're in the subway or on a bus and some guy's got his headphones just blaring so loud they're even distracting you, that person is listening at the levels I used. It's normal (though it's bad for you).
Old 11th April 2014
  #2771
Gear Addict
This was posted in another thread:

Rumor: Apple joining the hi-res bandwagon

Looks like Apple may obviate the whole Pono thing after all ... ?

One can hope that Apple might have the leverage to lower the prices for hi-res downloads. More than Pono would, anyway.

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 11th April 2014
  #2772
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
This was posted in another thread:

Rumor: Apple joining the hi-res bandwagon

Looks like Apple may obviate the whole Pono thing after all ... ?

One can hope that Apple might have the leverage to lower the prices for hi-res downloads. More than Pono would, anyway.

Cheers,
Eddie
If you think about it, there's not much downside to Apple doing it.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2773
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
This was posted in another thread:

Rumor: Apple joining the hi-res bandwagon

Looks like Apple may obviate the whole Pono thing after all ... ?
wow, the rumor suggests two months!

I wonder if Apple will sell a 96/192/384 player and if it will be out before Pono?
Old 11th April 2014
  #2774
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
wow, the rumor suggests two months!

I wonder if Apple will sell a 96/192/384 player and if it will be out before Pono?
There's no need. They have App that will convert the file to 44.1kHz 16 bit so you play it on your iPhone.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2775
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
wow, the rumor suggests two months!

I wonder if Apple will sell a 96/192/384 player and if it will be out before Pono?
There's no need. They have App that will convert the file to 44.1kHz 16 bit so you play it on your iPhone.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2776
Soooooo…..
The music I purchased from iTunes the last 5 years. Do I get to upgrade it to 96khz, or am I supposed to buy it again? After all, I'm only buying a license, not the actual recording.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2777
Lives for gear
 
davidwilson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Soooooo…..
The music I purchased from iTunes the last 5 years. Do I get to upgrade it to 96khz, or am I supposed to buy it again? After all, I'm only buying a license, not the actual recording.
Great point Chris but I think you already know the answer to that
Old 11th April 2014
  #2778
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Soooooo…..
The music I purchased from iTunes the last 5 years. Do I get to upgrade it to 96khz, or am I supposed to buy it again? After all, I'm only buying a license, not the actual recording.
I'd bet not.

but on the other hand, some other company that is selling those same Hi-Res audio files cares even less about your previous downloads. Apple could have stayed completely out of it and you would be in the same boat.

The Led Zeppelin remasters that everyone is so excited about are at a mere "still underwater" 24/96. I wonder if that's the resolution they were actually transferred at, IOW, the best you can currently get. I bought Led Zeppelin records back when the LPs were released, bought them again as CDs, and I am sure I had a cassette or two along the way.

That means that if I buy the remasters this year, I will still have two more chances to purchase those same albums yet again. At 192 kHz and then again at 384kHz. I am so excited to see how much labels and distributors are starting to care about Quality Sound.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2779
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Soooooo…..
The music I purchased from iTunes the last 5 years. Do I get to upgrade it to 96khz, or am I supposed to buy it again? After all, I'm only buying a license, not the actual recording.
Presumably there would be an upgrade price, so you wouldn't have to shell out more than the diff between the regular and hi-res stuff. If Apple is smart, that's how they'd do it. And I think there are some smart folks at Apple.

There is something of a precedent for this. The iTunes Match service gives you access to your entire iTunes-based library on Apple's servers from any capable device. Even if you originally purchased 128kbps music, Match serves up 256kbps files for everything. So for $25 a year, your library of standard iTunes files is "upgraded" to a higher resolution.

Now imagine having the option to get your stuff from Match in hi-res form, even at a higher subscription cost. And here's the kicker: Match lets you listen to your entire iTunes library, including CD rips. So it's conceivable that all the digital music you put into iTunes could be easily and cheaply converted to hi-res.

If this becomes reality, I don't see much of a future for Pono specifically. Apple will undoubtedly make future models of their devices hi-res capable if they sell hi-res content.

So long, Pono ... at least we got a good thread out of you.

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 11th April 2014
  #2780
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post

"it is relatively trivial for good listeners to distinguish 100% between CD quality and 24/96 if they try"

This has never been proved, so why do you write it as a fact?


Why not write it in an honest fashion?

"It is my fantasy and hope that it's trivial for some vague segment I brand as "good listeners" to distinguish 100% between CD quality and 24/96 if they try".
Old 11th April 2014
  #2781
Lives for gear
 
GJ999x's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Presumably there would be an upgrade price, so you wouldn't have to shell out more than the diff between the regular and hi-res stuff.
Yes, and maybe next week one of us will get signed to Universal and invited to support justin beiber on his next world tour
Old 11th April 2014
  #2782
Gear Head
 

I had the oportunity to listen to a Pono a couple of weeks ago on some JTR speakers at 124db and it sounded better than any recording I had ever heard. I used to have some high end equipment, and had always liked vinyl over digital but this changed my mind.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2783
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
BIG difference between what I had originally written about chrisj's far-from-normal-listening 'listening' tests and how he selectively quoted what I'd written -- while leaving out the qualifiers in such a way as to corrupt the meaning of what I had written, unfortunately.
Indeed. Your post made sense. It described a completely artificial situation that had nothing to do with listening to music in any normal kind of setup. Chris' interpretation of your post, without all the qualifiers, is just silly.

And I see Chris didn't acknowledge the important point I brought up: All he tested (in a bizarre and unrealistic way) was the quality of the filter used to create the alternative versions of the files.

Alistair
Old 11th April 2014
  #2784
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Apple will undoubtedly make future models of their devices hi-res capable if they sell hi-res content.
There's a new iPhone in the works.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2785
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 

Apple are doing it now? Oh.....I smell a cultural shift coming on.

May I be the first to say, well done, Neil. This whole lark, however it turns out, will then yet bring sound quality of music files up in the focus of the great mass in one way or another it seems. Great stuff.

Now everyone can gt back to arguing about whether they actually sound better, soon the punters will make their own minds up.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2786
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
People do crank stuff up crazy loud sometimes.
People do crank up their headphones or speakers but they do it to pleasant (to them) loud levels on full program material.

What people do not do is filter out all the low-end of their badly converted files then crank it up to gruelling and unpleasant levels to the point of blowing up their NS10's and expect to conclude anything about sample rates from such an experiment unless they lost the reality plot in favour of whimsical fantasies a long time ago...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisj View Post
We're still to some extent fixated on the 100% provable objective aspect here
Of course. So far it has never been demonstrated. Not even close!

Chris, you haven't even stubbed your toe accidentally in your kitchen. What you did was drop a load of bricks in the middle of your kitchen that don't belong there and then purposely and intentionally went and kicked those bricks with as much force as you could and then complained about the dangers of walking barefoot in the kitchen. It was a ridiculous experiment and it surprises me that you, as an audio plugin coder, didn't even check the files for in-band differences before even listening to the files.

The fact that you had to go to such lengths to detect even this difference (in the audible band of the files!) tells me it is very likely that you can not at all ever, even with the levels fully cranked-up, tell the difference between 96 and 48 Khz files when properly converted. Thanks for demonstrating this.

Alistair
Old 11th April 2014
  #2787
Gear Head
 
bandpass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_j View Post
Dither does not eliminate the noise floor. Not sure what you are thinking there.
No, but depending on how it's done (with noise-shaping) it can reduce the noise-floor, so you might not hear the noise where you were expecting to.

In case there are any more takers, I've modified the samples slightly, just to increase the level on the quietest ones and to add a blurb file. There was nothing strictly wrong with the original samples but now, if you listen cranked up, the level increase reduces, or possibly eliminates, the chance of hearing the 16-bit noise-floor (since the recording noise-floor/ambiance may well be higher than that).
Old 11th April 2014
  #2788
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
There's no need. They have App that will convert the file to 44.1kHz 16 bit so you play it on your iPhone.
*LOL* Oh, Kenny

Probably worth checking to see if that's what they REALLY do, but no no no, marketing fail and Apple doesn't really do marketing fail
Old 11th April 2014
  #2789
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topgear View Post
This has never been proved, so why do you write it as a fact?


Why not write it in an honest fashion?

"It is my fantasy and hope that it's trivial for some vague segment I brand as "good listeners" to distinguish 100% between CD quality and 24/96 if they try".
so what has been proved in pro audio? anyone knows that a pultec sounds great, but it hasn't been 'proved'. do you only reach for gear that comes complete with a 'white paper' proving its superior sound?

what has been proved however is that the temporal resolution in a low res file is inadequate.
Old 11th April 2014
  #2790
Airwindows
 
chrisj's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
The fact that you had to go to such lengths to detect even this difference (in the audible band of the files!) tells me it is very likely that you can not at all ever, even with the levels fully cranked-up, tell the difference between 96 and 48 Khz files when properly converted. Thanks for demonstrating this.
That's cool. I never, ever, not even once, said that I could or wanted to. Remember, I've been saying that 48K ought to do, at least for me? Someone younger than a 45 year old drummer MIGHT well need 96K. Try that kid on one of these tests, if they'll sit still for it.

I still want a Pono. Already have an iPhone, and Pono's analog stage is a lot better.

It's fine to sit around in the zone of 'full scientific provability', but people are just going to continue to have the experience of 'I listened to Pono and it immediately sounded better than what I had, and it kept sounding better no matter what I did or how loud or soft I listened. It always sounded better whatever mood I was in, never bored me or seemed inadequate, so I bought one and now I listen to Pono.'

If Apple is actually changing its direction to accomodate what Pono's done, Apple is playing catch-up and it can be seen as a promotional validation of everything Pono has done. Enjoy when Apple marketing buys into the (silly) 'underwater' thing, making people believe in Pono's rather loony take on it.

I'm gonna have to develop that fancy dither with DSD-like noise qualities, or my noise floors in the pass band will get worse thanks to this bizarreness what I'm doing now will not translate so great to 384K…
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