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PONO - Neil Youngs portable hi-res music player - Page 66

post #976 of 4585

Thought food:

http://www.cnet.com/news/will-the-400-pono-music-player-sound-like-a-27500-stereo-preamplifier/

post #977 of 4585
The people that are spending $30k on equipment won't believe it, and keep buying $30k equipment. The people buying $400 equipment will eat that up and buy Pono's. It's a win-win type of thing for Hanson to say.
post #978 of 4585

Basically it is what we call bulls**t in real life. Marketing for common people, not for people who is passionate and serious about audio reproduction.

post #979 of 4585

I'm a first day Pono pledge ($200 player).   From the beginning I looked at it as a good value player that worst-case scenario would be fine replacement for the iPod I use in my car.  At $200, my only worry was whether the thing would ship on time.

 

That being said, I'm not a fan of the way that the Pono team does business.  As many of you know, they are demoing a Meridian player - to my knowledge, nobody outside the company has heard a demo of the Ayre Pono.  With that in mind, its like they are entering races with a Lamborghini engine but plan on swapping out the engine right before the race - will it be better?  It's possible that the Meridian section was too expensive to make a profit, and their "no compromise" player is just that.  Or whatever, since they aren't saying anything.

 

I'm also tiring of the blame MP3 and Apple for all that ills music - and pretending that we don't have over a decade of the highest resolution music ever produced.  I don't believe there is anything to be heard above rebook - but appreciate that 24/96 at least gives audio engineers more room to work.  Can you tell the difference between 24/96 converted to rebook?  Probably not unless you are a superhero (and unless you've done a true A/B/X and have a 90% or higher rating, don't tell me anecdotally that you can).

 

I store all my music in AIFF.  I have over 1.5 TBs of music for my computer.  I have no size limitations on my hard-drive, but I will have some for portable players.  24/192 files are between 1.5-2.0GB per album.  For someone to waste that space so that they can pretend to hear the difference on a subway with $200 headphones is a joke to me.  A good DAC should bring out the best in lossy files - and frankly if you are spending your time focused on differences between rebook and 192 files, you may want to rethink your relationship to music.

 

I'm happy that the Pono player is getting people to talk about music again.  But it's hard to root for a management team that misleads new audiophiles and patronizes experienced audiophiles.  

post #980 of 4585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michifan View Post

I store all my music in AIFF.  I have over 1.5 TBs of music for my computer.  I have no size limitations on my hard-drive, but I will have some for portable players.  24/192 files are between 1.5-2.0GB per album.  For someone to waste that space so that they can pretend to hear the difference on a subway with $200 headphones is a joke to me.

Erm, why aren't you using lossless compression? Pono is FLAC, btw.
post #981 of 4585

Erm,

The audio data in a standard AIFF file is uncompressed lossless pulse-code modulation (PCM).   I have no need for FLAC - other than a means for acquiring files from online sources. I use iTunes to manage my music and utilize iTunes Match (which will stream up to 25,000 files) across my Apple infrastructure.  I also use Amarra for my high-res music, which is built on top of the iTunes music file selection.

 

As I have functionally unlimited storage (I won't live long enough to get to 5TB of music), I have no need to keep compressed files on my computer.  If I want to compress, I take into account the size I need to fill and where I will be listening to the music.

post #982 of 4585
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post


Erm, why aren't you using lossless compression? Pono is FLAC, btw.


The Pono website claims it'll play *.aiff files too, and *.aiff is not necessarily a lossy format, depending on how you set up your ripping software.

post #983 of 4585
I didn't mean to imply AIFF was lossy; just uncompressed. So I thought that Michifan complaining about wasting space was ironic.
post #984 of 4585

Skamp,

 

Please re-read my post. 

 

Quote:
I store all my music in AIFF.  I have over 1.5 TBs of music for my computer.  I have no size limitations on my hard-drive, but I will have some for portable players

 

That means that I don't need to compress my files - and since iTunes doesn't recognize FLAC - I'd lose advantage of the amazing iTunes Match service and the way I've been managing my music for well over a decade.  

 

It's also rational (not ironic) that I would point out that storing high-resolution FLAC files on a 64/128GB devices when the average file size for a high resolution file is upwards of 1.5GB per album, and people were attracted to compressed audio because they could bring their entire audio collection with them (not selecting which SDs to bring like a bunch of mini css).

 

My point remains that highest definition portable audio is a problem only a select few people needed wanted to solve - (the real problem was providing an "A" level DAC, and the ability to play across the spectrum of definitions is a bonus).  And as one of the first backers of Pono, I still have absolutely no idea what it will sound like (good or bad).   But I'm tired of the team insulting the intelligence of people that have been into high resolution digital audio for years.  I had a separate transport / DAC from Linn in the early 90s before I upgraded my SACD/DVDA/CD transport and DAC.

 

To the Pono People, Apple and MP3 are the enemy when they solved problems that people cared about with the technology available at the time.  Nobody forced anyone to listen to lossy MP3s - nor was anyone that truly cared about music unaware that formats such as SACD, DVD-A and HD Tracks have re-mastered (some better, some worse) every single album of significance over the past decade. 

 

Neil Young and his team are nothing compared to Apple.  They have the money and the influence to get whatever masters they need and sell at whatever price point they need to manage the market.  When iTunes launches match in high-def along with streaming, it will change the game and make many of the portable DACs obsolete.  

 

Plus, I've got 5 different versions of Pet Sounds.  It's stupid fun to try and hear the differences in the masters (vinyl vs digital, mono vs stereo vs surround....) - but it's become a mastering game.  Plus, there is a point where remastering is no different than George Lucas having Han Solo shoot Greedo in the re-mastered Star Wars.  Is this really what the artist intended?  I'll leave that to another post...

 

Pono is selling an entry level DAP that will definitely be an upgrade from a current Apple IPod Classic.  But, given the technology and price point, there is nothing (hopefully) stopping Apple from upgrading the iPod to play highest resolution (including DSD), retooling iTunes in OS-X Yosemite and offering highest resolution music at a price point below the Pono store.

 

I'll still be happy with my $200 Pono for my car - but I'm just not rooting for the Pono team anymore.  They are the enemy of transparency pretending to be the guardians of music.


Edited by Michifan - 6/3/14 at 9:03am
post #985 of 4585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michifan View Post

Pono is selling an entry level DAP that will definitely be an upgrade from a current Apple IPod Classic.

That remains to be seen. The iPod Classic already provides excellent 16 bit performance; getting more actual dynamic range on a portable device is quite difficult, I've been told by electrical engineers; with 192 GB of maximum (costly) storage, it's barely more than the Classic's 160 GB; and their player's output impedance isn't any better than the iPod's (5Ω versus 5.5Ω, and the latest iPod Touches are lower than that).

Also, the Pono DAP is just a reference device. Their true goal (if they are to be believed) is to create an ecosystem, with high res files that will be playable on more than just their initial DAP. That means devices (computers?) with more storage.

And finally, the difference in audible "sound quality" between 24/96 and 24/192 is pretty much the same as the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96: illusory. The whole thing completely ignores the true cause of bad audio (the loudness war, bad mastering) and tries to shove expensive, space and bandwidth hogging files down our throats. Neil Young is a fine musician, but he's old, half deaf from decades of performing live, and clueless about digital audio. That, or he's knowingly trying to pull a long con on the market.
post #986 of 4585
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michifan View Post
 

When iTunes launches match in high-def along with streaming, it will change the game and make many of the portable DACs obsolete.  

 

Ultimately, it's the nature of technology but I doubt it would happen overnight. 

 

Quote:

Pono is selling an entry level DAP that will definitely be an upgrade from a current Apple IPod Classic.

 

Since the Pono is supposed to compete with the current top DAPs and the only model of the "line" (as far as internal components goes), one could equally call it "an affordable top of the line DAP"

 

Quote:

But, given the technology and price point, there is nothing (hopefully) stopping Apple from upgrading the iPod to play highest resolution (including DSD), retooling iTunes in OS-X Yosemite and offering highest resolution music at a price point below the Pono store.

 

That would be nice but granted the fact Apple is already much more established than Pono, they don't need to undercut Pono by offering a better deal... I highly doubt it would be noticeably cheaper than buying from Pono. And if it is, Pono would lower its prices to match Apple (unless they both offer exclusive recordings/labels)

 

 

 

I'll still be happy with my $200 Pono for my car 

 

Let me know where you park ; )

 

 but I'm just not rooting for the Pono team anymore.  They are the enemy of transparency pretending to be the guardians of music.

 

I agree it is questionable for them to offer a demo with a different product than what people will get once it is officially released. Most likely, they feel that considering the support they got, they can't just disappear until October and would rather show what they are aiming at. At least, they are not lying about the fact their current demo is still the old Meridian version. If nothing else, it also shows that Ayre is not rushing the design. They have a deadline but they are making sure the final design will meet their goal...

 

But I understand your frustration and criticism, fair enough


Edited by Tympan - 6/3/14 at 10:44am
post #987 of 4585
Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post


That remains to be seen. The iPod Classic already provides excellent 16 bit performance; getting more actual dynamic range on a portable device is quite difficult, I've been told by electrical engineers; with 192 GB of maximum (costly) storage, it's barely more than the Classic's 160 GB; and their player's output impedance isn't any better than the iPod's (5Ω versus 5.5Ω, and the latest iPod Touches are lower than that).

Also, the Pono DAP is just a reference device. Their true goal (if they are to be believed) is to create an ecosystem, with high res files that will be playable on more than just their initial DAP. That means devices (computers?) with more storage.

And finally, the difference in audible "sound quality" between 24/96 and 24/192 is pretty much the same as the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96: illusory. The whole thing completely ignores the true cause of bad audio (the loudness war, bad mastering) and tries to shove expensive, space and bandwidth hogging files down our throats. Neil Young is a fine musician, but he's old, half deaf from decades of performing live, and clueless about digital audio. That, or he's knowingly trying to pull a long con on the market.

 

Skamp,

Because we don't know what the Pono will sound like, I would concede that we don't know.   My brother has heard the Meridian Pono with headphones and can attest that it sounded better than the IPod (very low bar) and better than his audio quest dragonfly.  

 

I have also pledged for the Geek Wave (I have a Geek Out 1000) - but that's been delayed through year-end and God only knows if that will deliver on time...

post #988 of 4585

Tympan,

This time next year, HD streaming will be a viable option across a number of outlets.  The issue is going to be people streaming at home via wifi (inexpensive) to using up valuable data on their wireless plans.   Apple has been working for some time on a new compression algorithm that will allow them to keep down the costs for people to stream via LTE/4g - but still provide HD sound.  They are also trying to figure out a reasonable price / business model for a HD iTunes Match. 

 

Streaming is the killer app to drive down music pirating.  People that can stream what they want at a reasonable price are less likely (but not completely unlikely) to pirate bay a HD file.  I also believe that the HDTracks / Pono strategy of selling $15-25 albums is not viable for selling in any quantity.  It's just too much money for a file we probably already own.  Neil Young & Company don't have any special access that Apple doesn't have - heck, someone should ask Neil if he thinks there is another master of his albums that should be published...

post #989 of 4585

HD streaming sounds fun, assuming my internet connection could deliver it. But, at the end of the day, you have effectively paid for something you hear once and do not own.


 

Maybe that's like a throwback to the olden days when live music was the only game in town - you paid to hear it, but you didn't keep anything but memories.


 

Or maybe I'm a throwback to the olden days when, if you bought a record, you actually owned it, and I'm out of touch with the majority view.


 

Pono's projected price-range per album still worries me, though. If they want to target the average man/woman on the street instead of audiophiles, as they seem to be saying, I don't think the general public will like those numbers. And Apple or Amazon or both could undercut them for lossless downloads 'til Pono fails, then start creeping the prices up.

post #990 of 4585

I think that streaming is a tangible model if you have varied musical tastes and don't want to invest a fortune in a music collection.  Since I've been part of Netflix/Amazon streaming, I haven't bought a single movie to own.  

 

The brilliance of streaming is that you can listen to the same song over and over OR go on a wild journey - compare different conductors of Beethoven's 9th or listen to as many renditions of "Fly Me To The Moon" as your heart desires.  You can go on a Bee Gee's binge and then wander over to listen to Glen Campbell.  For someone that just loves the variety of music, its like renting the World's greatest music library.

 

I own almost every album I think I want, and I am addicted to iTunes Match, which gives you access (at AAC 256) to every song in your library (up to 25,000).  I'd pay $10.00 per month to have access across all my Apple devices to 24/96 versions of albums I already own via stream.  

 

If your internet connection cannot handle this, you may want to try something other than a phone modem :)

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