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The Open Pandora: An ultimate portable player?

Poll Results: Would you buy a Pandora to use as your portable player?

 
  • 31% (24)
    Yes
  • 68% (52)
    No
76 Total Votes  
post #1 of 364
Thread Starter 

Ok, so some of you have probably heard of that awesome little PocketPC, called the Pandora, that's used for emulating older consoles and things like that. 

 

One thing you probably didn't hear however, is that an audiophile was on the development team for the handheld, and put some extremely powerful circuitry in said handheld. 

 

Here's an excerpt from my chat with him:

 


The DAC is the PCM1773 from TI (who bought out Burr Brown, the company that created this chip).  It uses an isolated LDO power supply at 2.8V, putting SNR at 99dB.  This DAC has line driver capabilities which gives it over 1.7Vpp outputs, great for keeping the gain down in the amp stage.

The audio amp, also from TI, is the TPA6110A2.  It runs on a 5V, filtered supply to provide the 150mW per channel on the headphone outputs.  The gain stage is set low to provide as close to the 100dB SNR as possible and it seems to do a nice job.  The gain is set to almost never clip with anything other than a near 0dB sine wave so distortion should be very low at all volume levels.  Most music (unless rediculously overmastered to near 0dB) should never get messy at the top of the volume wheel setting.

I have a set of Sennheiser HD-650's which use 300ohm voice coils and it drives them very nicely.  They get pretty loud and the Pandora handles delivering all the bass energy, but it doesn't go to deafening volumes.

 


 

I was quite impressed when I was told that this handheld was capable of driving an HD650. 

 

Another thing to note about the Pandora is that it has TWO SD card slots, each capable of using 128GB SDXC cards. That means up to 256GB of storage, which would prove very helpful for people who use lossless or even just higher bitrate MP3s. 

 

Another quality of this handheld is that it runs a totally open-source OS, and that means that there are plenty of different music players available from the awesome community that develops for it. If you don't like the players they have available, you can even run Android on it and use the Android music player.

 

Yet another awesome feature is that it has a USB HOST port and USB OTG support. This basically means that if you have, say, a portable DAC/amp (like the FiiO E7, E17, AlgoRythym Solo, etc etc) that it should work with the Pandora, allowing you to use your own equipment if necessary. It also has line out capabilities via the EXT connector on the back of the unit, so you can use a standalone amp with it.

 

And since this unit is more than just a player, you can also use the built-in WiFi to download music directly from the unit. You can also browse this forum, look up some headphones... the possibilities are endless.

 

The basic unit retails for $500. There is an upgraded version available for $700, but that only upgrades the CPU, not the audio section.

 

US shoppers can go here: http://www.ithic.com/

For those who live in Europe: https://www.dragonbox.de/en/

 

And, if you want, you can read up about the other features of the handheld here: http://openpandora.org/index.php

 

I have reviewed this device. Go here: http://www.head-fi.org/products/open-pandora/reviews/8570

 

Thanks!


Edited by takato14 - 3/4/13 at 6:11pm
post #2 of 364
Interesting but I personally think its too large and a bit too pricey.
post #3 of 364
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chawanwit View Post

Interesting but I personally think its too large and a bit too pricey.

It's much easier having one unit as opposed to 2 or more.

post #4 of 364

This reeks of alpha-pc, windows 98. Man, is that archaic looking. I voted yes, but for specs. This thing would be totally unusable as a portable - no matter what it's packing undervthe hood.


Edited by tds101 - 9/29/12 at 9:54am
post #5 of 364
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nywytboy68 View Post

This reeks of alpha-pc, windows 98. Man, is that archaic looking. I voted yes, but for specs. This thing would be totally unusable as a portable - no matter what it's packing undervthe hood.

What? This thing has a 600MHz ARM Cortex A8. It uses a custom build of Angstrom Linux and can also run Debian, Ubuntu, and even Android Gingerbread. It has 512MB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX530. It can do a LOT. It's not outdated in any way.

post #6 of 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by takato14 View Post

What? This thing has a 600MHz ARM Cortex A8. It uses a custom build of Angstrom Linux and can also run Debian, Ubuntu, and even Android Gingerbread. It has 512MB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX530. It can do a LOT. It's not outdated in any way.
Apparently you misunderstood what I meant. The internals are top notch, but the device itself looks like a device I owned years ago. It's like a off-brand pocket pc. The look is reminiscent of a windows 98 packing device. Or a pocket dictionary,...

I don't doubt it will perform excellently. But, this makes the HiFiMAN and Colorfly players look quite utilitarian. Not a portable media consumption device,...
post #7 of 364
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nywytboy68 View Post

Apparently you misunderstood what I meant. The internals are top notch, but the device itself looks like a device I owned years ago. It's like a off-brand pocket pc. The look is reminiscent of a windows 98 packing device. Or a pocket dictionary,...

I don't doubt it will perform excellently. But, this makes the HiFiMAN and Colorfly players look quite utilitarian. Not a portable media consumption device,...

It IS an off-brand PocketPC, lol. It's driven by a single small community and a team of 4-5 hardware developers. 

 

While the looks could be better, they come after functionality in my book. I still use my ancient HP 620LX all the time...

post #8 of 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by takato14 View Post

It IS an off-brand PocketPC, lol. It's driven by a single small community and a team of 4-5 hardware developers. 

While the looks could be better, they come after functionality in my book. I still use my ancient HP 620LX all the time...

Heh,...I do understand it's a small pocket pc. My point is that as a portable music playing device the design & implementation are no good. To carry this about, when I could carry a tablet for that matter instead, would be rediculous. For portable use, this would be a fail. In this day and age no one will pull a small palmtop out, open it, access a keyboard, etc.

Sorry,...pass & fail.wink.gif
Edited by tds101 - 9/29/12 at 2:25pm
post #9 of 364
Thread Starter 

Bump.

post #10 of 364

For something of that size (14x8x3) to have only a 4.3 inch screen makes it pretty useless as a small PC too. Stupid design. Seriously, with the availability of smartphones, tablets and the like, why would one pay £700 for this!!! The galaxy s3's specs will completely annihilate these as would it's reliability, built quality, ease of usage most likely. 

 

Well, you mention this here for it's audiophile 'portable' player purpose, and nywytboy68 said, it's just too big/expensive for that. I'm not sure how it performs, but it'll be tough to touch the ibasso dx100 most likely. Heck, who said the headphone output is better than the galaxy s3, or even the iphone for that matter! 

 

I can't see a single use for it.

post #11 of 364
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CantScareMe View Post

For something of that size (14x8x3) to have only a 4.3 inch screen makes it pretty useless as a small PC too. Stupid design. Seriously, with the availability of smartphones, tablets and the like, why would one pay £700 for this!!! The galaxy s3's specs will completely annihilate these as would it's reliability, built quality, ease of usage most likely. 

 

Well, you mention this here for it's audiophile 'portable' player purpose, and nywytboy68 said, it's just too big/expensive for that. I'm not sure how it performs, but it'll be tough to touch the ibasso dx100 most likely. Heck, who said the headphone output is better than the galaxy s3, or even the iphone for that matter! 

 

I can't see a single use for it.

This device came out before the term "smartphone" existed. 

 

Samsung's phones have terrible build quality, and the Pandora, while it may not LOOK fancy and well-built, is built like a tank. 

 

Yeah, its specifications are outdated, but no phone has dedicated gaming controls. Only the Xperia PLAY does and its specs are dismal. On that note, no phone has the ability to run the game exclusively, and must waste RAM and processing power on the OS and other applications. Not to mention that you can usually get a stable overclock up to 800 MHz with it.

 

People buy it because it has the power to run retro systems all the way up to the Sega Dreamcast.

 

The 14x8x3 is centimeters, derp. This unit is barely bigger than a Nintendo DS. The 4.3" touch screen is huge. Bigger than most phone screens.

 

It can drive an HD650 to 95% of its potential. No phone can do that.

 

The Pandora is an excellent device. It's well worth its $500 pricetag.


Edited by takato14 - 9/29/12 at 7:51pm
post #12 of 364

Have you compared it to the Hifiman HM portable music players or the ibasso yet? They seem to be more suitable for music.

post #13 of 364

grabbing popcorn already :P

post #14 of 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by takato14 View Post

This device came out before the term "smartphone" existed. 

 

Samsung's phones have terrible build quality, and the Pandora, while it may not LOOK fancy and well-built, is built like a tank. 

 

Yeah, its specifications are outdated, but no phone has dedicated gaming controls. Only the Xperia PLAY does and its specs are dismal. On that note, no phone has the ability to run the game exclusively, and must waste RAM and processing power on the OS and other applications. Not to mention that you can usually get a stable overclock up to 800 MHz with it.

 

People buy it because it has the power to run retro systems all the way up to the Sega Dreamcast.

 

The 14x8x3 is centimeters, derp. This unit is barely bigger than a Nintendo DS. The 4.3" touch screen is huge. Bigger than most phone screens.

 

It can drive an HD650 to 95% of its potential. No phone can do that.

 

The Pandora is an excellent device. It's well worth its $500 pricetag.

 

 

Samsung phones have terrible build quality. I've had 5, including 3 smartphones. Only once have I experienced a freeze and that was the fault of a very dodgy app. In numbers- 1 fault in over 10,000 uses. They all look like new btw. Nothing has fallen off, damaged, scratched or the like. In fact samsung smartphones are famous for having among the best build quality amongst all electronic gadgets. Reviews on electronic magazines, forums and the like point that out.

 

So what you are saying is that it's like a game boy designed to play sega mega drive games and stuff. Well, £700 for that. 14 years ago I got a dreamcast, sega mega drive with a hundred games all for £30. That's not relevant, but excluding the ability to play these retro games, there are plenty of better gaming devices out there- psp vita maybe. But if the main purpose, which it is, is to play these classic games, then why mention it in this forum as the 'ultimate portable player'...................'It can drive the hd650 to 95% of it's potential.'

 

My rig, the graham slee solo with the music fidelity vdac II with upgraded PSU's, pushes the hd650 to that 95% level probably. I've heard it off better systems and amps, costing twice the price of my rig and it improves. This headphone you talk about is famous for improving with better rigs, better amps UNLIKE many of the other headphones out there, especially many of the closed ones like I've come across. The pandora that you've designed / are advertising I doubt pushes the hd650 to 95% of it's potential. I doubt it. 

 

 

Your device isn't that special. Yea, maybe special 5 years ago, but not now. Are you aware of how fast technology in the the mini pc / smartphone / tablet world is moving???

I'm annoyed at how aggressively your advertising this or maybe that's your way of talking about things you like. 600mhz is terrible compared to todays standards, so the pandora you're talking about has to be the 1ghz to even classify anything near to a mini pc. Even it says on their website underneath this £700 model that 'android works fast on this!'  I have tried android on 600mhz devices and it's not up to the task really. 

I can't be bothered to say anymore about this- but I'm sure you know that I'm not interested. 

post #15 of 364

The asking price is too high for a virtually unknown market. I dont think their target audience is the head-fi community, otherwise they would include features which they have not on this.

 

So as a portable music DAP it fails to capture my interest. 

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