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PONO - Neil Youngs portable hi-res music player

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by currawong, Sep 28, 2012.
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  1. LuckyNat
    Consider it burst! I'll have to have a closer look when it's returned from being borrowed...
  2. LuckyNat
    Don't think so, I'd doubt it - same inside. Just nice carry case, fancy box and limited edition-ness . Hold their value better though because of their higher kickstarter price and perceived better case (looks metal).
  3. Dana Reed
    More importantly, the black one sounds blacker than the blackest black times infinity
  4. maira
    I have the yellow one. it might not sound so black, but its more fun sounding maybe... .
  5. Dana Reed
    I've yet to find a portable that sounds better than the Pono does with my Beyerdynamics in balanced mode. For more ultraportable, with better battery life, the Sony A17 is still my favorite. No touchscreen and having physical buttons and lock that you can operate from within your pocket is an advantage over the Hiby, Shanling, Fiio, etc. That Sony doesn't really drive the Beyers though, so that one I use either with wireless sony headphones or grados.
  6. barondla
    Love my M0 but it in no way approaches my PonoPlayer's sound quality. Not. Even. Close.
  7. Left Channel
    Published today on the web. Will be in the 8/24 NYT Sunday Magazine with the headline "Sound and Fury".

    Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music
    He says low-quality streaming is hurting our songs and our brains. Is he right?

    "When you hear real music, you get lost in it, he added, 'because it sounds like God.' Spotify doesn’t sound like God. No one thinks that. It sounds like a rotating electric fan that someone bought at a hardware store."
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  8. Redcarmoose
    I’ve just started to come around with HD Tracks. For whatever reason I simply concentrated on equipment upgrades and stayed with 16/44.1 files. Normally I would rarely listen to anything of higher bit-rate but I’m starting to realize that I think I can hear a difference?

    I had Ozzy’s “Diary of a Madman” on vinyl and became pretty used to how it sounded. The CD never sounded right.


    Hearing the 2014 HD release is the first time it’s sounded great digitally to me. It doesn’t sound like vinyl nor does it sound like CD? It’s a whole new sound IMO? So I’m not sure if it’s the mastering or bit-rate or both?

    Super nice though. I may just be hooked on HD?
    oneway23 and barondla like this.
  9. silverfishla
    The hi-res stuff is really great. Try the Smiths, REM, Clash, B52’s remasters in Hi-res. Those are really good.
    Some of the versions of older stuff can’t be saved from their tape hiss and poor recording (subjective), but a lot of the stuff from the 70’s and 80’s sound fantastic. You can say that it’s the mastering, but there’s something to the Hi-res stuff which makes it less fatigueing and able to turn the volume up without it being annoying. I’ve been a fan of it since I got my Pono on KS. Forget MP3 for sure. 16/44 is good too, but some of the 24 bit stuff blows me away.
    barondla likes this.
  10. LuckyNat
    I definately feel the same. Im not sure where it tops out for me (probably 96kHz) but for sure, once you hear something dual recorded in 44.1/16 and 192/24, suddenly you hear a hardness in the CD quality version when going back.

    When I hear something recorded at 352k and then listen to a downsampled version at 96k I can't say I can hear the difference, or at least be sure the difference isn't in my head. That could mean all sorts of things.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  11. Redcarmoose
    I don’t know why it took me so long to wake up to how it’s different.

    I have listened to this song since it came out, but now in hi-res it’s a whole new experience. The added detail helps separate which normally would be a complex wall of sound. But now the detail makes it like your looking into something both dense and harmonically rich, which makes it work. Also I think the soundstage is slightly different where small accents are better noted. Also there may almost be an analogue warmth which regular 16/44.1 doesn’t bring to the table with this. So yes, it isn’t just the master in this case. Though what ever magic is here is not going to restore some music. It’s really an album by album case. Some masters were made for vinyl and they are best in vinyl. Also I noticed that there is just a different replay at hand.

    1987s Dead Can Dance release “Within the Realm of a Dying Sun” is a very different experience in hi-res. I have an import first pressing CD, the vinyl and the remaster on CD. Though the extracted SACD layer of the dual layer remaster is different than all in hi-res.

    It’s at a place that is maybe what is really there on the tapes? Though I have to believe it’s also a character of the format? It’s a character that I’m starting to recognize, just like vinyl or 44.1/16 has a character. There is more treble but IT IS smoother. It seems to reach higher out of the mix? And this is music I’ve been close with with lots of different playback methods? I hope to be able to just accept it “the character” and not become distracted by it. It’s maybe only distracting due to being great?
    barondla likes this.
  12. LuckyNat
    It would be interesting to compare the original CD to the remastered CD layer (which you have no-doubt done). Hopefully the CD layer will be from the hi-res mastering so will just be down-sampled with a good algorythm.
  13. Redcarmoose
    Well, that’s the thing. After having the originals of some Dead Can Dance the remasters came out in SCAD/CD hybrid. So you have both a remaster to get used to and the hi-res files which are also the remaster.

    It gets a person a chance to hear both formats with the same files. It IS one way to ascertain value to the format. But.....also at the same time it gets a listener a chance to hear the format for maybe what it’s innate character is. Because it’s possible the music will sound of a certain way due to the format. Almost like the format alters the music very slightly and makes it it’s own. At least that is what I think at this point?

    I actually think it sounds like stuff is left out, but not in a bad way. There is a midrange quality that is pushed onto much of the signature.

    Someone once took the 5.1 track of TDSOTM and did a two channel stereo hi-res mix down. In the mix down when you get to the song TIME there are clocks.... but after the clocks there are bass, guitar and deep lower synth washes which have toms played and panned across the top. The recording is actually an entertaining artifact in itself....due to the sub-woofer track being left out? What we are left with is hearing what sounds like guitars being played with less bass. But it’s still cool to hear as it sounds almost like a remix. But it’s also an extremely characteristic way to show the personality of hi-res, the smoothness and non-confrontational aspect of the format. Meaning I seem to hear a penchant for midrange? And with that midrange is a character of imaging that’s almost different from vinyl or CD. IMO
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  14. Left Channel
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  15. oneway23
    Much obliged. I have such a soft spot in my heart for my Pono, and still use it (although not as regularly anymore). It has provided me with such joy. I will be absolutely devastated when mine stops working.
    barondla, Left Channel and L8MDL like this.
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