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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. Steve Eddy

    Classic. :D

  2. Kokomo O
    The point is not that you need to either clearly hear static sine waves having frequency greater than 20kHz or that you should be able to tell the difference between a 16/44 file and a down-sampled 24/192 file (of course you shouldn't--that's not the point, the point is the difference between native 16/44 and native 24/192 or 24/96). Almost nobody over the age of 35 can here a 20kHz sine wave. The point is that the static frequency response of your ears is irrelevant. What we're talking about is dynamic response, transient response, and that is most definitely discernible, even for older folks like myself (I'm 55). I can hear the difference, I claim, on non-blind testing, and as I told everyone in my first post on the subject, I ran a test with my 14 year old son in which he picked the high-res file every time, ten times. It's real, even if you don't want to believe it. 
    All you should really have to do to understand this is look at square waves. Record decent square waves at, say, 1kHz, in both 16/44 and 24/192. Look at them on a scope. Listen to them. Then tell me there's no difference. I'd do it myself, but I don't have the necessary equipment either to generate them or to render the visualization, or a decent mic. Everyone nowadays has the recording equipment.
    Then record a drum beat or cymbal crash. The one at 16/44 will sound a little more muffled than the one at 24/192. Again, look at them on the scope, magnified. The one at 16/44 will be just a bit more rounded off. Is that what you want in the music you listen to, or do you want the more realistic representation?
    It's just silly that people who are on a forum to talk about sound reproduction through headphones should be having such a discussion. 
  3. skamp

    Monty did just that. Spoiler: the waves (sine and square, analog and digital) look identical.
  4. JacobLee89
    Welcome to Head-fi: where science and folk lore join together to sing merry songs, and drink until the sun comes up.
    *Huzzah for continued de-rail*
  5. reginalb
    Why not just make 10 a little bit louder?
  6. doublea71
    Anyways, I hope it sounds good and pushes things in the right direction. Derail over.
  7. Kokomo O
    Yeah, except he didn't--he showed a sine wave and a square wave put through a 16/44 ADC then DAC, and if I recall, also a sine wave through 24/192, but not a square wave through both 16/44 and 24/192, which is what I suggested. As I stated above, sine waves are always going to look identical, no matter what the sampling frequency. You need a transient to get a difference between recordings made at different sampling frequencies. Moreover, the resolution on that video would never show you the difference between the traces, or the sounds. 
    What you'd really want, even better than a square wave, would be a single impulse.
    But this is ridiculous, as I stated above. You guys aren't interested in understanding the math, and you're not interested in listening closely to the music. You just stick to the "perfect sound forever" dogma. Have fun.
  8. Sauntere
    1. Kokomo O,

    ​I find your posts enlightening. 
    Since reading your first post i have been all over researching the topic since i know i can hear differences which are very hard to define.
    Your explanation makes intrinsic sense.
    The truth is probably that the audible differences can't be measured correctly, not that since they can't be measured they don't exist. Hmm, does that make sense ?
    Anyway thanks for posting.
  9. Kokomo O
    You're welcome, Sauntere. As I suspect you can tell, I find this rather frustrating. The math here is moderately complex for the layman, but fundamental for anyone who is schooled in math, physics or engineering--basically, anyone who has taken two years of college calculus. Most people only take one year, which is not enough to really understand the issue without working a little to figure it out, but instead of doing the work to learn a bit more than they learned in high school or college, they just ignore it and decide that there's no difference, or, if they believe there is a difference, accept it without understanding why the difference exists.
    As for measurements, I am not certain, but I suspect that the differences I am describing would show up in both total harmonic distortion (THD) and transient intermodulation distortion (TIM) measures. I also believe that there are other measures that show these issues, which were developed after the introduction of digital audio, but I learned about them many years ago, do not recall what they are, and unfortunately have not been able to find them by googling.
    In any event, to repeat, I find the difference to be quite clear, and demonstrable, and I urge people to listen with an open mind. My son has no trouble picking the 24/192 file in blind tests.
    I also think it's worthwhile to listen to music that displays what people call "digititis"--bad sounding, digital sounding recordings. My favorite example is the Charlie Haden/Hank Jones CD Steal Away, because the music would be sublime were it not ruined by absolutely execrable digital recording or mastering. I can't listen to it on headphones or good, well driven home speakers; it's only tolerable in the car. But there are many others. And by the same token, I think that digital recording and reproduction has come a long, long way, and that the majority of digital recordings sound fine, even pretty good, just not as good as they could, and one of the factors influencing that is sampling frequency.
    Finally, I note that people have long had similar arguments regarding the difference between the sound of 16/44 digital and analogue. Needless to say, my criticism of 16/44 relative to 24/192 applies even more strongly to the comparison with analogue, although in my opinion, 24/192 is getting extraordinarily close and in some ways, seems like it may be superior, particularly with respect to dynamic range, which might seem obvious. I just haven't heard them against each other through the same chain, as my turntable feeds my speakers and my computer feeds my headphones.
  10. doublea71
  11. Steve Eddy

    These go to 11.

  12. Edwood
    Was curious to see the Pono Internals, and while it does make sense that it became toblerone shaped, but they really could've packaged it differently to be more pocket friendly.
    BTW, a Google Search for "Pono Internals" with Safesearch off is definitely NSFW. 
  13. ExpatinJapan
    reginalb likes this.
  14. Saraguie
    Everyone's a comedian   [​IMG]
  15. ExpatinJapan
    Hey thats white chocolate beiber right there! 24/192!
    So sweet.
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