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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. skamp
    16 bits * 44100 samples per second * 2 channels = 1411200 bits per second
  2. reginalb
      My personal testing with ABX testing in Foobar is that, if I use a song from HD Tracks, convert it to 320k MP3 with dbPoweramp using the LAME codec, I can match the files correctly around 50% of the time (randomly) with most tracks. I think that what a lot of the double blind tests miss is this: the differences between 320k MP3 and an FLAC file are subtle, and some music doesn't have enough definition for it to be detected. But if I listen very closely, there are parts of certain tracks that give it away. I have found that on those tracks where I am confident that I have noticed a distinct difference, I nearly always get it right, it's just that most tracks I don't pick up the difference. Basically: on the tracks where it seems I am just guessing, I know I am guessing, because they sound the same to me, but there are tracks that don't sound the same to me, and I nearly always get those tracks right. If I didn't discriminate, my total results would be a little over 50% correct, in the neighborhood of 55%. Of course, that still might be a statistically significant variance from 50/50, if n is large enough. 
      If i wanted to spend the time, I might be able to find a part of more tracks that sound different, but I have done enough testing myself to be confident. And this isn't with super equipment, either. It's just my laptop with some AKG Q701s fed by a Hifiman 101. Any way, that is my take on lossless vs. lossy. In regards to this program, I will echo what many others have said, that what matters far more, is the mastering. And if he is able to push better work in the studio when the files are produced, then this will be a win for us. Give me a 320k MP3 produced correctly any day, and I will be a happy camper.
  3. Stoney Contributor
    AIFF is 1411kbps, as you say.  Apple Lossless is variable bit rate, about 800-900kbps.  By definition, any higher bit rate than a lossless format is "inefficient" for some reason or another.  So it is not a good comparison quantitatively to mp3 which is intended to be ultimately efficient. 
    But, perhaps I'm recalling poorly when I said that AIFF is what is exactly what is in the CD pit by pit.  I do know that the CD pits include additional bits and spatial arrangement of the data to better cope with scratches, dust, laser wavelength, etc.  So, accepting the math, that implies that the bit stream from the CD itself is higher than 1411bps, some of which is not necessary for the music encoding alone: 
    Under EFM rules, the data to be stored is first broken into 8-bit blocks (bytes). Each 8-bit block is translated into a corresponding 14-bit codeword using a lookup table. ... Thus, in the final analysis, 17 bits of disc space are needed to encode 8 bits of data.  



    Eight-to-Fourteen Modulation, or EFM as it is abbreviated, is an encoding technique used by CDs and provides a way of countering errors by encoding abyte into 2 bytes. Using EFM the data is broken into 8-bit blocks (bytes). Each 8-bit block is translated into a corresponding 14-bit codeword using a predefined lookup table. The 14-bit codeword are chosen so that binary ones are always separated by a minimum of two and a maximum of ten binary zeroes. 

  4. Stoney Contributor
    Agreed, on all points.  
    I'm now listening to a CD on my SCD-XA5400ES ($1500) through a $600 tube amp, and comparing with the same disc at 320kbps on my iPad 3G with an Arrow 4G amp ($300), same headphones (HD650).  The latter is far more detailed, revealing, and fascinating (Joe Morello, drums, "Going Places"), with immense detail on each percussion strike, skins tuned to tones, suble variations on cymbal strikes....  The equipment differences, and terrific recording/mastering in this case swamp out the subtle if detectable at all differences in bit rate.  I do most listening this way now.  
  5. goodvibes
    I don't doubt your result but you guys keep blaming the wrong thing. You can't make absolute format evaluations on a PC or $600 tube amp. It does mean that for many, HiDef may be a waste but things like this were never meant for everybody.
  6. Stoney Contributor
    Please don't overgeneralize the points made recently, which may be a digression from the main point.  :)  No blaming or overgeneralization intended.
  7. goodvibes
    No difference between aiff and wav other than how the blocks are organized and how the meta data is stored. ALAC and FLAC are more effecient in space utilization due to effectively being zipped versions of a music file but they're less effecient in playback due to needing the additional step of unzipping before constructing a stream.
  8. doublea71
    Take it to another thread already - I want to read about PONO or little toy choo-choo trains....
    ianmedium likes this.
  9. 1502
    Good to see that some artists these days actually care about music.
  10. tds101
    Hey, their off topic banter is more action than this thread has seen in awhile,...enjoy it.
  11. Sebhelyesfarku
    Yes you are. It isn't. Just 16/44.1 PCM data comes off the CD.
  12. Stoney Contributor
    You must be right, and I'm thinking of the pit encoding ON the disc, which is not what the transport outputs OFF the disc.  Thanks--this is concise: http://makbit.com/articles/cd-overview.pdf. 
  13. doublea71

    Umm, no. It isn't enjoyable at all to see that new posts have been made and none of them have anything to do with the PONO.
  14. skamp
    Yes. This thread needs more free PONO.

  15. goodvibes
    I also wish that HiDef debates would stay away but it's paramount to what the PONO is about.
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