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OT: Pono Music Player

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  • OT: Pono Music Player

    Anyone seen this thing?

    It appears Neil Young is involved and the Kickstarter ($299 to receive the first model) sold out in just one day. I think there must have been a big pitch at the South by Southwest Festival because I'm seeing info pop up all over the place.

    Evidently it's an personal music player with a much more sophisticated digital filter and super high quality DAC. Supposedly the sound is incredible. They will also be formatting music to be sold "Pono ready." But, the player will be compatible with existing formats. Due for release end of summer / early fall.

    http://www.ponomusic.com

  • #2
    There are a lot of people with large HD music files on their computer with no way of playing them without down grading them when they put them on their phone, iPad or iPod. Since it plays AIFF files up to 24/192 I will probably buy one for my car.
    Last edited by James; 12 March 2014, 07:18 PM.

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    • #3
      I'd probably be more interested if my hearing wasn't pretty much shot. But Neil Young is really cool.
      backcountry in northern New Mexico

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      • #4
        Some of the work was done in Boulder:

        http://www.burlington-record.com/bur...ngs-ponoplayer

        http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/mo...eil-young.html

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        • #5
          Well, for relative value - I play huge audio FLAC files (very little compression, theoretically "lossless") on Winamp on both my PC and Android phone. Usually just live tracks though. For mp3's I try and keep it to 320VBR files. So, this thing is definitely geared towards the person that's plugging this thing into something with some decent speakers. I'd say anyone who owns a car worth more than about $30k is probably going to spend $300 for a player like this. Really for $300 it's pretty cheap compared to most speakers and decent headphones.

          I'd like to hear it head to head against Winamp which does have an EQ.

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          • #6
            yeah I want to see if I could not just tell the difference, but care about it. Neil talked a lot about this in his book but all I could think about was how people in the 70s would have these amazing audiophile sound systems and yeah they sounded great but when I went back to my Techniques stereo I didn't miss anything. But then I'm fine with cheap booze too. I save my technical passions for tele bindings . . .
            Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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            • #7
              I can't see "pono" and not laugh.
              "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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              • #8
                I doubt my hearing is good enough anymore to tell the difference, especially in my car (old Subaru).
                I also have a lot of flac files of live music and find my Pioneer/Polk (old Polk) system at home reproduces the music well enough for me.
                The cynic in me also recognizes this as yet another way to sell us music we may already own one more time.

                But I wish them luck. I agree a lot of MP3s sound terrible, but I find just upping the bitrate to 256 or 320 does wonders for my ears.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MattB View Post
                  I doubt my hearing is good enough anymore to tell the difference, especially in my car (old Subaru).
                  I also have a lot of flac files of live music and find my Pioneer/Polk (old Polk) system at home reproduces the music well enough for me.
                  The cynic in me also recognizes this as yet another way to sell us music we may already own one more time.

                  But I wish them luck. I agree a lot of MP3s sound terrible, but I find just upping the bitrate to 256 or 320 does wonders for my ears.
                  There are definitely a couple of tricks with mp3's. I used to trade a lot of Dead and other "taper" friendly music and in that community "transcoding" is a big deal. Basically you want to make sure the music went straight from source to high bit rate. If it went down to something like 96 or 128 then it doesn't matter if you take it back up to 256 or 320 because the loss has already occurred.

                  I almost stopped reading the article when it said they were trying to sell "pono" certified music, but then it immediately said that they were going to support mp3 and FLAC. You're right that it doesn't really matter if you're going to play it through junk (which I do too a lot of the time - old Subie speakers and what not) - but that player is fairly cost affordable if you mate it with some high end headphones.

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                  • #10
                    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
                    [...] there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space.

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                    • #11
                      nice link ^^^^

                      I really like this quote:

                      Auditory researchers would love to find, test, and document individuals with truly exceptional hearing, such as a greatly extended hearing range. Normal people are nice and all, but everyone wants to find a genetic freak for a really juicy paper. We haven't found any such people in the past 100 years of testing, so they probably don't exist. Sorry. We'll keep looking.

                      Am I reading that link correctly in that he's saying the sampling rate, 16 bit / 44.1 kHz, which is WAV format is still the standard and can't be differentiated from more high fi? That still doesn't address the codecs or compression of say mp3 right? I guess he's just arguing that there's no reason to increase from WAV to say 24/192 other than original recordings before engineering. Makes sense. I wonder if Neil's perspective is that as long as stuff is kept in the "pono" format which is to say the same as the masters then there's no possibility of transcoding which is why so much mp3 music sounds so s h i t e?
                      Last edited by Matt J; 13 March 2014, 11:26 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, I think he's arguing that beyond a certain level, higher sampling rates and bit rates don't matter for playback (as opposed to post-processing). Monty developed Ogg Vorbis, which he claims sounds better than MP3 at a given compression rate (as well as being patent free), so he certainly does think the encoding matters.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, as a taper for a decade or so I do understand issues of lossy codecs and transcoding, but that's much less of an issue anymore with bit-perfect flacs available for torrent. Back when it often involved CD ripping, there was a lot or room for people to mess it up with transcodes or sector boundary issues. Thankfully most of those issues have died with the CD's dominance.

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                          • #14
                            I love porno music...deep, moaning, throbbing bass.....ecstatic, wailing cries...bad funk and disco.
                            Yay!...(Drool)


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                            • #15
                              That statement is not even remotely accurate. Typical of the internet today. You could easily argue most people can't tell the difference or that the recording in so bad that a higher quality recording just makes it worse. I can hear the difference up to 24/ 96 but after that I am not so sure. I have said this before but it is the remaster that most people are paying for. I have a few CD's that I also bought at 24-96 and the remaster makes a huge difference. I also have a Dianna Krall CD that sounds awesome because the recording is so good but then I have a Thelonious Monk download at 24/192 that sounds so bad I never play it.
                              Last edited by James; 13 March 2014, 04:54 PM.

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