Thread: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

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  1. #41
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    In essence, his thesis seems to be if we can't hear it, it doesn't need to be there. He also seems to think that keeping information above human hearing can alter sound in the audible spectrum negatively.
    I'm really confused by the second statement.
    After all, the real world doesn't have a filter on audio information outside the human hearing range. Practically all acoustic instruments and analog synthesizers are generating harmonics that are above human hearing.
    So, if there is a filter it's our hearing itself.
  2. #42
    Garden variety weasel...has ripped flesh. Prom Queen
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    About the emotional experience:

    When I grew up I was mostly listening to noisy cassettes or to a battery powered mono record player. This definitely did not keep me from having an intense emotional connection to the music.

    That's why I'm a bit sceptical about the Pono thing: The emotional experience comes - for me - mostly from something else and not from the pure sound quality. I'll happily listen to great music that has sub-optimal sound without bothering much about the latter. The point where it becomes distracting is pretty far down for me; perhaps also because I'm able to subconsciously filter out some things (like hiss).

    But that's just me and I've learned not to generalize those experiences.
  3. #43
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    Clown Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    I did too, but I've identified some things about those sources and those days: among them, really high peak energy relative to RMS, the opposite of what we do these days in 'background music' culture. I'm totally skeptical of the superhigh sample rates: I think you can do it all with resolution and crest factor, but that said I see no reason not to use the high sample rates. Maybe we can come up with cool upsamplers that enhance 44.1/48 content by sculpting out interesting contours to the reconstructions. The DAC has to do that anyway no matter what you do…

    I've always been fascinated with psytrance, though I feel I don't 'get' it and couldn't convincingly compose/make/extrude it. Within the scope of 'mindless body music', house and such, there has always been mad obsessive love for odd little genres like that, typically coupled with drugs much like, oh, ROCK, DISCO etc were. There's people latching onto a 'sound' and picking apart the tiny distinctions and proselytizing it to the moon, travelling from place to place just to be part of it, making an underground.

    Part of that is wilfully giving yourself over to the music in its fullest expression. With some of the rock music (not all) this was through attentive, rapt listening. With stuff like psytrance this was through dancing like a loon at a rave out in the woods somewhere, but again everything about the experience devotes itself to the music.

    Clearly someone needs to whip out their 909, 303, 808 and hoover, and do a trendy new dance genre that throbs more than it slams, uses the dynamic range like the classic rock records did (and all the peak headroom it can, continuously), and sounds ridiculously great over huge PA systems. Probably an orchestral vibe to it, but all done with JP-8000s or something: like the next supersaw (that being a pretty complex waveform that already lends itself to high resolution playback)

    We may not even like it, but if people behave as if it's something to be treasured, that's the important part
  4. #44
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    To me the importance of hi-res audio pails in comparison to the problems associated with brick wall limiting. It's good that they're trying something I guess, but I don't think they're attacking the elephant in the audio quality room.
    That's why to me this thread seems a bit like being stranded on a desert island and having an intense discussion about cuff links.

    If it takes off, HUNDREDS of people worldwide will be listening to pono

    About the emotional experience:

    When I grew up I was mostly listening to noisy cassettes or to a battery powered mono record player. This definitely did not keep me from having an intense emotional connection to the music.

    That's why I'm a bit sceptical about the Pono thing: The emotional experience comes - for me - mostly from something else and not from the pure sound quality.
    The hilariously ironic thing is that Neil Young is the one advancing this system. I don't want to hear him in excruciating detail -- the worse the repro system, the better he sounds
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  5. #45
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    Lavry's bit about 60k was to have at least 10k over Nyquist for safety with sensitive ears, but no more than 40k bandwidth, which is why he states the 88.2 or 96k are better but not optimal. In essence, his thesis seems to be if we can't hear it, it doesn't need to be there. .
    I've had conversations about this with Dan. That's a gross oversimplification of his thesis. He was explaining why he was not going to build a 192k version of his top of the line converters due to the limitations of available parts. He totally acknowledges the requirement for higher sample rates for signal processing and that there is a legitimate argument for not repeatedly up-sampling and down-sampling rather than just down-sampling once at the very end of all digital signal processing.
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  6. #46
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    Dan was talking about the settling time of real world parts for discreet component filters at 4x 96 vs. 4X 192 sample rate, if I recall right.
    yes indeed, and I suppose my problem understanding that is that we have gHz microwave systems that work with signals that are several orders of magnitude higher and faster.

    Settling time is the amount of time an opamp requires from the inception of a signal until the point that it's output is within some tolerance percentage of it's target output value:

    http://www.analog.com/static/importe...92756AN359.pdf

    So I get the idea that if your D/A step stage components are "slower" than your sample rate, you may have problems...but that seems like a bit of a red herring. To be an actual "real" problem then you have to be able to declare that the perhaps-diminished accuracy of the component's reaction characteristics at higher sample rates, is worse than the typical error of an interpolated value.

    If the interpolated value between two lower-sample-rate samples diverges from the actual value of the "middle" sample at a higher sample rate, then that divergence is either because there's an actual difference in the absolute value that SHOULD exist at that point, or the "middle" sample is less accurate. Or BOTH, for that matter.

    Besides which, even if you did have excessive slew/settling time on a higher-sample-rate D/A, the basic result of that would be the spurious creation of ultrasonic noise above the nyquist frequency, right?
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off


    If it takes off, HUNDREDS of people worldwide will be listening to pono
    someone no doubt said that about iPods
  8. #48
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    people didn't think they needed a phone that was "more than just a phone" either.
    I can't begin to tell you how many people said that to me: "ALL I want is a phone that's a phone."
    they all have iPhones now.

    as Jobs said: you give people what they need, not what they think they need or say they need.
    Yeah, but a lot of Jobs' "genius" on that one was based on enabling people's desire to steal our product for free as a major selling point for his gizmos.

    Without the friggin' iPxx devices piracy would never have caught on as intensely as it did and we certainly would not have the nightmare of "legal" on demand (or close enough) streaming services.



    Now we're trying to close the door after the horses have left the barn - and taken the cows, pigs, chickens, goats, and ducks with them.

    I'm all for Pono, but I really don't believe that the majority (or even a commercially significant minority) are going to abandon "free" in order to use it.

    Hope I'm wrong.
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  9. #49
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    ... I'm all for Pono, but I really don't believe that the majority (or even a commercially significant minority) are going to abandon "free" in order to use it.

    Hope I'm wrong.
    The majority of the people signing up for a Pono player are the sort of people who pay for their music. I'll grant you the point that they may be "a commercially (in)significant minority". But they do care about sound quality and like to receive value for their money. If the Pono music store only has the same sources as the other "high def" online stores, Pono as an ecosystem will fail. Pono needs to differentiate themselves by offering higher quality recordings than the competition, but I don't see them being able to do it. It can be done for new releases, but Pono buyers also want better versions of catalogue classics. In many cases that'll mean a remaster.

    Remastering takes time and money in the volumes needed to make a comprehensive catalogue. Pono plan to price from $15 for 16/44.1 to $25 for 24/192. Even at those prices, I have my doubts that the market will be large enough to make it viable to pay for remastering.

    A new version may need a new license. That may not be easy to negotiate in some cases - for example, I believe there would be a lot of work needed to approve a 24/192 release of The Beatles' catalogue.

    I suspect the copyright holders may be reluctant to release higher resolution works without some way of preventing the copyright being infringed. Freeloaders may be satisfied with MP3 files but you can bet that if higher resolutions are available they will take them.


    So. From your point of view, do you think Pono will be able to differentiate itself in the market?
  10. #50
    Joan River's boytoy FBI Agent searching hard-drives
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    Clown Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    The majority of the people signing up for a Pono player are the sort of people who pay for their music. I'll grant you the point that they may be "a commercially (in)significant minority".
    If they are paying for their music and nobody else is, they are the only commercial activity left to be had.
  11. #51
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    As a part of the senior or near to be senior buying group (which still has a large buying power) I will add my 2 cents.

    Like a lot of my friends I put certain limits on how much I will spend for certain items. For me it's $10.00. I will wait for a movie to drop it's price to $10.00 on Amazon before I buy it. I generally will spend no more than $10.00 for a E-book or for an album download. I will go to $15.00 for any of the above that I really want but generally stick to the $10.00 limit.

    This isn't so much of this is all I can afford. It's more like this is the price I feel is reasonable given I remember when an album was $2.99 and $10.00 is all I feel comfortable paying. It may just be me but I think a lot of the people still buying entertainment have the same mind-set. I also see the Pono as little more than a converter box to hook up to my stereo system.
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  12. #52
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    When you apply inflation, that 2.99 album would cost $25 today!

    Pono's shortcoming is the same as the CD's. It doesn't solve the massive packaging issue. An album wasn't just about the music.
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  13. #53
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    And with inflation the job I had would be paying $85 hour today.
    Rednecks call me a Tree Hugger and Tree Huggers call me a Redneck...I must be doing something right to piss everyone off.
  14. #54
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    If they are paying for their music and nobody else is, they are the only commercial activity left to be had.
    They also buy a lot of LPs - but they have to be good quality. (Less compressed than the CD, and well cut and pressed.)
  15. #55
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    ...
    This isn't so much of this is all I can afford. It's more like this is the price I feel is reasonable given I remember when an album was $2.99 and $10.00 is all I feel comfortable paying. It may just be me but I think a lot of the people still buying entertainment have the same mind-set.
    The consensus seems to be that they will pay the $15 to $25, but only if the product is worth it - better quality than much of what is available. HDTracks in particular have soured many buyers by selling 24/96 and 24/192 that have clearly been upsampled from 16/44.1. They say they're just selling what the record labels give them, but that excuse has worn thin. (It's not that HDTracks are doing the upsampling, it's that they don't care about the provenance of the tracks.)

    I also see the Pono as little more than a converter box to hook up to my stereo system.
    There's no need to buy one, then. Ponomusic will be selling standard FLAC format files. Any computer and halfway decent DAC will do.
  16. #56
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    The consensus seems to be that they will pay the $15 to $25, but only if the product is worth it
    I've been assuming that we're talking about $15 to $25 for an album. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.



    That price isn't per track, is it? That would be crazy.

    Do you know if Ponomusic will offer songs a-la-carte?



    I think the player is a great idea even though I don't need one. You need for there to be a critical mass of decent DACs in the world, or not enough people will be able to hear that there IS a difference worth paying for. Once that difference becomes accepted by the wider public, then a thing like Pono stands a chance.


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  17. #57
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    I've been assuming that we're talking about $15 to $25 for an album. That seems perfectly reasonable to me.
    Pono are currently saying that the prices will be set by the labels. It's reasonable if, and it's a big if, the quality is there. Trying to sell upsampled 16/44.1 for a premium price will kill things stone dead. Neil says he's working with the labels to source the lowest generation masters where at all possible. Hopefully this means, for example, the original of Nirvana's Nevermind rather than the 2011 remaster.

    That price isn't per track, is it? That would be crazy.

    Do you know if Ponomusic will offer songs a-la-carte?
    The price is per album.
    Single tracks will be available.
  18. #58
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    If Pono is as good as they say it is then I'd be happy to pay the price for maybe a dozen of my favourite albums e.g. Aja, Gaucho - but not for more comprehensive general listening (which I rarely do anyway)...but would I consider buying a Pono just for those dozen albums? That said, good music and the pleasure it brings is priceless. For now I'll stick to used vinyl with it's crackles and worn cover art.
  19. #59
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    Well it's almost 3 years later ...

    Just visited the site,
    there's a Software available for download -- haven't tried it yet.
    Pono Vault, beta.

    I wonder if you know people who gave it a good try and how was that experience.
    I was rooting for the thing.
    I sort of put into the "get into it later" bag, and 3 years went by.
    I would think they'd cut a deal with one of them AAA big hitters known to be into audiophilia to release some killer app for it yet; something like John Mayer probably or the Radioheads or something I take it that didn't happen?

    PS.
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  20. #60
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    Default Re: The Pono Kickstarter is taking off

    Well it's almost 3 years later ...

    Just visited the site,
    there's a Software available for download -- haven't tried it yet.
    Pono Vault, beta.

    I wonder if you know people who gave it a good try and how was that experience.
    I was rooting for the thing.
    I sort of put into the "get into it later" bag, and 3 years went by.
    I would think they'd cut a deal with one of them AAA big hitters known to be into audiophilia to release some killer app for it yet; something like John Mayer probably or the Radioheads or something I take it that didn't happen?

    PS.
    I got here by way of my sampling rate discussion: http://thewombforums.com/showthread....uot-sound-like

    I was into the idea. I didn't realize 3 years had already passed. Geez.

    I wonder if Pono was addressing the wrong problem. I mean, people's listening experience starts at the source, sure, but until phone manufacturers start putting dedicated DAC's in their phones (which some are) and Bluetooth stops being an approximation of good sound, we're going to have the same problem. We eventually did away with things like RealPlayer and now we have Spotify, which at 'extreme quality' can sound pretty good. Maybe the same can happen on the hardware side. Because it's a hardware issue, through and through.

    And still, my old iPod classic sounds best of all the portable devices I have. We need to go backwards to catch up...
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