Old 01-17-2015, 08:35 AM   #1
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Default Pono Player... is it worth $400...?

Risking to start again an endless debate... My view is clear, it is not worth it.

http://gizmodo.com/dont-buy-what-nei...ing-1678446860
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:39 AM   #2
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Only if you already have an impulse of Neil Young's ears to pre-process your audio. Otherwise the effect is hardly perceivable.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:43 AM   #3
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Its storage is somewhat impressive. As for sound quality, i would have to hear it my self before making any comments. They claim to have better quality than cd's but how big of a difference is it really? Who knows. I most likely with stick to "cd" quality until something more affordable comes forth. Although most decent players could cost anywhere from 500 to 1000 bucks.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:45 AM   #4
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no, no, no, no, and no.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:19 AM   #5
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Yes, people buy these $400 devices and then plug in a pair of $15 earbuds ..

It's mostly air IMO. in a blind test I'm pretty sure 9 out of 10 people will not even hear the difference between this and a properly encoded 320kbps MP3 anyway, especially on your average headset or HiFi system.

The fact that the audio out jacks are not even gold plated speaks volumes in my book. It's another 'celebrity hyped' product in the order of magnitude of Beats IMO.

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Old 01-17-2015, 09:23 AM   #6
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That's pretty funny. Especially if you consider that in roughly the same time-frame he's recorded an album in Jack White's refurbished State Fair-type "Record Yourself for 50 cents" recording booth from the '40's or '50's", touting the coolness of the sound. Well let me tell ya', the coolness goes no further than it's looks.

He performed in that booth onstage on someone's late night TV show a few months back and I was curious. So I tuned-in.

It sounded like Total Crap - that's w/ a capital T and a capital C.
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:26 AM   #7
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šelebrity
Gonna use this for French šelebs.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:00 AM   #8
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Risking to start again an endless debate... My view is clear, it is not worth it.

http://gizmodo.com/dont-buy-what-nei...ing-1678446860
If you don't already have a DAC and want a portable device for both home theater listening and on the go it looks like a candidate.

Obviously you can use any converter unit of your choice for the home system and play 24 bit 96k files. Myself I'd be more inclined to pick up a used Apogee Duet for a cheap home system (stereo only). Any old used cheap laptop would serve it. Then get a free whatever for portable use. It's portable so who cares.

But for the right non-tech savvy person that wants just one device it seems like a contender.

I haven't heard it and I'm not in the target audience at all. It's certainly got to be a better deal than the absolute garbage they sell in the "Worst Purchase' big box stores. You can spend thousands of $$$ on garbage that's so cheap it will never sound better than mp3 quality audio no matter what you try to play on it.

If anyone is debating 192k vs. 96k...
In my experience, a 192k capture of an analog recording can be tinkered with at 192k (specifically noise reduction and speed/pitch correction kind of stuff) with better results in the math when you really need to get heavy handed with restoration work. But when you're done, the finished audio fits just fine in 96k with no loss.

Try this yourself:
A/Bing subtle differences well within the range of your perception to be a variable? Nope. Convert a file back and forth 100 times! If something starts to degrade, you'll hear it in the 100th pass.

Convert 48k to 44.1k and then back and forth 100 times. Obvious loss.
Convert 96k to 48k... loss.
Convert 96k to 44.1k... loss.
Convert 192k to 96k and then back and forth 100 times.
The first conversion to 96k and then back to 192k. Comparing the original and generational 192k gets you the faintest warble about 120db down when you phase cancel one from the other. I hear nothing on the A/B. But check this out: That 1st generation 192k file digitally cancels perfectly with the 100th generation file.

That tells me that the 96k container holds the complete music program with no loss. You can do the conversion/encoding math on it 100 times and it still phase cancels perfectly with the original.

So anyway, not going to complain but when I get a bluray with some 24/192 program, I convert it to a 24/96 FLAC for my archive.

So that's probably what he's getting **** for with also trying to push 192k. But it looks like a good choice for a lot of people if the DAC lives up to the writeup. No surround sound though. Stereo output only.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:02 AM   #9
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horse****
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:25 AM   #10
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Was amazed at my son's FiiO X3 so I just bought a FiiO X1 ... $122 to my door and the specs are impressive. Mind, it doesn't look like a toblerone and only comes in silver.

Review - http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-x1-99-dap/

P
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:18 AM   #11
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There should be some sort of a bat signal that summons Monty from xiph org when such topic arises.
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:05 PM   #12
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Gonna use this for French šelebs.
Spanish. or Latin.

Unless you are referring to small boys/waiters in french
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:39 PM   #13
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Well, I won┤t buy Pono Player until Frank Zappa pronounces an opinion; if he says it┤s awesome I ll buy it.

By the way I do not like throwing away old gear, what sounded good yesterday will still sound good the day before yesterday and sometimes even the day after yesterday.

Just have a look at my Studio Monitors (I use the speakers only after some modification)

http://www.urbanhypsteria.com/wp-con...3/07/radio.jpg

If the sound is good from these speakers, the sound will be good whatever speakers I ll use ;-)

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Old 01-17-2015, 02:24 PM   #14
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Only if you already have an impulse of Neil Young's ears to pre-process your audio. Otherwise the effect is hardly perceivable.
I would suspect that Young's almost 70 year old ears couldn't perceive differences either.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:33 PM   #15
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politics. if it gains some adoption and pushes the industry towards more high quality releases it is worth it.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:37 PM   #16
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nope, still isn't
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:38 PM   #17
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I would suspect that Young's almost 70 year old ears couldn't perceive differences either.
Indeed, which is why recommend using *young* Neil Youngs. Last time I needed a really fresh one, I was lucky enough to find me a 35-year young Neil Young who was willing to let me shoot guns and pop balloons right next to his ears for only a sixpack and tree fiddy.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:06 PM   #18
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Pono Player... is it worth $400...?
The "worth" or "value" is only determined when the buyer and seller agree and a transaction take place. Apparently it's worth it to some buyers.

But, I'd say it's not "worth it" just for the sound quality... Many regular consumer soundcards are better than human hearing and with modern electronics that's not an expensive thing to accomplish.

And it's not worth it to me, 'cause I don't want one.

The price isn't outrageous. It has 128GB of flash memory.

The 64GB iPod Touch is about $300 USD.

My 160GB iPod Classic (with a hard drive) was also about $300. I chose it because it has enough memory for my entire MP3 collection and the docking port works with my car stereos. (Bluetooth is now more-standardized than the iPod interface, but for operation using the car stereo controls and for powering/charging, plugging into the docking port still has some advantages.)

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Old 01-17-2015, 03:42 PM   #19
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I would suspect that Young's almost 70 year old ears couldn't perceive differences either.
70 years ?! A 70 year old man sometimes could still perceive below 10 kHz !

No kidding ! I was suprised to hear Neil Young is still alive, I thought he┤d be in PŔre Lachaise or Woodstock or in Hawaii like Elvis ?!
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:43 PM   #20
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The "worth" or "value" is only determined when the buyer and seller agree and a transaction take place.
Nonsense. That's "price". It keeps amazing me how many people confuse "cost", "price", and "value". It's economics 101.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:58 PM   #21
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no. he's right. it's the 'agreement' that's pertinent, here, and how one decides what they're willing to agree to. tangential, yes, but, essentially, correct.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:07 PM   #22
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no. he's right. it's the 'agreement' that's pertinent, here, and how one decides what they're willing to agree to. tangential, yes, but, essentially, correct.
No, he really is incorrect. "Agreement" is simply a synonym for "transaction", which does not establish the "value" of an object, but *does* establish its price.

Indeed, "value" is only tangentially related to price: one can assume that the *subjective* value that the seller has for the object of the transaction is lower than his *subjective* valuation of the *objective* price that was agreed upon. Similarly, one can assume that the *subjective* value that the buyer has for the object of the transaction is higher than his *subjective* valuation of the *objective* price that was agreed upon.

I guess it's just very hard for many people to be *really* strict in distinguishing subjective versus objective. But again, that's economics 101.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:10 PM   #23
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on the contrary. the 'agreement' merely codifies the subjective establishment of value or worth to the agreeing parties. they won't come to an agreement without first deciding on value or worth.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:29 PM   #24
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on the contrary. the 'agreement' merely codifies the subjective establishment of value or worth to the agreeing parties.
Dead wrong. Example:

My subjective valuation of object A, which I own, is $1.

Your subjective valuation of said object A is $10000.

There is room for agreement over the entire price range from $1.01 to $9999.99.

There is no way to infer the price we agree upon from these valuations, only it's range.

Now, we may agree on a price, say $100. Then only this price becomes an objective fact. The agreement as such does not establish my nor your subjective valuation of the object - they remain at $1 vs. $10000. It only establishes that my subjective valuation is lower than the agreed price, and yours is higher. But that still does not establish what the actual value is. From the price we can only establish my profits at $99 - provided that we already know my subjective valuation, and your 'consumer surplus' at $9900 - again, provided that we already know your subjective valuation.

But of course, we typically don't tell the other party of our subjective valuations; because it may cost us profit / consumer surplus. So, in fact, we often act strategically by *not* telling the other party our subject valuation, and may even attempt to create false impressions or outright lie about them to get a better deal.
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they won't come to an agreement without first deciding on value or worth.
They only have to decide for themselves if their subjective valuation is lower / higher than a given price; they don't have to know it exactly.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:34 PM   #25
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lounge time
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:36 PM   #26
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lounge time
What, they give free economics 101 lessons there?
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:50 PM   #27
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Risking to start again an endless debate... My view is clear, it is not worth it.

http://gizmodo.com/dont-buy-what-nei...ing-1678446860
right. its not worth the discussion.

I have to state again and again and again and again ... that I am a huge fan of Neil Young (and Jack White). what bothers me, is that they dont make simply music and shut the rest of the time the **** up. its awful when Neil Young starts to talk about physics. in that regard he is an idiot. Pono after he failed to invent a car driven by water. he is an idiot!

best and most laughable with Pono is that thing with his last album, made together with Jack White. they recorded in a recording booth from Woolworth from the 40s. as if that wouldnt be awful enough (I think I will sue these idiots because they tricked me into listening to the whole album ... I have really heard bad things in my life, but that tops everything ... ) they mastered it for Pono!

you know, complete bull****, but 384khz samplerate. what for numbnuts!!! now you can hear direct to single vinyl disk of the lowest quality in 384khz!!!! I cant get over it.

and Neil Young isnt american. he is canadian. for an american I would have said ... thats another matter.

I have read the bull**** when they made a pressconference: the listening test are absolutely awesome!!! so they didnt had the idea to do double blind tests. these bastards! they are fooling the customers. in Europe you can really sue them for that. (again another point where I am so happy to be european ... )

for the record: the same rant I made here I made to Neil Young personally. answer: no, you can clearly hear the difference! Pono is better!

yes, Mr. Young, shove yourself your the $400 into that place where the sun never shines ...
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:52 PM   #28
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horse****
yes. exactly.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:58 PM   #29
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ha! they put out the whole Neil Young catalogue "mastered for PONO".

so you take an old tape, push it with enhancers and limiters and all, sample it at 1.234.567Mhz samplerate and sell it again. *******s.

do they really believe what they are doing there??? so they are criminals or complete idiots. there is nothing in between.

I am in a little bit of a rage ... and then look at his hat! hilarious! that hat! omfg ...

dear Neil ... some of that stuff you smoked must have been bad ... really bad.

ok, I ll stop ...
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:21 PM   #30
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It seems to be nice portable player to me.. Regardless of high sample rates.
Charlie Hansen from Ayre seems to be competent guy for design of such thing.
If one wants to consume lossless music via nice headphones (lot of people around me, especially living with family in small places), this looks like nice way, how to do it.
If you check for instance other vendors product like Fio X5 or AK player, it fits there. If they do good user interface, I believe they can sell it quite well.

For instance after eight years with beaten and serviced iPod (i love availability of spare parts), I recently tried to find player with good sound, support for non-drm AAC and lossless files, which can be paired with better headphones with higher impedance.. It ain't easy task.
All newer iPods for EU market are crippled by non-defeatable software volume limit, claimed due to EU regulations. But the limit is based on usage with their ugly default white earbuds, so naturally if you use other headphones with different sensitivity and impedance.. It isn't loud enough (I'm not drummer for clarification )
Cheaper Taiwanese vendors usually falls short with software and lack of AAC support (saved every penny for license fees)
400USD (basically mid priced phone without operator's contract) is bit steep, but if it will last for another eight years, it doesn't look unreasonable to me.

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Old 01-17-2015, 06:31 PM   #31
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Was amazed at my son's FiiO X3 so I just bought a FiiO X1 ... $122 to my door and the specs are impressive. Mind, it doesn't look like a toblerone and only comes in silver.

Review - http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-x1-99-dap/

P
Hmm, i've read at local retailer specs, that X1 doesn't play AAC. This is one of differences between X1 and X3.. On the other hand, linked review has AAC listed as supported format.
Have you tried it at yours X1?

Thanks,

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Old 01-17-2015, 11:28 PM   #32
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msmucr, you might be interested in Rockbox if you haven't already come across it.

http://www.rockbox.org/
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:25 AM   #33
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Msmucr; FiiO claims it plays the 5 major lossless formats plus mp3, aac and ogg vorbis (http://www.fiio.net/en/products/18)

I must confess my X1 is in transit and should arrive Monday sometime. If it's important I can check for you then.

P

BTW - my dad was Czech; I was last in Prague in 2013 passing through on my way to Brno and Olomouc. My fondness for proper pivo remains.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:03 AM   #34
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ha! they put out the whole Neil Young catalogue "mastered for PONO".

so you take an old tape, push it with enhancers and limiters and all, sample it at 1.234.567Mhz samplerate and sell it again. *******s.

do they really believe what they are doing there??? so they are criminals or complete idiots. there is nothing in between.

I am in a little bit of a rage ... and then look at his hat! hilarious! that hat! omfg ...

dear Neil ... some of that stuff you smoked must have been bad ... really bad.

ok, I ll stop ...
I read his autobiography and all his projects with electric trains controllers and stuff.

At one page he described how he had to playback a recording on speakers, record and resample that to 192k(or 96, don't remember) and - then it "sounded right" as he put it.

It got to be all in his head.

The SACD never took off, but maybe time is mature now.

I'm all for Pono - but it must be for material having the full chain of quality from recording to final product.

To upsample properly you have to do some interpolation as well, to really be any improvement - but you never get back what was lost in the first place.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:14 AM   #35
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http://www.trustmeimascientist.com/2...ist-challenge/

Now, focusing on the player-side of things,
it should be no wonder a dedicated audio-player can perform better than our average modile-device.
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:49 AM   #36
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msmucr, you might be interested in Rockbox if you haven't already come across it.

http://www.rockbox.org/
Thank you for the link.. I've tried it on my 5.5G iPod several years ago. It missed some power management features of original firmware and drained battery a lot. Otherwise, it was ok. Unfortunately it doesn't fully support current iPod Classic. Anyway.. Kudos to guys at Rockbox project, who found most of things by reverse engineering.
It could be definitely interesting for people with Chinese players like HifiMan, which is quite nice hardware, but software is absolutely crazy.


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Msmucr; FiiO claims it plays the 5 major lossless formats plus mp3, aac and ogg vorbis (http://www.fiio.net/en/products/18)

I must confess my X1 is in transit and should arrive Monday sometime. If it's important I can check for you then.
Thank you,

there is maybe some discrepancy between specs for different firmware versions regarding AAC support.
At some of specs, which I've read, it wasn't mentioned (like this Greek page):
http://www.fiio.gr/index.php?route=p...&product_id=95

I'd like to use AAC files without transcoding, because of my purchased music from iTunes.
Otherwise, X1 looks like very attractive choice for its price. I will probably make call to Czech retailer for clarification, maybe they've got some update.

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BTW - my dad was Czech; I was last in Prague in 2013 passing through on my way to Brno and Olomouc. My fondness for proper pivo remains.
That's nice, your nickname sounds definitely Czech to me I thought about it, when I was writing first post.. Because I know one Czech FOH engineer, who is also called Kulich
I hope you and family are doing well in BC.
It's pity, we can't enjoy pivo together sometimes..

Good luck and enjoy your new player,

Michal
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:09 AM   #37
brainwreck
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I wouldn't mind hearing one. What I have read so far is that the audio files for the player aren't smashed to hell and that the player has a high quality dac and headphone amp. As for 192k resolution, I haven't found anything on why that resolution was chosen other than from an interview with Neil Young in which he states that it allows for the music artist to pick the final resolution up to 192k, which seems sensible.

If this helps to foster better audio quality from recordings and players, I'm all for it. Although $400 for the player and the current prices of the albums from Pono Music seems steep.

And yea, Neil Young is unscientific in his claims, but I think his intentions are in the right place. And the direction that he is pointing in is not a bad thing.

What I would rather see - which Neil Young promotes - is high quality dacs and amps in every consumer device intended for listening to music, as well as albums being made without final smashing. Also, vinyl rips from music retailers would be nice. I like the sound of vinyl.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:06 PM   #38
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Kind of a shame the 192k thing is being pushed so much. I did my own assessment as I described above and decided 96k is perfectly lossless 'container'. This stuff can be described analytically. They're shooting themselves in the foot with the 'mysterious' junk science sounding talk. (I'm still not arguing against anyone capturing a historical analog recording at 192k. By all means...)

That distracts from the real point which is there are a whole lot of really ****ty quality portable media players out there. Just avoiding the ultra-portable formats like mp3 and delivering at least 24 bit program (at ANY sample rate) would be a world of upgrade for a lot of people. (And even preserving at least 16/44.1 CD quality would be an upgrade for a lot of people too.) Then giving you a reasonable good set of converters to listen to.

I think the only other pro-ish quality portable media players are the Roland Edirol and they're not exactly cheap or novice friendly.

I mentioned that instead I'd just get a used Apogee Duet and a 1TB HDD and use a laptop. But that's not exactly a portable media player is it.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:11 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainwreck View Post
I wouldn't mind hearing one. What I have read so far is that the audio files for the player aren't smashed to hell and that the player has a high quality dac and headphone amp. As for 192k resolution, I haven't found anything on why that resolution was chosen other than from an interview with Neil Young in which he states that it allows for the music artist to pick the final resolution up to 192k, which seems sensible.

If this helps to foster better audio quality from recordings and players, I'm all for it. Although $400 for the player and the current prices of the albums from Pono Music seems steep.

And yea, Neil Young is unscientific in his claims, but I think his intentions are in the right place. And the direction that he is pointing in is not a bad thing.

What I would rather see - which Neil Young promotes - is high quality dacs and amps in every consumer device intended for listening to music, as well as albums being made without final smashing. Also, vinyl rips from music retailers would be nice. I like the sound of vinyl.
+1

Before bashing the idea, I would like to listen to one. Kudos to Neil Young for promoting the concept of high fidelity audio, but I'm not totally convinced that this is the way to go. For one thing, and this should be pretty obvious, no matter how high the resolution and everything else, the stereo image of a headphone is not the way it was intended to be listened to by the mastering engineer. You'd still need decent speakers and a decent amplifier. There are software and hardware solution can can emulate the same (e.g. Redline Monitor by 112dB) but like mixing on speakers there is no substitute for listening through decent speakers.

At this point if you want to keep it simple and stupid for $150 there is nothing that can beat a CD player (Sony sells about $40 on eBay), a decent pair of cans (eg Sennheiser HD280) and a well produced CD. Yes, not sexy or new.

There are actually a few websites where you can buy or stream uncompressed high end audio (wav and I believe uncompressed apple format). I haven't tried those myself yet.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:02 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by kulich View Post
Was amazed at my son's FiiO X3 so I just bought a FiiO X1 ... $122 to my door and the specs are impressive. Mind, it doesn't look like a toblerone and only comes in silver.

Review - http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-x1-99-dap/

P
So one update.. I couldn't resist and had some free time today, so I've also bought X1 as I was already looking for new portable player. AAC support was confirmed after release of first production firmware.

I've just briefly tested mine player.. nothing scientific yet.

AAC, MP3 - supported
FLAC, WAV - supported and tested incl. 24/192k
reads Vorbis and ID3 tags (incl. WAV tags, which are compatible with Foobar2000),
no issue with playback of broadcast WAV files, so directly compatible with DAW bounces.

I was able to get comfortable listening levels with 80ohm headphones even for more dynamic music.
Interface seems to be fine for me, it's not Apple with its smoothness. But is at least logical to me and scored at top compared to bunch of other Chinese players..

Sound quality seems to be perfectly adequate for portable player, it is definitely step-up from iPod 5.5 in terms of clarity and openness of sound.
It holds quite well to EMU0404 USB headphone out, although EMU has slight edge to me in terms of resolution. Benchmark DAC-1 wiped the floor with X1, but that was kinda expected..
For cca 90EUR here (plus separate SDHC card and possibly USB charger), it looks like really good deal to me.
So far - highly recommended.

Thank you for your initiating post,

Michal
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