Jump to content
IGNORED

Pushing back against the Pono critics


Recommended Posts

My iPod classic was forcibly extricated from my minivan last spring (along with my iPad mini). I never got around to replacing it before it was discontinued. Would this thing be too good as a car player? It is the only thing I (personally) can think to use it for.

 

Now I have not used the Pono. I really don't see a problem with it as a player with one exception. The shape of it. For an office player that shape might be good. For a portable stick in my pocket or use in the car player I find the shape not optimum.

 

You might look at the Fiio players. Don't own one, but have seen a couple in other people's hands. They do a number of formats and up to 192/24 themselves.

 

This one, if you fear another heist, is not so expensive at about $100.

 

Amazon.com : FiiO X1 : MP3 Players & Accessories

 

And two higher priced models with a few other features. Bigger memory, better quality DACs and more beefy output circuits to drive a wider range of headphones. Around $170 and $349

 

Amazon.com : Fiio X3 Mastering Quality Music Player w/ Wolfson DAC WM8740 24Bit 192K : Digital Media Players : MP3 Players & Accessories

 

http://www.amazon.com/X5-Resolution-Lossless-Music-Player/dp/B00I4Q9S32

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

Link to comment

I've just skim read the article and the linked article which it is criticising...

 

And yes ... Michael Lavorgna has his head somewhere unpleasant. He misses the point of Mark Richardson IMO. Mark isn't saying that Neil Young promoting Pono is a bad idea. He's questioning if the promotion is going to do anything for more than the small niche that are already audiophiles.

 

To me the important thing is the final sentence of the original article...

Good sound is worth paying for if you can afford it, just make sure you start in the right place.

 

To me you can get a bigger improvement spending a couple of hundred on good headphones for your iPhone and ripping from CDs (or even listening to AAC equivalent to iTunes downloads) than buying high res downloads. My reading is that Mark agrees.

 

To sum it up in simple terms ... yes high res download is good; but better replay chain is better!

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Very droll. LOL

 

OTOH, Michael Fremer's "unpublished" reply certainly shows that he hasn't mellowed with age. It's a good thing he doesn't hold any strong opinions. :)

 

And, of course, where would be without Mayhem and his predictable cynical negativism about anything and everything in this hobby, with the possible exception of speakers and room treatment.

 

Sorry that you feel I'm cynical. I can work on that. Let me start........

 

I'm of the opinion that 95% of our listening experiences is dictated by our speaker system and listening environment......sorta like Barry's position on microphones and how a recording is captured. What happens in between is what I consider to be small signal. Maybe without my normally attached cynical comment, my viewpoint is more clear and understandable.

Link to comment
I'm of the opinion that 95% of our listening experiences is dictated by our speaker system and listening environment......sorta like Barry's position on microphones and how a recording is captured. What happens in between is what I consider to be small signal. Maybe without my normally attached cynical comment, my viewpoint is more clear and understandable.

 

I could argue about the percentage split because I have found changes "in between" to have positive (and negative) effects. As an extreme, try living with a bad tube for a while and you will love the sound of the "in between" once you figure it out and change it. So the "in between" can matter more than 5%. So, for me, maybe 60% speakers and room, 35% source and amp, and 5% everything else. This doesn't count the quality of the recording/mastering...I'm assuming that is a constant between systems.

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

Link to comment
Not making any judgement here, as I have never personally even heard one, but you are the first Pono owner that I've read anything negative from concerning strictly the player. It's hard to imagine Ayre screwing that hardware up. And Lavorgna raved about it.

 

JC

 

It isn't the hardware so much that bugs me. It is more the long wait and what I feel is a case of me buying into unjustified hype. Not so happy with the music choice either.

 

I personally think (stress that I there YMMV!) that my iPhone streaming redbook through JRemote from JRMC at home - over the internet - sounds better. And is a whole lot less trouble to deal with too. For one thing, it fits in my pocket and I don't get asked for a hunk of candy. For another, the artwork is better. And for yet another, the Pono is the darling of the hipster crowd in Austin and that just takes the cake!

 

Okay that last reason is just thrown in to be a humorous observation, but it is true. ;)

 

The hype around Pono jut did't prove true to me.

 

YMMv, TINAR, etc.

 

Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Link to comment
Speaking for myself, I am a VERY L O N G ways from streaming my music. My 30 Mbps Comcast can't even let me watch a lo-rez youtube video w/o choking. Zero chance I'm going to compromise my music listening like that.

Really? That surprises me, because I am able to watch HD videos from Netflix with my 10Mbps internet speed. I personally don't stream at home as I find my CDs and digital music files have a better sound quality.

I work someplace that sells stuff.

Link to comment
Really? That surprises me, because I am able to watch HD videos from Netflix with my 10Mbps internet speed. I personally don't stream at home as I find my CDs and digital music files have a better sound quality.

 

Comcast - the bane on civilization from Norristown PA. If I could not stream reliably over a 30mbs connection, I would be on the phone raising pure hell with Comcast. It might take 10 or more calls plus letters to the FCC and your local AG's office, but eventually, they will get out there and fix that. Check with your neighbors as well to see if they are having the same issues. There is strength in numbers.:)

 

You should be able to stream reliably from Netflix with as little as six or seven Mbs, and if you are not, that indicates your network speed is highly compromised. Run some Internet speed checks as well betfore you call them. Netflix, especially over Comcast, should stream well.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Link to comment
My iPod classic was forcibly extricated from my minivan last spring (along with my iPad mini). I never got around to replacing it before it was discontinued. Would this thing be too good as a car player? It is the only thing I (personally) can think to use it for.

 

I commute over two hours a day, and love the Pono for that. No, I don't think it's "too good." Well-recorded stuff sounds better in the car as well as on the home system, for example.

 

It is smaller than the photos make it look, so it actually does fit just fine in a pants pocket (unless they're skinny jeans), despite the shape. Looking forward to using it with my IEMs when mowing the lawn this year. (My IEMs are better at blocking the engine noise from the mower than over-the-ear hearing protection, even without music playing. The music is an added bonus.)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment

Another thing that might make this go and well is pricing. Charging more for higher bit rate makes some sense, but all the competitors do that. The actual costs for that higher resolution upon download can't be anything approaching the extra price charged. I would imagine like most customers of older material you have already paid for it once or twice. The artist has benefitted. Do they really need to rake me over the coals one more time for even more. Heck some of the big time selling stuff should go cheap. Pono could grab some marketshare if they did that. I don't know if the slope of demand favors such a pricing structure in this busness or not. I do know if they keep current prices my purchases will be few, and at lower prices I would end up sending them three or four times the total money. And for all I know record companies won't agree to less. Again, at least for my slope of demand it is a money losing strategy for them.

 

Give us provenance that in time makes me feel like I can simply trust that anything on their music store is as close as we can get to the original recording. And price it competitively better. Meaning something like $12 to $15 regardless of resolution. If a given recording is no better than 44/24 fine $12 as the mastering should be better. If it is 192/24 then great no real reason you couldn't give it to me for $12 either. I know this is a business, but they are a small player late to the game. You need something extra to grab real marketshare and get a piece of the pie for yourself.

 

Would love to see Pono (or anyone) adopt these suggestions.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment
I haven't tried it in the car yet; I normally stream music from my phone to the car stereo via Bluetooth, and I don't know whether my car would mute a device connected via line in when a call comes in. But since you've asked, and since I will be stuck in rush hour traffic for an hour after a doctor's appointment tomorrow, I will.

 

Worth noting: as of two minutes ago, there were 3,775 iPods Classic listed for sale on eBay.

 

My car does mute the Pono for an incoming call, but (how appropriate, since we're speaking of cars) YMMV.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment
I've decided, just for myself, that there is no Pono Player. There is an Ayre Player, which I own and thoroughly enjoy. All the rest of it is irrelevant nonsense. I will load my Ayre Player using drag-and-drop, which allows me (rather than a poorly designed application) to decide what goes into internal memory and what goes on the card. I will continue to procure music from the same sources I have been using--a combination of HDT, ProStudioMasters, eClassical, Bandcamp, record company and artist websites, and (when all else fails) physical media.

 

If you get a chance to fool around with an Ayre Player, judge it on its own merit, as what it is, a portable player, rather than as the putative center of a peculiar ecosystem that I think is overwhelmingly likely to fail. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. My personal view is that it shreds the value proposition for all of the A&K players, the Calyx M, and the Z2 Walkman. You may or may not agree.

 

Like you, love the player, and think the Pono Music World software is worse than irrelevant. No value added - subtracted, actually: it's far, far slower, more cumbersome, harder to figure out, and more subject to error than simply dragging and dropping files to the player. The firmware has an elementary problem that is taking months to fix (many aiff files don't show up in the library after being moved to the player - flac is fine, probably alac too). And the website!!! (There are a handful of albums shown on the home page. The only other way to find an album is by word-searching the album title, artist, etc. It's ludicrously bad. The forums are similarly badly organized, hard to find, and thus much, much less useful than they could be.)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment

The main issue for me with the Pono hardware is the cost and features. Being an owner of a roughly $200 iFi iDSD Nano that is portable, easily connected to my smartphone and capable of playing DXD and DSD 2x and above files, what could possibly be the advantage of buying the $400 Pono which currently does neither DXD nor DSD?

 

I did read somewhere that DSD support is forthcoming, but not sure if that is true. Even then, that wouldn't motivate me to buy it, I'm already well-served by the Nano.

 

Seeing the issues with the firmware and the store, I guess the IT project was mismanaged, and the launch rushed.

 

The principle behind the project is laudable though.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

Link to comment
The main issue for me with the Pono hardware is the cost and features. Being an owner of a roughly $200 iFi iDSD Nano that is portable, easily connected to my smartphone and capable of playing DXD and DSD 2x and above files, what could possibly be the advantage of buying the $400 Pono which currently does neither DXD nor DSD?

 

 

One attraction would be that Pono puts together in one package what requires two for you - you need the phone, which tends to have less storage space for music than the Pono, and its touchscreen capability, plus whatever you're using for a connector between the two; then at least for iPhones you need something like a Camera Connector Kit as well, and it all winds up as a bit of a kludge that you are definitely not tossing in a pocket and going out to walk, jog, or mow the lawn.

 

I've also been meaning to compare it to my LHL Geek Out for sound quality, but haven't got around to it.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment
Like you, love the player, and think the Pono Music World software is worse than irrelevant. No value added - subtracted, actually: it's far, far slower, more cumbersome, harder to figure out, and more subject to error than simply dragging and dropping files to the player. The firmware has an elementary problem that is taking months to fix (many aiff files don't show up in the library after being moved to the player - flac is fine, probably alac too). And the website!!! (There are a handful of albums shown on the home page. The only other way to find an album is by word-searching the album title, artist, etc. It's ludicrously bad. The forums are similarly badly organized, hard to find, and thus much, much less useful than they could be.)

 

I had the same issue with certain tracks on certain high-res AIFF albums not being recognized by the player after being loaded. Conversion to Apple Lossless solved that with almost 100 percent reliability (there is one album where the player thinks track 11 is actually track 1).

 

There is also an issue with album artwork, but that's an iTunes issue, not an Ayre Player issue. When you add artwork to an album using iTunes' "Get Album Artwork" command, iTunes doesn't actually embed the JPG or PNG file in every track; it stores it in a database on the host computer (this is true even if the music files are on an external drive). There is, AFAICT, no global fix for this, but it can be fixed on an album-by-album basis before dragging and dropping to the player, as follows:

 

1. Highlight first track on album and choose Get Info (command -I)

2. Click on the Artwork tab at the top of the tag editing box.

3. Click on the artwork to highlight it, and choose Copy (command-C).

4. Click on OK to exit the tag editing box.

5. Highlight all tracks on album and choose Get Info; click Yes in the dialog box that appears.

6. Click on the Artwork tab.

7. When the artwork box appears, click anywhere in the blank space and choose Paste (command-V).

8. When the artwork appears, click on OK to exit the tag editing box. The software will proceed to embed the artwork in each track. You should see a progress bar. Depending on the number of tracks and the number of other processes running, it will take between 30 seconds and three minutes.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

Link to comment
One attraction would be that Pono puts together in one package what requires two for you - you need the phone

 

Not really: most people go out with their phones ever since they became mobile. So, someone travelling with a Pono also has both a phone and a Pono anyway.

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

Link to comment
I could argue about the percentage split because I have found changes "in between" to have positive (and negative) effects. As an extreme, try living with a bad tube for a while and you will love the sound of the "in between" once you figure it out and change it. So the "in between" can matter more than 5%. So, for me, maybe 60% speakers and room, 35% source and amp, and 5% everything else. This doesn't count the quality of the recording/mastering...I'm assuming that is a constant between systems.

 

I suppose..........but i wasn't considering maintenance and repairs in the formula! lol

 

In this day of so much to do and consider, tube lovers are an exceptional breed of audiophile. I personally prefer my system time be available for listening instead of rolling and tweeking. A smooth, functional GUI with SS amps excites my far more than a glowing tube.

Link to comment
Mine is steel, and the hand-made frame was $1600.

 

Nice try, Michael.

 

Bill,

 

Yes, that was quite a jump on Sandyk's part from pointing out that some folks in your area with money believe a discredited British scientific paper and Jenny McCarthy that vaccination is some kind of big pharma scam that is going to create legions of autistic children to the price of bicycle frames. When frankly a majority of the world would look at the money some folks on this site, me included, spend on audio and, I'm going to use a high technical term here, believe we are "bat shit crazy". Can't figure out if he was just taking a cheap shot for fun or is truly just a "snarky" individual. Have not been on the site long enough to get a clear read on the frequent commenters but its slowly coming into focus.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place". George Bernard Shaw.

Link to comment
John Darko has also addressed the issue of Pono pushback. I find this the most lucid yet article on the subject as it keeps the importance/audibility of Pono/hi-rez files in perspective.

Roon ROCK (Roon 1.7; NUC7i3) > Ayre QB-9 Twenty > Ayre AX-5 Twenty > Thiel CS2.4SE (crossovers rebuilt with Clarity CSA and Multicap RTX caps, Mills MRA-12 resistors; ERSE and Jantzen coils; Cardas binding posts and hookup wire); Cardas and OEM power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables

Link to comment

NY himself confirmed the DSD support at C.E.S. The pono's form factor and size rule it out as a portable device. My fiio x3 and x5 sound great, are much more convenient and in the case of the x5, doubles the potential storage space over the pono. Much of my portable use is on a bike or a motorcycle, so size and shape are more important than if I'm walking or in the car. I also use them as transports in my home system, where the additional SQ of the pono (if there is any) would be wasted because I use my Ifi Micro iDSD as a DAC and amplify the signal with my desktop amp because it's going to speakers. If the pono does actually sound better than my x5, I think it would be outweighed by the environmental noise on the go.

 

As for the music store, I refuse to pay $17-25 for music I've already bought 1, 2, or in some cases 3 or even 4 different times. I've purchased 6 HD albums just to get a reasonable sample size to see if I can tell the difference. I can certainly tell the difference between 320 mp3 and HD, but redbook flac rips, I'm not so sure. I am certain that I can hear more difference between a flac rip and a 320 mp3 than between the rip and an HD version. I'd actually be more interested in a site selling redbook downloads curated for mastering/engineering quality without all the HD hype, at $7-8 a pop. I would just rather not have to store the discs/cases.

Vinyl is a hugely overpriced way to get flawed sound. Digital is an inexpensive way to get less flawed (though flawed nonetheless) sound.

Link to comment
NY himself confirmed the DSD support at C.E.S. The pono's form factor and size rule it out as a portable device. My fiio x3 and x5 sound great, are much more convenient and in the case of the x5, doubles the potential storage space over the pono. Much of my portable use is on a bike or a motorcycle, so size and shape are more important than if I'm walking or in the car.

 

As I mentioned above, I own one, and it's quite pocketable. Certainly you would find plenty of room for it (with IEMs or 'phones designed for wearing while exercising) on a bike. The only contra-indication (an important, perhaps essential one) is that you wouldn't be able to hear much of anything in your environment while playing it.

 

As for the music store, I refuse to pay $17-25 for music I've already bought 1, 2, or in some cases 3 or even 4 different times. I've purchased 6 HD albums just to get a reasonable sample size to see if I can tell the difference. I can certainly tell the difference between 320 mp3 and HD, but redbook flac rips, I'm not so sure. I am certain that I can hear more difference between a flac rip and a 320 mp3 than between the rip and an HD version. I'd actually be more interested in a site selling redbook downloads curated for mastering/engineering quality without all the HD hype, at $7-8 a pop. I would just rather not have to store the discs/cases.

 

I very much empathize, and try to be fairly careful about what I buy. I've been lucky enough not to have been "bit" more than just a few times. (Nirvana's Nevermind anniversary edition and a deluxe version of Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes were absolute clunkers. For the Clash's London Calling I preferred my old LP to the DL, though the DL wasn't awful. These were all from HDTracks rather than the Pono Music Store, by the way.)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment

As for the music store, I refuse to pay $17-25 for music I've already bought 1, 2, or in some cases 3 or even 4 different times. I've purchased 6 HD albums just to get a reasonable sample size to see if I can tell the difference. I can certainly tell the difference between 320 mp3 and HD, but redbook flac rips, I'm not so sure. I am certain that I can hear more difference between a flac rip and a 320 mp3 than between the rip and an HD version. I'd actually be more interested in a site selling redbook downloads curated for mastering/engineering quality without all the HD hype, at $7-8 a pop. I would just rather not have to store the discs/cases.

 

Murfie.com does this, but you can't tell which mastering you are getting. However, you can buy and ship direct to them. It's not bad service.

Link to comment
Murfie.com does this, but you can't tell which mastering you are getting. However, you can buy and ship direct to them. It's not bad service.

 

This is actually a great way for non-U.S. music lovers to take advantage of all of the used CDs that are available on Amazon.

 

They kind of hide the details though. You have to set up an account and then go to your profile page to get the following info:

 

Direct CD Shipments To Your Murfie Collection

 

Can’t find it on Murfie? We couldn’t find it for you? No problem, you can buy CDs anywhere online and ship them directly to your Murfie collection!

 

This service is available so Murfie members can occasionally ship discs direct from other retailers when they can’t find something in our member shops.

 

Just ship your discs to:

 

[Your Name]

c/o Murfie - MEMBER ID

7 N. Pinckney Street, Suite 135

Madison, WI 53703

 

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

Link to comment
Not really: most people go out with their phones ever since they became mobile. So, someone travelling with a Pono also has both a phone and a Pono anyway.

 

Yes, I understand you already have the phone. But listening to it with the Nano requires that you put the two boxen together with a Camera Connection Kit or similar. This makes a rather clumsy package to walk around with, so it's less useful in situations requiring portability.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical Ethernet to Fitlet3 -> Fibbr Alpha Optical USB -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...