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Pushing back against the Pono critics


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In our moms' defense American cuisine was pretty closed off to the world until Julia Child started showing up on TV screens in the 60s.....unless of course you came from a diverse ethnic background, with all those great cooking traditions, which I did not.

 

The other chef I remember on TV as a kid was the Galloping Gourmet. I think he was on PBS also???? But beyond that there was not a whole lot out there.

 

Believe me, Jewish cooking is a great ethnic tradition, just not my mother's. A couple of my aunts were terrific cooks; my mom just didn't much care about cooking and made no secret of it.

 

My wife is a terrific Italian cook.

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.

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Michael LaVorgna wrote this article that, I think, deserves a wider audience among audiophiles. I have been stunned at how many supposed audiophiles have criticized Neil Young's attempts to raise awareness of how mp3s have diminished our enjoyment of music (and, to a lesser extent, how compression and poor recording/mastering have done the same). These naysayers even include some industry insiders!

 

Sure, Pono is not beyond criticism (for one, they need to improve the ability to browse their catalog, eg, by resolution, genre, etc). But, as audiophiles, shouldn't we support - not disparage - efforts to achieve better sound quality? Hell, yeah!

 

Their store is a great idea...the need for a stand alone music only player is yet to be demonstrated...a good phone with a good music app does much the same thing.

I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you any understanding – Samuel Johnson

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Their store is a great idea...the need for a stand alone music only player is yet to be demonstrated...a good phone with a good music app does much the same thing.

 

It all depends on the needs of the person and how good they want their portable device to sound. I have an iPhone 4S which sounds okay but when my term was up I decided to get a Samsung Galaxy 5S and it's just terrible for a quality listening experience. I really don't think the care with smartphones are about getting the best sounding dac's and other electronics for sound quality whereas that's all a DAP is for... Do I think players like Fiios, Pono, Sony, A&K etc, will ever be popular in the mainstream, the answer is NO. The amount of people I know that listen to music through Youtube on their phone is incredible, people just don't care enough... I'd love to see that change over time, but agree I love the idea of the Pono store but I do really think the music labels really need to adjust the price point, when they want $37 for a Rolling Stones record, that's where I just off and really think the boat will sink before it ever floats.

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First of all, Big Night is one of my favorite movies of all time.

 

Second, (and my brother, sister, wife, and I can be easily brought to tears from laughing so hard about this), my mother was the world's worst cook, and second place is not close.

 

A couple of highlights:

 

- "Meat loaf" was hamburger meat pressed in a loaf pan and baked until gray on the inside. No fillers, nothing but hamburger. You needed half a bottle of ketchup on a slice to lubricate it enough to get it down. Later, she realized it was dry and hit on the perfect solution: She poured a bag of frozen mixed vegetables into the middle of each loaf. Yum.

 

- A bit later in life she began to make breaded salmon. In the microwave. She could never figure out why the damn breading wouldn't stick.

 

Wow. My mom made great meat loaf (and awesome tuna noodle casserole). The key ingredient in all of that 1950s comfort food? Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. Did no one ever clue your mom in about that? I've always wondered how Mom found out about it, because neither of my grandmothers could cook worth a damn.

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

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I usually use the Grado 80's or 100's on the iPhone by itself. I also like the HiFiman 400is, but to really get those guys to sing, it helps to run a better DAC off the camera port. That would be a Wavelength Proton or iFi Nano. (Yep, that would also be cheating...)

 

All three of those headphones are plenty good enough to show up differences to me in DACs, Amps, and Playback software, so I figure they should be good enough to make a Pono shine. But the Pono doesn't really sound better to me. No real reason it should I suppose, which is why I gripe about the hype around it. I use an iPhone 5 and it is a very well built piece of equipment. Not much cheap inside that $549 device. (grin)

 

The iPhone and the Pono sound about the same, when the iPhone is streaming. When it is playing back local files, the iPhone sounds better to me. Understand, those are preferences, not recommendations, reviews, or anything else other than what I hear and like. YMMV! :)

 

I often stream music via Blutooth from my phone to the sound system in my Jeep. I can easily tell the difference between MP3 320 and Redbook in the jeep over the iPhone, though I am not sure if the Jeep or the iPhone is acting as the DAC in that situation.

 

OK. Now I get it. I am, decidedly, not a Grado fan. But that's me. Never heard the HFMs.

 

FWIW, I can't remember the last time I used anything but IEMs for portable applications. The Ayre Player really brings out the best in both the UERM and the Noble PR. And my balanced cable for the Nobles is due to arrive on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing whether balanced mode is as big a step up as some who have heard it are claiming.

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

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OK. Now I get it. I am, decidedly, not a Grado fan. But that's me. Never heard the HFMs.

 

FWIW, I can't remember the last time I used anything but IEMs for portable applications. The Ayre Player really brings out the best in both the UERM and the Noble PR. And my balanced cable for the Nobles is due to arrive on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing whether balanced mode is as big a step up as some who have heard it are claiming.

 

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts once you receive your balanced cables. I'm considering ordering Cardas ones for my Sennheiser hd650s.

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OK. Now I get it. I am, decidedly, not a Grado fan. But that's me. Never heard the HFMs.

 

FWIW, I can't remember the last time I used anything but IEMs for portable applications. The Ayre Player really brings out the best in both the UERM and the Noble PR. And my balanced cable for the Nobles is due to arrive on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing whether balanced mode is as big a step up as some who have heard it are claiming.

 

I definitely want to hear your thoughts about the new cables. :) I can't really wear IEMs.

 

Prado 80is (about $100) are fairly good phones, on the ear open with excellent soundstage and response. The Grado 1000i (about $1000, not 100i, sorry typo) are statement phones and are very good indeed. Pretty things too. The HiFiMans 400is (about $500) are planar magnetic over the ears, and sound just heavenly. Very different from Grados.

 

I also have unkillable Koss Pro 4AA phones (about $60) that have the old fashioned headphone sound in the middle of your ear. They are however, very very good for critical listening, as you can hear *everything* - probably similar to the IEMs in sound islotation.

 

-Paul

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

Robert A. Heinlein

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If anyone is into DIY, and has a dual mono type construction headphone amplifier, it may be interesting to covert to a good quality 4 wire (2 pair) cable for the higher quality non IEM type headphones. The left and right "earth" wires from the headphones should then go directly to the earth/ 0 volts of their respective channels. You would need to replace the existing plug and socket with something like XLR connectors though .

 

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Got y'all beat by a country mile.

 

 

, I ordered prime rib, medium rare. When I tasted it, I nearly wept with joy. 21 years old and the first decent piece of beef I ever had in my life.

 

That's a great little story!.....I nearly peed my pants! Lol Thanks for the laugh as I'm picturing you wiping your eyes with your dinner napkin. Good stuff.

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We can add another "critic" to the list...

 

200.000+ views

 

 

 

 

"192/24 empirically proven to be worse than CD"

 

Oh boy.

 

I'm sure most here won't be surprised, but I agree with most of what ol' Linus says. I think he must have gotten his info from "Monty" Montgomery at xiph.org. I don't agree that 24/192 has been empirically proven to be worse than CD. I would only say that it has not been empirically proven to be better. I definitely agree that mastering practices far outweigh bit depth and sample rate, especially the latter.

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

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Wow. My mom made great meat loaf (and awesome tuna noodle casserole). The key ingredient in all of that 1950s comfort food? Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. Did no one ever clue your mom in about that? I've always wondered how Mom found out about it, because neither of my grandmothers could cook worth a damn.

 

Can't blame Mom for not putting cream of mushroom in the meatloaf - not kosher, and she kept a kosher home.

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.

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In college I went out to dinner with a girlfriend and her parents. Following her father's lead, I ordered prime rib, medium rare. When I tasted it, I nearly wept with joy. 21 years old and the first decent piece of beef I ever had in my life.

 

Awesome story.

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Can't blame Mom for not putting cream of mushroom in the meatloaf - not kosher, and she kept a kosher home.

 

Ahh. Yes, of course.

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

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In our moms' defense American cuisine was pretty closed off to the world until Julia Child started showing up on TV screens in the 60s.....unless of course you came from a diverse ethnic background, with all those great cooking traditions, which I did not.

 

The other chef I remember on TV as a kid was the Galloping Gourmet. I think he was on PBS also???? But beyond that there was not a whole lot out there.

 

Wow, the Galloping Gourmet, I hadn't thought about him in forever. Graham Kerr, I think? And you are right, it was really somewhat of a food wasteland in much of America back then. My grandmother, bless her departed soul, was the worst cook I ever experienced growing up (or since). While she was a wonderful baker, and could make delicious baked goods, she was horrendous at preparing anything else. She literally boiled everything, including meat. You got beans, broccoli or other green vegetables cooked to the point where they were mostly gray, and beef that looked like a long used shoe insole. My mother, of course, insisted we be polite, and eat whatever grandma put in front of us, but my brother simply couldn't bring himself to eat that boiled beef. My mother could never understand why he kept getting these odd stains in his pants, which happened because he would sneak the beef off his plate and stuff it into his pocket. Thank god for those pastries at the end of the meal which we ate like starving orphans.

 

JC

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Wow, the Galloping Gourmet, I hadn't thought about him in forever. Graham Kerr, I think? And you are right, it was really somewhat of a food wasteland in much of America back then. My grandmother, bless her departed soul, was the worst cook I ever experienced growing up (or since). While she was a wonderful baker, and could make delicious baked goods, she was horrendous at preparing anything else. She literally boiled everything, including meat. You got beans, broccoli or other green vegetables cooked to the point where they were mostly gray, and beef that looked like a long used shoe insole. My mother, of course, insisted we be polite, and eat whatever grandma put in front of us, but my brother simply couldn't bring himself to eat that boiled beef. My mother could never understand why he kept getting these odd stains in his pants, which happened because he would sneak the beef off his plate and stuff it into his pocket. Thank god for those pastries at the end of the meal which we ate like starving orphans.

 

JC

 

I feel so lucky - my Mom was a fantastic cook. My dad was too, and he was a meat cutter and would bring home absolutely delectable cuts of beef and such. Then grill them over an open wood fire in the back. Mom made fried chicken to drool over, veggies that were perfectly served, and special stuff, like mayos that had never met a can of condensed milk. Not that she could not make condensed milk do some wonderful things, especially with chicken and mushrooms. Or with home made cocoa fudge.

 

Worse, I had a flock of aunts who were as good as (or in some cases) better cooks than my Mom! Aunty Rosie's meatloaf for example, is still the best I have ever tasted. More like a savory steak loaf than anything else. Aunt Pearl was a wizard with anything, from fried hotdogs with a crispy skin to any kind of fish dish once could imagine. Aunt Wilma was the master of soups and cold collations, all of which were wonderful. And of course, some of my folks and friends all grew their own veggies.

 

A super market today looks pretty bad compared to the food we ate when I was growing up. Like I said, you guys make me feel very very luck. I can't remember anyone who was allowed to be a bad cook, the aunts would always descend should such an unwanted event even think of occurring.

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

Robert A. Heinlein

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In college I went out to dinner with a girlfriend and her parents. Following her father's lead, I ordered prime rib, medium rare. When I tasted it, I nearly wept with joy. 21 years old and the first decent piece of beef I ever had in my life.

 

Unfortunately, lots of Jewish people mistakenly seem to think that serving Kosher meat requires it to be salted before cooking so that it is dry. It actually isn't true. Come to where I live, I can bring you to lots of kosher restaurants that serve nice rare steaks.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protectors +>Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Strip/Protection>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three BXT (on their own electric circuit) >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three BXT

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Unfortunately, lots of Jewish people mistakenly seem to think that serving Kosher meat requires it to be salted before cooking so that it is dry. It actually isn't true. Come to where I live, I can bring you to lots of kosher restaurants that serve nice rare steaks.

 

My mom didn't rely on salting for dryness. (For beef at least, the salting and soaking were always done by the butcher. See http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ritual/Kashrut_Dietary_Laws/Kosher_Food/Meat/Making_Meat_Kosher.shtml . This does not in itself make meat dry - you can find lots of gourmet brining recipes, especially for poultry, which is essentially the same thing.) She just used good old-fashioned "cook it forever until there isn't the slightest trace of blood even on the inside." Of course if you tried that with a broiler the steak would burn on the outside before being done sufficiently on the inside, so my mom baked our steaks instead.

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.

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I have to say that I am finding it hard to understand why Fremer, an analog guy through and through, is so passionate in his attacks on the Pono troofers. But he is, and his latest volley is extremely interesting.

 

This is Your Brain on CD Resolution Sound: Read The Study | Analog Planet

 

I will definitely be reading the Journal of Neurophysiology study to which he links sometime this weekend. Maybe while I'm listening to my Ayre Player in balanced mode.

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

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I have to say that I am finding it hard to understand why Fremer, an analog guy through and through, is so passionate in his attacks on the Pono troofers. But he is, and his latest volley is extremely interesting.

 

This is Your Brain on CD Resolution Sound: Read The Study | Analog Planet

 

I will definitely be reading the Journal of Neurophysiology study to which he links sometime this weekend. Maybe while I'm listening to my Ayre Player in balanced mode.

 

Interesting link. But if that is what you are referencing, then you are poking a stick at the wrong guy- that was David Pouge berating the Pono, not Mikey Fremer.

 

It is amusing to me I did not read the link before posting here, and yet had similar conclusions. A little wierd too. My iPhone does sound better than the Pono to me. Better interface and much more music available too. (shrug)

 

I also use much better than average headphones, but because you were so dismissive of them, I borrowed some phones earlier tonight and tried the experiment again. The Pono did sound better with a set of Bose noise cancelling phones than the iPhone, but that was not saying much as the Bose phones had no treble at all. (Bleh!)

 

Audeze LCD-3s and a set of Focal spirit classics both sounded better to my ears on the iPhone. Those are really top quality phones too.

 

Then I tried attaching the Pono and the iPhone via a mini to RCA cable into the office system. I easily and consistantly preferred the iPhone too. These were sighted tests, do take that with a grain of salt.

 

But for me at least, the Pono is a NoGo, or rather it goes on Craigslist\Ebay.

 

Obviously again, YMMV!

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

Robert A. Heinlein

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Then I tried attaching the Pono and the iPhone via a mini to RCA cable into the office system. I easily and consistantly preferred the iPhone too. These were sighted tests, do take that with a grain of salt.

 

But for me at least, the Pono is a NoGo, or rather it goes on Craigslist\Ebay.

 

Obviously again, YMMV!

Where are you getting all these really expensive headphones (just curious)? I'm sorry but I really do find it hard to believe that you prefer the iPhone when connected to your main system and kinda now wondering if you actually have a Pono player. :)

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But for me at least, the Pono is a NoGo, or rather it goes on Craigslist\Ebay.

 

How much do you want for it and is it a special edition?

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

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