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Pono Player wins Stereophile Magazine's Product Of The Year award


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Certainly a worthy choice -- amazing performance to price ratio.

 

I'm also attracted by their budget component of the year, the Magnepan .7 loudspeaker.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Hi guys,

 

Just letting you know (if you're not aware) that Neil Young's Pono Player has won Stereophile mag's POTY Digital Component award for this year (out of several categories). Check it out! > Stereophile's Products of 2015 Digital Component of the Year | Stereophile.com

Shhhh.... Don't upset the Apple fanboys! :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Certainly a worthy choice -- amazing performance to price ratio.

 

I'm also attracted by their budget component of the year, the Magnepan .7 loudspeaker.

 

The Pono has circuitry that makes it perform far above its price-point. The DAC borrows heavily from the US$3.2K Ayre QB-9 and the analog circuitry was lifted directly from the Ayre KX-R Twenty preamp (US$27,500). Both of these components are highly regarded for their sound quality, so the SQ of the Pono should be no surprise. What is surprising, OTOH, is the price. With its pedigree of assorted Charles Hansen circuitry at so reasonable a cost (US$399), one has to wonder why the "source" components for these circuit elements are so tres cher. One thing is sure, however; if, as a Pono owner or auditioner, one hasn't listened to the unit in its balanced output mode, then one hasn't really heard what it can do at all. I still think that its packaging design is unfortunate, especially for a "portable", battery-powered player. It is simply not conducive to carrying around. Of course, if it's destiny is to set on someone's desk, or reside as the digital music source in someone's stereo system, then the Italian candy-bar shape doesn't really matter that much. OTOH, the screen is small, the GUI is awkward, and the controls are fairly non-intuitive. Also, the unit is so light that one really must physically hold on to it (or glue it to a flat surface) in order to operate the controls, so it is better suited to being held than it is to setting on a shelf. A bit of a paradox, then, operationally speaking.

 

I have a pair of Point Sevens in my listening room right now. I can tell you for a fact that they are smooth, articulate, fast, have (mostly) great frequency response, and image like gangbusters! The only complaint I can level at them is that there's not much bass below 45 Hz (unless you buy the optional bass panel(s) which I do not have). Over the years I've owned or reviewed many Maggies, Starting with the MG-2, Tympani I, Tympany IIIc (all eight panels), MMG (review sample), MG-IIIc, MG-3.6(review sample), etc; every one has had, to a greater or lesser extent, this peculiar "ihh" coloration in the midrange. The Point Sevens are the first Magneplanars I have heard that don't have it AT ALL! Without a doubt they are, IMHO, the best speakers on the market for less than US$2K! To say that they punch well above their weight would be a understatement!

George

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Shhhh.... Don't upset the Apple fanboys! :)

 

 

Apple makes the worlds best personal computer system, the Mac. Other than that they make an interesting line of fun "lifestyle" gadgets that are stylish, well made, unusually well integrated with other Apple products, but tend to be very pricy and ultimately no more capable than other, similar devices which cost much less and which are usually more flexible than their Apple equivalents (user addable storage, for instance). Apple fans need to look beyond their infatuation with all things Apple and realize that Apple is not the answer for everything, and these products should be chosen on their merit and suitability for the use to which they will be put, and not by who manufactured them. On the other hand, the SQ of the iPhone 6 is pretty good, and certainly the iPhone is a very good compromise for those who only want to carry one gadget, yet wants that gadget to supply decent audio.

 

However one should also be aware that the Pono is a better music player than either the latest iPhones or iPods and that for less than US$200, from some sources, an HTC One M8 "Harman Kardon Edition" Android phone sounds at least as good as an Apple solution, can take up to 64 Gigs of user added storage (more music), which the iPhone cannot do, and plays up to 24-bit 96KHz files natively. It also will drive some of the higher quality headphones (like the HiFiMan HE-1000) to surprisingly high volumes, making that aspect of the design more flexible than an iPhone as well. There are better solutions than many Apple products, one just needs to realize and accept that.

George

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Shhhh.... Don't upset the Apple fanboys! :)

 

This Apple fanboy loves his Pono.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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There are better solutions than many Apple products, one just needs to realize and accept that.
+1

Precisely! :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Why has a thread about PONO winning this award turned into a thread for Apple bashing?

 

I believe that PONO is a superior music playback system to the iPhone, but that is not the purpose that people buy an iPhone. Some people just take every opportunity to grind the ax of their choice. If you do not like Apple products, then just do not buy them FFS.

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star

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Why has a thread about PONO winning this award turned into a thread for Apple bashing?

 

I believe that PONO is a superior music playback system to the iPhone, but that is not the purpose that people buy an iPhone.

It might have something to do with certain members who, in the past, have eagerly joined threads about the PONO to insist that their iPhones sound better. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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It might have something to do with certain members who, in the past, have eagerly joined threads about the PONO to insist that their iPhones sound better. :)

 

So it was preemptive Apple bashing on your part. :)

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

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Why has a thread about PONO winning this award turned into a thread for Apple bashing?

 

I believe that PONO is a superior music playback system to the iPhone, but that is not the purpose that people buy an iPhone. Some people just take every opportunity to grind the ax of their choice. If you do not like Apple products, then just do not buy them FFS.

 

+1

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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So it was preemptive Apple bashing on your part. :)

If having the temerity to suggest that the Cupertino colossus is not the best at everything it does is Apple bashing. :)

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Apple makes the worlds best personal computer system, the Mac. Other than that they make an interesting line of fun "lifestyle" gadgets that are stylish, well made, unusually well integrated with other Apple products, but tend to be very pricy and ultimately no more capable than other, similar devices which cost much less and which are usually more flexible than their Apple equivalents (user addable storage, for instance). Apple fans need to look beyond their infatuation with all things Apple and realize that Apple is not the answer for everything, and these products should be chosen on their merit and suitability for the use to which they will be put, and not by who manufactured them. On the other hand, the SQ of the iPhone 6 is pretty good, and certainly the iPhone is a very good compromise for those who only want to carry one gadget, yet wants that gadget to supply decent audio.

 

However one should also be aware that the Pono is a better music player than either the latest iPhones or iPods and that for less than US$200, from some sources, an HTC One M8 "Harman Kardon Edition" Android phone sounds at least as good as an Apple solution, can take up to 64 Gigs of user added storage (more music), which the iPhone cannot do, and plays up to 24-bit 96KHz files natively. It also will drive some of the higher quality headphones (like the HiFiMan HE-1000) to surprisingly high volumes, making that aspect of the design more flexible than an iPhone as well. There are better solutions than many Apple products, one just needs to realize and accept that.

 

That's a fair critique ... but at the end of the day, I've sold a Pono Player and an AK Jr. and still have an iPod Touch (which I use with a LH Labs Geek Out V2+). When sound quality is roughly equal, a good interface beats a bad interface all day, every day (at least for me).

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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Why has a thread about PONO winning this award turned into a thread for Apple bashing?

 

You must be new here ...

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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That's a fair critique ... but at the end of the day, I've sold a Pono Player and an AK Jr. and still have an iPod Touch (which I use with a LH Labs Geek Out V2+). When sound quality is roughly equal, a good interface beats a bad interface all day, every day (at least for me).

 

Everybody seems to avoid this question. Did you listen to the Pono in balanced headphone mode? If not. You really haven't heard it.

George

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Everybody seems to avoid this question. Did you listen to the Pono in balanced headphone mode? If not. You really haven't heard it.

 

Yes. It was excellent with Noble PR in balanced mode. With UERM, it sucked balanced and single-ended. Output impedance was too high to deal with the UERM's wonky impedance vs. frequency characteristics.

 

By contrast, the UERM are brilliant in balanced mode with the GOv2+.

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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That's a fair critique ... but at the end of the day, I've sold a Pono Player and an AK Jr. and still have an iPod Touch (which I use with a LH Labs Geek Out V2+). When sound quality is roughly equal, a good interface beats a bad interface all day, every day (at least for me).

 

Good point, and more evidence as to how minor the differences are between the sound of various "audiophile" components.

 

Too bad nobody can prove that one of anything is better than any particular other--or is it? CA probably couldn't exist without all our near nonstop blather.

 

Meanwhile, I prefer the original HMV. I could never tell that wonderful recorded voice from the original. And obviously the doggie preferred the recording and he/she can hear better than we humans.

 

250px-His_Master%27s_Voice.jpg

 

Chris

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Good point, and more evidence as to how minor the differences are between the sound of various "audiophile" components.

 

Too bad nobody can prove that one of anything is better than any particular other--or is it? CA probably couldn't exist without all our near nonstop blather.

 

Meanwhile, I prefer the original HMV. I could never tell that wonderful recorded voice from the original. And obviously the doggie preferred the recording and he/she can hear better than we humans.

 

250px-His_Master%27s_Voice.jpg

 

Chris

 

 

I have that painting (or at least a very high quality lithograph of it) framed and hanging on my wall in my listening room. Interesting side note (well I find it interesting, anyway :)), is that if you look closely at the record player, you can tell that it was originally pained as a cylinder phonograph, and the disk player was painted over the cylinder because Emil Berliner wanted to use it for his company logo and he invented the flat disc. Today, the original painting hangs in the office of the CEO of HMV records (or it was the last I heard) in Ol' Blighty!

George

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