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Pono Player -- comments and reviews requested


wdw
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We're off for a month on a long overdue holiday and are looking at a Pono Player for the two of us to use with headphones when relaxing late a night in the hotel or on a plane. The support at Pono isn't at the technical level to ask any direct questions about output and any limits on its ability to drive two pairs of phones (the replay was a "Sure, No worries, Maholo!".

 

Perhaps this has been asked before but my search didn't bring up a similar thread.

 

Question for any that may have the inclination to share a thought or opinion:

 

Is this the right portable unit for listening to music including high rez and with a reported ability to drive two sets of phones. Pono couldn't tell me the output of the player and so I've have posted a query to Ayre hoping they may assist. I have a suspicion this one of the more expensive solutions for portable high rez players but Mr. Hanson is so highly regarded that I have a certain level of trust in his design.

Any suggestions for headphones would also be welcome.

 

Best,

WDW

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I had a Pono player for about 6 months on loan. Aside from it's weird form factor, and poor user interface, the thing actually sounded very good. Obviously, one needs the very best headphones that one can afford in order to get the best SQ out of the thing, and the more efficient the phones, the better. I recommend that one use phones that can be powered with the addition of a "balanced" cable, as you get a greater output swing with balanced as opposed to single-ended. The circuitry, designed by Charlie Hansen of Ayre Acoustics, is superb and the Pono can handle up to 24/192 material.

 

Earlier this year, I received a HiFiMan HE-650 high resolution player with interchangeable amplifier cards (there are six different ones). I got the standard one and then later, was sent the high-power Gold card. I have both the high sensitivity HiFiMan HM-400s, and the top-of-the-range HM-1000s. The Pono wouldn't adequately drive the 1000s (even in balanced mode), but the HiFiMan player with the Gold amp module will. I was not able to directly compare the Pono with the HiFiMan player (which will also support 24/192), because the Pono had been returned by then, but my gut feeling (with the HM-400s phones on both) was that the HiFiMan player outperformed the Pono sonically by a fairly large margin. Since human memory for SQ is very poor, I would take my comments about the relative SQ of the two players with a grain of salt, because I was unable to make a direct comparison. Suffice it to say that both sound superb with well recorded hi-rez material.

George

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I had a Pono player for about 6 months on loan. Aside from it's weird form factor, and poor user interface, the thing actually sounded very good. Obviously, one needs the very best headphones that one can afford in order to get the best SQ out of the thing, and the more efficient the phones, the better. I recommend that one use phones that can be powered with the addition of a "balanced" cable, as you get a greater output swing with balanced as opposed to single-ended. The circuitry, designed by Charlie Hansen of Ayre Acoustics, is superb and the Pono can handle up to 24/192 material.

 

Earlier this year, I received a HiFiMan HE-650 high resolution player with interchangeable amplifier cards (there are six different ones). I got the standard one and then later, was sent the high-power Gold card. I have both the high sensitivity HiFiMan HM-400s, and the top-of-the-range HM-1000s. The Pono wouldn't adequately drive the 1000s (even in balanced mode), but the HiFiMan player with the Gold amp module will. I was not able to directly compare the Pono with the HiFiMan player (which will also support 24/192), because the Pono had been returned by then, but my gut feeling (with the HM-400s phones on both) was that the HiFiMan player outperformed the Pono sonically by a fairly large margin. Since human memory for SQ is very poor, I would take my comments about the relative SQ of the two players with a grain of salt, because I was unable to make a direct comparison. Suffice it to say that both sound superb with well recorded hi-rez material.

George,

Many thanks. Will investigate further.

Best,

Warren

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The support at Pono isn't at the technical level to ask any direct questions about output and any limits on its ability to drive two pairs of phones (the replay was a "Sure, No worries, Maholo!".

 

 

 

Is this the right portable unit for listening to music including high rez and with a reported ability to drive two sets of phones. Pono couldn't tell me the output of the player and so I've have posted a query to Ayre hoping they may assist.

 

You might read this article from Inner Fidelity.

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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