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Neil Young PONO player Review

Rate this player:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 158 85.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 10.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 5 2.7%

  • Total voters
    184

Multicore

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The key selling point being high resolution music. I didn't have a Pono player but found their service to have lower prices on CD and high-res music than many other services so bought good bit of music from them before they closed the door.
What was the format of the music you bought?

And did you analyze any of those files to see if they were mastered from source to that format or just reformatted from a lower resolution?

And what formats is the device speced to play?
 

voodooless

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2015? I always thought that this was some late MP3 player era thing :oops: It’s almost a decade late :facepalm:

Predictable performance though…
 

Ajax

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I have complicated feelings about Neil Young... I love his music, but he's such a bloody knob.

His comments on hi-res audio have always struck me as disingenuous, if not outright lies. He was talking about the benefits of hi-res audio as a 70-year-old man with admitted hearing loss from decades of performing rock music. It's rare that even people with pristine hearing can hear the difference between CD and hi-res audio. Young probably couldn't hear the difference between hi-res and microcassettes at this point.
Yeah, I hear you. Neil can be a tool, and when it comes to understanding how digital audio works he's certainly not the sharpest "tool" in the shed.

However, Harvest was my favourite album when it came out in 1972. I was 16 and listened to it continuously while surfing on the Nullarbor Plain in the South Australian desert, at a place called Cactus Beach (1/3 of the way between Adelaide and Perth). We would camp there for 2 weeks at a time and it was home to massive white pointers, however, we convinced ourselves there were plenty of fish and that they would leave us alone. (Unfortunately that theory was "crunched" in 2000 when a young New Zealander was taken while on his honeymoon as his traumatised wife looked on from the cliffs). We were very lucky.

Not sure why I needed to tell you that, just bought back some wonderful memories of my youth ... normal transmission will resume.
 

AudioSceptic

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pavuol

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Sound: ESS Sabre32 ES9018K2M DAC + TI OPA4376 amplifier

With better engineering, numbers would be nicer I guess.. (?)

[wiki] In April 2017 Young announced the end of the PonoPlayer,[12] blaming record companies for charging too much for high resolution formats.
tumblr_mo6tvnBOuW1rti7f8o1_250.gifv
 

IAtaman

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I would like to see a single man in the planet that would tell this device, in a properly done ABX test, from any of the "ASR top product". I guess there is no one, so who cares, then??
I care. I am surprised you don't. You don't think there is more to audio electronics engineering than "but can you hear the difference"?
 

sergeauckland

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I care. I am surprised you don't. You don't think there is more to audio electronics engineering than "but can you hear the difference"?
I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough. What point chasing ever better specs when our ears are already maxed out? There are better things for humanity to spend resources on than ever lower SINAD.

S.
 

Mart68

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I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough. What point chasing ever better specs when our ears are already maxed out? There are better things for humanity to spend resources on than ever lower SINAD.

S.
True but on the flip side if we just use those resources to invent ways to check the content of your fridge from your smartphone it's not really any better.
 

Ajax

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I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough. What point chasing ever better specs when our ears are already maxed out? There are better things for humanity to spend resources on than ever lower SINAD.

S.
I agree there is such a thing as "fit for purpose" ... what's the point of cars being capable of 160m/hr when legally they can't exceed 75m/hr or 100m/hr say safely.

However, from an engineer's (technical) standpoint often a lot is learnt, sometime unintentionally, when striving for excellence.
 

AudioSceptic

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I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough. What point chasing ever better specs when our ears are already maxed out? There are better things for humanity to spend resources on than ever lower SINAD.

S.
I think that 16 bit and 44.1 or 48 kHz is enough, but judging by the acceptance by some of vinyl even now, is even that overkill?
 

MediumRare

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I give NY credit for good faith but he clearly suffered from too much ego and too little management ability. He got taken in by the bizness folks who milked him, as they do many celebrities. Crypto, anyone?
 

pavuol

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Interestingly, the triangular design was not a caprice, it holds the same battery as your "old" Tesla EV..

[iFixit] ..quite long article for a battery change procedure though
alENGMyKQYdiFmQV.medium
 

Spkrdctr

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Guys, knowing what many singers know about technology, I would say that he got the following. He asked someone to find someone who was in the audio business in manufacturing. They did and had a sit down with Neil. The engineers at the manufacturing company or electronics design company blew smoke up his skirt about everything that ultimately verified his opinions on what was wrong with music in his opinion. He thought fantastic, these guys can give me what I want. The engineers and the sales/marketing team also saw a possible money making idea. So the project went forward. Not one of the engineers bothered to tell him that he could not hear any difference or could any of the future customers. Instead, looking at a possible nice payday, they reinforced incorrect thinking and produced a product that wasn't broken too much (channel issues). I wonder if the product ever made any money? Who knows.
 

vkvedam

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My very close acquaintance went ahead and bought this piece of kit assuming that it would be superior :facepalm:. Apart from Neil Young's endorsement there is nothing to write home about this. Meridian did the engineering bit if not mistaken.
 

sergeauckland

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I care. I am surprised you don't. You don't think there is more to audio electronics engineering than "but can you hear the difference"?
I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough. What point chasing ever better specs when our ears are already maxed out? There are better things for humanity to spend resources on than ever lower SINAD.

S.
I agree there is such a thing as "fit for purpose" ... what's the point of cars being capable of 160m/hr when legally they can't exceed 75m/hr or 100m/hr say safely.

However, from an engineer's (technical) standpoint often a lot is learnt, sometime unintentionally, when striving for excellence.
The law of Unintended Consequences (for good or ill) applies to engineering like everything else. However, after a lifetime in Audio Engineering I struggle to think of anything new that could come out of improving digital audio past Red Book CD, and even then...

S.
 

Rja4000

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It would be interesting to compare to an iPod from the same period. I have no idea how one would inject test signals into an old click wheel iPod though.
Yep, that was my thought too. It's a 2015 player, so we should compare it against 2015 technology. Any comments on that Amir? How does it measure up against contemporary music players?
As a comparison, here is a measurement of my 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Test signal played through the standard Samsung Music application (so not bit perfect) to the standard 3.5mm headphones output.
(This is Left channel. Right is 0.6dB better)

Note 4 SINAD 997Hz Ana Out_Crop.png
 
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sergeauckland

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True but on the flip side if we just use those resources to invent ways to check the content of your fridge from your smartphone it's not really any better.
Indeed. Just because we can has never meant that we should. It would pay for clever inventors to actually stop and think what actual benefit some of these new inventions actually bring...apart from the potential to make money.

S.
 
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