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Neil Young PONO player Review

Rate this player:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 157 85.8%
  • 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
    183

Hipster Doofus

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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.
WOW..CAN U DO THAT…. “Smartphone…bring me a beer!,,
 

ripmixburn

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The ad campaign was so strange and misleading. I recall him having famous musicians endorse the sound after a demo in his car stereo.

CBC
 

ripmixburn

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I guess if Neil Young drove up and pressured me to wax poetic on his product, I'd do the same, but this is quite a celebrity parade of dumb comments. Never meet your idols I guess.
 

D!sco

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Wasn't this performance considered pretty good in the day? 2014 was like, the stone age of digital dac/amp design. Today it's a glorified paperweight, not even worth $50 but sadly it still beats most bluetooth connections.
 

IAtaman

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I don't. Once something is transparent, that's quite Good Enough.
So looking at the measurements here, you can conclude this is transparent?

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.
At a personal, consumer level I don't disagree - nothing wrong with stopping to pay attention once your chain is transparent. As an industry however, I appreciate the engineering, and that the people who develop these devices did not go "they can't hear the difference anyway" and stop. Thanks to those people, we have power amps that perform better than this Digital Component of the Year 2015. That is time and effort well spent in my opinion.
 

IAtaman

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Wasn't this performance considered pretty good in the day? 2014 was like, the stone age of digital dac/amp design. Today it's a glorified paperweight, not even worth $50 but sadly it still beats most bluetooth connections.
I agree, there is bit of "presentism" indeed at looking at a device from a decade ago almost and judging its performance based on the expectations of today.
 

Steve Dallas

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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?
My LG phone from that era measures much better than this piece of audiophile jewelry.
 

peniku8

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Why the headless panther? It's far from being state of the art, but it's able to deliver an audio signal with imperceptible distortion and imperceptible noise if you gain-stage right. It seems like a perfectly fine playback device to me.
 

Steve Dallas

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Why the headless panther? It's far from being state of the art, but it's able to deliver an audio signal with imperceptible distortion and imperceptible noise if you gain-stage right. It seems like a perfectly fine playback device to me.

This was sold as a Hi-Res (>16/44.1) audio device. Yet it cannot clear even 16 bit resolution. It fails at its core mission, therefore it is poorly executed.
 

Rottmannash

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Do we know if it can bypass the Android mixer to pass bit perfect? It is based on an Android platform, is it not?
 

bogart

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Love seeing this review, thanks Amir!

I loved the idea of making sure fidelity was something that was commercially relevant at the time he released this. It’s disappointing to see how bad the implementation was. It also was doomed from the start without a bigger coalition behind it. Ergonomics on this player were also puzzling, although imitating the iPod interface probably would have gotten them into trouble!

Too bad, but very interesting anyhow!
 

martin900

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Nothing wrong with it, considering the age and it being a portable toy.
 

Mulder

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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??
But the CLAIM they made for this product was that it was better, that you should hear a difference for the better. The point was not that it was indistinguishable.
 

markrubin

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Sep 17, 2019
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I bought this player when it first came out…and returned it
I also bought in to MQA
all because some top industry musician/sound engineer said so….
lesson learned
 

Neddy

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I picked up one of these on fleabay for not much money several years ago. Wonder if they've actually gone up in value.
(I guess I could offer it up here if anyone is interested.)
Packed away in it's box now, but was - for it's time - a handy bedside system player, and an interesting design 'exercise'.
But it did not fit in a pocket well (aside from maybe in it's box) at all.
Battery is an 18650 so easily replacable, and (at one time, don't recall what's in there now) had a 128gb SD card in it, so no lack of tunes.
Uploading tunes from a desktop was pretty straightforward, as I recall, too.
I liked it, for what it was. Too bad it measures so horribly- another example of 'star attitude' - like so many 'famous people' today - who aquire/are told of 'speshul technical knowlege' by a select cadre of 'whisperers' who perturb (their presumably decent, basic) search for 'truth'. (Ahem, Famous Quarterback I won't mention ,with disturbingly dingbat ideas.)
Oh well.
 

Ein

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John Atkinson poor measure reviewer. Very poor. Always $$$ and no more than that.
 

Fidji

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Neil Young, Roger Waters, Gary Lineker - just a reminder, that if you are really talented in something, it does not mean that you are smart.
 

Robin L

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Neil Young, Roger Waters, Gary Lineker - just a reminder, that if you are really talented in something, it does not mean that you are smart.
More to the point, people who are gifted in one area of knowledge all too frequently assume they are gifted in all areas of knowledge. BTW, Neil Young is gifted in the realm of model railroads, for what it's worth.

 

MacClintock

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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??
It is on the threshold of having audible distortion and noise. So maybe somebody can pass an ABX test against a truly transparent player, maybe not. But this is not the point at all. What can be stated for sure is that nobody will profit from playing hi-res files on this device, as it's dynamic range is too limited to use any of the additional information. And this was the principle selling point. So it is a failure right from the start.
 
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