29 thoughts on “Pono: By The Numbers

  • September 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm
    Permalink

    So why don’t we go to Russ Solomon, the original owner of Tower Records and give him the money…. ( instead of Neil) to reopen Tower Records. Sell Pono units, sell CD’s, do in-stores and meet the artists who’ll sign your Pono, CD or Vinyl. Rejoice in the gathering of music lovers of all walks of life, leaving their computers and walking to a real record store and joining their kindred spirits in the magic of music.
    Imagine a floor dedicated to the promotion of true High res recordings. Not just made available to the handful of Axpona show visitors, but to a much broader audience, 365 days a year!

    The money would be much better spent.
    Glorifying the CD as if it was just discovered and or reinvented and calling it HD-Audio is the dumbest m**he**u*k**g thing I ever heard. Let’s get the Kardashians’ to start promoting this amazing development of 44.1 x 16 so the whole world can see how far we have come.
    Thanks for listening and God Bless!

    Reply
  • September 13, 2014 at 10:38 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for showing us what Pono music is finally all about. I am not really surprised to read that they gave into the commercial pressures and will have very little HR content in reality. Upsampling redbook format is not cricket, provenance is key here.

    Now maybe would be a good time to get back onto promoting your own HR music and give the competition a chance to lick their wounds; tongue lashings have a nasty way of coming back to bite you. It’s time to stand on your own merits without being scathing of other efforts at selling mislabelled product ! 🙂

    Reply
    • September 14, 2014 at 10:15 am
      Permalink

      I thought it was very important to put the whole Pono thing in perspective…and I’m pretty disappointed in how things have turned out. Information is power and the audio buying public has a right to know.

      Reply
  • September 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm
    Permalink

    What a disappointment, I thought at least he was going to try and offer something special. As it is it’s just another HDTracks, Acoustic Sounds, etc. At least at HDTracks if I want to buy a ripped CD in a big HD bucket I can get it at 96/24 for only $17.95
    I do see the problem of the very limited existence of available material recorded in true HDA like you do. Mostly I see new “popular” music still being recorded in analog. We need the big studios to start sending their tape recorders to the obsolete bin.
    Here’s a point in question. I have the blu-ray of David Gilmour’s Remember That Night, Live At The Royal Albert Hall. Closest opportunity we’ll ever get of a true HD recording of Pink Floyd. BUT how was it recorded?. It sounds great on my 5.1 system I couldn’t say for sure either way and can’t find any info on the provenance???

    Reply
    • September 14, 2014 at 10:16 am
      Permalink

      Pono is not even another HDtracks or Acoustic Sounds…they aren’t offering regular CDs.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2014 at 1:15 am
    Permalink

    MP3 has become so ubiquitous that it is “standard definition” to the mass market. It is actually low definition, but of course the labels will not call it that. So now, CD quality is purveyed as “high definition” by ignorant or unscrupulous marketers, as if it is the latest and the greatest. Let us stick to calling 96/24 and 192/24 as “ultra high definition”, and all of us can rest in peace. Amen.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2014 at 10:18 am
      Permalink

      I disagree. It’s true that MP3 or lossy compressed audio files have become ubiquitous but it is another thing to elevate them to “standard definition” status. I think more listener understand that they are hearing compromised quality with MP3. And it’s not enough to label a 96 or 192 file Ultra HD-Audio unless it was recorded at the time of the original session that way.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2014 at 7:41 am
    Permalink

    “The world wants quality over quantity.”

    Absolutely not true; that is wishful thinking. A few of us want quality over quantity. The rest of the world prefers quantity at the lowest price. But they don’t mind if you throw in quality as well. …Keep dreaming.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2014 at 10:20 am
      Permalink

      You’re right, of course. I mistyped as I finished the piece. I’ve changed it.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2014 at 11:51 am
    Permalink

    I don’t have any answers but as we all know the music industry is in the toilet today. What the problem is I don’t know but they can’t sell the product they’re producing at any resolution. Rock is dead, classical died 100 years ago, Rap, R&B and Country has a limited audience, there just isn’t a mass market for today’s products?
    MFSL and the rest did well back in the day when the market was happy to pay up for a quality version of the music they loved. Times have changed and I have no idea why, where are the super groups of the 50s*90s?

    Reply
    • September 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm
      Permalink

      There are really great artists out there doing really great work…but they’re buying into the advice of their handlers. Too bad.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    Permalink

    Shared this article with Pono personnel and here was their response.

    Pedram Abrari (PonoMusic)
    The guy couldn’t even spell my name correctly. The rest of his assertions are as valid as his spelling on my name. Our products will speak for themselves in not too long from now.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 7:16 am
      Permalink

      I apologize to Mr. Abrari for the error…I had copied his name from a comment at showbiz411.com. As for his assertion that the rest of the information in my article are “invalid”, I have to worry since most of this information came from his comments on that very same page. Is he saying that they won’t deliver 10,000 units of the Pono player in October? Or that the company isn’t selling equity shares at $5000 per unit through Crowdfunder? And how about the statement that 2.5 million tracks will be available when the site is launched?

      His non-response to the actual numbers speaks volumes as to their veracity…which I stand by. I didn’t make this stuff up…I pulled it from the information that Neil and his team have made public.

      The “our products will speak for themselves” is a time tested way of deflecting attention away from painful facts. The Pono “machine” will be a miniature version of iTunes without the AAC compression. It’s just that simple.

      I am impressed that Pedram responded. I just wish he’d confronted the issues at hand instead of dodging them.

      Reply
        • September 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm
          Permalink

          If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’d find that I’ve been researching and writing about this topic for a very long time. I’m not sure what Pedram’s comment has to do with my post other than I used his response to confirm deliveries and other aspects to their campaign.

          Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 10:53 am
    Permalink

    Instead of just coping information from other websites and throwing numbers at people who cannot check the figures why not be happy that someone (Neil Young in this case) is trying to stir up the music-industry by addressing the issue of bad sound quality of MP3. No, you go the easy route of bashing, shame on you!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm
      Permalink

      I have met and chatted with Neil Young. I have a gold DVD on the wall of my studio for a project I did with him. I’m a fan and have seen him perform, bought his recordings, and appreciate his efforts to improve the fidelity of recorded music. He has managed to stir things up…or at least get a lot of people talking about audio fidelity and high-resolution audio.

      The numbers I report above are the results of my reading, studying, and absorbing the Pono initiative from online, sources, press reports, interviews with Neil, personal discussions with the former CEO John Hamm, and comments make by employees of Pono.

      It’s very clear that Pono will be delivering standard resolution CD quality rips to their player. If I was contemplating purchasing tunes from their site, I would want to know that they aren’t the 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC files that they were talking about months ago, but rips of CDs that you can purchase at Walmart for less than $10.

      Shame on them.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm
    Permalink

    The author fails to realize that at the very least, the Pono player will play CD-quality rips through AUDIOPHILE EQUIPMENT at a fraction of the price of similar equipment. And that is the bare minimum. HD filed will be above and beyond that.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm
      Permalink

      The Pono player is a fine piece of equipment, no doubt. I’ve said so previously and continue to believe it…Charles Hansen of Ayre knows his stuff. But it’s not dramatically better than existing portable players from A&K or even the HTC M8 Harman Kardon phone.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm
    Permalink

    A & K are extremely expensive and the reviews on the sound quality of the HTC M8 are iffy at best.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm
      Permalink

      The A&K are very expensive and do a great job of playing back high-resolution sound files…but having listened to both and having an HTC, it’s very hard to justify the additional price.

      Reply
  • September 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm
    Permalink

    According to listings on the Pono site for their “Limited Edition” Signature players, which are preloaded with two artist albums, most of the recordings will be 192khz/24bit. That says high resolution to me. Are you saying they will be up-sampled CD versions? They have stated that they will NOT up-sample and that all content available through their site will be the highest resolution available WITHOUT up-sampling. So, if they are offerring CD quality as high resolution, I think that would be fraud on Ponos behalf, and I doubt they would do that. Comment?

    Reply
    • September 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm
      Permalink

      I can only vaguely remember which artists versions will be available, but if memory serves me…you can count on the sources being from analog tape that has been transferred to 192 kHz/24-bit PCM, it you’re lucky. I don’t think that Pono will be upconverting CD resolution stuff to FLAC at 192 kHz/24-bits, they would start a firestorm because everyone would be able to tell. The statement that the content will be at the highest available resolution hedges their bets. If the CD resolution files are what are available, then that’s what they’re going to offer. They will have the same tracks as HDtracks form the majors but they’re not going to get the original James Taylor analog masters and convert them to 192 kHz/24-bits.

      Reply
      • September 21, 2014 at 7:29 pm
        Permalink

        Thanks for the reply. From my perspective, I can live with the highest resolution being offered on all their music as long as no up-sampling is done. One stop shopping if the library is large enough. They also will have download and ripping software at the site. The real test will be what the Pono unit sounds like. The music offerings are really secondary given that there are many places to buy downloads. However, a great sounding device, along with a store for purchase and download software, would be unique

        Reply
        • September 22, 2014 at 7:34 am
          Permalink

          I’ve heard the device and it’s going to be a really good portable play back device…but not worth the money when you can get practically the same thing for less and all of the benefits of a smart phone.

          Reply
  • September 22, 2014 at 9:13 am
    Permalink

    Wait a minute….your whole mantra has been about quality versus quantity and you end it on this note about practically the same thing for less and the “benefits” of a smart phone? WTF?!?! You are a confused youngster who needs to go study journalism and stop “ripping” articles from other sources. This is hypocritical thinking. I have an LE ordered and have been in the Pono office and listened to a beta Pono Player. Way beyond a stupid phone pal. I for one am sick of devices – like people – who purport to do everything well. Impossible. I wish my stupid phone could be just a good phone instead of trying to do everything. For those of you out there who are worried about your supporting Pono before listening and now getting the fear from this bash-a-thon don’t worry. Having been involved in music as a musician, disk jockey from when vinyl was all we had and audio engineer for live bands I vouch for the innovation and quality of a Pono player. Let Mr. Fear go play with his smart phone and stop reading into his childish banter about numbers. Your ears are what count.

    Reply
    • September 22, 2014 at 3:52 pm
      Permalink

      I sure do like being called a youngster…that hasn’t happened in a while. I’m not sure where you think I’ve been “ripping” articles from but I can assure you that I pen every word every day. I’ve listened to the Pono player as well and it’s a great player…I’ve stated that. But there are now Smartphones that come very close to the same fidelity and unlike you, I don’t want a separate device for everything I want or need…a digital camera, a camcorder, a dumb phone, a music player, a pager etc.

      You seem to fall into the “trust your ears” camp…that’s certainly a common retort when facts get in the way. But specifications matter. They matter for Neil Young, too. He was the one that said CD spec audio is substandard or “underwater”…and now virtually everything you will hear through your Pono player will be Redbook specification. The numbers in this piece are all accurate.

      Reply
  • September 23, 2014 at 8:02 am
    Permalink

    I think the author is missing the bigger picture here. Firstly, they won’t be selling “CD rips” – most digital masters are 44.1/16, you know…. the same as CD?! Sheesh. Secondly, no one with any common sense would launch a download store with just so called “high definition” files, because there aren’t enough available to make a store viable. Aside from Young likely suffering from deafness and tinnitus, I’d take his word on CD quality with a pinch of salt because it far exceeds his hearing capabilities. If you are such a snob that you will only buy high def files from stores that only sell high def files, then that’s your look out innit?!

    Reply
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:01 am
      Permalink

      The Omnifone providers of the 2.5 million CD spec tracks that Pono has promised will be available on launch day are, in fact, ripped from commercial CDs. Those files are 44.1 kHz/16-bit PCM audio and are being prepared with metadata as FLAC files. What did I miss here? A file transferred from a CD to hard drive is a “rip”, right? As to your second point, I guess I don’t have any common sense because I launched iTrax (which was the world’s first high-resolution audio digital music download site) in 2007 and it only offers real high-resolution recordings. And in spite of the limited catalog, the site is viable and profitable. And sites like HDtracks, which offers recordings of all sorts from the major labels, is a very lucrative music download platform.

      CDs are wonderful but they don’t eclipse Neil’s ability to hear or the best ears on the planet. I guess I am a high-resolution advocate or “snob” because I want to know that what I purchase is actually what it claims to be.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 − one =