Author Topic: Pono Music  (Read 942 times)

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Offline Majik

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 09:58:14 am »
By the way, there have been cases where "hires" music has been sold which was actually upsampled from the original CD masters. Noone noticed, and some reviewers even raved about how much more detailed these releases were...

Until someone analysed them and realised that they were just 16/44.1 format wrapped in a padded hires envelope.

The danger with "hires", to me is it is a distraction. The real benefits of hires, where they exist, are in the mastering because, in most cases, the hires release has been much more carefully mixed and mastered, and has better dynamic range, etc. When these are downsampled to CD quality, they sound just as good, which shows that it is possible to perform great mastering for CD.

The trouble with "hires" is it artificially and deceptively links the format to the better audio quality that comes from better mastering. The implication is that any track released in a hires format will automatically sound better, when the reality is it's nothing to do with the format. The audio industry love this as it allows them to sell hires as a premium priced product, both for equipment and for content.

I'm all in favour of better mastering quality, and I've no problem if a premium is charged for it, but claiming these improvements are due to "hires" is deceptive and open to abuse. As can be seen by my example above, can be used to sell people lumpfish roe at beluga caviar prices.

The trouble is most of the people driving this are unlikely to be honest about it, as they have vested interests in selling expensive kit to listen to these formats on.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut SE, Yamaha Pacifica 112V, Fender Tele Lite Ash, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 01:34:12 pm »
I'm willing to keep an open mind about DSD because that is more about the characteristics of the electronics that process it, than about the format. Frankly I don't know enough about it to be able to make a judgement on it, but if the DSD proponent want to be taken seriously, they really need to be conducting proper tests. If they can really prove it is audibly better, they could help drive the recording industry in new directions. If it turns out to be bunkum, they could be saving themselves a lot of money buying esoteric kit which doesn't actually help.

I suppose I'm not making my point. these people I am speaking of. that I have followed for years and trust their knowledge and judgement have already changed the direction of the recording industry. They are in fact 'the" direction of the recording industry. "we" don't realize that because we are involved with the cd and mp3 playback industry. They can't control that and are fully aware of it's limitations.

Also they are not trying to hide anything by avoiding abx testing, I have even heard some of them say things to the effect of "come to my studio and I will show you that I pick it 9 out of 10 times" I am paraphrasing.... but they are adamant.... read the link I posted above... the guy picked it 9 out of ten.

also you have to realize that in recording you may not be in 'normal levels' like listening to reverb tails fade to black. Finally most are in agreement that to truly ABX the subject must first be taught what to listen for when many are not but the test is still regarded as fact.

You can call them foolish if you like but wouldn't Occamn's Razor suggest that rather than foolish coincidence that instead, the most simple explanation is that something really does exist?



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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 01:47:50 pm »
The trouble is most of the people driving this are unlikely to be honest about it, as they have vested interests in selling expensive kit to listen to these formats on.

I'm not sure if I'm not making myself clear or what but...

A. these people I am speaking of have no financial interest in any of it. In fact some of the gear can no longer be bought due to lack of interest, so it was a pain to even deal with. Since that time other manufacturers have made new gear.

B. they think, to a great degree "audiophiles" .. the air guote audiophiles.. are indeed "audiopfools" as well.

C. They know about the hide a file inside a file and all the tricks

D. they have absolutley no reason what so ever to "add xx--xx on" just to be doing it.

E. They are -painfully- aware at how their music gets destroyed in manufacturing an delivery

F. Some are mastering engineers and or deal with mastering on a regular basis

So again I've tried to make it clear here that these people are not claiming the "better cd" or "my records sound better"... Rather this is what they do to keep the start of the recording / mastering art as high as possible,,,, and I would go so far to say that they are probably way more skeptical than most as to what does and doesn't work.

If they were all over the map on this, like when someone aks what pickup to buy, which mic, which pre... but this has not panned out that way... that to me is the simple answer. It must actually be real.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 06:29:06 pm »
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Offline Majik

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2014, 10:42:20 am »
I suppose I'm not making my point. these people I am speaking of. that I have followed for years and trust their knowledge and judgement have already changed the direction of the recording industry. They are in fact 'the" direction of the recording industry. "we" don't realize that because we are involved with the cd and mp3 playback industry. They can't control that and are fully aware of it's limitations.

Hero-worship is meaningless. I know plenty of people who I respect and trust (to a degree) on a subject, but who overstep that and start claiming things which they have no right to claim expertise on.

Most of the people who work in recording studios (for example) are highly skilled, experienced and well trained people. However, they are (almost by definition) not scientists and do not understand the scientific method. They are also, often, influenced by "tribal knowledge". People don't like change, especially if it threatens their career, their position in society (or in their community), or their belief system. Many who grew up prior to digital technology will assume, without evidence, that most of the aspects of recording simply cannot be done as well by a computer. They will point to specific issues with specific equipment, or use apocryphal stories as "evidence" to reinforce their beliefs.

When challenged, the break out the fallacies. Here are some great examples:

Fallacy number 1: there are examples of people who can reliablly pick out hires in ABX tests

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Also they are not trying to hide anything by avoiding abx testing, I have even heard some of them say things to the effect of "come to my studio and I will show you that I pick it 9 out of 10 times" I am paraphrasing.... but they are adamant.... read the link I posted above... the guy picked it 9 out of ten.

I'm sure they would, but unless they have done so under properly controlled, peer reviewed conditions then it's totally worthless. It's just bluster.

I don't doubt they believe what they say, but I doubt they have ever really taken part in a properly performed blind ABX test, largely because they are difficult to perform properly. The guy putting his system on random play certainly doesn't count. There all sorts of ways he could be introducing influence there.

The reality is, if they genuinely can do this, and reproducibly, they need to get an independent scientific testing team out there to oversee and validate this test because they will have been able to do something that no other person has been able to do to date. This is important as it would for once an all end the debate over whether hires is audible or not.

You would think they would be keen to prove that, right? Clearly not enough to actually be properly and publicly challenged on it by people who may impose scientific rigour and method.

Fallacy number 2: You need to be carefully trained to hear these differences

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also you have to realize that in recording you may not be in 'normal levels' like listening to reverb tails fade to black. Finally most are in agreement that to truly ABX the subject must first be taught what to listen for when many are not but the test is still regarded as fact.

Firstly, if you need special acoustically treated environments, ultra-high-end equipment, and specialist training in order to hear these differences, they must be ultra, ultra subtle. It must be like trying to hear a mouse fart in a windstorm. If this is the case, why is the industry peddling this to everyday people with everyday hifi setups in everyday houses with their poor acoustics?

By their own definition, these people won't be able to hear the difference, so why is the industry promoting it to them?

Secondly, the properly done tests have been done, as in the BAS case I quoted above "The tests were conducted for over a year using different systems and a variety of subjects. The systems included expensive professional monitors and one high-end system with electrostatic loudspeakers and expensive components and cables. The subjects included professional recording engineers, students in a university recording program, and dedicated audiophiles."

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You can call them foolish if you like but wouldn't Occamn's Razor suggest that rather than foolish coincidence that instead, the most simple explanation is that something really does exist?

No. In the absence of any other supporting evidence other than the opinion of the people concerned, and in the presence of very real evidence that the human brain is very good at imagining senses, and is also very poor at comparing and recalling certain senses (especially audio), science comes firmly down on the side that says these people are imagining it.

By the way, I don't call them foolish for doing so. I call them human. We all do it. If they are being foolish it is in ignoring the fact that the brain is easily fooled, especially when one has a belief system and is trying to defend it. Unfortunately the very nature of this is that it is impossible to completely remove all objectivism when testing.

The only way to test properly is to eradicate any human influence as much as possible, and that means properly conducted, peer reviewed, blind ABX testing. Every word in that underline part is vitally important. If any part is missing or defective then the whole experiment becomes pretty much useless.

Anyone who claims otherwise simply has no credibility, regardless of how much you personally respect them. They might as well claim they can cure cancer with the power of crystal healing.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut SE, Yamaha Pacifica 112V, Fender Tele Lite Ash, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
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Offline Majik

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2014, 11:33:35 am »

I'm not sure if I'm not making myself clear or what but...

You are making yourself absolutely clear. I have heard it all before. Every time I have had this discussion with "one of the faithful" they think they have some new, revelationary argument or evidence that will make me go "oh, I did't realise that".

But they don't. It's the same old opinions, rumours, and pseudo scientific straw-clutching as before.

So, yes I fully understand you.

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A. these people I am speaking of have no financial interest in any of it. In fact some of the gear can no longer be bought due to lack of interest, so it was a pain to even deal with. Since that time other manufacturers have made new gear.

A lot of the people at the forefront of "hires" very much have a vested interest. Linn, for example. Also the studios and anyone who sells "hires" content stands to gain.

There is also a huge "belief system" that underpins this (as well as a lot of other audiophillia). To a degree this is based on elitism and snobbery. A lot of people who have bought expensive high-end systems hate the thought that the same results could be obtained from a mid-range consumer system. It's also based on flawed understanding of digital audio (the Xiph article I posted explains many of the "tricks" designed to fool people). Unfortunately digital audio isn't as "obvious" or as comprehensible as analogue.

I have seen many cases, for instance where people have attributed analogue characteristics to things like digital cables where those changes could not have possibly existed (and have been proven to not exist). The mere suggestion or assumption is enough to trigger the brain into imagining a difference. Noone is totally immune from this, but people who have a propensity to believe that it might make a difference are much more suggestible. Those who have just stumped up a lot of money on an expensive piece of kit even more so!

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B. they think, to a great degree "audiophiles" .. the air guote audiophiles.. are indeed "audiopfools" as well.

Yes and no, but I actually think a lot of this is peer pressure, and the Internet has helped with this. If the public wasn't routinely ridiculing things like Brilliant Pebbles and $1500 network cables, I have little doubt that a lot more of the industry would be lining up behind them.

The trouble is there's a fine line between snake oil and science. Despite your assertion that they are against this stuff as much as the rest of us, the industry is awash with snake oil, especially when it comes to cables.

A relevant case in point is Neil Young and the Pono. If someone as big and influential (and experienced in recording studios) as him can flog a nice bottle of "Dr Young's Elixir for the Willfully Ignorant", then the industry is a long way from being out of the influence of this.

As I said, the way to approach this would be to do much more open scientific testing. If you think you have found something that works, test it properly before making claims about how revolutionary it is.

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C. They know about the hide a file inside a file and all the tricks

I wasn't saying they didn't. What I was demonstrating is how easily people are fooled. I was showing that people who claim they can hear differences were shown to have been imagining it. As I said, this is a human condition and no amount of training can remove it. Only removing human bias with proper testing can.

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D. they have absolutley no reason what so ever to "add xx--xx on" just to be doing it.

No, but if they have valid (if only valid in their own minds) reasons for doing so, then the imagination takes over and we end up with people doing things which don't necessarily make sense.

For example: it is very clear that higher-resolution does make a difference with audio files. Science tells us it does, and the difference between a 8-bit recording and a 16-bit one is very clear. The same applies with frequency: a 24kHz sampled recording sounds far worse than an equivalent 48kHz one.

The trouble is the human imagination tends to extrapolate this: if a 16/48kHz recording sounds so good, surely a 24/96 one will sound so much better. And a 24/192 recording must sound fantastic. And what about 32/384....

The trouble is, these assumptions that the human mind makes are wrong, but we are inquisitive people and that leads to us trying it anyway. And because we are predisposed to believe in things like this, the imagination is very good at filling in the blanks and tell us we perceive a difference.

Once again, this is all human nature.

The reality is a 24/96 format music file is at least 50% full of inaudible (to humans) noise. This has been proven time and time again in rigorous scientific tests. The whole discipline of audiology is based on this (I know because I have a hearing impaired daughter and frequently speak to specialist doctors about it). At best this noise is pointless and expensive (if you are paying a premium for the files and for the system to play them on). At worst it can introduce damaging intermodulation products in your equipment which can degrade the audio.

Now on the latter point, especially given there's some scientific evidence to support it, your would have thought the industry/audiophiles would have jumped all over this. After all "better audio" is the aim, and anything which produces "worse audio" should be considered harmful.

The fact that this has all been roundly ignored by the industry makes me think they are more interested in "better specs" than "better audio".

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E. They are -painfully- aware at how their music gets destroyed in manufacturing an delivery

Yes indeed.

As I have said in other threads, I have no problem using hires in the recording studio. That makes a lot of sense: it gives "space" to manipulate the music in without damaging it. One of the best descriptions I heard (from one of the original developers of the SADiE who is a good friend of mine) was "it gives us an inaudible area to push all of the noise, artefacts, and other rubbish that occur during digital production".

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F. Some are mastering engineers and or deal with mastering on a regular basis

And their job is to master to a high a quality is possible. That is not in doubt, nor is their use of higher resolutions.

However, I've yet to see anything other than apocryphal evidence or opinion that these guys can detect the differences between standard and hires audio formats. I'm sure they have convinced themselves they can, but their job relies on them believing in their ability to hear really well. They are prime candidates to be susceptible to confirmation bias.

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So again I've tried to make it clear here that these people are not claiming the "better cd" or "my records sound better"... Rather this is what they do to keep the start of the recording / mastering art as high as possible,,,, and I would go so far to say that they are probably way more skeptical than most as to what does and doesn't work.

I have no problem with them doing this. This part of the process should remain committed to aiming for the best quality possible for masters. I will point out that the majority of doing so is not about file formats or technology necessarily, but about the skill of the mastering Engineer. Technology is not always a silver bullet.

These guys are great at their jobs, but proving or disproving the efficacy of different technology is generally not in their skill set, as much as they like to think it is.

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If they were all over the map on this, like when someone aks what pickup to buy, which mic, which pre... but this has not panned out that way... that to me is the simple answer. It must actually be real.

As I said, it's a belief system that has been handed down as "assumed knowledge" in the industry. It's also based on a lack of knowledge of sampling theory (I doubt most of the people who work in recording studios have the mathematical skills to fully understand it) and that fact that a lot of things in digital audio are counter-intuitive.

There's also a lot of peer pressure: I know of one recording studio Engineer who challenged some of the industry assumptions and did some tests which disproved the influence of certain things (in his case cables, power supplies, etc.). After doing do he was subject to all kinds of snarky comments and vitriol from his peers.

Cheers,

Keith
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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2014, 11:35:16 am »
You guys going to do this dance every time digital audio comes up?

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2014, 03:23:22 pm »
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Anyone who claims otherwise simply has no credibility, regardless of how much you personally respect them. They might as well claim they can cure cancer with the power of crystal healing.

Got it.  Everything is absolute. It's either proven by ABX or it's street corner preaching in one's underwear.

{Note to self.... sell the Agile LP} In fact... sell all the guitars.. none have ever been proven in an ABX test... there is no credibility.

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Offline Majik

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2014, 03:54:31 pm »

Got it.  Everything is absolute. It's either proven by ABX or it's street corner preaching in one's underwear.


No, just extraordinary claims which fly in the face of everything science has discovered about audio and hearing in the last few centuries of observation, experimentation, testing, measurement and analysis.

And which is easily explained by other, well known and well understood phenomena.

Just like fairies and unicorns. You are welcome to believe in them, but don't expect anyone else to just because your belief is so strong.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut SE, Yamaha Pacifica 112V, Fender Tele Lite Ash, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2014, 04:50:42 pm »
I guess I simply have a hard time taking you seriously when you toss in terms like foolish, hero worship, engineers by default don't understand science, myth vs fact so you say, iow... your lack of evidence is in fact evidence but not for anyone else.

You can certainly further your point into the realm of believability debating me, but I have no experience in the matter and no facilities to offer any other evidence... yet you don't seem to offer any evidence to where you have presented your points of view to those qualified to actually refute or offer real world alternate views.

So it sounds good on paper but you are not discussing with people that know... and I am simply relaying information from people that I believe do know ( even though you discredit them ).

But hey,,,, if you say these guys can't tell 320K mp3 and CD from DSD then you must be right because science wasn't there holding their hand and you believe only science is credible.

Which came first? Reality or the Scientist. Obviously the answer is the "test subjects" as the scientist needed them to lend credibility to his reality.  :D

When I was very young I stuck my finger in a light socket. My results may not have been credible because I didn't understand science nor electricity... but I knew right then and there, I didn't like it and had no intention of doing that again.





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Offline Tim Mason

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2014, 05:11:10 pm »
Well - maybe. But history has demonstrated time and time again that people are capable of self-deception to a very high degree. Knowledgeable medical men believed for centuries in the efficacity of remedies that their modern descendants know to have been totally unfounded. Today's doctors are far less reliant on their own judgement, and far more on scientific testing. They may regret it, but there ain't no turning back. Our bodies are subject to natural processes, and these processes are law-like: they are regular, predictable, and, in principle, testable. Where there's a choice between an opinion that has been tested and peer-reviewed, and one that's based on individual experience, however deep, it's wise to choose the former.

Where people have invested years of training in mastering some skill, they're unlikely to welcome the lady with the slide-rule. But without the scientist and the scientific method, we would not be hearing the music we're hearing at all. And we wouldn't be learning how to play the guitar from an internet site.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2014, 05:44:52 pm »
Agreed, but there seems to be some preconceived notion that these people are unwelcoming of the people with the slide rule, when the fact is nothing could further from the truth. It's just the opposite. they welcome the scientist to deliver proof... either direction.

Again. debating me is certain to get people to accept your point as I don;t know xx--xx from shineola on the subject. I do find it interesting that so many people hear something they like in DSD and I wish I had the opportunity to hear it. I'm not going to simply call them liars and fools right out of the gate.

I don't doubt science, but science doesn't create reality. It simply measures it and/or helps explain it to the best of human ability. To claim an experience has no credit before it's 'scientifically proven' is simply closed minded in my way of thinking.

I mean if I use your guys logic... prove to me engineers don't understand science. Prove to me no one can hear the difference between 320kbs MP3 and DSD in a room they have been working for well over  decades with music they are intimately family with.

Ok, you can't prove it, so you must be wrong? That's what you guys are telling me. Do I agree you can set out to try and prove it, yes. Will the people that claim to hear it be happy for you to do so, yes( contrary to your claims)...

IOW, it simply seems you guys are debating science vs non-science and science has to always win. How about debate reality.... Do you have ABX testing that shows people that are intimately familiar with the gear, room, music, can't tell 320kbs MP3 from 5.6Mhz DSD? If you do, can you post a link, so I can read it?

You guys are on a witch hunt. You are trying to shoot the messenger for a crime you are manufacturing. At least shoot me for delivering the actual message. No need to make up falsehoods about the message source being uneducated, financially motivated, pack mentality, etc.. I mean unless of course you have actual evidence in this specific instance... but i have specifically not mentioned any names so perhaps you have assumed whom I may be speaking of and scientifically correctly identified them all. In that case, I would be very impressed.






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Offline Tim Mason

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2014, 08:33:12 pm »
Peace.




Offline Majik

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2014, 09:43:46 pm »
You seem to be missing this fundamental fact:

It is impossible to scientifically prove that hires , DSD, etc. is not audibly different.

Science always errs on the side of caution. It assumes that something might be true unless there's evidence that irrefutably proves otherwise.

When it comes to proving or disproving the existence of something, such as:

Fairies
Unicorns
Yetis
Alien abduction
Ghosts
The audibility of hires

... it is impossible to prove the absence of any of these things scientifically. They can be proven to be highly unlikely to exist and, I would say that has been the case for all of these. However, the scientific method itself fundamentally prevents a proof against any of these.

It's called "the null hypothesis", and it's the favourite weapon of choice of the subjectivists: go on, prove I didn't get abducted by aliens; prove I can't hear the differences.

That's because science is, above all, open minded. It is sceptical, but it is open minded.

Of course, proving the existence of any of these is relatively easy. you just produce a yeti, or a fairy or whatever. Of course in some cases, like Ghosts and alien abduction, it might be technically difficult to prove, but it's still far easier than trying to disprove. Because disproving them is impossible!

Which is why I say, and I repeat, the onus is on you, and your fellow Objectivists to prove something that more than 2 centuries of scientific research believes is not possible (but cannot prove absolutely to be untrue).

And in the case of hires, it's relatively easy: a peer reviewed double-blind ABX listening test may be awkward to organise and set up, but it's far from impossible.

To date none of the worshippers at the alter of hires have stepped up to the mark with such a test. It would seem they would rather not risk their beliefs.

It's a shame because if they could prove it as definitively as they claim to be able to, then it would settle the matter for once and for all.

Mind you, the tests that have been done suggest that the ability of the test subjects to perceive differences was no better than if they had flipped a coin.

Cheers,

Keith

P.S. Although you seem to keep associating them, hires PCM audio and DSD are completely different things. PCM audio has been studied by Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians for decades and is very well understood. As far as I know DSD audio is relatively new and not nearly as well understood.

My comments apply entirely to hires PCM audio formats, not to DSD.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Pono Music
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2014, 11:12:24 pm »

P.S. Although you seem to keep associating them, hires PCM audio and DSD are completely different things. PCM audio has been studied by Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians for decades and is very well understood. As far as I know DSD audio is relatively new and not nearly as well understood.

My comments apply entirely to hires PCM audio formats, not to DSD.

Holy cow?!!! Seriously? that's what you have concluded? Not only have I not associated them you have gone out and provided dated studies done with NO DSD tests and told me I have to be wrong!!!!

I have said from the beginning, I am only speaking of DSD and of course I know it is a completely different format. Wow..... I even said so in the "last dance" as Drubbing calls it.

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As far as I know DSD audio is relatively new and not nearly as well understood.

 ::)

 Is there any such thing as a triple face palm?






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