The more stuff I put on my PonoPlayer, 16/44 and higher, it is sounding so amazing that I’m discovering things in my own CD collection. Things I haven’t heard before!
In some cases it’s parts, instruments, & entire background melodies that every other player hid from me. In some cases it’s entire songs that I usually skipped or bailed after the intro, but when playing on the Ponoplayer those songs must render so pleasantly that, much like a live band, I don’t want the song to end! Cool stuff. This is not just the upgrade from mp3 back to cd, this is the brilliant audio chain in the PonoPlayer doing this.
This is also the opposite of the MP3 experience for me. 15 years ago we were so excited to have a not-quite version of our CD library in our pocket. I’m perhaps more excited now having my full quality digital library at my fingertips playing through the best sounding playback device I’ve heard.
It’s literally makes every speaker system I’ve plugged into it sound the best it ever has.
Side note – Holding 500+ CD’s per thumbnail-sized card is so wonderful, and has nothing to do with Pono. Those of you that have had this for a few years I wish you would told me it was possible 😉
Still on the fence about getting a DAP like the PonoPlayer?
- You… only stream through your phone and don’t currently possess cd’s.
You might be the hardest sell for this type of device. You would need to start ripping someone else’s cd’s and/or buying new music in high definition.
- You… only stream through the phone/computer and never really listened to cd’s because you are young.
This is worth hearing, I think you will be very interested in the sonic enhancement compared to what you grew up on. You’d fill it with every type of file you found and start getting higher def as your favorite bands provided it.
- You… have a ton of MP3’s and very few cd’s. My MP3’s really do sound better on the PonoPlayer. It’s not revelatory but it’s noticeable. 16/44 shows a surprising improvement, repping the redbook format and showing how poor most cd players sounded for 30 years. I’m not sure it’s worth $400 to hear my mp3’s sound better, but so far has been worth it to hear my existing cd’s sound better. Who knew?
- You… believe terms like ‘audiophool’ and ‘snake oil’ and think all of this is ridiculous. You think your phone plays mp3 perfectly & there is no better these days.
You are my nemesis in this department. Stop the FUD! Quality and convenient digital is possible in 2015.
If you want facts there’s more and more getting out, and it’s all good. Excerpted from the excellent review by Tyll Hertsens
EVERYTHING from DAC to jacks is DC coupled. No coupling caps anywhere.
Everything is TRULY balanced from the DAC chip all the way to the output jacks. There is no virtual ground needed, as we have true +/- rails from the switching power supply. The raw rails go to SUPER low noise regulators, of which there are a TON.
The audio circuitry has their own dedicated +/- regulators. All of the digital circuitry runs off of positive voltage only, but three or four separate dedicated regulators there — one for the audio master clocks, another for the digital side of the DAC chip and a third for the rest of the digital circuitry.
NOBODY builds portable players that are fully-discrete, fully-balanced, and zero-feedback. This all makes a huge difference.
— Charlie Hanson of Ayre Audio, designers of the Ponoplayer audio circuitry
That’s what happens after the DAC, in the analog stage. Regarding the file quality and DAC behavior before the analog stage, more details from Charlie:
a) Brickwall filtering creates massive time smear. b) The human ear/brain is already known to be exquisitely sensitive to time smear. c) DBT and AB/X are really only sensitive to differences in frequency response. Using these tools for anything to do with music is like pounding a nail with a screwdriver. Ain’t gonna work.
Specifically, one of the massive benefits of a higher sampling rate is not extended bandwidth. Instead, it allows for gentler filters to be used. In the case of the Ayre QA-9 A/D converter, the anti-aliasing filters have zero ringing or time smear for double and quad sample rates. (Only one cycle of ringing for single rates — something has to give somewhere…)
When Ayre designed the PonoPlayer’s audio circuitry, we held back nothing. We gave it everything that could fit within the constraints of the budget, physical space, and battery life. Every single secret we discovered went into the PonoPlayer. The digital filter is taken directly from our own products.
Ya hear? Someone finally bothered to give this audio goodness to us poor stupid consumers, better late than never. If you live near a Fry’s Electronics you can find them there, otherwise you need to meet someone with one to test it out.
Or just trust me and buy one, your ears will appreciate it.