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Engineers at Neil Young’s company allegedly admit doubts on music player

<a href="http://www.bad-news-beat more helpful hints.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Neil-cartoon-with-pono.jpg”>Neil cartoon with ponoThe Pono naysayers are speaking out, since it recently went on sale for $400 to the public.

According to New York Post, and other sources, product engineers for Neil Young’s  newly released Pono digital music player have privately admitted they aren’t convinced that the high-resolution audio files it plays have any significant technical advantage over CD-quality files, sources told The Post.

“It has been clear throughout that Neil Young himself is all about the hi-res,” one source close to the situation said. “There’s no doubt in his mind that it sounds better.”

But for some of Pono’s other tech-savvy execs, selling files with more musical data than what’s available on a CD is mainly “a business decision,” the source said.

“Their take is that the serious audiophile has convinced himself he has to have it,” the source added. “They’re saying, ‘We don’t necessarily believe it, but nobody’s going to buy it if we don’t do it.’”

“I think Neil is barking up the wrong tree,” says Lukasz Fikus, a digital audio designer whose high-priced Lampizator components have earned a following among hard-core enthusiasts.

The benefits of hi-res files may be detectable on high-dollar stereo systems, but “the difference is so miniscule that it’s not even worth talking about,” according to Fikus.

The sound quality on Led Zeppelin’s second album is notoriously poor, Fikus notes. A hi-res version of it won’t change that, he says, although a recent remastering by Jimmy Page helped.

“There are many, many factors that contribute to the final pleasure (of digital music),” Fikus adds. “The density of the media file is only one of those factors — and probably not the first priority, but almost the last.”

Read more at: http://nypost.com/2015/01/11/do-consumers-really-care-about-digital-quality/

At Gizmodo, Marlo Agullar, writes that “recalcitrant rocker isn’t wrong for wanting to reclaim audio quality in the digital age, but in the service of that goal he’s peddling junk science, and supporting expensive gear and music files you don’t need. ”

Though Young and Pono have failed to produce double-blind studies on the benefits of high-rate audio or their music player, inquiring minds have taken the time to do it. In a 2007 paper published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Brad Meyer and David Moran outline the results of a study in which they presented a large sample of “serious” listeners with a double blind test comparing 44.1 kHz audio from “the best high resolution discs we could find.” The goal was not to show which was better, but simply to find out if people could even tell the difference.

“None of these variables have shown any correlation with the results, or any difference between the answers and coin-flip results,” they write in their conclusion. Later they note, “Further claims that careful 16/44.1 encoding audibly degrades high-resolution signals must be supported by properly controlled double-blind tests.”

Read more at: http://gizmodo.com/dont-buy-what-neil-young-is-selling-1678446860

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