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more on PONO: technical dissection


for the audiophiles, Xiph.Org writes about the flaws of PONO:

“24/192 Music Downloads …and why they make no sense


Articles last month [i.e. March 2012] revealed that musician Neil Young and Apple’s Steve Jobs discussed offering digital music downloads of ‘uncompromised studio quality’. Much of the press and user commentary was particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of uncompressed 24 bit 192kHz downloads. 24/192 featured prominently in my own conversations with Mr. Young’s group several months ago.

Unfortunately, there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space.

There are a few real problems with the audio quality and ‘experience’ of digitally distributed music today. 24/192 solves none of them. While everyone fixates on 24/192 as a magic bullet, we’re not going to see any actual improvement.

First, the bad news… “

>>> read the whole article::

(—Monty ( March 1, 2012; last revised March 25, 2012 to add improvements suggested by readers.)

see also: Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem (on Wikipedia)

What it actually says it that the human ear can’t hear frequencies up to the maximum frequency that PONO allows, i.e. 96 kHz, with a sampling frequency of 192 kHz (double the f_max_audible), but the higher frequencies might get transformed down in the audible range by non-linear effects, giving rise to deteriorating audio sound experience (or maybe another audio experience like the warm non-linear sound of tube amplifiers versus the metallic treble-loaded sound of transistor amps) . It can’t physically do any good to augment audio experience, but we suspect it might have psycho-acoustic effects.

And, the dynamic range of 24-bit of sampling also is not audible compared to a classic 16-bit dynamic sampling range. Here we have the problem of changing audio experience with the “loudness war” due to excessive dynamic compression in nowadays audio carriers, be it CD or Vinyl, like in audio ads on radio or TV who blare so loud.

In essence there must be more mystery about why Neil Young can hear it but not yet anyone else.


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