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More poo-pooing of PonoPlayer

Neil Young holding ponoDavid Pogue says people can’t tell the difference in sound between Neil Young’s PonoPlayer and that of an iphone.

Describing himself as a former professional musician, Pogue said that “the Pono Player story is a modern retelling of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes,’ ” making claims contrary to science.

He writes on Yahoo Tech News:

“I’m 51 and a former professional musician. I know how to listen. But when I bought Pono’s expensive remastered songs and compared them with the identical songs on my phone, I couldn’t hear any difference whatsoever.

<p data-reactid=".ocejpqdyww.$cover-mosaic-transition-group.$=1$cover-mosaic-0:0.$article-109496883039.0:$Pos-r.$article-inner-container.$inset-container singulair inhaler.$grid-template.0.$col-left.$content.$grid-content.0.1.$text-body.0.2.$p-7″>I got worried. Is the Pono story a modern-day “Emperor’s New Clothes” fable? Were those famous rock stars just imagining things?

There was only one way to find out: conduct a blind trial, using identical songs on identical headphones, comparing the Pono with a standard audio player — an iPhone. So that’s what I did. You can watch the process in the video above.”

You can watch the video at:

The majority of testers picked the iphone over Pono in a blind test. He writes:

“How does it sound? I found 15 volunteers, ages 17 through 55. Each subject put on nice headphones — Sony MDR 7506 — and listened to three songs of different styles (“Saturday in the Park” by Chicago, “Raised on Robbery” by Joni Mitchell, and “There’s a World” by Mr. Pono himself, Neil Young). I bought these songs twice: once from the Pono store, in high resolution, and once from the iTunes store.

Each subject then listened to the same songs again, using standard Apple earbuds.”

He posts a good argument and it’s an interesting read.

Pogue is a former New York Times columnist.

Reader Feedback

One Response to “More poo-pooing of PonoPlayer”

  • LJB says:

    The experiment did not have a large enough sample group to be reliable. 15 people is simply not enough. To be scientific, you would need numbers in the 100’s.

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Every one of my records, to me, is like an ongoing autobiography. I can\'t write the same book very time. There are artists that can. They put out three or four albums every year and verything ***** sounds the same. That\'s great. Somebody\'s trying to communicate to a lot of people and give them the kind of music that they know they want to hear. That isn\'t my trip. My trip is to express what\'s on my mind. I don\'t expect people to listen to my music all the time. Sometimes it\'s too intense. If you\'re gonna put a record on at 11:00 in the morning, don\'t put on Tonight\'s The Night. Put on the Doobie Brothers.
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