Ponomusic - new "HD" music player and store

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  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:02:05 87,679 posts
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    http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/mar/12/neil-young-kickstarter-pono-music-player

    In short, an MP3 player and itunes equivalent that is focussed entirely on lossless music.

    To be honest this kind of stuff is already out there, but I suppose nobody has consolidated it into one service and player like this. It's a good idea.

    Unfortunately I'm personally well past the point now where I'm prepared to have a separate device for music, but hopefully this will give Apple a kick up the arse and make them start selling albums in ALAC form, which they no doubt will if this starts to catch on.
  • Armoured_Bear 12 Mar 2014 10:05:22 11,203 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/mar/12/neil-young-kickstarter-pono-music-player

    In short, an MP3 player and itunes equivalent that is focussed entirely on lossless music.

    To be honest this kind of stuff is already out there, but I suppose nobody has consolidated it into one service and player like this. It's a good idea.

    Unfortunately I'm personally well past the point now where I'm prepared to have a separate device for music, but hopefully this will give Apple a kick up the arse and make them start selling albums in ALAC form, which they no doubt will if this starts to catch on.
    +1
    It's a disgrace that Apple are still not supplying lossless music, unfortunately I think most people don't give a fuck about audio quality and this will struggle :-(

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  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:10:01 87,679 posts
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    It's about marketing. People didn't really give that much of a fuck about picture quality either until DVD came along, and they're now being persuaded they give so much of a fuck that BR and 4K are now big deals.

    They were even persuaded to give a fuck about 3D, which is totally shit.
  • kinky_mong 12 Mar 2014 10:12:11 10,281 posts
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    BOM CHIKA WOW WOOOOOW

    Sorry, I read that as Pornomusic.

    All the eurogamers who actually play with each other on xbl rather than just post pseudointellectual pc handwringing bollocks on the forums, love the shit out of biggy.

  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:23:00 87,679 posts
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    The only other thing about this, is that most of the people who really give a massive shit about this sort of thing probably aren't too bothered about a portable music player that plays hi fidelity audio. Even if it plays lossless files, are you really going to shlep around a pair of headphones good enough to make the most of them? And are we to believe the player has a high enough quality amp for those headphones, or do you need a portable amp as well? And what about the quality of the DAC?

    I get what Young's beef is. He basically wants music companies to stop gearing production towards how it sounds on an ipod, and he sees this as a way of achieving that, and that's a good thing. The player itself though is ironically probably only going to interest people who don't actually give that much of a shit, because if they did, they'd already be using a Cowon or whatever.
  • Latin 12 Mar 2014 10:33:52 3,675 posts
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    I'll guess that the wider public just aren't bothered. The product is better quality than mp3/CD, but people generally don't have the equipment and/or ear to appreciate the difference and then justify the extra cost. Pretty much seen that with high fidelity Blu Ray albums... 99% don't even know they exist.
  • Armoured_Bear 12 Mar 2014 10:36:15 11,203 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    The only other thing about this, is that most of the people who really give a massive shit about this sort of thing probably aren't too bothered about a portable music player that plays hi fidelity audio. Even if it plays lossless files, are you really going to shlep around a pair of headphones good enough to make the most of them? And are we to believe the player has a high enough quality amp for those headphones, or do you need a portable amp as well? And what about the quality of the DAC?

    I get what Young's beef is. He basically wants music companies to stop gearing production towards how it sounds on an ipod, and he sees this as a way of achieving that, and that's a good thing. The player itself though is ironically probably only going to interest people who don't actually give that much of a shit, because if they did, they'd already be using a Cowon or whatever.
    Yep, I agree with that.
    I hope this ends up as a catalyst for changes to the way music is mastered and sold, I think that's the most we can hope for but you never know if, as you say, the marketing is good enough.

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  • tincanrocket 12 Mar 2014 10:37:10 2,990 posts
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    As much as I like Neil Young, this is a dead duck and reeks ever so slightly of another music industry attempt to get us to re-purchase our existing musical collections in yet another new format. To which I say, begone, you anachronisms - it is time to accept that the gravy train has left the station.
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 10:38:34 59,912 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    And are we to believe the player has a high enough quality amp for those headphones..?
    For $400, you would hope so (or 300 for the kickstarter pledge, of which its smashed through its 800k goal to 1.1m, so someone gives a shit (either that or there are a fuckload of righ neil young fans out there)).

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  • Punctum 12 Mar 2014 10:39:40 936 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    The only other thing about this, is that most of the people who really give a massive shit about this sort of thing probably aren't too bothered about a portable music player that plays hi fidelity audio. Even if it plays lossless files, are you really going to shlep around a pair of headphones good enough to make the most of them? And are we to believe the player has a high enough quality amp for those headphones, or do you need a portable amp as well? And what about the quality of the DAC?
    This.

    And regarding the uber-ultra-EMOTION ENHANCING-ultimate-highest ever resolution seen in a music file, more data isn't the be all and end all of quality music production. You'd be hard pressed to hear an improvement between file formats and higher resolutions when compared to a lossless cd rip.
  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:39:54 87,679 posts
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    tincanrocket wrote:
    As much as I like Neil Young, this is a dead duck and reeks ever so slightly of another music industry attempt to get us to re-purchase our existing musical collections in yet another new format.
    If (when) iTunes do start doing lossless music, I wonder if they'll just do freebie upgrades like they did when they increased their bitrate last time. Or maybe just for Match users.

    Certainly one of the big benefits of digital formats is the ability to sell you upgrades to your existing purchases, rather than having to start your collection again every time.
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 10:40:29 59,912 posts
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    Also, a lot is made of the design but, ultimately, a portable device needs to be portable, not make you look like you have a boner when its in your pocket.

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  • Punctum 12 Mar 2014 10:43:21 936 posts
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    Also, that player is also going to get pretty hot if it's powerful enough to drive a decent set of headphones.
  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:44:40 87,679 posts
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    Punctum wrote:
    Also, that player is also going to get pretty hot if it's powerful enough to drive a decent set of headphones.
    And probably run out of battery incredibly quickly. My FiiO portable amp last a few hours without being plugged in, and that is just an amp, not entire music playing and storing device.
  • tincanrocket 12 Mar 2014 10:45:15 2,990 posts
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    I'm sure Apple will move to lossless audio at some point, and I suspect it will simply be a free upgrade as with video files on iTunes, although you may be right and they might limit it to iTunes Match users in the first instance.

    I suspect that ponomusic (incidentally a terrible name, even as far as modern tech naming trends go) is the equivalent of betamax or HD-DVD - it may prove to be the better technology, but the existing big player (Apple) is unlikely to be toppled from its perch.
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 10:49:48 59,912 posts
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    It doesnt really need to be toppled, just get traction really. But then, i can help think they have missed the boat since streaming has basically exploded. They are competing with a service that itself is looking to update its current offering.

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  • Armoured_Bear 12 Mar 2014 10:56:24 11,203 posts
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    tincanrocket wrote:
    As much as I like Neil Young, this is a dead duck and reeks ever so slightly of another music industry attempt to get us to re-purchase our existing musical collections in yet another new format. To which I say, begone, you anachronisms - it is time to accept that the gravy train has left the station.
    I think Neil Young is genuine, he refused to have his music on CD for such a long time as he was so pissed off with the sound quality.

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  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 10:57:59 87,679 posts
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    Again, I think this is really more about getting people to give a shit about high quality music files, and in particular stop the worrying trend for mastering stuff in a way to benefit low quality files.

    To be honest though, it'll happen anyway eventually, but there just isn't the technology to make this happen in a realistic way now. Until SSDs are totally massive and incredibly cheap, and internet connections are all ludicrously fast and available wherever you are (including underground), there will continue to be a broad need for little music files that sound as good as they can.
  • Cappy 12 Mar 2014 11:01:44 11,940 posts
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    kalel wrote:
    It's about marketing. People didn't really give that much of a fuck about picture quality either until DVD came along, and they're now being persuaded they give so much of a fuck that BR and 4K are now big deals.

    They were even persuaded to give a fuck about 3D, which is totally shit.
    DVDs may have been marketed on an actually noticeable difference in picture quality, but that doesn't mean it was the driving force for adoption. It was a number of factors really, much like LP versus cassette, consumers favour formats which you don't have to wind to get to the point you want. Furthermore, comparing the relative bulk of the two formats and most people could see an advantage.

    Lastly cost, VHS with all of it's moving parts is more expensive to produce and throughout it's lifetime was always a more expensive format than one which consists of just an optical disc. DVDs quickly reached a mass market price point, they were everywhere and you could buy films in supermarkets for 3-5.

    Promising that a format is merely better has never worked.
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 11:06:12 59,912 posts
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    Yeah, fidelity is going to increase naturally. Spotify streams 320kbps OGG fomat files and sounds pretty good now, particularly compared to how it used to sound.

    Its not going to be long before the fidelity is increased again because, frankly, its one of the few things you can do to visually improve the service in peoples eyes.

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  • morriss 12 Mar 2014 11:06:20 70,977 posts
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    This is for me.
  • morriss 12 Mar 2014 11:09:50 70,977 posts
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    Maybe a stupid question but what headphones? I mean, can you get in-ear stuff that adequately supports the format?
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 11:15:00 59,912 posts
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    Its probably no exaggeration to say that you would need to spend at least another couple of hundred on headphones to fully appreciate it and that not including the extra expense of an amp if it doesnt have one internally.

    If you are starting from zero, your probably looking at a buy in of at least 600 wingwangs.

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  • Armoured_Bear 12 Mar 2014 11:15:05 11,203 posts
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    morriss wrote:
    Maybe a stupid question but what headphones? I mean, can you get in-ear stuff that adequately supports the format?
    You can get some really great ones such as these
    they're not cheap though

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  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 11:16:22 87,679 posts
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    You can get seriously hi-end in ears, custom made to your ears.

    http://www.head-fi.org/products/unique-melody-miracle
  • kalel 12 Mar 2014 11:17:59 87,679 posts
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    nickthegun wrote:
    Its probably no exaggeration to say that you would need to spend at least another couple of hundred on headphones to fully appreciate it and that not including the extra expense of an amp if it doesnt have one internally.

    If you are starting from zero, your probably looking at a buy in of at least 600 wingwangs.
    At the top end of the kind of quality they're talking about, I seriously doubt a pair of headphones under 500 would do them justice.

    And you're probably looking at 1k+ to really get the maximum benefit.
  • nickthegun 12 Mar 2014 11:19:47 59,912 posts
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    Yeah, as has been touched on, this is pretty much for established audiophiles, which is fine but I cant really see it being the start of a grass roots movement.

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  • THFourteen 12 Mar 2014 11:20:48 33,418 posts
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    i'm alright with my crappy music quality thanks.

    When you're on a train shit sounds crap however its recorded.
  • Mr_Sleep 12 Mar 2014 11:27:00 17,062 posts
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    Flac downloads are being used by quite a few different online retailers now, Bleep.com being a favourite of mine. It's not like this is a new idea.

    Itunes has massive market share and will continue to do so, I can't see how this is going to change anything much but having some competition out there is always a good thing. The major difference I can see between this and other services out there is that they have the support of the industry and will have a larger selection of back catalogue and different labels which many of the smaller retailers don't have but this only matters so much.

    Also, there are already Flac players out there, some pretty cheap, I've converted nearly all my CDs to Flac and so I needed a Flac player because I can't be bothered to replicate everything again into MP3. My Flac player cost about 50 and I'm sure it doesn't live up to the lossless quality but it is much more convenient and that is surely the most important thing.

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • Fake_Blood 12 Mar 2014 11:30:06 4,209 posts
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    Bring back SACD I say.
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