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corplhicks
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PostSubject: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:28 pm

This looks amazing. Apparently Neil Young started a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of a new music player that plays high quality music (as most of you know, Young as vehemently against the poor quality of ipod generation music). His goal was exceeded in less than a day. It's pricey--as are the albums--but it really delivers CD-quality or better, I may be interested. Thoughts?

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/neil-young-reaches-kickstarter-target-to-fund-new-music-player-within-a-day-9187151.html
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:12 pm

I'll stick to my Zune.  Laughing 


That's out of my price range so I'll pass.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:30 pm

Young is proposing samples rates FAR higher than CD quality. We're talking studio master quality here, at minimum of 24bit/96khz and possibly as high as 192khz.

iPods can already do CD quality (they have a max output of 16bit/44.1khz which is identical to CDs). Young wants a portable device that can handle far more than that.

The problem with high res files and portability is storage space. A 24bit/96khz flac version of an album takes up a LOT of space, his devices will have to be able to hold far more data than your average iPod.

The other problem is how will people be listening to these files? If they are using the same cheap earbuds they aren't going to notice a different. if they are playing it through laptop speakers they aren't going to notice a different. You need at least mid-grade level audio equipment to hear the benefit of the larger bit rate/sample rate. At home I can easily tell the difference between 16bit and 24 bit, if I'm at work on my desktop speakers I can't.

HDtracks already offers lots of hi-res albums, the only thing different that Young is proposing is creating a specific portable device to play them back on.

it's a nice idea, but it's only going to appeal to the audiophile market. The average consumer doesn't even know what good sounding music is any longer, they've heard mediocre quality for most of their lives and don't even know what they are missing.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:39 pm

S.D. wrote:
Young is proposing samples rates FAR higher than CD quality.  We're talking studio master quality here, at minimum of 24bit/96khz and possibly as high as 192khz.  

iPods can already do CD quality (they have a max output of 16bit/44.1khz which is identical to CDs).  Young wants a portable device that can handle far more than that.

The problem with high res files and portability is storage space.  A 24bit/96khz flac version of an album takes up a LOT of space, his devices will have to be able to hold far more data than your average iPod.  

The other problem is how will people be listening to these files?  If they are using the same cheap earbuds they aren't going to notice a different.  if they are playing it through laptop speakers they aren't going to notice a different.  You need at least mid-grade level audio equipment to hear the benefit of the larger bit rate/sample rate.  At home I can easily tell the difference between 16bit and 24 bit, if I'm at work on my desktop speakers I can't.

HDtracks already offers lots of hi-res albums, the only thing different that Young is proposing is creating a specific portable device to play them back on.  

it's a nice idea, but it's only going to appeal to the audiophile market.  The average consumer doesn't even know what good sounding music is any longer, they've heard mediocre quality for most of their lives and don't even know what they are missing.

I can't stand earbuds. I prefer studio headphones, even when I'm at the gym.

As for storage space, that's a mystery to me. The device is estimated to hold 2,000 albums. That's a lot of drive space.

You're right, this is for the audiophile, a niche product.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:48 pm

corplhicks wrote:

As for storage space, that's a mystery to me. The device is estimated to hold 2,000 albums. That's a lot of drive space.

You're right, this is for the audiophile, a niche product.

According to the article the device has 128 gigs of storage capacity which is a little less than an iPod classic but far more than most other portable devices.

Like I said, it's a good idea in theory and higher quality options should be available to the consumer, but I don't see this catching on with the general public who only wants to carry around a single device (Phone) for entertainment and are generally clueless about sound quality.

Still, I'll check out the store once it launches, I'm not interested in buying a player but if he carries material you can't get in hi-res anywhere else then I'm all for it.
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mlotek
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:09 pm

I need new earbuds !!! ARGH !! angry 
The ones that came with my Creative Zen mp3 player have never fit right and I am always adjusting them in my ears to get a balanced sound.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:19 pm

S.D. wrote:

it's a nice idea, but it's only going to appeal to the audiophile market.  The average consumer doesn't even know what good sounding music is any longer, they've heard mediocre quality for most of their lives and don't even know what they are missing.

That would be me. I don't think I've ever heard any hi-res albums so I doubt I'd even be able to notice it if I did. And I don't really have any quality speakers anymore, so I'm sure that would limit my ability too.


And I can't stand earbuds either.
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Boris2008
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:22 pm

Anyone else reading it as Porno Music?  Laughing very hard 
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chewie
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:15 pm

Boris2008 wrote:
Anyone else reading it as Porno Music?  Laughing very hard 


Yes lol!
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Shawn Of Fire
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:47 pm

Most people, people with average ears who listen to music for the songs and not the production value, will not notice any difference. The untrained human ear will only detect so much...there's a ceiling to it. The differences can be proven on paper, in a chart, on a WAV form, etc...they exist...but human ears will only process so much of it.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:53 pm

I use my iPod either in the car on long trips or while lying in bed while I'm falling asleep. Not a lot of critical listening.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:30 pm

I've always said that my ipod @ 320kbps with mid range earphones (I don't like buds much) is plenty good enough for me for music on the go. I've got some lossless files on there but I can't say that I can really tell the difference, but if you are someone who can, and it matters to you, then this may be the player for you.

However, I really can't listen to files at 128kbps or lower, they just sound shitty (I think that's the technical term  Laughing )
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:59 pm

Shawn Of Fire wrote:
Most people, people with average ears who listen to music for the songs and not the production value, will not notice any difference. The untrained human ear will only detect so much...there's a ceiling to it. The differences can be proven on paper, in a chart, on a WAV form, etc...they exist...but human ears will only process so much of it.

The human ear processes everything, you don't train your ears, you train your brain to correctly decipher what your ears are picking up.  On a good stereo system you'd be surprised how quickly even an average listener can pick up differences in source material.  

This constant quip about "listening for production value" pisses me off.  I listen to music for the music FIRST, but sometimes the production value detracts instead of enhances the experience.  BOTH the music and the production are important.  It's like taking a masterpiece painting and then printing out low resolution prints and asking people to respect the artistry from those cheap prints alone. 

I respect your position that the music is most important and that you feel that professional mixing, mastering and format don't matter to the average listener.  You have a right to that opinion.  But please, show those of us who CAN tell the difference the same respect.
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Orion Crystal Ice
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:21 pm

When we talk about music quality, sound quality, speaking of the format, while important, is just a drop in the bucket. You've got factors like source recording quality, the instruments, the actual engineers, the way different styles or different bands sound in different mediums, the speaker system or head the listener is using................. and with respect to listeners, many of them are extremely myopic about music they listen to.......this is cool, but Apple certainly has the means to match it, and the consumers have their own responsibilities if they want high quality files...
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corplhicks
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:55 am

Interesting video posted here with reactions of various musical celebrities such as Tom Petty, Eddie Vedder, and Dave Grohl, to the Pono. Young appears later on to give his spiel. Video at the bottom of the article (which is a good read too). http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2014/03/12/289435279/hear-neil-young-explain-his-pono-music-player-at-sxsw

Gotta be honest here. I want this.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:28 am

S.D. wrote:
Shawn Of Fire wrote:
Most people, people with average ears who listen to music for the songs and not the production value, will not notice any difference. The untrained human ear will only detect so much...there's a ceiling to it. The differences can be proven on paper, in a chart, on a WAV form, etc...they exist...but human ears will only process so much of it.

The human ear processes everything, you don't train your ears, you train your brain to correctly decipher what your ears are picking up.  On a good stereo system you'd be surprised how quickly even an average listener can pick up differences in source material.  

This constant quip about "listening for production value" pisses me off.  I listen to music for the music FIRST, but sometimes the production value detracts instead of enhances the experience.  BOTH the music and the production are important.  It's like taking a masterpiece painting and then printing out low resolution prints and asking people to respect the artistry from those cheap prints alone. 

I respect your position that the music is most important and that you feel that professional mixing, mastering and format don't matter to the average listener.  You have a right to that opinion.  But please, show those of us who CAN tell the difference the same respect.

I get that YOU can tell the difference...and there are people who CAN tell the difference...that's fine. But, MOST PEOPLE can't. MOST people don't have "good", expensive stereo equipment. MOST people can't hear what you can hear. I am sorry you bear that burden, but that's not my problem.

Talk about "constant quips", I get sick of all the supposed audiophiles and bat-eared tech types who talk incessantly about "loudness wars" and "brickwalling" and "muddy mixes" and "shitty sound" as if, all of a sudden, everyone who bought a CD is an expert...playing "armchair record producer" every damn time they buy a CD. These people spend more time and internet text space complaining about these things than talking about the songs.

Not just here, but there are a few guilty parties (you know who you are). Other places online, I've seen people talk about a CD they bought or whatever and then go on and on about "the production", as if they just bought a CD full of distorted static noise, chainsaw and fornicating cat sounds. When I ask them "What about the songs?", nobody can answer WITHOUT referring to "the production" again.

These same people will name-check certain producers as "deaf", "shit-eared", and whatever other term-du-jour these types like to use. These producers get employed by big-name, well-seasoned, veteran artists for a reason...because they're good...because an artist wants the sound they provide. Yet, these people act as if these producers are just some punk-ass, half-deaf janitors the band found in the hall and asked to produce their album.

Maybe tech-types get tired of people like me "constantly quipping" about overlooking music in favor of production value. And I get that, to some, production value is an art in itself. But people like me also get tired of know-it-all, wanna-be music critics who relentlessly shit all over everything if they perceive a little bit of distortion or they happen to not like the kick-drum tone.

Respect, indeed.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:24 pm

You are talking only in extremes.  

Yes, there are a lot of people on the internet talking like they are experts when they are not.  That IS basically what the internet is all about, people with an overinflated view of their own knowledge and self-worth talking like they are experts because there is nobody around to call them on their bullshit.  Nature of the beast, you'll find them no matter what topic you're talking about, you just have to ignore them.

Yes, some actual audiophiles are batshit crazy and buy albums based solely on who the mastering engineer is, whether they like the music or not.  They only focus on the product and miss the art aspect entirely.  Those people drive me nuts as well, they deserve the derision thrown at them.  

Then there are some people that love music, have been listening to music since they were a little, who have also always been just as fascinated by the behind-the-scenes and the recording/mixing/mastering process as the album itself.  They know how good records CAN sound and are frustrated that with many of the technological advances we've made all we've done is replace quality for convenience.  That record labels began a war against each other with audio for the sake of being the LOUDEST and the only victim in this are the consumer who have been getting consistently crappier sounding product since the war began in the mid-90s.

The reason I talk about the production aspect is that I care about THE MUSIC and I want it to be represented in the best possible way, the production should enhance the experience, not detract from it.  If I hated music I wouldn't give a shit about the sound quality. 

Frankly, people that say "THE SONGS ARE THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING, THE PRODUCTION DOESN'T MATTER" are just as annoying and close-minded as the more overzealous idiot audiophiles who only care about the sound and don't hear the songs.  

As with most things the truth is somewhere in the middle, between the polar opposite extremists on both ends.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:44 pm

S.D. wrote:
Frankly, people that say "THE SONGS ARE THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING, THE PRODUCTION DOESN'T MATTER" are just as annoying and close-minded as the more overzealous idiot audiophiles who only care about the sound and don't hear the songs.

As with most things the truth is somewhere in the middle, between the polar opposite extremists on both ends.

I get that. I don't think production is completely irrelevant. But I also think that a large majority of what people will call "shitty production", isn't. You're right about the internet, it's all about extremes and "MY opinion" and giving that opinion a voice, whether or not it's an informed one or it means anything.

Argh...let's get a beer. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:37 pm

I don't overlook the music and I've spent a large portion of my youth listening to cheaply recorded demos of Thrash & Punk bands and totally got off on the songs and the energy of it all without a care in the world about production. I still don't care about the nuts and bolts of it all, nor do I care whether the musicians are technically brilliant or rely on studio trickery to achieve their sound, I just care whether the record has something that interests me, that's it.

However, as I've got older and my tastes have leaned towards slightly more complex music, (whether that's prog, jazz, metal or IDM) and I've had the means to afford better stereo equipment, I've found that some albums sound completely different, particularly on vinyl, and there are things that I've missed about these records in the past and the overall sound to my ears is much better (the new Black Sabbath is a prime example) and now it's just what I'm used to, not claiming to be an expert, but I know what I like from my music (believe it or not, as a consumer I'm entitled to that)

As for the brickwalling thing, the only explanation that I've been bothered to read is S.D's and that's it, again i don't care about the technical aspect of it.

I care about this



Forget the little lines bobbing up and down and just listen to the song, and if it's not as clear as day which sounds better then I'd suggest a visit to the doc to get your ears checked, no special insider music knowledge needed, just ears!

Hey Shawn, I notice that your band offers downloads at 320kbps, WAV and FLAC. Why not just scrap all of that and just have your songs available @ 128kbps if none of this stuff matters and we're all way too stupid to possibly know any different?
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:28 pm

Boris wrote:
Hey Shawn, I notice that your band offers downloads at 320kbps, WAV and FLAC. Why not just scrap all of that and just have your songs available @ 128kbps if none of this stuff matters and we're all way too stupid to possibly know any different?

 Rolling Eyes 

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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:19 am

I was following this debate while still a lurker. The Kickstarter is pushing the $5 mil and seems to be losing steam as it goes.

The problem, from my end, is that MP3 has been around since I was in high school and prior. It's been regarded for years as a crap way to store music, with even other (free) "lossy" formats being developed that did more to preserve the quality of the compressed music coming out in the intervening years. Only Amazon.com and iTunes have really ensured that a codec developers need to PAY to use would stay in business.

At this point, with storage much less of a premium than in the "old days" (my first MP3 player held 96 megs...), it seems stupid to still rely on a format whose entire selling point was its small digital footprint. I dig the notion that the dialog is being - hopefully - opened to include other options that are more in line with the tech we have available now.

On the dynamic range front, it's like this: you CAN listen to and enjoy a crap recording, a compressed recording, or whatever. You can also eat at McDonalds (no snobbery there), but if you're given the option of a proper, medium rare angus grilled burger (sorry, I'm apparently hungry now) for the same price... I know which I'd choose.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:57 am

Hopefully it will comes down in price, just like all products over time.
I noticed with my mp3 player when I go  out, I only listen to 2 or 3 albums/demos, sometimes repeating one if I really liked it, so it doesn't matter to me these days that it can hold 20 albums.
I would rather have superior sound quality (and why mine will hold wav files, but not Flac, really puzzles me)
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:52 am

This sounds promising. The cost of the device is one thing, the cost of the music and its availability is quite another. How in the world are they going to pull this off.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:50 am

There's apparently a wide world of lossless players and DACs for existing players out there already. This may just be the push the concept needs to actually advance portable music - at least, that's what I HOPE it will be.  Smile 
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PostSubject: Re: Neil Young develops HQ music player rivaling ipod   Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:29 pm

Runicen wrote:
There's apparently a wide world of lossless players and DACs for existing players out there already.  This may just be the push the concept needs to actually advance portable music - at least, that's what I HOPE it will be.   Smile 

The most important aspect is having the content available to take advantage of the hi-res players.  The online retailers like Amazon and iTunes need to get on board and give us lossless and beyond-CD quality offerings, every album should be released in multiple resolutions so the consumer has the choice of getting the version best suited for their needs.
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