Pono Team Update - July 2014: Player Progress
An update from the Pono Team - July 2014 on equipment testing:
Player ProgressOver the past six weeks we’ve built over 100 PonoPlayers in the US and in China that incorporate the Ayre audio design. This design uses discrete components rather than off the shelf Integrated Circuits for the amplification stage after the DAC (Digital-to-Analog Convertor). Charles Hansen, founder of Ayre, likes to compare the use of discrete components to baking a cake from scratch versus using a Betty Crocker cake mix.
The use of more than 100 additional components has provided a challenge to fit everything on the circuit board, but with a monumental effort from our Semaphore engineers, we managed to do just that in record time. We are using these units to run a gamut of testing including physical and audio.
One physical requirement we wanted is for the PonoPlayer to survive a 1-meter drop onto a wood floor on all five sides and 6 corners. Unfortunately we didn't quite achieve this in the first set of tests. We went back to our mechanical engineers at Lime Lab, who have made some changes to the mechanical enclosure. In tests just conducted we now survive the 1-meter drop. We don’t believe any of you will ever drop your PonoPlayer from 3 feet on to a hard surface, but we are engineering the case that way regardless!
We have conducted our preliminary EMI (electromagnetic interference) and ESD (electronic static discharge) tests that need to satisfy the regulatory authorities including FCC and CE. With a few changes that we will implement, we expect our design to pass when we test with production-level models.
Audio experts that include Charles Hansen, Neil Young, Bruce Botnick and others have analyzed the audio quality through listening tests. Based on theirs and our extensive listening testing, we have achieved a level of performance that is everything we have hoped for.
Bruce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Botnick) conducted his own tests and reported the following:
In my mixing studio, I listen to the best sound every day from Analog to the highest Digital sampling and highest bit rates.
My tests were to take a 30 ips NAB Analog 2 track stereo master and transfer it from a ATR-104 Analog tape recorder with Aria Class A electronics to Digital at 192k/24 bit ProTools XI • HDX, using Ayre and Black Lion professional A/D and D/A convertors.
The first process is to convert the 192k/24 bit WAV music files to 192k/24 bit FLAC and then convert the FLAC music files back to WAV and back into the Pro Tools session.
The second test is to stack the WAV and FLAC music files in Pro Tools, with one format out of phase and see if there is full bit for bit cancelation and the round trip is 100% accurate. There was full bit- for-bit cancellation.
The third step is to play both the WAV and FLAC music program against the original 30 ips NAB Analog 2 track stereo master and do a blind listen for differences in the sonic landscape between formats. That test was superb in that the listeners couldn’t tell which format they were listening to. For the final process we did the previous test, this time against the PONO player. The blind tests were amazing, as again the folks listening couldn’t tell which was which.
Charles Hansen’s no compromise analog circuitry for the PonoPlayer is open with beautifully accurate musical reproduction, excellent imagery with accurate room tone and reverb, true HiFi reproduction without compromise.
Charles Hanson has listened to ten players and he found the performance to be comparable to his own products that cost thousands of dollars.
PONO Launch @ SXSW