What did the team do, in order to make Pandora audio output so good?


CapcomSuicide

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Hi,


Despite having owned a Pandora for quite some time, I never used the headphone jack before today. Wooooooooow!!!!


I have various apple devices, and I would certainly say that the Pandora is on par, if not better than any of them.


I can't help but ask, why is this? Is this software or is this hardware, or a combo?


The reason the sound impresses me is as follows:


- No hiss


- Deep and rich tones


- High degree of clarity across sound spectrum.


If anyone else has been using the unit without trying some MP3's, jump to it! :)


/C_S
 

GiraffeeDreams

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I agree, I had a set of Tritton AX Pros and would listen to music through my ps3 using the optical output, and I started using my Pandora as a music player a few days ago and I'm using a cheap set of $5 headphones and the quality is just as good.


That coupled with the MPlayers iPod connectivity means I don't have to place all my music on a seperate SD card too, best music player on the market :)
 

grydholt

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There was a thread where MWeston explains his choices for the audio hardware:
 

Binky

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I think the first post original post is something of an understatement.


There are people who look down on apple's lame SQ, and shun MP3s for more-kilobits-per-second-than-you-though-was-possible FLAC on these forums.


They think the Pandora Is on par with the likes of Cowon - even the best portable rig they've heard, sometimes.


IIRC, its mostly down to considered PCB design and component selection from MWeston and the hardware devs.

The Pandora/CMoy combo would give a hifi nut with a £2k speaker based system an inferiority complex.
 
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TrashyMG

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It's highly technical.. but it boils down to MWeston shoving his awesomeness into every Pandora.. It's a tiring act, it's why we don't hear from him often on the forums.
 
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No Apple product could drive headphones like the Pandora can, at least not anything I can walk around with. Macbook using digital out to an amp/power supply does the job, but those products cost another few hundred dollars.
 

sswam

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Wow, I did not know Pandora has such awesome audio hardware.


Going to try it out now with my enviable Shure ear-buds!


(I listen every day while I work, so decided to get good ear-buds.)


This confirms my plan, to have a dedicated SD card for music!


Thank-you, mweston!


It's pretty cool that Pandora has better audio than a MacBook.
 
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Impulss

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Its part of the reason why I purchased my panda to begin with. Panda takes care of player and headphone amp. I could use my headphone amp on almost any phone/ipod/mp3 player. Using it on the panda gives no bonus, just extra to carry. Epic quality.


Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
 

MWeston

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I'm always glad when people say they like the sound. For the fun of it, check out this headphone amp I designed specifically for my HD-650's. My newer laptop has decent sound but my old one was a hissy mess and I absolutely needed this. Since I designed it myself with sound quality in mind and not parts cost, it is a pretty bulletproof amp: multi-stage power supply filtering to clean up any USB source, top end Burr Brown parts, audio grade capacitors (the really shiny ones, not the typical ceramics!), ALPS potentiometer, high slew rate, ultra low noise amplifiers, plenty of filtering/stiffening capacitors on all voltage rails, digitally controlled slow start circuitry to eliminate thumps, star topology ground distribution, four layer PCB and big fat traces.


The Pandora does a pretty good job next to this amp but not quite as good due to the +/-12V rails and more expensive part choices. It also pulls over 100mA at idle and can peg the 500mA USB standard at full blast. :)


http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa99/MWeston_2007/DSC02816.jpg
 

atomicthumbs

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A qualitative example of how good the Pandora's audio is compared to something else: I've installed Rockbox on my first-generation iPod Nano. Using Rockbox on the iPod, I can turn the bass up to 6db at normal listening volume, driving my Sennheiser HD280s, before it starts to clip. On the Pandora, I turned Rockbox up to the maximum (around 20 db) or something like that, before I ran into the maximum of the volume control to keep the upper ranges audible behind the bass.


Maybe soon I'll get an adapter to see if it can drive my Yamaha YH-1 orthodynamic phones. :D
 
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Wild_Duck

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Hi, I have a Cowon 32gb J3 but I prefer Rockbox on the Pandora because the crossfeed function makes headphones sound more natural especially now I can skip using the shoulder buttons.
 

optional106

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I'm always glad when people say they like the sound. For the fun of it, check out this headphone amp I designed specifically for my HD-650's. My newer laptop has decent sound but my old one was a hissy mess and I absolutely needed this. Since I designed it myself with sound quality in mind and not parts cost, it is a pretty bulletproof amp: multi-stage power supply filtering to clean up any USB source, top end Burr Brown parts, audio grade capacitors (the really shiny ones, not the typical ceramics!), ALPS potentiometer, high slew rate, ultra low noise amplifiers, plenty of filtering/stiffening capacitors on all voltage rails, digitally controlled slow start circuitry to eliminate thumps, star topology ground distribution, four layer PCB and big fat traces.


The Pandora does a pretty good job next to this amp but not quite as good due to the +/-12V rails and more expensive part choices. It also pulls over 100mA at idle and can peg the 500mA USB standard at full blast. :)

Was this a pet project only ?


Did it ever go commercial ? or sold under any brand name ?


Looks interesting...
 
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juliano

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Hey MWeston - this looks interesting. I remember in another post you mentioned something about having a store where you design these kind of products.


Do you have a link to this store or is there a way to check your other products? They definitely looks interesting.
 

MWeston

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This is an amp I designed with the possibility of a commercial future but I haven't done anything with it other than use it. It's a big step going from a prototype to something that can be replicated in the thousands.


I don't have any kind of store. I don't think I ever want to be responsible for the sales end of any project. People complain way too much for my patience level. :)
 

TangentDelta

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I've been listening to my music using an old iPod Touch 3GS, but then a few months ago, I forgot my old iPod and olnly had my Pandora with me. So I tried the audio quality with my crappy $10 Sony earphones, and WOW! Blew my iPod right out of the water!


My only complaint is that the analog audio adjestment knob is a bit too touchy. If you accidentally brush it while listening to music, your ears get blasted, and it hurts. Also, Audacity's MOS 6581 emulation is rather poor, and sounds very digital and beepy (nothing beats the real thing IMO, which is why I have a C128 set up next to my desk at home).
 

jottt

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Headphones? I'd say this barely tickles Pandora's potential. Especially comparisions with Apple's mobile devices are quite a kick in the nuts for any iPod when you hook the system to some fully blown amplifier and some decent speakers. I usually use the Pandora in my car feeding MWestons awesomeness directly to my amplifier. I used to do this with an Apple iPhone 3G. This was totally fine until I tried the Pandora. Afterwards I could not stand the sound of the iphone anymore as I now heard the hiss, the muffled sound, the lack of separation that I did not bother about beforehand. Up until now I tried 3 other phones ( - part of them even priding themselves for their audio capability....YES! I am looking at you Mr. Beats-Audio-HTC-One-X!) and they all clearly suck compared to the Pandora. Not only quality-wise but also in terms of power. If I crank my amp to the near-max, my One X is well audible at around half and starts to loose quality at somewhere around 3/4. Pandora would blow my speakers at this setting I guess. I usually only use the first quarter of the wheel of the little magic box (and half of the amplifier) to turn my car into my very own discotheque.


For me, thats a main marketing argument: When someone starts with "Pandora? What for? I can listen to music with my XXX!", I hook their XXX to the car and the Pandora afterwards which usually results in annoyed mumbling about something like "I seldom listen to music anyway..." :)


I would love to build a "fixed" Pandora into my car; just with the mainboard and a (maybe smaller) touchscreen completely integrated within the Dashboard...unfortunately the current price puts a stop to that thought :/ So my mobile MWeston-Temple has to do with a Plug-In-Solution until someone sells me a cheap Pandora mainboard. Anyone got a "broken" Pandora-Mainboard for me? Don't need Wifi or Nubs or case or keyboard ;) Display with errors will do as well.

Also, Audacity's MOS 6581 emulation is rather poor, and sounds very digital and beepy (nothing beats the real thing IMO, which is why I have a C128 set up next to my desk at home).

Tried/Considered a Catweasel Controller? It adds the possibility to plug 2 SIDs (for stereo sound) into your PC. Unfortunately only PCI, so nothing for a Pandora...but a nice option for PCs that can't generate true analogue sound :)
 
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TangentDelta

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Tried/Considered a Catweasel Controller? It adds the possibility to plug 2 SIDs (for stereo sound) into your PC. Unfortunately only PCI, so nothing for a Pandora...but a nice option for PCs that can't generate true analogue sound :)
I only have 1 free SID from my poor old C64 (the RAM and CIA are doing weird stuff), and getting a working 6581 is really hard now-adays, with all these artsists grabbing them up. Someone needs to steal the original dies from the old MOS warehouse and start re-producing them. I'd certainly buy a dozen, for testing purposes.
 

sswam

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[QUOTE='jottt]Headphones? I'd say this barely tickles Pandora's potential.

[/QUOTE]

... but I can't use speakers for the discotheque effect in the office.


She drives my Shure 535 headphones very nicely!
 
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