A friend of mine got a Pono music player this Christmas. The claimed advantage of the Pono player vs other music players is better sound fidelity.
So what does the Pono player do different? Normal CD music is sampled at 44,100 times per second (44.1Ks/S) and 16-bit resolution. The Pono is capable of playing music with an increased sample rate of 192,000 times a second (192Ks/S) and 24-bit resolution. A quick web search yields page after page of audiophiles debating these fidelity claims and we will leave that discussion to the experts.
Since Pono advocates see benefits in increasing sample rate from 44,100 times per second to 192,000 times a second, then just think about how awesome really turning up the sample rate would be!!! But how? Enter the Tektronix MDO3000 which can sample at an amazing 2,500,000,000 (2.5Gs/S) times per second and that's a lot!
The Tektronix MDO3000 is a benchtop instrument that has some truly amazing capabilities that push it way beyond being just an oscilloscope. One of these features is the Arbitrary Function Generator (AFG) that can capture signals from any of the analog channels and play them back on command.
In the video below, we set the Tektronix MDO3000 to sample at a lazy 1,000,000 times per sec (1Ms/S). Then we use a PC to play a MP3 music file for capture into the instrument's waveform memory via analog channel 1.
Next, with a few button clicks the music waveform we just captured is loaded into the instrument's AFG to make it ready for playback. Simple.
The Tektronix MDO3000 AFG output is BNC connector on the back of the instrument. We connect to the AFG and plug into a speaker. The result: The most impractical (and expensive) MP3 player available, but with an impressive sample rate many, many times higher than the Pono player.
This whole experiment means nothing, of course. We did it simply because "we could". If you do decide to go with a Pono (or a Tektronix MDO3000) as a music player remember that much of the sound quality is determined at the time of the original recording and not just at playback. Also your headphones, speakers, listening room, ears, etc...