Pono drive flash

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by touch33, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    First-timer here, so please be gentle —

    I use my yellow Kickstarter Pono player (in balanced mode) as a terrific portable music source when tuning large sound systems. I’ve recently acquired a FooFighters Pono that PO says is “totally locked up b/c of a corrupted HD music file”. He also said he’d contacted Pono Support back in the Day, who told him he needed to send it in “so it’s drive can be flashed” — which, sadly, he never got around to.

    I’m guessing that “flashing” is a reformatting process?

    Some Questions:
    1) Assuming I can get it to mount on either one, best to use Mac or WIN10? I’m fluent in either O/S, but I’m leaning towards Mac and Disk Utility.
    2) Format as FAT32, yes?
    3) I’ve looked online for any kind of “hardware-based reset”, but short of cracking it open and “pulling battery power” nothing seems to come up. Clues, anyone?
    4) I spoke with Gary @Ayre (very nice guy!) who shared that they were only responsible for the analog hardware and therefore couldn’t help re: digital hardware.

    Any/all suggestions welcome.
    Thx,
    Bruce
     
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Flashing isn't reformatting. It essentially refers to rewriting onto the portion of the device which dictates its fundamentally basic behavior the set of instructions that informed it of those functionalities and how to perform them. It doesn't have anything to do with the memory portion of the device itself. Using a PC as an example, if you were to state you need to flash the BIOS, you wouldn't reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows. That'd accomplish nothing close to what you'd want to do.

    How to do that? No clue as I don't have such a device. Normally, you'd download the latest firmware as well as whatever flashing utility they used to write onto the device the firmware. No idea if that's available to you but that's what that process would involve. Usually, when it gets to that point, it's because the device isn't working properly on a fundamental level.

    But if you want to do anything related to the Pono's memory, here are some of my answers.

    1) It shouldn't matter. The idea is getting access. Once you do, whichever platform and utility you use won't factor in as long as you're formatting in a compatible file system.

    2) Correct, according to online documentation.
    3) Sorry.
    4) AFAIK, there's no so-called analog hardware unless he's referring to the headphone/line-out circuitry and jacks.
     
  3. pscreed

    pscreed Upstanding Member

    Location:
    USA
    There’s a thread on CA about updating/flashing to the latest firmware. The firmware is attached to one of the posts in the thread over there.

    Pono Player Firmware Update
     
    SeanRichard likes this.
  4. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston

    Thanks for the swift (and detailed) reply. Once I have my hands on the device I’ll let you know what I learn.

    Re: “analog hardware” — Ayre designed everything from the output DAC to the line/headphone outputs, which I think is this device’s best feature (certainly not its user interface and/or physical packaging).

    It just sounds good — really good.

    Cheers,
    Bruce
     
  5. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    My father-in-law bought one after I specifically told him not to as I suspected the company might be in financial trouble. 6 months after he bought one regardless, he was dejected when I relayed to him that they had folded.

    Here's some additional info I found for you ; Hold the "circle" button in for 10 seconds. This is apparently the "hard reset" function.
     
  6. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    Thx, Your Stratness —

    According to PO he already tried “the easy stuff”. Apparently the device’s controls are bricked and not responding.

    The link pscreed sent appears to be the closest to what I seek. Once I get the unit (and assuming my laptop finds it) I’ll blast new firmware to it and keep fingers crossed.

    Pls tell your FIL he’s welcome to send his no-longer-supported Player to me — I’ll even pay the shipping!

    Cheers,
    Bruce
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  7. There are instructions out there for how to restore a PonoPlayer that appears to be bricked or borked. Unfortunately I don't have any of those guides bookmarked to link for you. Don't give up if the initial attempts don't work. You still may be able to resurrect it.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  8. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    Give up?!? I am the bulldog of Technology revival: I do not let go easily, if at all.
     
  9. The PonoPlayer does sound really neat, especially in balanced mode with suitable headphones. Really special sound quality and style. It's the Ayre inside that is responsible for that.

    I have two PonoPlayers. The second as a spare for when my first player dies. If both died I'd seriously consider finding an Ayre Codex as a way to get that headphone sound back. The Ayre Codex wouldn't be portable, but would be more powerful and more better and has similar circuit design and DAC design as the PonoPlayer. Plus I'd still be able to use my balanced PonoPlayer cables with the Codex.
     
    touch33 and Ivand like this.
  10. This site is where the refugees from the original Pono site went after it was shut down. All of the tech info was transferred there. There are some pretty knowledgeable users that post regularly that may be able to help you.

    https://ponotrial.onsocialengine.com
     
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  11. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    Ditto the above — that’s why I bought the second one we’re speaking of here. I figure the $90 I spent on a metal-cased FooFighters Pono (bricked or not, and in it’s lovely presentation box no less) will mean at the very worst a parts spare should I need them. Then again, assuming I get it working (which I will) I have a “Murphy’s Law” unit that will guarantee that my yellow Kick Pono will live forever...
     
  12. ampguy

    ampguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    bay area
    I use a pono, but just the line out, and it sounds great. I did use balanced and still have the cables for sennheisers, but now with phones, I usually use hifimans, and the cables don't fit, so I just listen in stereo mode. Is there any easy way to setup balanced with a Marantz PM7005 amp? It still sounds great with the line out going to an analog line in, but not so much noticeably different from say a Pioneer portable with dual ESS9118s, or flac files to the onboard CS9343 or ipad or surface pro with usb Dragonfly black.
     
  13. To do balanced line out from the Pono to a single-ended amp you'd need to first get the balanced interconnect cable for the Pono with two 3-pin XLR connections. Then use an audio transformer box to go from balanced to unbalanced. Jensen makes quality transformers for that purpose. They cost about $300.
     
    ampguy likes this.
  14. Gaslight

    Gaslight Druidia Air : Rent or Own?

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    I don't have a Pono, first off. But I have dealt with other DAP hardware and imo it really depends on the tools (software and hardware both) that the support teams used to "unbrick" these devices. That will be the hard part, since the company has folded and if any of that knowledge is accessible anymore.

    If there's a JTAG connector, as an example, it could be possible to download the firmware image from your Pono, then upload it via the same method to the bricked device. Or there's possibly a recovery partition in place that one could get to but again it's hard to know unless someone's documented it somewhere.
     
  15. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    That it does. The reason I Kicked on Day One was to get a portable FLAC player that was a single unit (instead of a 160G iPod and a strap-on Basso DAC/amp) that would include separate L/R balanced line outs — super important, as allows me to have an HD reference I can plug into any console (usually padded mic inputs).

    It’s allowed me to get systems tuned faster/better, and still have something sweet to drive my IEMs on the flight home. Best $$$ I ever spent — well, that and a cheap Wind notebook that I used to use as part of my über-compact Systune fly rig...

    Cheers,
    Bruce
     
  16. touch33

    touch33 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston
    Well, OK then...
    I just received the Pono Player that I bought on eBay – the device about which this thread was started. Here's what I've got:

    a) The unit is in perfect condition and boots normally through the "pono powered by Ayre" screen (in "vertical screen" mode).
    b) Upon completing the "2 boot screens then spinning wheels on 3rd boot screen" normally, it briefly goes (flashes, actually) into the "tabs" screen (still in vertical screen mode) with the ARTISTS tab selected, and THEN goes into "horizontal screen" mode with the ARTISTS tab selected. It does this regardless of the orientation of the unit.
    c) It then goes into "scanning music library" mode, and apparently starts scanning the internal drive.
    d) After a few secs, it presents with:

    **********************
    Corrupt File Found
    A corrupt file has been found during
    the PonoPlayers's media scan:
    /mnt/internal/Music/Nirvana/
    Nevermind (Remastered)/3-Come As
    You Are.flac

    Reconnect your PonoPlayer to your
    computer and enter Music Transfer
    Mode. Clear any potentially corrupt
    files off of your PonoPlayer storage.
    ***********************

    NOTE: it does this regardless of whether it's plugged into my MacBook Pro or charger or nothing at all.

    e) using my MacBook Pro, I am unable to "find" the PonoPlayer, even when using the Terminal command
    (defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES) and relaunching Finder as recommended in pscreed's "firmware installation" post previously mentioned.

    f) FWIW, the volume + and - keys seem to work normally when pressed even though the "Corrupt File Found" screen never goes away. At least I assume they're working, as the "volume circle" comes up onscreen when the buttons are pressed.

    g) also FWIW, when the PonoPlayer is OFF and I plug it into either my computer USB port or the charger it shows the "power cable" graphic as expected.

    So there we are – any suggestions?

    Cheers,
    Bruce
     

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