Pono

We’ve been hearing about Neil Young’s high-quality audio player Pono since last September, when he compared the listening experience to “that first blast of daylight when you leave a movie theater.” Around Grammy time, news broke that Pono would launch in March, and on cue, hand-held PonoPlayers will be available for pre-order through Kickstarter starting 3/15. Explains a press release:

PonoMusic encompasses both an online music store (PonoMusic.com) and a playback device (The PonoPlayer). The PonoPlayer is a digital-music experience unlike any other, offering the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels, curated and archived for discriminating PonoMusic customers. The PonoMusic desktop media management application allows customers to download, manage and sync their music to their PonoPlayer and other high-resolution digital music devices.

The release also explains that PonoPlayers will sell for $399 MSRP but will sell at a discount through Kickstarter. Each device holds 128GB of memory and can store 1,000 to 2,000 high-resolution digital music albums. Memory cards can be used to store and play different playlists and additional collections of music. No word yet on when the devices will be on sale outside of Kickstarter or when the service goes live. In the meantime, you can sign up for more info at PonoMusic.com, where they’ll also be selling Pono-specified headphones and earbuds. Young will unveil the PonoPlayer Tuesday at SXSW.

Relatedly, the CEO of PonoMusic is John Hamm, not to be confused with Jon Hamm.

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Comments (7)
  1. The thing about this is that as a natural skeptic to any and everything I am hard pressed to think of a reason that Neil Young would find a motivation for promoting this product other than to promote better sound.

    It will be interesting to see if recording people will embrace it. I would assume it requires different formatting? Could that be a potential barrier? Will individual songs cost more?

    Will people be willing to pay for it is the ultimate question. But, it’s intriguing.

    I pay for Spotify and agree there are recordings on there that do not sound like full quality and always hope to have the full quality of a song, and IF this player can guarantee that it is the closest thing, it has a market.

  2. @sellingthefuckout those are my feelings exactly & I was a little surprised to be reacting with curiosity instead of dismissal when I began reading about the project.

    Except I can’t help but see “porno” whenever I see that name.

  3. y’know, i love Neil young’s music, but i already have all his cd’s, most of his albums on vinyl and FLAC files on my computer (not to mention about 6 gb of mp3s that i ACTUALLY listen to on my iphone) so i think i’m set. I even read his autobiography, which seemed to refer to this format every 5th page, as well as “Lincvolt” – another project that i’m not sure will ever see the light of day in a wide market. until i actually see one or until POMO ends up flooding the .torrent sights, it’s just a Zune in the shape of a Toblerone!

  4. psyched.

  5. I heard something about flat frequency response from any headphone. That is the only reason I’d buy this, just to get that notch out of my dt-880′s.
    but, if that’s not true just buy a cowon player (wtf is this Zune talk lol).
    cowon have been running HQ flac for many years, the j3 has 50hour playtime and is half the price,. if you want to use it with ultra high sensitivity phones and dont mind an android based player go with an i-basso, which is pretty much a cowon like device with a built in amp.

    iaudiophiles has all the info from users who really know audio.

  6. I heard something about flat frequency response from any headphone. That is the only reason I’d buy this, just to get that notch out of my dt-880′s. But then I could spend that 400 on a set of phones with a flat response.
    this thing is waaay too expensive. A gimmick.
    but, if that’s not true just buy a cowon player (wtf is this Zune talk lol).
    cowon have been running HQ flac for many years, the j3 has 50hour playtime and is half the price,. if you want to use it with ultra high sensitivity phones and dont mind an android based player go with an i-basso, which is pretty much a cowon like device with a built in amp.

    iaudiophiles has all the info from users who really know audio. Perhaps someone should tell Neil he’s getting used.

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