Neil Young’s Pono Music looks like bringing hi-res audio to the masses in a way that no audio company could hope to do. Originally touted as a high quality, lossless alternative to the iPod that is currently raising funds on Kickstarter, Pono has also brought high quality FLAC files to the attention of high profile musicians and record industry folk. The following video gives you some idea of its effect when demonstrated in a car.
The Toblerone shaped Pono player is essentially a competitor for existing products from the likes of Astell & Kern, it’s a high res player capable of up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution. What might give it a sonic edge is that Ayre Acoustics has designed the digital and analogue circuitry based on technology in their well respected high end components. What’s more significant is that the music industry backing that Pono has garnered, largely by demonstrating the differences between MP3, CD and high-res, will mean that an audience outside of the hi-fi world will hear about it.
PonoMusic.com will also be a music store in the iTunes style, making high res content from “all major labels” available to an audience that is barely even aware of CD quality. This is exciting news because it means that the great unwashed start to take an interest in good sound, and that in turn would mean a bigger market for the audio industry and ultimately more decent kit at real world prices.
The Pono player is estimated to ship in October 2014 and those who pledge $300 now can save $99 on a First Edition yellow player. There are also limited edition artist signature players in chrome, signed by the likes of Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Beck and Pearl Jam. Each will have the artist’s top two favourite albums pre-loaded and at $400 they are proving popular. The 500 Pearl Jam and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young signature players have all gone.