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    Pono is Officially Dead

    Many people saw this coming for quite a while, but it's finally official. Pono is dead. I received word that Pono, Ivanhoe, Inc. a Delaware corporation, dissolved as of December 2017. I was able to validate this information with the Delaware Secretary of State's office. Pono lasted from December 16, 2011 until its dissolution on December 21, 2017. Based on the Delaware dissolution documents, Pono had an outstanding debt of $2,519,955 and its creditors moved to foreclose on its assets.

     

    Over the last couple years many Pono fans we're still hanging on optimistically like Lloyd Christmas. After a few updates from the Pono website many said, "So you're telling me there's a chance." Now however it's over, done, never coming back, final, etc...

     

    R.I.P. Pono. 

     

     




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    How strange it is for Neil Young to find out going digital didn't work out for him. Wasn't he the one responsible to oppose digital music in the first place? What happened to the infamous MAD?

     

    No matter what new format going to come in the future, nothing is going to convince people they need higher resolution than the 16/44 format. 99% would be contend with 320mp3. I foresaw dead of Pono.  

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    51 minutes ago, STC said:

    How strange it is for Neil Young to find out going digital didn't work out for him. Wasn't he the one responsible to oppose digital music in the first place? What happened to the infamous MAD?

     

    No matter what new format going to come in the future, nothing is going to convince people they need higher resolution than the 16/44 format. 99% would be contend with 320mp3. I foresaw dead of Pono.  

     

    More correctly, Neil Young opposed CD quality digital music. He championed high resolution digital.

     

    What is not needed is a "new format...to come in the future". Regarding the need for high resolution digital, I believe that the majority of members of this forum and the audiophile community do not need convincing. They were convinced long ago. As to the general public, many of whom were weaned on mp3, you are probably correct. But that is no reason why those who appreciate the superior sound quality that high resolution digital can provide should not continue to enjoy it.

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    1 hour ago, Allan F said:

    More correctly, Neil Young opposed CD quality digital music. He championed high resolution digital.

     

    He probably changed his stance in later years but the fact remained that he strongly opposed digital music at the early stage. MAD was headed by musician and recording engineers who controlled the recording studio which at time was all analogue.

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    A bummer. They had better download options by a long shot plus were less expensive than the others and free upgrade if another version was issued.

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    I thought Pono's demise was already a foregone conclusion.

     

    "Pono's failure is 100% a mismanagement issue."

    Don't forget that Apple bought - and immediately shut down - the company Pono used for their DL service.

     

    Not a happy outcome. The player sounds terrific - I still use my all the time. The online catalog was expansive with prices often far more reasonable than HDT and others.

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    Sad but inevitable. I bought into it and hoped they would make it. I still have a player that I continue to use and enjoy when I travel. it has it's issues but still sounds good. 

     

    Some comments on the above comments:

    -They weren't cheaper than other places most of the time for their music. The Pono store was usually more expensive than other sources. In other sources I include getting the CD from Amazon and ripping it myself. 

    -The Pono promise was real as I benefited from it on several purchases.

    -Agree it went downhill when Neil brought in his buddies. I was very active on the forum at the beginning but when Neil brought in his buddies they were very condescending and insulting towards me on several occasions which totally turned me off. 

    -The Pono store was pretty much doomed from the beginning as they were licensing the source material and thus we beholden to whomever they could get it from. This went pretty much against their original premise of only sourcing hi-res, curated, yada, yada, yada, material. They were never going to be able to pull that one off as the music business is WAY too entrenched. 

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    1 hour ago, beetlemania said:

    I thought Pono's demise was already a foregone conclusion.

     

    "Pono's failure is 100% a mismanagement issue."

    Don't forget that Apple bought - and immediately shut down - the company Pono used for their DL service.

     

    Not a happy outcome. The player sounds terrific - I still use my all the time. The online catalog was expansive with prices often far more reasonable than HDT and others.

    I think Apple's purchase of Omnifone would have been a small blip in the road, had the previous management team been in place. 

     

    I also believe Pono would have a streaming platform for CD quality and high resolution, in addition to other goodies, had the previous management team remained in place. 

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    No doubt Pono management made mistakes but that Omnifone takeover pretty well kicked the legs out from the company. At the least, they could have continued their model a bit longer.

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    I agree about the management issues, but at least the fish rots from the head down. Sorry for the lèse-majesty, but NY is for sure outstanding as an artist but not necessarily as CEO or businessman.

     

    The PonoMusic store is history, XStream not more than marketing cover for the Neil Young Archives and the current PonoCommunity presumably will move with a new name to another host but I still hope that there will be a successor of the PonoPlayer in form of a next generation DAP "powered by Ayre" because, beside all the weak points of the supplement to the Ayre designed D/A heart of the PP, from the display or battery to sync speed of internal memory, it is still one of the best sounding DAPs in the market.

     

    Perhaps there is an established market actor for e.g. headphones or IEMs in search of an own high quality mobile player as complement product, willing to manufacure and offer an top sounding own branded DAP, with digital and analog stages designed by Ayre to a fair price, in memoriam Charles Hansen. According to Martin Luther King Jr.: "I have a dream..."

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    Agree with the whole mismanagement thread. And still it continues. XStream (what a great name, sounds like a Porn site) is a mess. I know Frankie Tan at Orastream is trying his best but Neil just can't get out of his own way. I think the defining bad decision was not to go to a streaming platform early on. Instead of trying a Crazy Horse (streaming), Neil chose to stick with a dead horse (downloads).

     

    Oh well. Not everything that can be will be.

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    14 hours ago, NOMBEDES said:

    Form Factor, I blame From Factor.

    It certainly didn't do them any favours. I also think they made a mistake trying to be both a hardware and content vendor.

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    26 minutes ago, mansr said:

    I also think they made a mistake trying to be both a hardware and content vendor.

     

    Yeah, Apple made the same mistake with iPod and iTunes ;)

     

     

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    7 minutes ago, pkane2001 said:

    Yeah, Apple made the same mistake with iPod and iTunes ;)

    Apple is in a different league, if not a different game. Besides, the iTunes store was launched in 2003 while the iPod came out in 2001.

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    3 minutes ago, mansr said:

    Apple is in a different league, if not a different game. Besides, the iTunes store was launched in 2003 while the iPod came out in 2001.

     

    I think part of Pono's problem was that Apple and others were already in the same space with not much to distinguish Pono. Audiophile market is tiny, relatively speaking. Obviously, one can succeed selling both, hardware and content (Apple), but it helps to be early to the party to get a large chunk of the market share.

     

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    4 minutes ago, pkane2001 said:

    I think part of Pono's problem was that Apple and others were already in the same space with not much to distinguish Pono. Audiophile market is tiny, relatively speaking. Obviously, one can succeed selling both, hardware and content (Apple), but it helps to be early to the party to get a large chunk of the market share.

    Trying to launch two disparate products at the same time on a limited budget is obviously more risky than focusing on just one or the other.

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    140714_Blog_ItsTheMastersDamit_Photo_The

    Remember this? I don't want to jump to conclusions but it is possible that even the imprimatur of a has-been rock star isn't enough to sell the public what is demonstrably false and not very sexy. It didn't help that after a while the mainstream media started peddling essentially accurate information in response.  eg https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/05/pono-neil-young-24bit-192khz-review

     

    Even without the backlash it would have been unlikely to get very far. The toblerone-shaped media player was a joke. The entire strategy seems to have been based around persuading people who don't want to buy files at all, to buy unnecessarily big files so that they could play them on a special dumb looking piece of hardware they didn't want.  People don't even want digital camera or separate sat navs or universal remotes. Even Apple seems to be struggling to get people to buy watches. We have to do what because who says so? Neil who? How much more ill-conceived and doomed could it possibly have been?

     

    Still pono actually achieved enough of a head of stream to be worth mentioning in the mainstream media which is an achievement of sorts.

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    My first iRiver player was Toblerone shaped, and sounded great! Better than anything else available at the time, especially the shitty iPods.

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