The Computer Audiophile

Neil young announces the launch of ponomusic

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March 10, 2014 – (Santa Monica, CA.) - PonoMusic is a revolutionary movement conceived and founded by Neil Young with a mission to restore the soul of music - bringing the highest-quality digital music to discerning, passionate consumers, who hunger to hear music the way its creators intended, with the emotion, detail, and power intact. "It's about the music, real music. We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does that. We couldn't be more excited - not for ourselves, but for those that are moved by what music means in their lives," said Neil Young, founder and chairman of PonoMusic.

 

PonoMusic is a full system that includes both an online music store (PonoMusic.com) and a playback device (The PonoPlayer). The PonoPlayer offers a digital-music listening experience that transcends the limitations of a multi-function smart phone. The PonoPlayer will bring this experience to you in your home, car, or through your headphones. PonoMusic.com will offer the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels, curated and archived for discriminating PonoMusic customers. The Pono desktop media management application allows customers to download, manage and sync their music to theirPonoPlayer and other high-resolution digital music devices.

 

"Our goal was to offer the highest quality digital music available from all the major labels and build the world’s best sounding, easy-to-use portable music player. We’ve achieved our goal and we are excited to launch our Kickstarter campaign this week to invite music lovers everywhere to join the PonoMusic community and reserve a PonoPlayer for their own enjoyment," said John Hamm, CEO of PonoMusic.

 

The PonoPlayer is a purpose-built, portable, high-resolution digital-music player designed and engineered in a "no-compromise" fashion to allow consumers to experience studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible, bringing to life the true emotion and detail of the music, the way the artist recorded it. It also features a convenient and simple LCD touch screen interface that is totally intuitive. The audio technology in the PonoPlayer was developed in conjunction with the engineering team at Ayre, in Boulder Colorado, a leader in digital audio technology.

 

PonoMusic and Ayre have collaborated to achieve a lofty goal -- to make the power and majesty of music available to everybody. “We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project. We will always be grateful to Neil Young for changing the landscape of recorded music," said Charlie Hansen, CEO of Ayre Acoustics. (http://www.ayre.com)

 

The PonoPlayer has 128GB of memory and can store from about 100 to 500 high-resolution digital-music albums, depending on the resolution and length of the original recording. Memory cards can be used to store and play different playlists and additional collections of music. The PonoPlayer will be sold atPonoMusic.com for $399 MSRP and is available for pre-order at a discount on Kickstarter.com as of March 12th.

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE UPDATED AT 2:57AM Monday March 10th 2014.

Edited by The Computer Audiophile
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Kickstarter?! Really, after all this wait--and the supposed amount of money and development behind this--they are going with a Kickstarter campaign to gauge interest and fund the project?

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Kickstarter?! Really, after all this wait--and the supposed amount of money and development behind this--they are going with a Kickstarter campaign to gauge interest and fund the project?

 

Really? Good luck boys.

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The PonoPlayer has 128GB of memory and can store 1000 to 2000 high-resolution digital-music albums.

 

That's quite an achievement since 128 GB typically stores fewer than 500 albums in 16/44.1 FLAC. What's the Pono definition of "high-resolution"?

 

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The iPod Classic is 160 GB for $249 and it fits in your pocket 'cause it is flat, not angled. Of course, it only does 16/44.1. If you want HD, there are quite a few nice portables now that do it and you are not locked into DRM with them.

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Wow tough crowd.

 

Pono has huge potential to get civilians into better sounding music. All ships rise with the tide. It makes sense to me to support Pono rather than snipe negative comments from the weeds.

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The PonoPlayer has 128GB of memory and can store 1000 to 2000 high-resolution digital-music albums.

 

That's quite an achievement since 128 GB typically stores fewer than 500 albums in 16/44.1 FLAC. What's the Pono definition of "high-resolution"?

 

Neil Young has been saying that PONO will be 24 bit 192kHz PCM. If that is the case a 30 minute 24/192 FLAC music album is over 1 GB, a 1 hour 24/192 FLAC music album is over 2 GB. So that would be 60 to 120 albums depending on length. If it really holds 1,000 to 2.000 high resolution music albums that is some major compression going on.

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Pono has huge potential to get civilians into better sounding music.

 

Maybe. I consider myself an enthusiast and so far this doesn't peak my interest, at least not to the tune of $399, so what does that say about the average consumer.

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DRM is no longer part if the Pono ecosystem.

 

So little official information has ever been released about Pono. Chris, can you cite anything official about where/when DRM was part of the plan and now where they say that there will not be any DRM. Except for the snippet about allowing syncing to "other high- resolution digital music devices," I see nothing in the press release you posted that would confirm a DRM-free ecosystem. And if, as Teresa claims, Neil Young has begun saying the format will be 24/192, then there is the issue of compression (to meet the device capacity and realistic download goals), which would perhaps imply a new compression format/container needing support by s/w and h/w.

 

I am not negative of pessimistic about Pono, and I agree that mainstream exposure (to hi-res formats) will help everyone. Heck, it might even inspire/goad Apple into catching up a bit with higher quality iTunes offerings.

 

I am just bemused that they are going the crowd funding route with a KS campaign. I assume that it is the Pono player they will be trying to fund. Can't really crowd fund an entire company/technology initiative, though who knows.

 

It is also odd that they put out a press release while the Pono Music - high-quality music initiative from Neil Young site is still basically blank. I signed up on it with my e-mail address months ago and have never received a single e-mail. Not even today's press release.

 

If us cognoscenti are still confused and in the dark, then I think Mr. Young needs to hire a better publicist. All those appearances on TV talk shows holding up a PON prototype. What a waste of publicity! I can think of a dozen was such huge exposure could have been used to wake the world up to quality sound...

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I see nothing in the press release you posted that would confirm a DRM-free ecosystem.

 

If this "movement" is a walled garden, it's DOA. I'm sure they are aware of that.

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The question all along with this has been about how open the technology is: is there DRM (apparently not; that's good), can one play PonoMusic files anywhere (this release suggests yes; that'd also be good), and can one play whatever non-PonoMusic files on their devices (I can only guess yes).

 

So then if this is just 24/192 FLAC (not clear, but I'm guessing), what's the value proposition for these devices? What's revolutionary about the entire concept? Is it just the content?

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Guess it is still the case of promising something wonderful (Wink-Just trust us it will be wonderful) without any specifics. Not a good way to go in my opinion. Heck tell us what it is already. As you can tell people who are very interested in hirez sources are tiring of this dog and pono show.

 

In my opinion if they just gained access and could give provenance you could trust for us to confidently buy something like a hirez copy of the masters or something close to it they have a winner. Doing more to make it accessible and mainstream and all is great sure. But it still isn't clear what the heck they have in mind. Long rumored to be working with Meridian on this, and now Ayre is making the hardware? No problem both are good companies making great products, but all of a sudden it is a kickstarter campaign. Have seen more informative kickstarter offers from 15 year old kids offering a product. Why all the smoke and mirrors? Maybe they will use DSP so we can all get the synthetic experience of listening in a rowboat on Neil's lake with his house holding the left speaker and his barn the right. (said to be how he played Harvest for Graham Nash years ago).

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So it's a portable playback device that supports high resolution formats similar to the A&K devices except the ponoplayer looks to have an odd shape most likely making it uncomfortable to carry in your pocket, and it has a supporting store to buy music? So far with the little information available i'm not impressed, hopefully more details are released.

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The question all along with this has been about how open the technology is: is there DRM (apparently not; that's good), can one play PonoMusic files anywhere (this release suggests yes; that'd also be good), and can one play whatever non-PonoMusic files on their devices (I can only guess yes).

 

So then if this is just 24/192 FLAC (not clear, but I'm guessing), what's the value proposition for these devices? What's revolutionary about the entire concept? Is it just the content?

 

Well, not revolutionary to us..but then there is the other 99.999 percent who know iTunes and iPods and little else.

 

Amused here that they used Kickstarter, certainly the dollars & juice are available to get press coverage and retail space in the traditional way. It's still likely to give them some extra buzz though.

 

I am guessing it comes in for far less than Astral&Kern dollars, has a little Ayre magic and will also have a hi-res download site. What's not to like?

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I am guessing it comes in for far less than Astral&Kern dollars, has a little Ayre magic and will also have a hi-res download site. What's not to like?

 

Nothing. If that's what it is, then I might be interested. Just wish they'd make that clear.

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If Neil was able to get 24-192 transfers properly done and there's some provenance, that's a great thing. Even better if he oversaw the transfers. Because he's a perfectionist.

 

Now if they give him the same crap HDtracks has been selling, it's gonna be a problem.

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