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CES 2015: Neil Young's Hi-Fi music player Pono is now available

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 07 Jan 2015 13:19 User comments (11)

CES 2015: Neil Young's Hi-Fi music player Pono is now available Neil Young's super Hi-Fi music player and Kickstarter blockbuster "Pono" is now available for $399.
Last year, Pono closed its campaign at $6.2 million raised, good for the third best campaign on the crowdfunding site, ever.

The company just launched the Pono music store this morning, allowing consumers to purchase high-quality audio files that will cost you more than the average iTunes or Google Play download but flat out sound better. Creator Neil Young wants consumers to know that music sounds better than your streaming services and digital downloads: "I didn't listen to music for the last 15 years because I hated the way it sounded and it made me pissed off and I couldn't enjoy it any more," he said at CES. "I could only hear what was missing."

Unfortunately, at $399 and with more expensive song downloads, the player promises to be a hit only among a niche crowd. Young doesn't seem to care: "I'm a musician. I want people to hear my art. A lot of people feel the same way," Young said. "In my mind, this is a success already because it lives."

The device has two output jacks, one for headphones and a stereo mini-plug analog output for home audio. The Pono Music store offers music in FLAC with quality ranging from CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit) FLAC files all the way to Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files.

For example, Taylor Swift's latest "1989" is available for $19.79 in 44.1 kHz/24 bit quality.

Check out the store and the player here: Pono Music

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11 user comments

18.1.2015 19:43

I like it ...already !


Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

29.1.2015 6:32

How much for the audiophile headphones so you can hear the music through it? On the website, it only shows the player, headphones not included. So 400 for the player and another 250 or more for the cans, no thanks. I'll listen to quality music on my home system, I don't need to spend that much to listen to it on the go.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Jan 2015 @ 6:43

39.1.2015 16:09

You can buy a good Sony headset for around $150 or the Pro-Pioneer (in ear) for $159
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/DJ/Headphones/DJE-1500

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Jan 2015 @ 16:09

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

49.1.2015 22:46

Originally posted by Mrguss:
You can buy a good Sony headset for around $150 or the Pro-Pioneer (in ear) for $159
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/DJ/Headphones/DJE-1500
You're right, there are probably some good sets for less than $250. I just don't know if I'd be willing to pony up $400 for just a player. If it's made by Harmon, it will probably be very good, I'm just iffy on how many they can sell at that price point. I'd be interested in hearing some music through one though.

510.1.2015 11:34

I like the idea of a dedicated music player however the shape & price need more work.As for the hype of listening to live music & comments such as "High resolution audio is an amazing experience,it sounds like being there" totally cracks me up,they obviously have never heard well recorded live music before, (rhetorical comment follows)as for using your beats head phones don't make me laugh they ain't no sub for half decent component speakers whether in a car or a house stereo


610.1.2015 16:51

Agree.

Pono publicity propaganda is out.
But the push of FLAC is like: the new SACD of 2004 Surround Sound edition. ( 44/24 > 48/24 > 96/24 > 192/24 ) plus digitally portable.

Hardware & software FLAC supporters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ha...t_supports_FLAC

FLAC Players:
http://www.techshout.com/features/2012/27/best-flac-players/

Other Portable Players (2009):
http://www.stereophile.com/content/portable-players-flac-1

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 Jan 2015 @ 17:00

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

711.1.2015 12:18

Yeah there's quite a few portable players that can do flac & done so for a while,there's even portable players i've never heard of,i'll be web searching them in the avo,will have to look into cheap cell phones as well

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Jan 2015 @ 12:18

811.1.2015 14:41

What am I missing here? My android phone plays FLAC encoded songs. I also have a Samsung Mp3 player that plays FLAC encoded music for about 4 years. I do not get what is so new here that is worth paying 400 dollars for. I get that FLAC encoded music is much better. (BTW you do not need high quality headphones to hear the difference from Mp3's it is nice though)
But I payed less than a hundred dollars for my Samsung that played FLAC encoded songs four years ago. I just do not get how we got to a 400 hundred dollar player that every news writer acts like it is some new tech.

1012.1.2015 16:13

It's maybe a push in the right direction but with more and more u.s. cities doing free wifi, apps like pandora and iheartradio will start to stream higher quality audio as it will become easier to stream on the go not to mention 4glte for mobile phones. Also what is the storage space on this pono as flac and lossless mp3 files are so large? I can easily up my micro sd card in my phone to 64gb for thirty bucks and pack it full of albums in flac. Not worth the money but will create usable data for companies like itunes and the like for the demand for high quality audio downloads.

1120.1.2015 11:20

Yeah, they haven't done the best job explaining that they aren't just selling CD-Quality Flac files, they are selling "Better-than-CD-Quality" Flacs. Honestly, the player isn't what I was excited about, it was that there was going to be another source for higher quality digital music than the HDTracks. But it's all still SOooo over priced, that I don't care.

If anything worthwhile ends up coming out of this, hopefully it will be Neil's push to get the industry to quit pumping out awful sounding album masters, trying to end the "Loudness Wars."

Edit: they touch on it in the AD article: "The Pono Music store offers music in FLAC with quality ranging from CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit) FLAC files all the way to Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files."

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Jan 2015 @ 11:22

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