Neil Young has a mission – to get people to listen to music in an uncompromising format, on uncompromising devices.
PonoMusic was conceived of by Neil Young as a mission ‘to restore the soul of music’, bringing the highest-quality digital music to listeners want to ‘hear music the way its creators intended,’
“We want to move digital music into the 21st century,” says Young. “PonoMusic does that.”
PonoMusic is a full system that includes both an online music store (PonoMusic.com) and a playback device (The PonoPlayer):
- The PonoPlayer is a high-resolution digital-music player designed and engineered in a ‘no-compromise’ fashion to allow you to experience studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible. Instead of engineering the device for mass-market prices, it’s engineered for the best quality sound.
- PonoMusic.com will offer the digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels in q high-resolution format. The Pono desktop media management application lets you download, manage and sync music to a PonoPlayer and other high-resolution digital music devices.
Here’s the official intro video:
PonoMusic will offer music in several formats, depending on the quality of the master recordings:
- CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit) FLAC files
- High-resolution recordings: 2304 kbps (48 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
- Higher-resolution recordings: 4608 kbps (96 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
- Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
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.
Here’s the official summary of the unique features of PonoPlayer’s technology:
- The digital filter used in the PonoPlayer has minimal phase, and no unnatural (digital sounding) pre-ringing. All sounds made (including music) always have reflections and/or echoes after the initial sound. There is no sound in nature that has any echo or reflection before the sound, which is what conventional linear-phase digital filters do. This is one reason that digital sound has a reputation for sounding unnatural and harsh.
- All circuitry is zero-feedback. Feedback can only correct an error after it has occurred, which means that it can never correct for all errors. By using proprietary ultra-linear circuitry with wide bandwidth and low output impedance, there is no need for unnatural sounding feedback.
- The DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) chip being used is widely recognized in the audio and engineering community as one of the best sounding DAC chips available today.
- The output buffer used to drive the headphones is fully discrete so that all individual parameters and circuit values and parts quality can be fully optimized for the absolute finest sound quality. The output impedance is very low so that the PonoPlayer delivers perfectly flat frequency response and wide volume range using virtually any set of headphones
The PonoPlayer will be sold at PonoMusic.com for $399 MSRP and is available for pre-order at a discount on Kickstarter as of March 12th. The Kickstarter project is already fully funded after one day.
Check out the details and let us know what you think. Can Neil Young and Pono get people to pay more for high-end audio – and ‘restore the soul of music’?