Posted in music | technology on March 10, 2014

No 'Zune' jokes, please
Pono

Neil Young has been working on his own digital music format and player for a while and has just announced details. Originally called "PureTone," the company is now called Pono and promises "the highest-quality digital music to discerning, passionate consumers, who wish to experience music the way the artists intended, with emotion, detail and power intact."

What that entails is a new lossless music format and also its own portable high-resolution digital-music player (pictured above) that holds 128 gigs of music, which comes out to "about 100-500 high-resolution digital-music albums, depending on the resolution and length of the original recording." You can use memory cards for additional music. There's also an iTunes-like Pono interface.

While the lossless Pono format may only appeal to audiophile types, the player might hold some interest for others. One of the biggest criticisms lobbed at the iPod was it's not-very-good internal amplifier and digital-to-analog converter. So if you've always wanted a better-sounding player... this could be it. There are some questions, such as "Will this also play my MP3s?," "Will I have to repurchase albums I already own in other formats," "Can I rip my CDs into the Pono format," "Is there cloud storage?," "Can I play Words With Friends on it?" and "If this all goes belly-up do I get my money back?" Those remain unanswered but you can pre-order your Pono player starting March 15 via Kickstarter.

Some of those questions might be addressed by Neil Young himself who will talk about Pono on Tuesday (3/11) at SXSW.

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Tags: Neil Young, Pono

Comments (49)

Who designed it, Neil Young?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:14 AM

I don't get the triangle design. Are you supposed to set it up on a table and run it through an amp or something?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:18 AM

Did no one involved in this stop to think that maybe a 68 year old man designing technology isn't the best idea?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:19 AM

I don't really see much of a reason for this things existence.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:20 AM

anyone else remember when having a 10GB Creative mp3 player was, like, amazing?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:23 AM

is it just me or could they have correctly tag the tracks displayed on the device. it says unknown artist....wtf!

Posted by dirtbag | March 10, 2014 11:29 AM

I noticed that. The first two tracks are "DireStraits_" and the last three are "Dylan_"

Awful

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:35 AM

My grandfather made dinner one night .... don't eat anything an 68 year old puts together

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:35 AM

This thing is so great that I won't allow any shitty ass Phish albums or live shows. It has built in anti-Phish DRM.

Can't wait. Makes me wet.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:37 AM

No thank you!

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:37 AM

^ I'll eat hummus made by a man of any age.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:38 AM

I can't wait to pay $19.99 for digital copies of albums I've owned for years.

Posted by Venkman | March 10, 2014 11:42 AM

Well, shit.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:57 AM

Hey, 11:37! Phish has played with Neil Young before. Doesn't seem likely, bro!

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:02 PM

11:37's favorite band is Parquet Courts

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:04 PM

I don't listen to Parquet courts but they do put on a better live show than Phish. Phish is so bad they need a 1/2 hour break between sets. Jesus

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:10 PM

^ Truth now: have you ever actually seen Phish? And if so, when and where?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:14 PM

Neil, you're great and all, but technology is a young man's game.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:17 PM

@12:14

Saw them at Bonnaroo two years ago. Headliner Sunday night.

Took molly and they were still awful.


The thing with Phish is that they could be a really great band if they could just condense their set with high energy songs and a little less jamming. Like less 9 minute jams and more 5-7 minute ones. Less monotony really

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:24 PM

I loved the idea! where to buy?

Posted by sexoamador | March 10, 2014 12:25 PM

I won't discuss the technology itself, but the design is awful. You can't use an armband and go exercising with it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:27 PM

I don't get this device. All the old man jokes aside, do we really need a new format? FLAC has been around for a while and is the choice format among audiophiles. There's also already a poor man's version, too (i.e. apple lossless). What exactly does this add???

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:29 PM

Phish sucked at Bonnaroo and I'm a big fan. Not the place to see them.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 12:46 PM

Love how everyone's saying technology is a young man's game, but uh, Steve Jobs? Bill Gates?

I still think we peaked at minidisc players. Those were the best.

Posted by kate | March 10, 2014 1:59 PM

I saw Phish at MSG with open arms and it still sucked. Page side was not rage side. Sorry.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 2:11 PM

"You can't use an armband and go exercising with it."

Exercising... you must be a jock.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 2:13 PM

Is that a battery hatch on the bottom? Does this thing run on double a batteries?

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 2:18 PM

Xiph (curators of FLAC) have long criticized this spec with good reason

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 4:15 PM

Vinyl still is the best

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 5:10 PM

Amazing that we still can't do better than vinyl.

Also amazing how few people give a shit about sound quality these days.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 6:28 PM

old people need this because they are or are going deaf

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 9:38 PM

^ the same reason old people cling to antiquated technology like rotary phones and vinyl records

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 10:00 PM

best thing about FLAC - ain't no nigga makin green offa dat

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 10:26 PM

Old people jokes... make em all you want you will be dead sooner than you think

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 10:55 PM

I always liked Neil Young's distant cousin, Young City Gal.

Former #1 city galz: Madonna, Karen O., Streisand (HOLLA), SJP, and Diane Keaton.

Posted by Mr. FoootFeish | March 10, 2014 11:07 PM

1. I love the old people jokes! Hopefully you will all be old one day.
2. I'm glad to see the vinyl vs CS vs FLAC argument getting a little steam in this thread. I would like it to be decided, finally.
3. I think it IS a AA battery door. That answers one question, but I'm still curious how you get the tape out.

Posted by Anonymous | March 10, 2014 11:30 PM

After reading g the epic SOUNDS record store post, it has been made abundently clear that Vinyl is better quality and MP3 enthusiests have small wieners.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 12:01 AM

12:01--Agreed! Vinyl is indisputably the best format.
12:32 --Bummer, you'll be missed. Rock on.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 12:36 AM

^that old hippie must be losing his mind. shit looks like a toblerone. smh...

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 1:11 AM

that shape looks like it would be hard to stick up your ass, but i'll try anything once.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 1:25 AM

All of you haters are ultimate fucking clowns. You have NO clue what technology is involved here or what Neil has pulled off with this.

You all like shitty rips of bad albums as the soundtrack to your dollar menu McDonald's dinner-ridden lives as it is. So I don't think anyone actually expects the average BV chump commentator to be interested in this anyway.

This thing is going to rule and I will buy it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 4:08 AM

Unique Riverfront lifestyle living, 3 mins from LRT, efficient layout with pool and reservoir view

Posted by rivertrees | March 11, 2014 5:54 AM

hdtracks has been doing the same thing for years with open source formats, lists what the format is, and has new and old albums. Audiophiles probably won't trust a format that you can't test and they already have their $1000 dacs, etc that already plays the files. Plus there are also many portable hi-res players in a normal shape that can play multiple formats. Asking anyone to use an unknown format only using your player and software is a tough sell at that price.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 10:14 AM

Wait, Neil Young is making porno music now?

Posted by typical old guy vinyl over | March 11, 2014 10:35 AM

Phish = Cancer of the century
Those ipod ripoffs are disgusting.
Those old audiophile farts can suck my dick.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 10:46 AM

Nah, Phish is good music and a fun time. If you don't have fun at a Phish show I feel bad for you because you are almost certainly uptight and not fun to begin with. That is all.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 10:50 AM

I'll be enjoying my Phish ALAC-HD shows while this confused old hippy's business venture crashes and burns.

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 11:48 AM

1:11 ftw

Posted by Anonymous | March 11, 2014 12:10 PM

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