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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PONO Launches @ SXSW with Neil Young: Kickstarter Campaign Exceeds Goal in Less Than A Day

Neil Young
PONO Launch @ SXSW

Neil Young launched the PONO audio system yesterday at the SXSW Conference in Austin, TX.

In less than a single day, the Pono Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its goal of $800,000 and is currently tracking at over $1.7 million. The two signed versions of the Pono are sold out. Even all 30 invitations of $5,000 pledges for a VIP dinner invitation & PonoMusic listening party hosted by Neil Young are already gone.

Here's a comment by Archives Guy on PONO Launch @ SXSW thread:
Quite a thread and conversation you have going here, Mr. Thrasher.

People talking about music, being passionate about their feelings, what they can/can't hear, speculating about the future of listening and enjoying recorded sound.

So great to see a conversation that elevates music beyond being wallpaper and background sound.

As you might expect the entire Pono team is thrilled with the response on Kickstarter within the first 24 hours.

Here in the tranches of the archives we are eager to get more music out to you, with the best digital sound ever.

Here's a comment by Dan1 on PONO Launch @ SXSW thread:
Admittedly I'm a tech neophyte, not much of an audiophile, and was also somewhat skeptical about Pono ... after watching the video and seeing the rollout of the past days my perspective is evolving ...

at its core this is Neil leading a movement dedicated to establishing a high quality digital music standard ... since the advent of CDs until today's MP3s it has literally been a race to the bottom in terms of digital music quality and both consumers and artists have lost out big time ...

probably, the average listener (like me) is 'tone deaf' to realize how watered down the music quality has gotten but nevertheless they're (we're) getting robbed ... for the artists its much worse, their art gets ransacked for the sake of mass distribution ... Neil to his credit is an audiophile extraordinaire / savant and is dogged enough to try to be a change agent in this respect ...

I have huge admiration for his vision and skill to take on this initiative and the video shows how necessary and revered this initiative is among his peers ... while the PONO device and the music ecosystem Neil envisions are both extremely ambitious initiatives, the heart of Neil's thrust is for an upgraded digital music standard ... if Neil is successful in an upgraded standard and helping it to become commercial / available / mainstream then he'll have given society a huge gift and help the trajectory of recorded music in our culture take a very significant step forward ...

Hats off to Neil for spread heading this, and I hope he'll be successful ... the naysayers will line up and complain about everything from A to Z, accuse him of being greedy, naive, ect .... all of those miss the point (Neil's not getting rich off this), we should all seek to evangelize this movement and help in what ever way we can ... maybe we don't have the $5,000 we wish we could spend to join the private dinner ... or even $400 to pre-buy the player but we can at least want it to succeed ...

in my view if 5 years from now iTunes is offering these higher quality digital files Neil will have been the one to ride in on a white horse to save the industry, changing its trajectory from a race to the bottom to a standard that honors the art of so many at the level it deserves to be presented at ...
Kickstarter Campaign Begins For Neil Young's Music Player : NPR

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At 3/12/2014 04:16:00 PM, Anonymous Tony said...

Neil on CNBC at 4:15pm EDT today (now)

At 3/12/2014 04:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just want to repeat my question for Archives Guy from previous thread:
Will Archives 2 be getting a physical release (Blu-ray preferably) or just a downloadable release from Pono music store only?

At 3/12/2014 05:13:00 PM, Anonymous bobsledbob said...

I have been doing a few calculations into investing into PONO system. PONO $400, upgrading my truck music system $350(currently own cd/fm player), headphones $175,extra 64GB Memory Cards( at least 5 to start off ) $50 bucks each= $250,then downloads of at least 100 albums(I'll have to be very choosey,good thing it still will play my CD rips) $20= $2000; total $2825. Good sound is worth it. If this gets Neil to release Archives II it will be fantastic.

At 3/12/2014 05:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point Martin, if Archives 2 is going to be digital only we may as well be told now so we can buy a Pono at the introductory price. I'm still hoping for Vol 2 on CD and BluRay to match the existing ones but that seems unlikely. Can you shed any light Archives Guy ?

At 3/12/2014 05:40:00 PM, Anonymous J Criswell said...

Shakey Pictures is not doing away with the blu-ray format! Archives Box II will be just as great if not better than Volume I. 192khz 24 bit song files with HD video and multiple features will still be included in Volume II.

At 3/12/2014 05:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

J Criswell - CD box too do you think ?

At 3/12/2014 06:20:00 PM, Blogger Archives Guy said...

Not to distract from the subject of this post, but in answering the NYA V2 questions-

At this time we are still planning on physical release for NYA V2 and yes it will be available on Pono, too in full 24/192 sound quality.

I'm happy to report that we are in full on production of NYA V2 right now. Maybe I'm biased, but I think V2 might be the best one.
A plethora of previously unreleased tracks.

Dunno if anyone noticed it yet, but there are some new Artist Signature Series Pono players up on the Kickstarter page today.

At 3/12/2014 06:29:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Archive Guy on the great news about the Archives.I'm on board with PONO to

At 3/12/2014 06:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks archives guy, great news.
Looking forward to it.
Hoping pono will bring hi-rez music to the mainstream

At 3/12/2014 11:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some interesting revelations from Neil:


At 3/13/2014 04:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always appreciate hearing from AG, but not sure he really confirmed anything so far as Archives/Blu-ray is concerned. Apart from the "at this time" qualifier, "physical release" could mean CD only. And the emphasis on Pono providing the 24/192 experience also suggests that might not be happening with the physical release (i.e., CD but no Blu-ray). But I share his enthusiasm for the Vol. 2 content, and at this point would settle for mp3s (or maybe even eight-track) just to be able to hear the damn thing.

At 3/13/2014 08:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks on the NYA V2 news AG. Not that you're not busy enough already, but is NYA V1 in 24/192 format for Pono in the works as well?

At 3/13/2014 09:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was already done for V1 Blu-ray, should be a simple enough matter to offer them as standalone audio files.

At 3/13/2014 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

I am one of those who invested in a KICK ASS blu ray sound system because the Archives on Blu-Ray was the big idea from Neil Young. PONO seems cool and all, but my Blu Ray system is in place and I don't have the money to buy a PONO in the forseeable future. I expect that Neil will not abandon the Blu Ray format, since he convinced many fans to move to it to get the archives. I eagerly await Vol 2 on Blu Ray! Thanks. -Alan in Seattle

At 3/13/2014 01:45:00 PM, Blogger TS said...

BluRay is still the best quality out there for physical releases, so I find it very hard to believe that NYA2 won't be released in that format. I also hear people say that they're disappointed with BluRay, and I just don't see why. The downloadable option was a very cool one, and I wish they did more than that. But that's not why I bought the BluRay. I bought it for the quality of sound. It sounds great. :)

At 3/13/2014 07:23:00 PM, Anonymous Johan said...

I wonder if Pono will sound as good as / better than Blu-ray and/or Vinyl. I know this is all academic since probably nobody can tell the difference anyway if they'd take a blind taste test but I wonder what the official line is. Which is best/worst.

At 3/13/2014 08:05:00 PM, Blogger Nate42 said...

Johan- There is no speculation necessary as to whether pono sounds better than bluray. The underlying audio format used (24bit 192kHz) is exactly the same for both. Flac (as will be employed by Pono) vs dolby hd vs any other lossless compression format makes zero difference in sound quality - that's what lossless means. Likewise, Pono will be of roughly equivalent quality to SACD and dvd audio. There are some real technical differences with SACD (dsd vs pcm), and dvd audio is usually 96kHz at most, but you would be hard pressed to hear a difference. As to vinyl, the argument that vinyl sounds "warmer" will never die, but the technical capabilities of hi-res digital audio are certainly greater.

As it turns out Pono is not a format at all, but an attempt to popularize a player + online store, pono wants to be the ipod+itunes of hires audio. The parallel is very strong actually,since in a very similar fashion Apple did not invent the portable digital audio player, or compressed digital music, or even the online distribution of such. They just made it popular. Perhaps pono will do the same, only time will tell.

At 3/13/2014 09:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might hear some slight difference if the much-hyped digital-analog converter in the Pono player is better than the one in your Blu-ray player (or vice-versa).

At 3/13/2014 09:46:00 PM, Blogger Wildgift said...

Archives Guy, thanks very much. You helped me out when I was having problems with the download on Vol 1 and I appreciate that and your input here.

I know I speak for everybody when I express my wish that Vol. 2 comes out soon. FWIW, I would be willing to buy it only in Pono digital form, if it could be priced less then the hard Blu-rays.

Thanks again. I think the time span of Vol. 2 is among the best of Neil's career and I cannot wait to hear in Pono form!!


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