Thursday, May 29, 2014

PONO Update #30 - May 28, 2014 Pono Team's Progress - For backers only

Laser etching Limited Edition PONO player
(Click photo to enlarge)

A new update has been posted on Pono Team's Progress - Kickstarter, along with cool little videos of progress including the laser etching of Limited Edition PONO player, production electronics and more.

Here's the backers only update:
Pono Team's Progress - June 2014

First we want to thank all of you, again, for your tremendous support in our hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. We’ve been overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and reception of Pono. We know many of you have been spreading the word about Pono and we truly appreciate it. In fact, there have been hundreds of requests from those that missed the Kickstarter deadline. For those of you with any payment problems or special requests, contact us at Please give us a few days to get back to you due to the large volume of emails. We’re working diligently to reduce the backlog.

We are making great progress on the development of the new and improved PonoPlayer (the one you pledged for), as well as the on-line store, the content delivery system, and the desktop media center application. We have established a number of key partnerships to help us expedite our development process.

We are proud to announce that we have reached a strategic partnership with JRiver (
), who will be providing us with a Pono-branded version of their world-class desktop media center software. This software will be similar to the iTunes® desktop app in that it will allow you to manage your music, create playlists, sync your music to your PonoPlayer, access the PonoMusic store, purchase & download music to your desktop, do player firmware updates, etc.

We are also thrilled to announce our partnership with CloudCraze ( ), an eCommerce platform that runs natively on the salesforce1® platform; as well as our partnership with where the PonoMusic store will be hosted. We are using the CloudCraze/salesforce1® platform to develop a world-class social music store. We expect to have our PonoPlayer pre-order store (for post-Kickstarter pre-orders of PonoPlayers and some accessories) up and running in mid-to-late June. We will be automatically creating user accounts on our store for each of our Kickstarter supporters. Look for an email notification in June once your account is set up. You will need to login and ensure that we have your correct contact information and billing address.

Lastly, we are days away from finalizing a partnership with a world-class content delivery partner who has great expertise in the content management and quality management issues near and dear to us at PonoMusic. We will notify you once our partnership is finalized and let you know why we are so excited about this partnership. We have also begun the work with the major music labels in order to have the PonoMusic store on line with a very large, relevant and interesting content catalog by October. Stay tuned for more news on this front. This work will be on-going at Pono as we will continue to add content to the store every day after the launch.

Last but not least, we are excited to announce that Bruce Botnick ( ) has joined the PonoMusic leadership team. He is a legendary audio engineer and record producer known for his work with the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and many other artists. Also, on Bruce's list of credits are numerous motion pictures including the Star Trek movies ( ). Bruce is responsible for establishing our content strategy and ensuring that we provide you the highest quality version of each recording sold in our music store. Bruce recently shared with the team the following graphic, which captures the state of modern recording today and depicts his motivation for joining Pono to help us save music from the lossy formats such as MP3.

State of Modern Music Recording

As for the PonoPlayers, we’ve built our first batch of new circuit boards incorporating the Ayre audio electronics and are beginning to build dozens of PonoPlayers in both California and in Shenzhen. These units will be used for testing everything from audio performance to the durability of the player. We will be exercising every function of the player thousands of times and are building testers to do some of this automatically.

Our very first board went to Charlie Hansen, founder of Ayre Acoustics, and he was ecstatic with the results of his design. Ayre has designed our audio system electronics in the PonoPlayer using the same principles used on his company’s amplifiers, DACs, and preamplifiers that are revered in the challenging world of audiophile standards. These products are famous for the use of discreet components (rather than off the shelf ICs), fully-balanced circuitry and a zero feedback design. The PonoPlayer project is the first time in history that technology of this caliber has been designed and built into a portable device. And from our listening experience, the results are spectacular and well worth the effort. We are grateful to Charlie and his team. This is all part of the Pono commitment to bring you an unmatched audio experience in a hand-held device.

Several of us recently returned from Shenzhen, China, where our terrific team at PCH is hard at work in preparing for several successive product builds, as well as testing and manufacturing process improvements. We visited several of the factories that will supply parts for the player and the factory that will be doing the final assembly and testing. We also visited the labs where we are still working to perfect the finishing and laser etching on the Limited Edition players.

Many of you have inquired about the types of PonoPlayers that will be available once we fulfill our Kickstarter commitments. We are currently planning to offer four models: yellow and black with a soft touch finish, each retailing for $399, a version finished in brushed chrome at $499, and a clear model at $499. The latter two models will likely include some special packaging and accessories.

To those of you that have asked about headphones, we are working on several offerings that we are very excited about. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience the flawless sound from Pono soundtracks, and do so at an affordable price. We also will be testing headphones from many of the major manufacturers and posting our recommendations on our site in a few months.

We will soon be moving into our offices located in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco (see pics below). Finally, the team will all be located together. For those of you that pledged for t-shirts and posters, they will go out in June as promised. Lastly, we are on schedule to meet our Kickstarter commitments to deliver players beginning in October. We will continue to provide updates as we move closer.

Pono Team Planning the Layout of New Office

Pono Team Using Every Opportunity to Work Towards October Delivery!
We thank you for your support and patience as we work on bringing you the best Hi-Res music experience by October.
Thanks for update and Good Luck PONO team!

PONO Team @ SXSW, Austin, TX - 3/11/14
(Click photo to enlarge)


  1. thanks for the updates, Team Pono.

    very excited about all this…a high quality player with world class DAC plus what I hope will be en extensive music catalog that offers much more than HD Tracks has.

    Rumour has it that Apple is going to move in hi res audio. Maybe launching with the Led Zep remasters.
    All this is good for Pono and for music listeners in general.

  2. A bit bummed out about the China thing, oh well.


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