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Monday, August 24, 2015

"Pono is a labor of love." - Neil Young's Facebook Posting

Pono is a labor of love. Not just for me, for everyone in and around our small company, producing Ponomusic players and...

Posted by Neil Young on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

“Music matters and sound matters. Not just any music or any sound. It needs to have all of its resonance, all of its echo, all of its soul and you can’t get it from downgraded super compressed files which are so ubiquitous today,” writes Neil Young on his latest Facebook posting.

“It has not been easy but we are doing what we love to do: making music sound GREAT,” Neil says.

But PONO is still looking for a leader.... “We want to spread Pono around the world and provide you all with music to fill your hearts and minds.”

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At 8/24/2015 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love the premise of PONO but I simply can't afford it. Sorry I really wish I could. This is one of the three endeavors that I can say Neil Young is right on about(the other two are The Bridge School and Farm Aid). I already have everything on vinyl and CD and I bought into the bluray/Archives fiasco in '09 and all it cost me was my marriage. So it is too far out of my reach financially and I am just not into it as I once was.

At 8/25/2015 01:25:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Is Neil Running Dry? He's selling his house in Hawaii for $24m - a snip but the commute is a challenge.

At 8/25/2015 09:09:00 PM, Blogger forest rph said...

I agree with Timothy; I also bought into the blu-ray Archives fiasco. It took a lot of explaining to my wife, why I paid so much money for Neil's songs, some of which I already had when they were released on CD. And now he's not offering Monsanto Years on blu-ray. Love his music, but not wealthy enough to invest in a new system which might be outdated in a few years like Blu-Ray.

At 8/26/2015 06:08:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Blu-Ray & Pono will both fall by the wayside. The archives is a fiasco at least we all know how Pegi feels - left high and dry.

That said, the company is still running into trouble stemming from its lack of resources, suggesting that it has spent the bulk of its $6.2 million (£4 million) Kickstarter haul from last year. Young wants Pono to expand into the UK, Germany, and Canada, among other countries, but it doesn't currently have the funding. The company also continues its hunt for a "proven business leader" to serve as CEO, a role Young stepped into when former CEO John Hamm (not to be confused with actor Jon Hamm) left in July of 2014.

At 8/26/2015 10:15:00 AM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

I never considered buying a PONO player based on Neil's erratic track record and the overwhelming scientific proof of what the human ear can actually detect. To me (and 99% of us), CD/Streaming quality sound is more than acceptable.

That being said, I think that PONO has been a relative success. Neil delivered several thousand units and garnered more than a few positive reviews. At the very least he brought a "sound" debate to our attention and I have no doubt of his firm conviction in what he's trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, there's really nothing new being offered with PONO, and much of its execution is behind the times not ahead of them. The product is more of a 90's model of delivery with good sound, but it's a Streaming society.

We'll see how it proceeds or ends, but I think it hinges on Neil's willingness to accept and evolve. It's fairly obvious that the company should easily be able to hire a qualified CEO, but Neil doesn't want to hear the truth about what PONO actually is and should be.

I hope it ultimately works out as a niche product, but sadly I suspect the end is near. Has there been any news about the Lincoln/Harman partnership? That appeared to be the most concrete possibility for mainstream viability and acceptance.

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 8/26/2015 03:46:00 PM, Blogger medward said...

There's no reason to buy PONO. Lossless files have been around for years and sound great. I'm sure as hell not going to buy a 30-40 year old album (that I've bought a couple times already) just to get a HQ file that I could easily download for free from another source.

At 8/26/2015 03:52:00 PM, Blogger medward said...

Also high bitrate MP3s sound and feel just as rich as uncompressed files to most people, and can be played by pretty much any device. It just seems like Neil is telling is that we can't have great experiences listening to anything other than his product, when he grew up listening to the radio. How can he tell us that all compressed formats are junk when in his books he goes on and on about how much he felt the music back in his youth. I love Neil but his position on this is really inconsistent

At 8/27/2015 04:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one thought the blu-ray edition of the Archives was a near-perfect release. I still play it regularly to this day. It's a great shame that it has apparently been abandoned, and I fully agree that Neil's broken promises have caused a lot of people to hestitate on buying Pono. Once bitten, twice shy. He's only got himself to blame for that one. Take note, Mr. Young.

I agree with those who say we don't really need the extra resolution: I trust the science, have done the blind tests etc. I do however think there are some major problems with the experience of listening to music today (as Bob Dylan so accurately said: "there's no stature to it") and the blu-ray archives effectively solved a lot of those problems. It unquestionably is a better experience than streaming or mp3, regardless of resolution. So Neil got a lot right, despite being eternally distracted by the red herring of hi-res audio.

Still, if people get a pleasing placebo effect from hi-res audio, then why not? It works. It does return some stature to music again, psychologically, which is a good thing. The fundamental problem for me though is that most music in recent years is only recorded in CD resolution. Fortunately it doesn't matter (science tells us we can't hear the difference). So don't try and convince us that all those CDs sound awful, because it's been conclusively proven otherwise.

Enjoy CD quality, nothing wrong with it, and if the psychological placebo effect of hi-res adds even more enjoyment, then of course that's a bonus. Just don't pretend it's a bigger deal than it really is.


At 12/26/2015 02:24:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Working studio engineer weighing in. The reason many of you don't understand the Pono is because you don't understand audio. Forget what you've read, I'm going to clue you in. First of all, there's no such thing as "lossless". File size absolutely matters. And whether or not "science" tells you that people can't hear the difference between high and low res, I'm telling you from experience, people most certainly can. The only difference between 99.999999 of people and exceptional trained ears like Neil Young is that Neil is able to comprehend and discern subtle differences in sound quality. The rest of you hear EXACTLY what Neil hears, precisely the same way and although one might not be able to comprehend in the same way Neil does, you have ears and you're still affected. So basically what Neil is doing what I do for musicians all the time, I know better, MUCH BETTER than they do how to get a correct sound. They trust me big time to get it sounding good for them. They could NEVER, even with training do what I do, and I don't tell them how to play their instruments either. So Neil IS doing what's best for the public because he knows better. He's trying to fix a problem you don't know that you have. That being said, CD's do sound great. Anything less certainly does not. So why is this standard obsolete and those like Neil Young pushing for Ho, res? It's because those ultra-high frequencies over and above the supposed limit of human hearing are certainly"audible" in a way. They are ultra high harmonics that affect the perception of the lower frequencies. If you don't believe me, then went does natural sound sound better than recorded music? Anyways, there are other limitations of CD's and a more robust format benefits EVERYONE. So basically that's it; Neil Young knows better than 99% of the public what's good for them. He's trying to do you a service. Anyways, like television digital music will migrate to hi-def also and this point will be moot. And then, 99% of people will have an improvement that they'll take for granted,but you'll have it thanks to those like Neil Young who know better what's good for you.


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