Music fans will often discuss the poor music quality of digital music. Instead, they’ll praise vinyl records for their rich, varied, and deep sound. The detail in an analog record is many times greater than that in a digital file. This is because analog sound is a consistently oscillating wave, whereas digital is an approximation of that wave. That digital approximation has a few key benefits. The lower quality comes with a smaller file size, and takes up far less room than a vinyl record. However, storage space has increased, as has our digital technology and recording practices. Neil Young frequently hears his own music exactly as it’s supposed to sound, as he’s recording it or playing it live, and therefore feels bad for the rest of us, who hear a crippled digital format. He wants to change that with a new music player and service, and he’s taken to Kickstarter. I initially wondered how popular this would be, but Young’s Pono has been incredibly popular.
It’s impossible to sample just how fantastic the Pono sounds online, as the streaming used will downgrade the quality of the sound, and your device or computer most likely can’t come close to replicating the dynamic, rich sound the Pono can emit. However, you can hear the endorsement from a number of musicians, all raving about the device. You can find that video, full information, as well as an immense number of backing options on their Kickstarter page here.
The Pono is designed with the same attention to detail that goes into the professional recording equipment that artists use to make their music. It also features a touchscreen, 128GB of storage, and expansion through SD Cards. It’ll cost $399 once it’s released, but if you get in on the Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get the black or yellow Pono for $300. There’s also a wide variety of $400 Ponos, which will come signed by a musician of your choosing, with two albums from that artist, and a leather carrying case.
The Pono is a one trick pony. It plays music, and it does it well. You even need to use your computer to load it up with music. In a world with devices that do everything, it’s odd to see one that only does one thing. However, it’s certainly been popular, reaching the Kickstarter goal set out for it in no time at all. It seems many audiophiles are excited to hear their music as it was meant to sound, and perhaps some people just want to hear their favorite music in a whole new light.