Music Tech

Neil Young’s Own Engineers Aren’t Sure If Pono Sounds Any Better

ponoSome are predicting that 2015 will be year the year that hi-definition audio takes hold. Neil Young's Pono, Tidal, Deezer and others are all pushing new, more expensive services that promise superior sound. But superior to what?  Few would argue that so called hi-def audio sounds superior than the traditional mp3, but Neil Young's own engineers at Pono admit that you might be better off sticking with your CDs than paying the extra money, according to a new report.

Product engineers for Pono have privately admitted they are not convinced that high-resolution audio files played on a Pono player have "any significant technical advantage over CD-quality files", sources told the New York Post. “It has been clear throughout that Neil Young himself is all about the hi-res,” one source close to the company told the Post. “There’s no doubt in his mind that it sounds better.”

Pono executives are apparently a little more careful with their opinions, but admit its mostly about commerce. “Their take is that the serious audiophile has convinced himself he has to have it,” the Post's source added. “They’re saying, ‘We don’t necessarily believe it, but nobody’s going to buy it if we don’t do it.'”

The Beatles?

A new rumor circulating today has Pono sercuring the rights to The Beatles catlaog in hi-def.


This infogrpahic explains the confusing world of hi-def audio.

Thus far, Young and Pono have not commented on the report.  Here is the sonic difference that Pono promotes in their own infographic:

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  1. The main designer of the Pono Player is Charles Hansen of Ayre Acoustics. He is very vocal about the audibility of hi res files. May be you should ask him.

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  3. As a previous supporter of SACD & DVDA I can confirm that there is a distict sound difference between compressed & uncompressed formats…BUT I would also say that unless you are playing the source music through a high quality home stereo system much of that quality gets lost…playing through small earbuds or your average headphones simply doesn’t do the format justice…

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