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Author Topic: Neil Young's Pono Service  (Read 12438 times)

JimH

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Neil Young's Pono Service
« on: March 09, 2014, 02:34:32 pm »

They're announcing at SXSW that their $400 player will be launched on KickStarter this week:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/09/neil-young-ponoplayer-music-kickstarter-apple-itunes
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astromo

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 04:30:07 pm »

A lot of negative posts from commentators. Not a good sign.

I can't see myself lining up for one.
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6233638

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 10:04:09 pm »

I'm concerned to see that they're launching a Kickstarter for something that has been this long in development rather than selling a product. That doesn't seem like good news at all.
Call me pessimistic, but it seems seven years too late to launch a music-only device like this. I don't know anyone carrying around an iPod any more, everyone just stores/streams music on their phones now.
 
I'm happy to see a new service launch to sell high res music, if the quality control is there.
I don't actually care about the high res part so much as being able to buy at least lossless CD-quality audio with good mastering.
Sites like HDtracks and Qobuz don't seem to care about the product and will happily sell you upsampled files at twice the price of a CD.
 
And pricing is going to be a big deal too. They need to price tracks at the cost of a CD or lower.
The mass-market doesn't really care about sound quality. They might notice if you play a really nicely mastered lossless file, but they aren't going to pay $20-30 for an album.
Those days The days of the mass-market paying $20-30 an album are long gone, when people can stream music on YouTube for free or pay $10 a month for Spotify and have access to all the music they could ever want.
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kstuart

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 10:08:55 pm »

Quote
A lot of negative posts from commentators. Not a good sign.

The "bits are bits" religion has become stronger and more fundamentalist since it began over 30 years ago.

The Internet makes whacko conspiracy theories more believable, due to faux "evidence" (a few years ago, one third of Americans were Truthers, and another third were Birthers).

The newspaper Living Section oversimplifications of how digital electronics work, now leads people to believe that they actually understand it completely.

All it takes is some junk science articles, and it is easy to get people to believe no one can hear the difference between anything.

... And the biggest problem with Pono is that most people can't hear the difference anyway.  (Don't you have a relative who always plays the SD version of a channel that they have in HD, because the channel number is shorter?)

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2014, 04:42:22 am »

@Kstuart first,

Quote
.. All it takes is some junk science articles, and it is easy to get people to believe no one can hear the difference between anything .../... And the biggest problem with Pono is that most people can't hear the difference anyway.  

Man, the device isn't out here yet, just wait a bit before some audiophiles test it and you've got a bit confused above in what you're saying.
I remember Young testimony in the "Studio City" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2306745/) it was most sincere and professional.

I'm not really interested in this Pono Player looks to me a bit outdated as the Holy Grail, just as my MD player once was. But I kept it and still have fond memories 'bout my "bootlegging days".
TC

Re : pictures there http://1drv.ms/NQGi8e in the second one I got the trick not touching the stereo mic but handling it close enough  ;) , boy even a additional battery case to fit in ...
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KingSparta

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 12:48:12 pm »

I smell chapter 11.
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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 01:55:34 pm »

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MrC

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 02:02:34 pm »

They raised over $800k in less than 24 hours.  Now its $1.7m.  We should all fail so miserably.
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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 02:18:48 pm »

They raised over $800k in less than 24 hours.  Now its $1.7m.  We should all fail so miserably.

Did U pledge to buy this Toblerone ? I'll be happy to see that people with the same dedication in high quality music stick together.
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jaxtherogue

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 02:55:56 pm »

I pledged, though I already own a hi-res player. I think more competition in the in both hi-res players and stores is most welcome.
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Awesome Donkey

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kstuart

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 12:04:17 pm »

All that is occurring is pre-orders.  The kickstarter web site is just being used as social media promotion.

Most people are ordering the $399 player for $300.  Pono could have simply setup the same thing on Amazon... but kickstarter gets them an entry point to 20-somethings who otherwise would consider Neil Young to be an old fart (kind of ironic for the guy who thought his life was mostly over because he was turning 20).

Quote
Those days are long gone when people can stream music on YouTube for free...

Wow you perfected a time machine !   What year are you posting from ?  Must be far in the future from 2014.

6233638

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 02:08:14 pm »

All that is occurring is pre-orders.  The kickstarter web site is just being used as social media promotion.
You're not even pre-ordering something. With Kickstarter you are funding the project, with the expectation of receiving a reward at the end of it.
Many Kickstarters have ended with the backers not receiving anything, not receiving what they expected, or having the reward delivered very late - and I don't know what, if any recourse you have - Kickstarter certainly won't refund your money.
Many projects are successful and actually end up spending all of their funding on delivering the rewards, or even losing money at the end of it all, because they had not properly estimated the costs of their rewards, or something unforeseen pushed the price up.
 
Now I don't expect someone "famous" like Neil Young to rip people off and not deliver the players, but it should be made clear to people that they are not buying a product. Kickstarter is not a store.
 
Kickstarter sales are not necessarily a good indicator of a successful product either - it's entirely possible that everyone who wants a Pono is buying it right now, or people want a "piece of the experience" by buying one of the limited editions - or they simply want it because it's another collectible item from a band they like.
 
 
Personally, after evaluating things, I decided that the Pono player is not really what I want - it's not something I am going to carry around in my pocket (too big) I don't care enough about any of the artists to want their signature on it (I refuse to buy something made of plastic if there is an alternative) it doesn't have DSD support or the ability to function as a USB DAC, and it doesn't have the storage I need if I'm going to carry high res tracks around with me.
At $200 I would have jumped in, but unfortunately by the time I finished watching the pitch videos, they were all taken. (should have just "bought" it first I suppose)
 
I'd rather put $300-400 towards a new smartphone which is more than just a music player, or one of the competing high res players that have a realistic amount of storage for high res files. (the new AK240 has 384GB)

Wow you perfected a time machine !   What year are you posting from ?  Must be far in the future from 2014.
Do you really think Pono is going to get the public paying $25 an album again, when iTunes sales at $9.99 or less are on the decline due to services like Spotify and iTunes Radio taking over?
 
Taken out of context like that, it reads as though my post has the opposite meaning though, implying that the days of YouTube streaming are over. In fairness, that whole sentence could have been worded better.
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kstuart

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 08:01:35 pm »

This is looking better.

The player is being designed by Charles Hansen at Colorado-based Ayre Acoustics.  Supposedly it will be based on the ESS 9018 DAC chip used in some high-end DACs (such as those sold by Ayre).

So, considering that other high-end portable players, like the A&K, cost over $1000, at $300 or $400, the Pono could be a bargain (made possible by sales volume).

(So, it seems likely that DSD is not included because the point is to create a 24/192 standard.  In fact, Ayre products supposedly included filters for PCM that incorporate aspects of DSD filtering that are said to produce the perception of improved sound quality.

Two interviews, first is better written and more to the point, the second has more details:

http://www.audiostream.com/content/hello-mr-soul-my-interview-neil-young

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/an-interview-with-neil-young-and-pono-ceo-john-hamm/

Awesome Donkey

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 08:55:21 pm »

As good as the A&K AK240 would be to have, the price would be pretty hard to swallow when considering the PonoPlayer.

Besides, the player isn't what's most exciting to me, it's the PonoMusic store. Hopefully it'll be like HDTracks with support from all major labels with larger hi-res selections.
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KingSparta

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2014, 07:53:06 pm »

the player does look good, but if you wanted to take a walk or run, it looks too bulky.

so that is a design flaw to me.
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InflatableMouse

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2014, 04:04:22 am »

All I want is less compressed music. I think somewhere mr. Young said their high res releases would be reproduced/remastered. That could be a good thing.

I couldn't care less if its 44/16 or DxD or something in between. If there even is a difference to be heard between CD and high res music, it pales in comparison to a well mastered, well produced album. High res is a waste of effort and resources with the current state of music quality and is better spent on proper mastering and production. Once that is in order, they could possibly start moving towards high res but not today. Did anyone read about Bela Fleck's latest album? High res, my @$$, its just another shameless PCM upsample with a DR of 6 or something.

But we all know how it goes. MFSL went broke doing the right thing. Not enough people cared to keep them alive.
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JimH

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2014, 07:38:44 am »

I had to search for MFSL.

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab on Wikipedia.
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glynor

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 07:07:53 pm »

I don't actually care about the high res part so much as being able to buy at least lossless CD-quality audio with good mastering.

I couldn't care less if its 44/16 or DxD or something in between. If there even is a difference to be heard between CD and high res music, it pales in comparison to a well mastered, well produced album. High res is a waste of effort and resources with the current state of music quality and is better spent on proper mastering and production.

+1 to both.

All-in-all I'm quite dubious on the new pono thing, but if the service itself takes off, and sells non-junky, lossless, and well mastered (the loudness war must die) copies, then I'll probably be in, even if the price is a bit higher than Amazon/iTunes.
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jmone

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2014, 07:11:33 pm »

I'd be in if I could just by lossless 44.1 or better (eg CD Quality) at the same sort of price as buying a physical CD.
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dean70

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2014, 07:23:12 pm »

I can see the download service being valuable, the player not so sure. Do you really need hires audio when on the go? (consider the b/g noise, etc). Would rather be sitting down in a quiet relaxed environment. I am sure the name would put many people off.
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6233638

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2014, 07:41:53 pm »

I'd be in if I could just by lossless 44.1 or better (eg CD Quality) at the same sort of price as buying a physical CD.
They said $15-25, so I assume $15 would be CD quality.
 
A digital file has less worth (cannot be loaned or resold) costs them nothing to manufacture, and almost nothing to distribute, so it should sell for a fraction of the CD price.
 
 
Unfortunately during one of the interviews, someone on the Pono team let it slip that the record labels set the prices for downloads, so it's unlikely that anything is going to change with Pono compared to sites like HDtracks.
 
 
Unless it was a big player in the market like Apple insisting on lower prices, the record labels will simply deny them the ability to sell their tracks if they want to charge less than that.
They seem content with selling fewer and fewer products over time, and will happily blame declining sales on things like piracy.
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InflatableMouse

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Re: Neil Young's Pono Service
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2014, 02:42:53 am »

A digital file has less worth (cannot be loaned or resold) costs them nothing to manufacture, and almost nothing to distribute, so it should sell for a fraction of the CD price.

I'm with you on the resell value, its worthless in that respect.

I have to disagree with the distribution costs though. I reckon its not actually cheaper than physical CD production and distribution.

Datacenters, storage, redundancy, bandwidth, load balancing, they don't come cheap. Web servers, secure payment, accounting aren't cheap either. We don't want their servers to get hacked and find out passwords are stored clear text or unsalted reversable hashes, all your private data stolen, etc etc. Security comes at a price.

Having said that I do think that model should change for services like this. p2p / torrent-like services are ideal for music and video distribution but I suppose that's a discussion for another thread  ::)
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Castius

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