PONO

iPod…Sonos…Pony…no, I mean Pono. Pono! I got it — it’s Pono! At SXSW’s recent tech convention, legendary artist Neil Young unveiled the latest sound revolution in the portable music game — Pono. Last night on the Blogcast, we attempted to understand precisely what this new technology is. As Mike discovered, it is small enough to fit in your pocket and meant to eclipse the MP3 file format player. Goodbye, iPod? Perhaps.

In the video below, Young and a slew of musical who’s whos (Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Sting, Stephen Stills) weigh in on the listening experience of the 192 Flac file as compared to .mp3s and records. What is described is essentially a warm hug of tones that only true analog sound (via a digital delivery) can offer, essentially taking the experience of the sound studio and delivering it, without filter, directly to the listener.

Really, Young explains it best when he offers his “under water” analogy. Mp3, Young explains, is like walking around the bottom of the ocean with a bowl over your head and listening to music. Listening to a 192, on the other hand, is breaking through the water’s surface to breathe air. “The feeling is different. It actually is a visceral relief. You feel good. Your body feels good,” he explains.

The Pono has about 128 GB of space and can only carry about 3,200 high-quality songs. Well, that’s all well and good, you say, but where do I buy this fancy music to go on my new fancy music player? Good question. I’m so glad you asked. Pono is offering these files via the PonoMusic.com store.

The Pono peeps say they are already striking deals with record companies for their music, but with such a huge back catalog and current slew of music to get through, just how long until your favorite or most-sought-after songs are available for Pono play?

And while the sounds of Pono might make for a real life interpretation of the Maxell commercial (if you’re too young to remember, just keep reading), its triangular prism shape has it best suited to be propped up on a desk, on a car dash, or on a countertop — not put in a pocket.

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Pono