Monday, August 26, 2013

Neil Young's Pono Music Service Illustrates Hi-Def Audio's Problems

Neil Young Pono image
There’s widespread industry speculation that Neil Young’s dream of a higher quality consumer music service is slowly getting closer, although a launch date is still nowhere in sight. Pono, in which Young is heavily invested, is a high-resolution audio ecosystem consisting of a download service supplying digital audio files transferred from the original audio masters at 192kHz/24 bit, and a dedicated player with the ability to play back those files at that resolution. Along with Apple’s best kept secret in their Mastered for iTunes program, Pono is an attempt to raise the bar in audio quality, a bar that has been continually lowered since just before the turn of the century thanks to the public’s acceptance of the quality impaired MP3 format.

Through the years, Young has always been a notorious stickler for audio quality, being one of the first artists to build his own personal recording studio based around hand-picked vintage audio gear, then later investing in Pacific Microsonics, which developed the HDCD audio technology that was acquired by Microsoft in 2000. He’s also been a big proponent of high-res audio formats like DVD-Audio and most recently Blu-Ray. To read the rest of the article, go to Forbes.

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1 comment:

Oakstone said...

I'm interested to see if this idea has any traction among the masses.

Most music listening is done while involved in another activity and not while sitting on the floor in front of a "hi-fi" system.

Although it would be nice for the public to not only notice quality differences between formats, but actually CARE about it, I'm not sure that the business case will be there for an idea like this unless it's exactly the same price/breadth as iTunes.

Of course I'd pick a higher quality format if it was still $0.99, but if I had to pay more, I likely wouldn't. I just know that I'll be listening on a crappy pair of ear buds, on the bus or out for a run etc. and the quality difference just won't be appreciable with those environments.


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