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Neil Young eyes Kickstarter to fund high-fidelity iPod competitor

By Shawn Knight ยท 29 replies
Mar 10, 2014
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  1. Music icon Neil Young will soon follow in the footsteps of thousands of others in his effort to bring a new invention to market. On March 15, his company PonoMusic will launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a portable...

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  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    Not only sounds stupid enough (Hey want to listen to my pono? Come over to my house to see the Pono *wink*), it looks like it will bother the crap out of you on your pocket!

    The idea sounds kind of cool until you reach the "Pono", did I empathized enough the ugly name??

    If the whole idea is to have a portable media player it doesn't look portable with the odd triangle shaping, can't see myself throwing it in a pocket. Oh yeah, it will "pono" the crap out of your pocket!

    Now, it won't let you use your music because most of our music is in mp3 format, which is crap for the device, so you will have to buy the music you want to hear. Looks too much of a niche product to be a competitor to something as mainstream as an iPod, also the price tag looks ridiculous.

    EDIT: Oh yeah I almost forgot my Apple fanboy joke... don't you need to create a big cult of some sort to be able to compete with Apple products?
    lmike6453 likes this.
  3. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,531   +421

    I guess I'm getting old like Cranky, because I don't quite get it. =p

    Okay, so standard CD is 700MBish worth of raw audio data when full, and say you get a fairly liberal 60% compression on FLAC (arguably the best solution of the fidelity vs filesize argument for "audiophiles"). You're looking at 128GB holding roughly 436 albums using FLAC (excluding any OS/Firmware overhead if any). With a 128GB MicroSDXC in that expansion slot you get close to 1000 albums. Maybe they're using AAC? I'm not an audiophile but the ones I know personally are all FLAC or bust.

    Also the triangle shape does not sit well in a pocket of any fashion I'd imagine. The last time I saw a three button configuration on a premium MP3 player was the early 2000s as well.
    lmike6453 likes this.
  4. mojorisin23

    mojorisin23 TS Booster Posts: 154   +48

    I got lost at the triangle shape.... whats the point of it?

    price and fact that its not mp3 are also ridiculous.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    It's just a niche product for select audiophiles or just real big fans of Neil Young. I fit into neither. I wonder how effective the 3 button layout is?... Mind you at $399 it's not gonna affect me so I don't care.
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,152   +1,411

    I agree with @Kibaruk and @madboyv1 as well. The idea seems like a stretch. Some of these 'audio enthusiast' products take off and others don't. (can we stop saying audiophile please? The 'phile' suffix has a monopoly with another word already) Beats Audio is an expensive premium audio device and those headphones sell really well. I think a lot of that is the Dr. Dre connection, because HD Radio was a premium audio device too and it never really took off. Yes, the Pono is the wrong shape for a pocket, but many people spending $300 will want to show it off and it won't be in a pocket.

    I doubt many people can tell, let alone really appreciate or care about top sound quality. I have a background in music and I actually CAN hear the difference, but I still don't care. It's just too much work and money. A Pono with Beats audio headphones will cost about $600 without the music. A Sansa SanDIsk with Skull Candy earbuds will cost you $80 without the music. Does the good stuff sound better? Yeah, but not $520 better.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  7. gamoniac

    gamoniac TS Guru Posts: 352   +98

    Wow, you people rather have another innovation that looks exactly like iPod? The triangular shape allows it to stand on its own or lay on the side, and have a larger storage. Besides, the shape and form can change in the future. For the price, it aims at audiophile. I am not saying I am going to buy it, but that does not mean I should criticize it for being different.

    BTW, if gamers are willing to shell out $450 - $550 on a new gaming console (including a game), I don't see why music enthusiasts wouldn't for a good, quality player. Remember how much an iPod cost when it came out?
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Can we stop saying premium please? Premium is a word overused by some manufacturers solely as an excuse to mislead consumer into overpaying. (such as the above product).
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    "Remember how much an iPod cost when it came out?" Yeah it was absolutely ridiculous then, nowadays it's merely sublime but you're right, we shouldn't criticize music enthusiasts (or any enthusiast for that matter) for wasting money on whatever they deem a quality player, it is their right and money after all.
  10. Is that a Pono in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
  11. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,415   +145

    $400, "audiophile" player and it doesn't mention anything about the DAC or any built in amps?
    St1ckM4n and lmike6453 like this.
  12. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,793   +394

    Apples and oranges at this point... they wont be competing with Apple... maybe somebody, but not Apple...
  13. There is a lot of music I'd be willing to spend the extra money on to enjoy in higher fidelity. However, you need to do better than HQ audio in a device like this...It needs aesthetic appeal and, more importantly, ergonomics. From what I see in the pictures, this device really doesn't have either.

    News to me. Where is this word? I'd like to meet it.
  14. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,152   +1,411

    Premium is the word in English that means you're paying extra in order to get something extra. As in, you're paying a premium for Pono because of the better sound quality. Phile means something you really like, unless there's a pedo in front of it in which case it's something else entirely. And that word has tainted any other use of 'phile'.

    Semantics aside, you're right, it's your money and if you want to spend $300 on an mp3 player you can. The point is, do you feel you're really getting your money's worth compared to a normal mp3 player with a high bit-rate mp3? Or are you paying that premium for the knowledge that you have the best. To use your computer analogy... there are people who have rigs with two TITAN video cards in them. They spend $1700 on something that probably can't be visually noticed. One of the reasons they spend the money is because they want the best, even if they can't tell when using it. Is the Pono the audio equivalent of that?
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  15. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,152   +1,411

    Pedophile.... Someone who likes kids... and not in the same way as your local kindergarten teacher. Audiophile... someone who prefers great sounding music and is willing to pay for it, but not weird or creepy. So why use a suffix shared by probably the most unpopular group of people on the planet?

    Doesn't matter... don't mean to turn this into an English debate.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  16. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,793   +394

    Is it so much the device as it is the speakers though? No matter how good the device is, the audio will only sound as good as he speakers.... so how much to get ear buds that match the quality?

    How many people going to continue to use Beats? Even some who buy this because they are an "audiophile."

    Yes... I know...
  17. I knew what you were saying. I figured a little jesting sarcasm would sufficiently communicate my objection to your position without turning it into a debate.

  18. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,758   +1,149

    To play Minecraft.

    Is that a Pono I see on the distance?? Crap it was a creeper!
  19. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Glad to see someone making beyond stupid products, I would love a competitor to the ipod but not when it looks like a big block of child toys and looks too bulky to be anywhere near considered a competitor to an ipod.
  20. Jbucko

    Jbucko TS Rookie Posts: 33

    Just cause your an audiophile does not mean you have to shell out 800 dollars for equipment. I got my headphones on sale for $108 and the sound card in my computer was only 179. It is a night and day difference. Ill never go back and I am looking at gettting another pair of headphones. well worth the money, you just have to do your research and shop the sales.

    I would also stay away form beats or bose unless you like wasting money on a name.

    As for this product I would like to see some stats before I pass judgement on it. If it can push some of my 64+ ohm headphones, I might be interested
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  21. Jbucko

    Jbucko TS Rookie Posts: 33

    I have 2 7970 ghz that I use in my 5760x1080 gaming rig. My 7970s get bogged down on certain games. Wish I would of got 2 titans instead.
  22. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    So true. Why would anyone even bother with a SanDisk Sansa for instance when they can just plug a pair of Skull Candy's into their phone. It's the same thing as far as I'm concerned.
  23. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    If you can justify that kind of outlay just to play games, good luck to you. Personally I've got much more important and better things to spend that kind of money on.
  24. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,152   +1,411

    The Sansa player is much more convenient for working out. It clips to your shorts, has buttons you can use wihtout looking, needs charging only once a week and is so light it would never fall off or bother you. Functionally, it's not any better. It's only for convenience. I don't see any of that convenience in this Pono.
  25. Jbucko

    Jbucko TS Rookie Posts: 33

    I have a wife that makes more money than me and no kids. The "more inportant things" and "better things" in my life are easily funded. The cash left over I use to fund my hobby's, such as my computer, my darkroom, music room, etc.

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