The iPod changed the way we listen to music forever. It turn Apple from failing company into an icon and power house. It single-handedly changed the landscape of the music industry. PonoMusic’s PonoPlayer which is backed by Neil Young wants to change the way we listen to music again. We are not sure if it is his name or that people want an alternative to iPod but the Kickstarter for this little player smashed through its goal of $800,000 in one day. The Kickstarter is at $1,256,475 as of the time of this writing. There are over 3,819 backers. What is amazing is there are still 34 days to go until the campaign ends. What makes PonoMusic stand out is that it tries to deliver a better listening experience. It does this by offering better sound quality than regular MP3 players. The PonoPlayer will use FLAC. As you can see FLAC has a much higher bit rate than other forms of music files.
- CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit) FLAC files
- High-resolution recordings: 2304 kbps (48 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
- Higher-resolution recordings: 4608 kbps (96 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
- Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files
- By comparison, iTunes music is sampled at AAC 256 kbps
“PonoMusic is an end-to-end ecosystem for music lovers to get access to and enjoy their favorite music exactly as the artist created it, at the recording resolution they chose in the studio,” the company wrote on Kickstarter. “We offer PonoMusic customers the highest resolution digital music available. PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music store and player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating.”
PonoMusic FLAC sound about 30 times better than a traditional digital MP3. To keep things in sync the yet to launch PonoMusic.com Store uses FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio format as its standard file format as well. Now before you run for the hills, you will not have to buy all you music over again. The PonoPlayer can play other music formats as well and work with regular headphones. The PonoPlayer also has a special jack for connecting it to a home or car audio system. PonoMusic.com store will sync with the device by connecting it to a computer. Maybe as a Kickstarter stretch goal they can add wireless syncing. All this great sound does not come cheap.
The Neil Young-backed PonoPlayer starts at a retail price of $399. That is a high premium for just music when you can get an iPod Nano that does a lot for only $149. The Kickstarter $200 Early Bird deal is of course over with. The PonoPlayer should sent out to backers by October. The PonoPlayer comes with 128GB. 64GB of memory is built into the player and another 64GB of memory on a removable microSD card. The expansion slot can accept microSD cards of up to 64GB each. While I love music I can not justify $300 for what amounts to a 64GB MP3; my apologize, I mean a 64GB FLAC player.