Neil Young hates MP3s. He’s right to do so, to be honest. MP3s made sense in 2001 when broadband adoption was nowhere near what it is today, and where hard drives were a lot more expensive. But in 2014, there’s no real reason to degrade music to the point that the MP3 algorithm does. So that’s where Neil Young’s PonoPlayer comes in. Aside from handling traditional 256kbps iTunes store style files, the player chews up the following:
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
You’ll also have access to the PonoMusic store, where you can actually find (and buy) these high quality files. To put things in perspective, the “CD Lossless” quality file still contains about 30 times more data than a typical MP3. If you’re going to pay for music (and really, you probably should), you may as well pay for all the music the artist intended.
It’s $300 for the player, and an extra $100 will give you a version autographed by artists like “Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Beck, Arcade Fire, Dave Matthews Band, The Foo Fighters and others.” Granted it’s a lot of money for functionality that your iPhone technically already possesses. But if you really see it this way, then this product definitely isn’t for you.