“Pono” is Hawaiian for righteous. What righteous means to founder & CEO Neil Young is honoring the artist’s intention, and the soul of music. That’s why he has been on a quest to revive the magic that has been squeezed out of digital music. In the process of making music more convenient and easier to download, we have sacrificed the emotional impact that only higher resolution quality music can deliver. However, the world has changed. You no longer have to choose between quality and convenience when listening to digital music. You can have both. This is the fundamental idea behind PonoMusic and the PonoPlayer.
PonoMusic is supported by all major labels and includes their growing catalogs of high resolution digital music. Pono also is working with independent labels across all genres to bring a diverse selection of music to the PonoMusic.com Store. The music industry is excited about making the amazing music that has been curated conveniently available to music lovers everywhere in its highest available quality. High resolution digital albums at PonoMusic.com will cost anywhere from $14.99 -$24.99. For this price you get the best quality digital music available anywhere.
PonoMusic is an end-to-end digital music ecosystem with the PonoMusic Store and the PonoPlayer delivering stunningly clear music, the next best thing to hearing it in the recording studio the way the artist recorded it. PonoMusic is not a new audio file format or standard. The music in the PonoMusic Store is sold and downloaded in the FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) audio format and the PonoPlayer can play most popular high-resolution music formats from other sources as well. PonoMusic will have a quality spectrum depending on the quality of the available master recordings and will offer the best resolution available. This includes:
• CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit)
• High-resolution recordings: 2304 kbps (48 kHz/24 bit)
• Higher-resolution recordings: 4608 kbps (96 kHz/24 bit)
• Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit)
For comparison, MP3 files generally have a bit rate of 192kbps or 256kbps. These are highly compressed files, and are smaller in size than higher resolution music files. You can keep a lot of them in a small amount of storage on a portable player or mobile device but they have lost a lot of the musical information that often reveals the most pleasant and satisfying aspects of the music. CD lossless, 16 bit/44.1kHz PonoMusic files have about 6 times more musical information than a typical MP3. While ultra-high quality resolution recordings (24 bit/192kHz) have about 30 times more data.
The PonoPlayer is a purpose built device, designed by world-renowned audio engineers with a “no compromises” approach to sound quality and meaningfully improves the listening experience with any quality of headphones, speakers or playback system. When using higher quality headphones and/or speakers, the PonoMusic difference is profound. Pono has partnered with the engineering team at Ayre Acoustics to include some of their world-class audio technology in our PonoPlayer.
The PonoPlayer ships with a total of 128 GB of storage. 64 GB of memory is built into the player and another 64 GB of memory is available on a removable microSD card. The expansion slot can accept microSD cards of up to 64GB or SDXC microSD cards of 128 GB. Unlike many other portable music players, the microSD cards are designed to be easily swappable. The amount of songs and albums that the PonoPlayer can hold depends on the resolution of your music files:
• 44.1 kHz/16 bit – Approximately 5000 tracks
• 48 kHz/24 – bit Approximately 3200 tracks
• 96 kHz/24- bit Approximately 1600 tracks
• 192 kHz/24 -bit Approximately 800 tracks
The DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) chip being used is widely recognized in the audio and engineering community as one of the best sounding DAC chips available today. The output buffer used to drive the headphones is fully discrete so that all individual parameters and circuit values and parts quality can be fully optimized for the absolute finest sound quality. The output impedance is very low so that the PonoPlayer delivers perfectly flat frequency response and wide volume range using virtually any set of headphones.
Another special feature of the PonoPlayer is that it has two line out jacks. One is for headphone usage and the other can be used as a line out for sound systems, powered speakers or a car stereo. These jacks can also be used simultaneously for shared music listening with two sets of headphones. Additionally there is a balanced output mode that separates the left and right channel outputs across the two jacks for specially equipped headphones that have two balanced connectors or for connection to equipment with balanced XLR input connectors.
Additionally the PonoPlayer will indicate, via a special blue light on the player, that you are listening to a PonoMusic track of the highest resolution. If the light is lit, then the music you are listening to is Pono-certified as the best available quality.
PonoMusic is more than just a high-resolution music player; it is a grassroots movement to keep the heart of music beating. PonoMusic aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings.