Is Pono no more?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by conjotter, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Not always no. But his last ten-15 years are plagued by carelessness.
    Carserguev likes this.
  2. Picca

    Picca Forum Resident

    Modena, Italy
    Dear Neil, funny how things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach.
  3. Sid Hartha

    Sid Hartha Well-Known Member

    The Midwest
    I had the same reaction reading his post. It's everybody else's fault, basically.
  4. James Bennett

    James Bennett Forum Resident

    Yet, so many awesome moments, too.
  5. bubba-ho-tep

    bubba-ho-tep Forum Resident

    Wylie, TX, USA
    Quoted because of the great point it makes.
    c-eling and Dennis0675 like this.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Not excited about the new streaming platform at all. Would appreciate something like the old Pono store where tons of OOP titles were readily available on 16/44 for reasonable prices. Don't care about hi-rez unless the mastering is significantly better than what else is available on non-hi-rez format.
  7. radiomd2000

    radiomd2000 Forum Resident

    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    Neil continues to reveal that Pono apparently overlooked or intentionally ignored Omnifone's status at the time: Omnifone were bankrupt, plain and simple, and were actively seeking to sell off assets. Describing the subsequent sale of some of the assets to Apple and the dissolution of the company as having "no notice" is an act of confabulation.

    Hate Apple and iTunes if you must, but this particular transaction shouldn't change anyone's views, in spite of Neil's ongoing attempts to blame PonoMusic's shutdown on Apple.
    BGLeduc likes this.
  8. Tuco

    Tuco Forum Resident

    Pacific NW, USA
    Someone tries to make the world of music better and the result in this forum (and others) is to be slagged and ridiculed.
  9. Drew769

    Drew769 Forum Resident

    I was 100% on board with Pono from the Kickstarter days primarily for one reason - a $299 Ayre Acoustics - designed portable player. No one made a player that good, for so little. I've heard the Astell & Kerns that sold (and sell) for 3 or 4 times that amount - they are not better IMHO. When news broke that the Pono supported true balanced outputs (in typical Ayre fashion) and later, true native DSD playback, the value became even greater. I received my player, and I still enjoy it very much. I may buy a "spare" before they become extinct. Although there is now an A&K mini that is very close in price.

    I also grew to enjoy having another high res music store choice. In conjunction with Super Hisres (Acoustic Sounds) and HD Tracks, there was a good, diverse selection of music and pricing. I snagged a couple of real deals from Pono (including a 192/24 Rush Moving Pictures that was mistakenly up on their site for a few hours...only sold abroad for contractual reasons). Do I miss it? Sure. Is it the end of the world? Not even close.

    As for streaming, we have Apple Music offering just about every bit of recorded music available for $10 a month, and Tidal offering very good sounding CD quality and some MQA-encoded music (and a decoder in their desktop software) for $20 a month. Do we need another in the middle? Unlike downloads, you kind of have to pick one (unless you want to subscribe to multiple services, but why?). I listen to Tidal everywhere, and I have no complaints about quality.

    And anything I really LOVE, I end up buying on vinyl anyway.

    Thanks for trying, Neil.
    SinnerSaint, BGLeduc and Runicen like this.
  10. PTgraphics

    PTgraphics Forum Resident

    This, all day everyday day, for me anyway.

    patient_ot likes this.
  11. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    There's this knee-jerk reaction that comes up whenever someone criticizes Neil in conjunction with Pono. Seriously, some of us were skeptical because of the tone of the pitch. I know it's hard to believe, but it's possible to agree with an idea and not have much truck with a spokesman for it. Trust me, in the 21st century, I've gotten bloody used to that feeling!

    While I was 100% in favor of what Pono was trying to do, there was a little too strong a whiff of "travelling snake oil salesman" about the Kickstarter video and related press coverage. The interviews could induce some cringe as well. This is speaking as someone who has been absolutely adoring his move to Fiio and hi-res where available. It's an amazing upgrade over what was and I'm sure I'd be similarly impressed with the Pono player. However, when you start talking about mysticism as related to the subjective experience of art, you're doing nothing that differentiates you from the "cool kids wear these" advertising campaigns associated with Beats headphones. You're not gaining any converts with that kind of pitch and it's staggering that this was never called out. Hell, it's part of what put ME off of making the leap from iPod into lossless audio and, later, hi-res audio. I assumed it was indulging the Emperor with some fawning compliments on his new attire while wishing to **** that he'd cover up already!

    The sad component is, there IS objectively something better about hi-res audio (when it's well-recorded and well-mastered). Note: I said objectively, not subjectively. Whether someone is willing to pay more or jump through hoops to acquire it is the subjective component, but it's got plenty to recommend it if you're willing to seek it out. It was never necessary to turn this into old time religion and I think that hurt it badly. Consider that Pono didn't exactly set the world on fire, but that Fiio's market share gradually grows by word of mouth. If there was no market here and that was the original mistake, fine. Clearly, that's not the case.

    So yeah, I remain a fan, and I still appreciate what Pono was meant to do, but it's also possible to feel the campaign was a PR sink hole. And all that before considering how poorly the logistics re: digital providers were concerned. Critique is deserved here.
  12. Heart of Gold

    Heart of Gold Forum Resident

    I had already "followed" Neil in the Archives on Blu Ray, believed in it and invested my time and money. In 2010 Neil abandoned the Archives on Blu Ray format, demonstrating a total lacking of perspective. By the way I love him the same.
  13. Saw this linked by a member at the Pono forum.

    Neil Young's XStream: Everybody PONOs this is nowhere | DAR__KO

    What caught my eye was the referenced What HiFi claim that Xstream was being designed to work with the Pono Player. Very curious if that is true, and if so, what does it actually mean?

    The player does have a USB port for charging and file transfer. Perhaps a software update could allow it to be used as an Xstream-only DAC?

    All academic for me, as I have no interest in streaming, but I do love my Pono Player and would not mind seeing the feature set expanded.
  14. 360-12

    360-12 Forum Resident

    I don't know where Darko got his info, or his reading comprehension degree, but there is NOTHING in the WhatHiFi article he references that suggests Xstream is being "designed to work" with the Pono player.
    BGLeduc likes this.
  15. Just about to post about that myself.

    Darko's screen grab from What HiFi shows the text he quotes, but the actual article would seem to have been edited to remove that reference.
  16. 360-12

    360-12 Forum Resident

    The beauty of modern technology - you can alter anything, anytime, to help your position!
    rburly likes this.
  17. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Resident

    1060 W.Addison
    Am I right that you can’t get a new Pono anywhere anymore? I see a few new ones on Amazon but pretty unknown sellers and $500 range.

    I am trying to help someone get up and running on a nice little desktop system, something balanced xlr into some powered monitors. There is not a desire for portability really, and although I thought the Pono had a great sound I think this person would like I am not sure I want to head them into an obsolete product. I am thinking an alternative might be since they have a laptop might be something like the Schitt Jotunheim

    Does anyone have any experience with the Pono and Schitt? I am hoping to get a combo, player or dac/preamp that has a slightly warmer analog feel that I felt the Pono delivered in a very utilitarian price point. @Ham Sandwich came to mind if you don’t mind me pinging you here.
  18. carrolls

    carrolls Forum Resident

    This is the future of music. Rare recordings vanishing into the ether. Apple, Amazon and Spotify etc. will only provide their streaming and download services as long as they turn a profit. As soon as they stop turning a profit, the servers will be shut down and if these are the only places left to get specific mastering's of various albums in the next 20 years, we could well be in a spot of bother.
    Glad I still have my CD's.
    no.nine, rxcory, Beech and 4 others like this.
  19. jhm

    jhm Forum Resident

    It looks like still lists them for sale (while supplies last) at full price:

    Fry's Electronics |
  20. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Resident

    1060 W.Addison
    Ok cool and thanks, I wasn't able to find that in the searches I did.
    jhm likes this.
  21. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Syracuse, New York
    Didn't Capitol say that in 2018 no more physical product - streaming only?
    carrolls likes this.
  22. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    Isn't this the way of all digitized assets?
  23. The Jotunheim isn't going to have a warmer analog like feel like the Pono. Kinda the opposite.

    An option that would work would be one of the Schiit tubed pre-amps. The Sega ($349) or Freya ($699). They can be operated either in passive mode with no tube in the circuit, or in active mode with the tube(s) in the circuit. The tube sound will give you some of that warmer analog feel. Some people are even using the Sega or Freya with the Jotunheim headphone amp to take some of the edge off the Jotunheim sound.

    The Sega is single ended. The Freya has balanced connections. You probably don't absolutely need balanced connections with the powered monitors. Most powered monitors can accept an unbalanced audio connection if you use an adapter. Check the manual for the monitors. They likely have a section in the manual describing how to use an unbalanced audio input.

    A combination of the Sega, a DAC of your choice (I'd pick a Modi Multibit), and a computer as source would do it. Cost is going to be a little more than a PonoPlayer and balanced cables. But you'll have more flexibility. And the traditional volume knob and source switches on the Sega or Freya will be easier to use than using a PonoPlayer.
    bmoregnr likes this.
  24. jhm

    jhm Forum Resident

    Mind you it looked like they had fewer than 10 left scattered amongst all of their stores...
    bmoregnr likes this.
  25. raphph

    raphph Forum Resident

    The pirate scene is more respectful, considerate and appreciate of good music preservation than any of these modern streaming sites / former world class record labels...

    As long as there's internet - we'll find the stuff we want out there - thankfully rare CDs that existed physically at the hundreds now exist in the tens of thousands digitally on the web...
    Robert C, Centurion, oneway23 and 3 others like this.

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