Neil Young wants you to truly hear the music you listen to. Over the years, the trend in audio has prioritized convenience over quality. Last week at SXSW, I had a conversation with Neil Young about an idea he has to change that trend. In this interview, he talks about Pono, the new audio player he’s been helping develop. Just before the interview, I spent time listening to Pono. It’s impressive. Pono translates from Hawaiian to mean righteous, and the intent is to honor recorded music and get it into the hands of fans without compromising the sound.
The player is about the size of your hand and triangular in shape, with a few buttons to adjust the volume and start and stop a song. There’s a small screen that will let you see what’s playing and swipe to see other screens. Along with the player, there will be a Pono store that allows you to buy the highest quality version of the music available, in whatever form the “master” recordings of a song or album are stored. The player and the store are scheduled to launch in the fall.