Neil Young's Music Player on Sale Monday (With an Expensive Web Store)

Illustration for article titled Neil Youngs Music Player on Sale Monday (With an Expensive Web Store)

Neil Young's Pono music player is finally going on sale. Available from Monday in 80 locations, including Fry's stores, it'll retail for $400.

The big, bright triangular digital music player provides "studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible" according to PonoMusic, which gives listeners the ability to "experience music the way the artists intended." The music player has 128GB of memory and can "store from about 100 to 500 high-resolution digital-music albums," though you'll be able to expand that with a memory card. It also has both a touchscreen LCD and some physical buttons, too.

As we've pointed out before, though, the player doesn't make a whole bunch of sense. The whole idea behind the player is to provide a home for "Pono" files with soaring resolutions, but there's no evidence to suggest that the HD audio files are audibly any different to the sound provided by CDs. But the files are bigger. And, uh, very expensive.

Illustration for article titled Neil Youngs Music Player on Sale Monday (With an Expensive Web Store)

Indeed, the Pono music store has already launched, and it's predictably expensive. The store offers tracks recorded in 24 bits and 192 kHz, compared to a CD at 16 bits and 44.1 kHz. But the latest album from Jack White, as an example, will cost $24.99, while iTunes sells it for $10.99.

That's a pretty expensive ecosystems to buy into. But, as Neil Young asks: "But can your soul recognize it? That's what I'm talking about. Do you feel this, or is it just wallpaper?" Quite, Neil. [Verge]

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High-end audio is like high-end wine. It's very easy, almost trivial, to prove that the self-proclaimed experts can not actually tell the difference between the super-premium product and the run-of-the-mill product. In both audio and wine it has been proven many times. Each of the studies is a hilarious read.

And yet people still continue to purchase the most expensive DACs, $1000/meter cables, voodoo-infused amplifiers, and $1000-a-bottle adjective-laced-bullshit. Their reasons are many, but most have deluded themselves into thinking they can hear/taste a difference, and that that difference is worth a 500%-5000% premium.

For most of them it is all about image: presenting themselves as a sophisticated expert who can find the perfect, premium, best product gives them a sense of worth. And for each one of them, there is a vendor laughing all the way to the bank.