It was two years ago today that the historic Kickstarter campaign for Pono Music began. In the first 10 hours Pono reached it's goal of $800,000 and eventually closed out with over $6 million in pledges. Later in 2014, the Pono Music Store was launched and sales of the innovative Pono Music Player began.
Hands on Sound had the honor and privilege of being part of Pono from Day 1 in 2009 when Neil Young first presented the idea as something to begin working on. We had just released NYA Vol 1 in multiple formats including Blu-ray, which provided the opportunity for users to play music at high resolution 24 bit/ 192 kHz. At that time there were few options for listeners to enjoy high resolution digital music besides Blu-ray set top players and the Sony PS3.
We developed an iPad app controller that allowed for simultaneous playback and switching between audio qualities and built out a traveling sound system in a 1970's Cadillac as a demo testing/ listening platform. Listening shootouts on various DACs and compiling a library of tracks for testing lead the way to the eventual consumer player and the online store.
With the major record labels on board, there is now an ongoing program to go back to the original album masters (whether that be analog tape or digital) and make them available for sale at the highest quality possible.
Stereophile magazine named the PonoPlayer The "Digital Product Of The Year" for 2015.
“Three of this year’s top vote-getters are portables, the others being the Astell&Kern AK240 and Sony NW-ZX2. Even more interesting—but not, in my view, surprising—was the PonoPlayer’s considerable margin of victory: This was the least close race in our 2015 Products of the Year voting.”
Learn more about Pono at: https://www.ponomusic.com