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Neil Young Unveils New Hi-Def Digital Music Player on ‘Letterman’


Neil Young has been one of the mp3’s most outspoken opponents for years, publicly decrying the format’s sound limitations while infamously holding up his ‘Archives’ box set series until he could find a way to make current technology work for his music. Now he appears to be ready to put his money where his mouth is by debuting an all-new piece of hardware, dubbed the Pono.

Young unveiled the device during his appearance on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ last week, powering up the triangle-shaped gadget while talking up what he promises will be not just another portable player, but a new way of carrying your music with you while enjoying uncompromised audio fidelity.

To that end, Young appears to be ramping up a new music delivery system — one that will not only require listeners to purchase Pono-ready files, but will make it necessary for labels to provide remastered versions of catalog titles. It’s a dicey gamble, as Time points out; one company that bet on a market for consumers willing to purchase hi-def audio, HDGiants, went out of business in 2009 — although another, HDtracks, appears to still be going strong.

As you might expect, given the fact that the conversation took place during a brief talk show appearance, Young didn’t have time to get into the technical details of how Pono would improve our listening experience, or when we can expect to see it in stores. Still, for folks who have been pining to hear Young’s feedback masterpiece ‘Arc’ in all its lossless glory, this offers an exciting glimpse of the future.

Neil Young Unveils the Pono Player on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’

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