Neil Young's Pono music player to debut at SXSW

The high-resolution music player from Neil Young will make an appearance at SXSW in March this year.

The high-resolution music player from Neil Young will make an appearance at SXSW in March this year.

(Screenshot by CBSi)

The Pono player was initially unveiled by the musician on the Late Show with David Letterman in September 2012: an elongated, triangular, yellow device for high-resolution audio playback. Designed to be an alternative to lower-quality audio formats such as MP3, Pono will also encompass a music-download service and digital-to-analog conversion technology.

Deals have reportedly been struck with labels such as Warner Music Group, which has already converted many albums to 192kHz/24-bit.

At the Producers and Engineers Wing's Grammy party in Los Angeles, Young delivered a speech about the difference between hearing music sound "perfect" in an ideal setting like an acoustic chamber and subsequently hearing a "terrible" lower-quality copy elsewhere.

"We're trying to make music sound technically better, and that's what I want to do," he said, as transcribed by Rolling Stone. "So we have a player that plays whatever the musicians made digitally, and that's going to come out. We're announcing that at SXSW, we're introducing it, it's called Pono, and that's my commercial, thank you very much."

Young's latest album, A Letter Home, is also set for release in March. Though no official tie-in has been revealed, it could come to pass that the album — which has been described by the musician himself as "one of the lowest-tech experiences I've ever had" — is the first release on Pono.

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