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PONO - Neil Youngs portable hi-res music player

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by currawong, Sep 28, 2012.
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  1. oneway23
    Yep. They bought Omnifone, who was the back-end provider for Pono (as well as a number of similar services), and quickly shut them down.
  2. roadrat
    Interesting. I learned something new
  3. L8MDL
    From a review of Neil's new book:

    "The last straw for Pono, without a great leader to guide the company through rough waters and find creative solutions, was Apple's purchase and subsequent closure of Omnifone. Omnifone was Pono's supplier of digital music behind the scenes. Apple quickly shut down the service, cutting off Pono and other Omnifone customers from their source of income, music downloads."

    And Steve Jobs felt no one need high res - mp3 was good enough for" his customers". Apple held the market on 99 cent downloads.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  4. ruthieandjohn
    That’s why I’m looking forward to the book...arrives tomorrow. Will start reading it right away.
  5. doctorjazz
    @ruthieandjohn-I don't think I have many Pono sourced albums. There weren't as many available as, say, HDTracks (and were more expensive,if I remember correctly, though hi rez downloads are generally ridiculously expensive, bad as vinyl is currently). But, in away at Disneyworld, I can check when I get home. Can't help with the legal issues,though.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    ruthieandjohn likes this.
  6. ruthieandjohn
    I am having the BEST time reading my new copy of Neil Young’s and Phil Baker’s To Feel The Music, of COURSE while listening to my Pono player.

    Its discussion of bringing the Pono player, with its hi res capability, to life, reminds me of my own work at Bell Labs in the 1980s, when I was leading a project to take speech recognition algorithms, then running in overnight-batch-processing time on chassis-sized computers, into real time portable systems that gave you the recognition response in no more time than it took to say the phrase to be recognized. We worried about changing numbers from floating point representation (“hi res”) to fixed point, and changing processes from batch (where you have all of the utterance available to process before you start) to stream, where you don’t get to peek ahead to the end of a phrase to help you figure out what is being said at this instant. I even wrote a book on the topic, Real Time Signal Processing, the cover of which I use as my avatar here on head-fi.

    For me, Young & Baker’s book is a real page turner. Just read half of it in one sitting!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    bmoregnr, barondla and roadrat like this.
  7. ruthieandjohn
    Just finished To Feel The Music, less than 24 hours from receiving it. Wow, what a read!

    It ends with pointers to the current embodiment of Neil Young's dream... not the Pono player, but his archive, https://neilyoungarchives.com/. Set up like a file cabinet, with drawers for music files, the "file cabinet" has analog-like things throughout... a switch to compare hi-res and low-res versions of his music, a "song" and an "album" of the week, and apparent torn-out newspaper clippings. The website uses XStream technology, which probes the particular streaming path of the user, determines its transmission rate, and sends the highest bitrate version of the song accommodated by that particular path. The switch at the top allows moving back to mp3 rates, and a gauge tells the bitrate of the moment for the song being streamed.

    And for those who question the sanity of the blue light on the Pono player, its intent was to assure that any music that was obtained from the Pono library was high resolution, taken from high resolution or analog files, and from a master that was the best edited version (how many times have we found that the "hi res" version of a song sounds "better" only because of better mixing or mastering, not better sound fidelity?)

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    grokit and Double C like this.
  8. roadrat
    That was crazy quick! I just got to the Pono chapters
  9. ruthieandjohn
    In my quest for a blue light, I went to the GitHub site mentioned above... flactag is a python script, so now I ask...

    Is there any "how to download a python script from GitHub and run it on the Python app I installed on my PC (3.7 from the Windows Store) for Dummies?" Can't even figure out how to get the text file from the GitHub (other than cut and paste from screen - I can't find a Download button), much less how to set it up as a script to python to run on my PC ( I CAN get python on my PC to perform command line commands I type in one at a time, so it seems to work).


    (P.S. I did manage to log in to NeilYoungArchives.com, purchase a Young album via the site redirecting me to a Warner store, load the songs onto my Pono… but no blue light! :triportsad: )
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  10. Left Channel
    @ruthieandjohn I see the problem. You need not separately install python, but having done so it is not harming anything so feel free to leave it on your PC. Go back to https://github.com/eehmke/flactag and click on the tab that says "6 Releases". Click once on the link for "flactag-win-0.1.8.zip" and a download dialog should open. From here you've likely got this well in hand, but just to be safe I'll continue. Download that file to your PC, right-click on it and select "Extract all...". When that is done, navigate to the "dist" directory and double-click on flactag.exe to run the program. After the program opens, in the navigation window on the left navigate to a music directory (I suggest practicing with copies the first time) and have at it. OK?
    ruthieandjohn and barondla like this.
  11. ruthieandjohn
    @Left Channel

    Thanks a BUNDLE! It WORKS! I was able to tag some songs I purchased from the NeilYoungArchives.com from his Harvest album and the blue light comes on! They sound SO much better with the blue light on.
    L8MDL and roadrat like this.
  12. Left Channel
    :) Glad they sound so much better now!
  13. doctorjazz
    My PC has a Pono folder. Unfortunately, my hard drive crashed recently. Somebody was able to recover much of it for me, but the Pono folder is empty. I have turned up 1 Pono sourced album ON my Pono, however, Joni Mitchell's Blue (which, appropriately, lights the blue light]. With no file organization in the Pono, though, the only way to find them is to play the albums one at a time. I see you have a software solution, though, so they can ALL be blue (and,thus,sound better).
    You're welcome to the folder/album, though, PM me if interested...
  14. LuckyNat
    Try it for non-HD tracks - you could get a placebo effect if youre lucky!
  15. doctorjazz
    True dat,no reason lighting three blue light wouldn't make ALL the music sound better!
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