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Neil Young’s three-cornered Pono player picks up $3m in Kickstarter cash

Updated After the gold rush
Fri Mar 14 2014, 12:00

CANADIAN SINGER Neil Young has taken his triangular Pono music player onto Kickstarter and smashed through an $800,000 fundraising target.

In fact, Young's Pono snagged the money and more in its first couple of days. Now, with around a month left to run, the player has raised just shy of $3m, which is more than three times the amount that Young was looking for.

Pono has been lurking around since 2012, and without being unkind, with its prism shape it looks like it. It promises nice sound though, and will have built some pent-up demand in the meantime.

The player will play FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec - music, which should be of higher quality that other media players, and the Kickstarter page says that the Pono music player offers a range of high quality FLAC files.

There are tiered Kickstarter tributes and they start at a bargain name check for $5. People with more to invest can go for an option that includes a poster signed by Neil Young, or a branded artist model, which comes pre-loaded with two albums belonging to a particular group.

One is a Neil Young model, others offer Pearl Jam, Beck, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Foo Fighters or Norah Jones goodies. Artist series Ponos cost $400.

Really early birds could have picked up the Pono player in black for $200. This offered a decent savings against the $399 retail price, but all those options have been taken. Your next cheapest hardware option is $300, and in case you have not worked it out, that saves you $99 off retail.

Big money Neil Young fans might fancy the $5,000 option. For that you get to go to a listening party attended by the singer himself. 17 out of 30 of these sold in the first day or so. Now all places are gone.

The Pono player has 128GB of storage, half of which is on a snap-in, snap-out MicroSD card. According to the firm this means that the capacity of the unit is "infinite". It reckons that you can get 5,000 CD quality tracks on it, or 800 ultra high definition recordings.

Of the artist series, all of the Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and Crosby, Stills and Nash units have gone, as well as a decent chunk of the Willie Nelsons.

In a Kickstarter update, the Pono people said that while the player will support Windows and Mac there are no plans for a Linux version. µ


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