Pono to Play DSD

Speaking of lifestyles, Neil Young was at CES 2015 to talk about Pono. While I love listening to Neil's stories, some of his facts may not be up to snuff, there are plenty of other players that do what the Pono Player does for example, but in the end, I'm not worried. Having a spokesman for better sound quality like Neil Young is good for everyone involved and even those who aren't as fas as I'm concerned. But to get to the headline, I spoke to Pono's EVP of Technology Pedram Abrari after the presentation and confirmed what Jason Serinus from Stereophile told me—the Pono Player will be DSD-capable "soon, sooner than you think". Cool.

I brought my Pono Player with me on my trip to Vegas and listened to it on the planes, and I will repeat what I said in my Year's Best report, this thing is one good sounding piece of audio kit.

What is Pono? I'll let Neil Young answer:

It' like an iPod but it sounds like God.

jim tavegia's picture

as downsampled hi-rez pcm at 24/192 or 24/96? I did not realize that the player had a DSD chip set in it. There is no reason it could not, I guess. Intrigued to hear about this.

selarom's picture


the pono player uses the mobile Sabre ES9018-K2M. that chip actually can work with PCM up to 24bit/384khz and DSD up to DSD512 (8x fs)...The question is if the electronics are up for it. I hope it at least DSD128.

drblank's picture

Out of all of the DSD content, I don't think they are selling much in the way of DSD128 or higher, I seem to think that most of it is only DSD 1x. At least that's all I've been able to find.

What is Sony planning on putting on the market?

There is so little content even at 24/192, let alone 24/384.

I'm all for better sounding content, but I think these higher resolutions simply won't become the norm. Look how long it's taking just for 24/96 files to get on the market.

In portable music players, they simply have limited storage resources, even if they have a MicroSD card slot, most people don't like having to swap out little tiny cards all of the time just to listen to their catalog.

I think this is the primary reason why Apple has only AAC files on iTunes. Most of the iTunes customers are using those files on a mobile device.

Neil has an expensive hobby. Pono.. It's costing Neil a lot of money to run Pono and I just don't think he's going to see enough revenue to break even. He could certainly be an ambassador for better sound without having to lose so much money in the process. Oh well. Sometimes people simply ignore having a good business model. I guess maybe he needs a tax write off. :-)

jim tavegia's picture

Good to know.

Jmilton7043's picture

Neil still has a heart of gold.