Please Tell Us More Neil Re:Pono HiRes Streaming….

I listened with a great deal of interest to Neil Young on the Rolling Stone Magazine Now podcast. I took notes during the section that focused on Pono Music. I learned that the revised Pono Music Store will be both a download and streaming site when ready.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/rolling-stone-music-now-podcast-neil-young-on-new-album-w455253

My question is how will we stream high-resolution audio with the existing Pono Players? Exclusive of a Pono – SmartPhone partnership or device/ existing Pono device enhancement?

Will I need to boost my ISP speed to 300MBs or more?

I researched the Internet and came up with the fact that Sony Xperia smart phones play and stream high res audio music.

http://www.sony.com/electronics/hi-res-audio-streaming-beginners-guide

The high res streaming service Qobuz (France) today streams high res. It has a limited global market (France, UK, Germany, Netherlands).

However its not streaming from Singapore…and it’s not Pono….

Hopefully Neil will further enlighten the Pono community (after all we’ve been loyal and patient) with more information about the revised Pono service after sharing that knowledge with Rolling Stone Magazine’s audience first via their podcast.

PonoMusic Progress Update

The PonoMusic Team updated Kickstarter backers (I’m proud to be included in that number) with news about strategic partnerships and product engineering progress.

PonoMusic is making great progress on the development of the new and improved PonoPlayer (the one you pledged for), as well as the on-line store, the content delivery system, and the desktop media center application.

1. Desktop Media Software

JRiver (www.jriver.com) will provide a Pono-branded version of their world-class desktop media center software. This software will be similar to the iTunes® desktop app in that it will allow you to manage your music, create playlists, sync your music to your PonoPlayer, access the PonoMusic store, buy & download music to your desktop, do player firmware updates, etc.

2. PonoMusic Store

PonoMusic will partner with CloudCraze (www.cloudcraze.com), an eCommerce platform that runs natively on the salesforce1® platform. The PonoMusic Store will be hosted through a partnership with SalesForce.com. PonoMusic will establish a world-class social music store. PonoMusic expects to have their PonoPlayer pre-order store (for post-Kickstarter pre-orders of PonoPlayers and some accessories) up and running in mid-to-late June. Kickstarter supporters will receive notification of automatically created user accounts at that time.

3. Content Delivery

PonoMusic is days away from finalizing a partnership with a world-class content delivery partner who has great expertise in the content management and quality management issues.

Work has also begun the initiative with major music labels to have the PonoMusic store on-line with a very large, relevant and interesting content catalog by October.

Bruce Botnick has joined the PonoMusic leadership team. He is a legendary audio engineer and record producer known for his work with the Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, and many other artists. Bruce is responsible for establishing the PonoMusic content strategy and ensuring that they will provide the highest quality version of each recording sold in their music store.

Bruce’s graphic below captures the state of modern recording today and depicts his motivation for joining Pono to help us save music from the lossy formats such as MP3.

4. Headphones,

The PonoMusic Team is working on several offerings that they are very excited about. Their goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience the flawless sound from Pono soundtracks, and do so at an affordable price. They also will be testing headphones from many of the major manufacturers and posting their recommendations on their site in a few months.

 
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Neil Young’s A Letter Home Limited Edition Box Set

My first reaction when I learned about Neil Young’s A Letter Home Limited Edition Box Set was first disappointment then elation at what this packaged sound solution represents. It’s truly history recorded and preserved for us to witness.

Neil Young, bless the music of his heart, is a prolific human being. He keeps us fans on our toes. I like when artists I enjoy and respect challenges us to stay in league with their artistic direction. That is something both Neil Young and Jack White very much have in common.

I had just purchased the Record Store Day 2014 A Letter Home (12″ Vinyl) edition on the Third Man Records Store on Tuesday 4/22. Next I read about the expanded edition on the Guitar Afficionado Web site last night. I thought, hmmm maybe I should have waited for the box set. But who knew that as both these recordings were stealth announcements. We all love surprises, don’t we?

I became elated when I processed what the expanded edition of A Letter Home provides Neil Young and Jack White audio technology fans. Neil Young and the Pono team are delivering the sheer joy of the Pono Music Player and high-resolution audio for our listening and collecting pleasure. Pono is a technological innovation that will have far-reaching positive effects how we will appreciate music in the very near future.

At the same time Neil Young and Jack White share an affinity for music technology from another era of history. A Letter Home was recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology. This is a striking contrast to Pono as these two technologies are literally opposite ends of the recording spectrum.

What I love about A Letter Home is the recording technology partnership between Jack White and Neil Young. Neil Young has recorded an entire album in a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth at Third Man’s Nashville headquarters. To me this is like sitting in a 1950’s kitchenette plugged into your Pigboy amp playing your electric guitar while you make music and record it on one of the first reel-to-reel tape recorders. It’s raw, it’s honest and it’s real!

I mean dig this you have Jack White purveyor of vintage vinyl and vintage recordings, our music preservationist who is innovating and creating with his “vision” recording experience, working with Neil Young who is bringing us Pono. This blows my mind and makes me totally satisfied with the spectrum of recorded sound.

Now the question becomes how do I afford the limited edition box set as well as Pono?

I have a feeling where there’s a will there’s a way 😉 Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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Neil Young and PonoMusic – I Believe In You

I want to thank Neil Young for his pursuant vision in bringing PonoMusic to market. I’ve never been more excited as a music technologist to participate in an audio experience that allows my soul to rediscover how music was designed to be heard.

Pono Team, I Believe in You.

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Raspberry Pi and Music (Media Center) Technologies

We are on the brink of SXSW 2014 in Austin Texas. How I would love to attend that one day. Talk about your geek and music nirvana ;). SXSW 2014 will be the announcement site for Neil Young’s PONO high resolution music technologies. Can’t wait to write about that on March 11th which is the announcement day.

Speaking of computers, music and technology directions I have written a quick post about Raspberry Pi and Music (Media Center) technologies.

Raspberry Pi was released to the public as an Open Source Linux credit card sized computer on February 29, 2012. It celebrated its two year birthday yesterday, March 1, 2014. The technology initiative has grown substantially in that time frame. The latest estimate is that 2.5 million Raspberry Pi computers have been sold worldwide.

I liken Raspberry Pi to the Radio Shack, Popular Mechanics hobbyist crowd. Raspberry Pi is a raw, unfinished computer in comparison with say an Apple iPhone. In terms of finished goods Raspberry Pi has many exposed components. In order for you to fully engage yourself with Raspberry Pi and the software, peripherals, cables etc it’s best to posses an erector set mentality to persist with this experience. Raspberry Pi is playing a major role in the M2M: Internet of Things (iot) that is disrupting how we are reshaping the InterWeb.

My interest as a music technologist is specifically focused on the Raspberry Pi Media Center and Volumio (formerly known as the RaspyFi Project). The Raspberry Pi Media Center when connected to your Hi Def Television, WiFi and your cable Internet system becomes a powerful, self-programming solution for you to curate your own media programming. Volumio is an entirely new music system. It is designed to play all your music, whether is an Hi-Res file or a Web Radio, with the highest quality.

Once I get the Raspberry Pi Media Center I want to experiment with I will post again about what I am learning about this cool technology through my living room entertainment system.

Here are some resources that I have discovered to help you with Raspberry Pi, music and the technology.

O’Reilly Books

O’Reilly publishes the best technology books bar none ;). I am pleased to finally see a Raspberry Pi Cookbook available and written by Simon Monk.

Packt Publishing

A definitive source is the book, Raspberry Pi Media Center by Sam Nazarko. You also want to make sure you are browsing and keeping up with Raspbmc* at this Web site: http://www.raspbmc.com/about/

*Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi.

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Nashville Cats, Jack White and Neil Young

The news about Nashville Cats, Jack White and Neil Young is captivating the music of our heart. It made perfect sense when Neil Young validated this week that his new album, A Letter Home will be released on Jack White’s Third Man Records. Jack White and Neil Young share a vital bond for achieving audio excellence and sound preservation. Their music partnership builds upon their mutual respect for quality in sound recording.

Neil Young has been focused on a dedicated mission to deliver us the PONO music system. He wages heavy peace with PONO to provide 100% high-resolution audio for listeners. Neil Young informed us that the SXSW 2014 Music Festival (March 11-16) will serve as the PONO product announcement platform for PONO. SXSW is the ideal spot to hold this historic announcement with its pivotal role in music technology. I am grateful that Neil Young has stayed on target to bring this appealing technology to market. We stand to benefit significantly hearing the totality of sound instead of having it scrunched into a 5% music output form (MP3).

Third Man Records made the decision on Record Store Day (as you may recall Jack White was the 2013 Record Store Day Ambassador)  to use the highest quality aluminum substrate lacquers in The Third Man Recording Booth. These blanks offer the best fidelity for cold needle record cutting and can be played dozens and dozens of times without any noticeable audio degradation. They switched to clear vinyl several months ago.

Neil Young recorded in the Third Man Recording Booth that day which started him on the path towards  A Letter Home. Here’s a picture of Neil holding his prized record in the sleeve afterwards.

Jack White later recorded “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on Record Store Day. He did the song “so you can hear the warm analog fidelity that radiates out of this booth”.

What transpired during Record Store Day in the Recording Booth probably fueled speculation about Neil and Jack recording “duets” together. 😉

Third Man Recording Booth is a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine that records up to 2 minutes of audio and dispenses a one-of-a-kind 6″ phonograph disc to the user. An arcade staple through the middle of the 20th century and famously used by Martin Sheen’s character in the film Badlands, these “make your own record” booths were popular audio peculiarities that fell out of vogue in the 1960s and 70s. Like the records of old, users of the Third Man Recording Booth are encouraged to mail their recording to a loved one. Third Man even offers custom-printed envelopes and postage stamps to make that happen.

The Third Man Recording Booth is the only machine of its kind in the world that is both working and open to the public. The booth will run on custom Third Man tokens already in use in the Third Man Novelties Lounge.

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Coming March 2014, Neil Young’s PONO and new album, A Letter Home

It’s been an interesting week about Neil Young, Jack White’s Third Man Records and Neil’s next two projects, The PONO music player and A Letter Home, 

Project One: PONO

Neil Young announced an update about PONO during his acceptance speech in Los Angeles at the Village recording studio for the President’s Merit award at the Grammy Event of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy.

Michael Kovac/WireImage

Digital. Digital is not bad. But Xerox is not good. I always like to say Picasso was really happy to see original Picassos everywhere, but when he went into some places and saw Xeroxes of Picassos, it didn’t make him as happy, because he thought people thought that we was making those things. The thing we do is, we make great stuff in the studio and then we kiss its ass goodbye, because nobody’s ever going to hear it. That’s unfortunate, and it didn’t use to be that way. That’s something that happened to us – that’s an injury we sustained, and it deeply hurt us. So the time has come for us to recover and to bring music back to the people in a way that they can recognize it in their souls – through the window of their souls, their ears. So they can feel and vibrate and so that they can get goosebumps. We cherish those fucking goosebumps. We really need those.

Being impressed by something, and how cool it is, and how sharp it is, and how snappy it is, is one thing, and that translates into almost any media. But when you’re singing something very soulful from your heart, and the echo is perfect and everything’s great and you’re using maybe an acoustic chamber and everything sounds great. And then you listen to it and you love it, but you hear it somewhere else and it’s gone – that’s terrible. We don’t like that. Not many of us like that, we’re not happy about it. So we’re trying to change that, and we’re trying to make it better. We’re trying to make music sound technically better, and that’s what I want to do. 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.

Read Neil Young’s entire speech here:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/read-neil-youngs-full-epic-speech-from-grammy-honors-ceremony-20140122#ixzz2rBLch2Rh

Project Two: A Letter Home

After his speech Rolling Stone Magazine spoke with Neil Young and asked him a few questions. Here are two of those questions that are specific to his next recording project.

Your next record’s coming out in March?
Yeah, it’s one of the lowest-tech experiences I’ve ever had.

How come?
You’ll hear it. It’s called A Letter Home.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-youngs-low-tech-new-album-a-letter-home-due-in-march-20140122#ixzz2rBcLDbpX 

Could it be that Neil Young recorded the entire project inside Jack White’s Third Man Recording Booth? If you recall, Young recorded a cover of Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death” inside the booth during Record Store Day 2013.

Third Man Records unearths NEIL YOUNG’s A LETTER HOME

An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever. — Homer Grosvenor

I also refer you to Michael Goldberg’s blog post from 1/16/14, “Exclusive: Neil Young and Jack White Collaborate for New Covers Album” for the best specifics about A Letter Home.

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Neil Young’s PONO Product Announces in Early 2014! Count Me In

Posted on Facebook by Neil Young, 9/3/13…

To everyone who loves music –

I’m very happy to bring you some good news. All of us at Team PONO have been focused on getting everything right for our early 2014 launch of Pono.

The simplest way to describe what we’ve accomplished is that we’ve liberated the music of the artist from the digital file and restored it to its original artistic quality – as it was in the studio. So it has primal power.

Hearing PONO for the first time is like that first blast of daylight when you leave a movie theater on a sun-filled day. It takes you a second to adjust. Then you enter a bright reality, of wonderfully rendered detail.

This music moves you. So you can feel. That’s why so many musicians are behind PonoMusic – this is important work that honors their art. This is the way they wanted you to hear their music.

PONO starts at the source: artist-approved studio masters we’ve been given special access to. Then we work with our brilliant partners at Meridian to unlock the richness of the artist’s music to you. There is nothing like hearing this music – and we are working hard to make that experience available to all music lovers, soon.

Our mission is also to make PONO just as accessible as any music you buy and listen to today. So we’ll be launching both the PONO portable player – an updated version of the one I showed on David Letterman’s program – and an online library, with all your favorite music available in PonoMusic quality. Everything you need to feel music anew.

Stay tuned for more updates. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information. We hope you’ll try PONO when it comes your way, and that it brings you the soul of music.

Yours, for PonoMusic
Neil Young

Beta Test Feedback

If you are like me you are eager to learn firsthand how well the PONO experience feels and sounds. I found this write-up on the Neil Young Times Web page and thought I would include it for your edification.

A few players are now in use experimentally. The following is a musician’s account of hearing PONO:

As a choral singer with the San Diego Master Chorale, I have had the opportunity to perform with the San Diego Symphony several times each year – an ultimate surround sound experience. As I sing my part or listen during orchestral interludes I am able to hear the purity of tone of each individual instrument, as well as the overtones of the orchestra that give such richness to the sound. In addition, we often perform in acoustically alive venues such as Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, where the precision of such works as the Bach B Minor Mass and his Christmas Oratorio are enriched with the reverberation of the acoustics of the cathedral.

I have never experienced this quality of sound in a home setting – not even close. However, last night, using the PONO player and Audeze headphones (These are top of the line audiophile planar magnetic technology headphones, the LCD-3  phones are $1,945 list price, yikes!), I listened to Roberta Flack singing “Killing Me Softly” and was amazed by the purity and fullness of the sound. Her voice was rich and sonorous and at the same time the instrumental background allowed the overtones to come through, along with just enough reverberation.

Jane Baker , San Diego Master Chorale

Don’t Want Amazon MP3

In the much ado about nothing digital music category Amazon announced its MP3 App for iPhone. The Music of Our Heart says, “Don’t Bother” with this waste of technology.

There is no Amazon MP3 iPhone App. When the magician says, “Nothing up my sleeve, presto”.  No Amazon Mp3 App Rabbit in the magician’s hand. Just this Amazon image on their Web site (Funny it has two different colored ears like a rabbit…)

Amazon MP3 store for iPhone and iPod touch

It’s like that Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon segment when Bullwinkle says, ” No Doubt About It, I Gotta Get Another Hat”.

But if the magician’s pretty assistant takes away the Apple magician hat and hands the magician the Android magician hat.

“Voila we have an Android Amazon Mp3 Play and Purchase App” Can you say Apple proprietary, I knew that you could 😉

Trust me, the Apple App Store Search will point you to the Amazon Cloud Player App (Huh?when you choose “amazon mp3” or “amazon mp3 player”, slap your face like Curly Joe in the Three Stooges because that App isn’t the Amazon MP3 Store App.

The sleight of hand or better yet, the Amazon HTML5 Apple iPhone workaround (and that’s ALL it is…) is as follows:

You can explore and buy new music from your Apple iPhone Safari App by visiting amazon.com/mp3 on your iPhone or iPod touch device. Then you mark the Amazon MP3 Web page as a Safari favorite so you can recall this task.

It’s a huge “Non-Whoop” to be able to buy inferior MP3s directly from my iPhone.  I was never clamoring for this from Amazon, were you?

Stifling a second yawn here, I am just not interested in an HTML5 Amazon MP3 purchase option?

Thank you Amazon for one more major reason to wait for Neil Young’s PONO High Resolution Audio solution.

Don’t want my MP3, Sing it loud with Neil Young and I.

Amazon, everyone knows MP3 is nowhere

Pono Lets You “Feel the Soul of the Music

The InterWeb buzz for Neil Young’s PONO increased markedly this past week. The Music of Our Heart sifts through the various tea leaves to gather a  PONO brew for you as we enter the Christmas and New Year 2012 Holiday weeks. The number #1 PONO FAQ was, When Can I Have It?. Quite the act of faith considering PONO is unheard by the masses and very little is known, technically about this much-anticipated high-resolution audio solution. Neil Young tweeted earlier this month that Pono will roll out the service’s cloud-based music-library component and portable digital-to-analog players by summer. Patrick Flanary free-lance writer for Rolling Stone continues to keep us well-informed about PONO. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-youngs-pono-plans-take-shape-with-new-trademarks-20121219#ixzz2FmqsCD4v Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

“It’s actually a little early for us to give any information,” Elliot Roberts (Neil Young’s Business Manager), the head of Lookout Management in Santa Monica, said in a brief telephone interview. “When we can comment, we’ll be an open spigot.”

Neil Young’s Ivanhoe, Inc. published “the” InterWeb home page for PONO where you can stay informed via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook 😉 MyPono From the About page…

Hi Friend, There’s an awfully good chance you heard about a revolution we’re working on. Something that will significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music. Shocking you say? That perhaps the promise of “Perfect Sound Forever” propagated by the inventors of the Compact Disc was a bust? And that“CD Quality” promoted by the likes of iTunes and the creators of the MP3 was only an inkling of the flawed format they were hoping to emulate? We’re here to say it’s incredibly true! Miraculously, there’s a wealth of music & soul (or if you must, “data”) trapped on millions of recordings made over the last half century, that we’re hoping to unleash for the very first time. Can you imagine? Your own personal time machine, to take you back to the place and time of the original musical event, and let you feel music in ways you’ve only felt seeing it live? We here at Pono are listening to it now and assure you, IT’S AMAZING!!!! We ask dear music lover that you root for Pono bringing this very real technology to the world. We’re still toiling away on making this happen (yes, there are record labels, artists, publishers and more to finalize with), but we wanted to share our excitement with you. In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates. Rescuing an art form, The Pono Team

Twitter:  @RealPono Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeilYoungPono