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Finally, we heard what Neil Young's Pono music player sounds like

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Herbie Hancock just tickled my ears. Not kidding. Adele did too. But Herbie tickled them better. No, this isn't some weird dream/nightmare. This is Pono. Go listen to Hancock's "Watermelon Man" now (link here). We'll wait. Back? What you just heard was a compressed version of Hancock's classic. What I just heard was not, and the difference is quite dramatic (even over reasonably priced headphones). Good thing too, given that Neil Young's quest with Pono has been to guide us away from the tyranny of the heavily compressed MP3, and steer us to the calm, warm waters of uncompressed audio. But, even though we've followed the Pono story quite closely, we learned a little more about the curious yellow prism today, too.

Gallery: Neil Young's Pono player | 7 Photos

Such as, what about that curious triangular shape? Ergonomics, and necessity, it turns out. Pono might not fit well in pockets, but it's designed to rest in your hand comfortably. Which, if we think about it, makes some sense. It's also a good shape to house the cylindrical battery that hides inside. That battery has good company too, Pono explained that inside the device there's no amplifier per se. It's actually constructed with discrete components from Ayre that are custom-tuned for optimal audio performance. As for the lemon-yellow color choice? That's just for looks. Kickstarter orders (from the very successful campaign) shipped in December, and while there aren't many units floating around right now, you can preorder the $400 player now for the next run in February.

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