You know, I saw that Pono video too, with all the musicians saying how great it sounded. And I knew it couldn’t be true, because, you know, science. But it turns out that Neil Young was lying all the time.
David Pogue has an excellent article about Pono on the Yahoo website, where he explains how he conducted a blind test with 15 listeners. Since more people found the iPhone’s audio to be better, he wrote to Neil Young, asking why.
So I wrote to Pono — and heard back from Neil Young himself.
“Of approximately 100 top-seed artists who compared Pono to low resolution MP3s,” he wrote, “all of them heard and felt the Pono difference, rewarding to the human senses, and is what Pono thinks you deserve to hear.”
Aha — there’s a key phrase in there: low-resolution MP3s.
My test compared Pono files against Apple’s iTunes files, which come in 16-bit/256Kbps AAC format (more on formats below). That’s much better than the radically compressed MP3 files of 1998.
That’s just fraud, plain and simple. He stacked the deck.
Just another charlatan separating suckers from their money.