Pono: Music for Your Pets

Neil Young’s Pono music store features music in a variety of resolutions, from CD-quality up to 24-bit, 192 kHz. These high-resolution formats reproduce sounds at frequencies that humans cannot hear. You may not be able to hear all the nuances in Pono’s high-resolution music files, but your pets can.

I altered their Pono Music Quality Spectrum graphic to be more honest about the music they sell:

Graph desktop

Note that cats fit in between the 96 kHz and 176.4 kHz resolutions; they need about 128 kHz to reproduce all the sounds they can hear. Gerbils and guinea pigs need just a bit less. (Yes, I understand that high sample rates are not only about frequency response.)

This points out how disingenuous this Pono graphic is. It suggests that, for example, a 24/192 file is somehow ten times better than a CD. Or that even a 24/48 file is more than twice as good as a CD, that extra data somehow equals extra quality. This is not the case.

Also, they don’t give bit rates (kbps) for anything above CD quality. These bit rates are variable, since lossless compression uses the bits it needs, not a fixed bit rate. So if they were to be honest, they’d have to show the variability, which would prove the inanity of their graphic.