A day after news of the Sony’s new and improved hi-res audio playing Walkman hit the streets, Neil Young’s Pono player was finally revealed to the public, more than 2 years after Young was peacocking it on Late Night with David Letterman.
The player includes 128 GB of onboard storage and 64GB of removable storage and will cost $400 (a notably different price from the Walkman’s $1,200, with the same amount of storage). You can buy songs and albums from the Pono online store for anywhere from $1.99 for some singles to $20+ for whole albums. So basically, to own a Pono player with 10 albums on it, you’re talking $600-$700.
But the price isn’t the issue here. People earn their money (presumably) and who am I to tell them how to spend it. The real issue here is that audiophiles are going nuts right now, and that spells trouble for us normal hearing folks. Between the Walkman and the Pono announcements, audiophiles will have competing devices to hone their audiophile-ness to a finer point than anyone could dream possible. And who’s to say it will stop there?
I know that I can’t tell the difference between mp3 and hi-res audio files. I can’t really tell the difference between tapes and cd’s and what’s more, I don’t care about the difference. I’ve never even considered it. Audiophiles, on the other hand, care a lot, apparently. And I don’t think we have to strain too hard to imagine a future where audiophiles have created sound frequencies that only their trained ear can pick up.
Imagine bellying up to your favorite neighborhood bar, packed with people but there being complete silence…to you. Everyone else is listening to the latest ultra hi-res audio recording of the newest Neil Young album on the Pono jukebox in the corner and your poorly trained ears are picking up nothing, leaving you alienated and alone, crying into your space Budweiser (in the future we live in space and Budweiser is the only beer choice, obviously).
Even more dire, what if the U.S. government gets their hands on this audiophile technology and government officials are able to communicate without us hearing, they create their own ultra ultra hi-res audio frequency, transmit it to operatives across the country, maybe across the world, very literally removing us, the common citizens, from the conversation about how this country and how this world runs, and they somehow use that technology to READ OUR EMAILS!
So, yeh, it’s been a lot of fun talking about these cool new music players the last few days (and, I admit, maybe poking a bit of fun) but at some point we have to curb this very real threat.
Stop the audiophiles, before they take over!