Neil Young has revealed a new feature for his PonoPlayer, which will allow you to hear for yourself the difference between high-res audio and lower bitrate tracks.

You need to download the latest version of the Pono desktop software to access the feature, PonoMusic World version 20.0.100, before connecting your PonoPlayer to your computer.

The latest firmware update for the PonoPlayer (v.1.0.6) will then download, giving you access to the PonoRevealer and offering you a free sample track - you'll never guess who it's by - in order to test the feature.

A new tab is then available on your music player, the Revealer tab, under which you'll find your free track, Neil Young's Heart of Gold (you guessed, right?). This will begin playing in MP3. You can then opt to switch between a choice of five different formats and resolutions - MP3, AAC, 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24/96 and 24/192.

Pono claims the MP3 represents the quality of an Amazon download, while the AAC track matches the sound quality of an iTunes download. You then have CD-quality resolution and two high-res options - 24/192 being described as 'Lossless Extreme Studio Master Quality' - as sold on Pono Music.

You can also create PonoRevealer tracks from your existing library, making copies of your tracks (the higher resolution the better, naturally) so you can hear the difference. You can remove these extra songs on the Pono desktop software.

More after the break

Neil Young revealed the PonoRevealer in a short video, and PonoPlayer owners have since been notified of the new feature via email.

Last year rumours suggested some Pono executives couldn't hear the difference, seeing high-res audio as purely a marketing tool. Hopefully they're the first people in line to give the PonoRevealer a try.

You can read more about the new feature on the Pono website.

MORE: Pono PonoPlayer review


Graham Luke's picture


Do you remember how Young rubbished CD quality music, saying it was cr_p? I do.

A significant amount of the music available through this Pongo store is CD quality.

What a load of ol'....

lpv's picture

regardless of how this

regardless of how this chocolate bar sounds Young ruined it by his ridiculous statements.. just like ashley rap...ed AVI 

Sliced Bread's picture

I like that he's giving you

I like that he's giving you the chance to decide for yourself.

Matt Dickinson's picture

don't understand

How is it possible to hear the difference when the human ear doesn't extend that far? Do infrasound and ultrasound waves affect the mind subconsciously?

Graham Luke's picture


Well said, Matt; this goes to the very heart of this disingenuous debate.

Monty presents a very compelling case; '24-192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed'...

Sliced Bread's picture

Which is why this is a good

Which is why this is a good idea.  They're not forcing it down your throat, but rather giving you a chance to test it for yourself.

i like the transparent philosophy and think this should be commended.

jowie's picture

No, it's not a good idea, it

No, it's not a good idea, it's propaganda. They are inviting you to download a bunch of files that they have vetted and designed to make you hear a difference. Where is the transparency? What guarantee do we have all these files were transcoded from the same source? Absolutely none. If they really wanted to be honest, they would allow you to try out the feature with any hi-res file from your own collection. And even then, how can you guarantee that the transcoding algorithms on he device would be of a decent enough standard? This is yet more smoke and mirrors. 

richards13's picture

Hi res

If this was a case of I have tried this test and cannot tell the difference on high quality equipment, fine. This is more like look at all those silly people, I know my science. The people at Meridian have done some interesting work on high res, which they have used to create MQA. There view is that we are more sensitive to hearing timing related changes and this is what hi-res gives. Who of us can hear the difference and if it is our ears, training to know what to listen for or our kit, would be interesting to know.