CES 2015: PonoPlayer—the Next Best Thing to Live Music
The PonoPlayer is a high-resolution portable digital music device designed to let you experience music the way the original artist intended, in its native “master-quality” resolution. Rocker Neil Young, the “Granddaddy of Grunge,” enlisted the help of Ayre Acoustics to develop the technology inside the PonoPlayer, which when combined with PonoMusic, provides an ultra high-resolution music service delivering lossless audio files up to 24-bit/192 kHz. Ayre incorporated the technology from its $30,000 pre-amp with a miniaturized ESS ES9018M DAC resulting in stellar quality at an affordable price. The player works with several formats, including FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, AAC (unprotected), and MP3.
The PonoPlayer offers two 1/8" (3.5mm) audio output jacks with four modes of operation. Personal Listening mode is designed for stereo headphones or earbuds, while the Home Stereo or In-Car Listening mode offers a fixed volume output. The PonoShare mode works with two pairs of headphones, and the Balanced mode provides ultra-performance for advanced users, separating the left and right channels outputs across two jacks. The Balanced mode is well suited for high-impedance headphones, high-end home stereo systems, or professional equipment using balanced XLR input connectors.
The PonoPlayer features a 2.5" color touchscreen, 128GB of storage (64GB internal flash plus an included 64GB microSD card), and a large 2900 mAH Li-Ion rechargeable battery offering up to 8 hours of playback time. Audio files are loaded on to the PonoPlayer using the Pono Music Center desktop application (Mac and Windows). Additionally, the PonoPlayer can also be side-loaded as a USB storage device (Mac, Windows, and Linux). There are currently more than two million tracks loaded into the Pono catalog, with more being added around the clock.
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