Pono Player had the shit kicked out of it by nearly every reviewer with a brain but Neil Young remains undeterred. Rather than admitting defeat and packing it in, Mr. Young has decided to go long with an upgraded music playback system called Pono Pro, which moves the player out of the pocket and into your living room -- your living room, that is, after it has been professionally treated with an Auralex Ruminators Pro Plus Kit ($1400 + custom installation).
Additionally, the Pono Pro player skips the "files on a player" approach in favor of a new service whereby the original 192k / 24 bit audio files will be downloaded from the studio where the audio was originally recorded via a cloud service:
These high-resolution files will automatically load into a custom configured Mac Pro computer outfitted with a Pono Edition Pro Tools Digital Audio Workstation (including the plugin processors used in the original mix down):
Pono Pro audio will pass through a mastering grade converter (Antelope Audio Zodiac + with Voltikus power supply, $3595):
And the music will playback on a pair of JBL M2 Reference Monitors ($19,998):
The Pono Pro system is not cheap by any measure ($37,995 + tax) but the first 100 customers will receive free Monster brand interconnect cables and a autographed fedora.
Sources close to Neil Young and Pono indicate that if the Pono Pro system fails to win over the critics they have yet another backup plan (the Pono Oh No So Pro) that involves delivery of audio via 2" tape and a system revolving around refurbished Studer machines:
These tape machines will operate within a replica Ocean Way tracking room for customers with good credit and sufficient yard space (there are hints of a mixing engineer option for a select few):
The projected cost of the Pono Oh No So Pro is unknown at this time but industry observers speculate that it will cost "a shit load of money." Asked if Neil Young has a chance in winning over customers with these bespoke ventures, one analyst who wished to remain anonymous, told us that even the most sophisticated playback system will have its detractors but that "Neil still has the ace of spades up his sleeve: time shares at Neil's Broken Arrow Ranch where he will just perform this shit for you in person."