Neil Young Is Building The Best Sounding Music Player You’ve Ever Heard

An ongoing Kickstarter project started by world-famous musician Neil Young is among the most successful crowd funding campaigns ever and aims to bring true, uncompressed, high-fidelity music to the masses.

The project is called Pono Music, and over the March 29 weekend, the project neared 15,000 backers and had received pledges of more than $5 million, making it the fourth-most successful Kickstarter of all time.

Identifying what Pono Music is, however, isn’t immediately apparent when visiting the Kickstarter page. The video at the top of the page features testimony after testimony of musicians and others in the music industry talking about how listening to music with Pono was revolutionary, unlike anything they’ve ever been able to get out of MP3s or CDs. It’s when you dig deeper into the Kickstarter page that you’re able to discover what exactly Pono Music will be: A music system, complete with an iTunes-style music store, that supports the FLAC uncompressed format of music. In a nutshell, Pono will allow audiophiles to listen to music exactly as it was recorded by their favorite artists. And no matter how much money you’ve spent on headphones and high-quality audio downloads, chances are, you’re not getting a true high-fidelity listening experience with your iPod today.

Pono is expected to ship in October and retail for $399, with a 128GB capacity, which would be enough to hold about 100 FLAC albums. The device also will be able to play other formats, including MP3, and Neil Young’s group says even those files should sound better on the Pono. As backer gifts, at the $399 price point, backers are being offered a Pono with two albums music from particular artists. As of Sunday, some of those gifts were sold out, but several other artists’ Ponos remained.

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