• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Neil Young PONO player Review

Rate this player:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 158 85.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 10.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 5 2.7%

  • Total voters
    184

CtheArgie

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
512
Likes
777
Location
Agoura Hills, CA.
A few months ago, I had the fortune of visiting Rick Rubin's Shangri La studio in Malibu (off Zuma beach) just after Neil Young had finished recording his album there. I mentioned this here before. They were removing some giant old tape decks. I was explained that Young wanted the signal to go to the recording head, picked up at the Play head and then it was digitized to 96/24. He insisted that sending the final to the tape deck was what created his "analog" sound. Not eve my friend believed the story, but we agreed that if that is what he wanted at the RECORDING aspect, he can modify, change, distort whatever way he wants his signal until he decides he likes it. Young explained this in a Youtube video (which I can't recall now where I saw it).

By the way, my friend who took me there confirmed to me that Young is quite deaf right now. But Young still holds his opinions on sound quite dearly!

I heard the master recording and there was nothing truly special about it. Also, the music wasn't the best he had done either. It was what he wanted.
 

tagomago1979

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2022
Messages
6
Likes
13
His recent interview with Rick Rubin was also ridiculous when they spoke about sound quality being lost if the playback head was too far away from the recording head.
 

NHL99

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
65
Likes
81
Case closed! :p

MB.png
 

peniku8

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
369
Likes
735
Line output was identical to hp out. On power, it is V*V/R. So at 1 volt out, you only get 3 milliwatts into 300 ohm load. Here is our graph for dongles there:

index.php


3 milliwatts would land it pretty far to the right, right around what a Samsung dongle did.
I agree, the power it can/could *theoretically* deliver isn't much, but it's still enough to drive most IEMs to ear-deafening loudness. It's a portable player and most on-the-go listening "sessions" are done with IEMs. Now if this product is advertised to drive over-ears it's a different story, but as-is, regarding IEMs or feeding an amp via the line out will net you a good listening experience. It's atrocious for the price, absolutely. It probably breaks most of its made-up marketing promises, which is infuriating, but on the purely technical side of things, it'll work perfectly well within its capabilities.
All in all I think it's more a bias from my side, because most 'headless' panther reviews were of products that were actually somewhat broken in some aspect. Now the written description "poor" does indeed fit the device, especially *if* you consider the price.
Who even buys this! There is no "Hifi" listening experience on the go. It's noisy everywhere!
 

Somafunk

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
1,405
Likes
3,324
Location
Scotland
Good, another one outed by ignorance to place on the ignore list
 

egellings

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
4,059
Likes
3,301
Wasn't there a large film capacitor in the Pono player? Neil believed in the differences in the sound of capacitors and went a bit overboard on that in the Pono player, if I recall reading that right some time ago.
 

ahofer

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 3, 2019
Messages
5,023
Likes
9,074
Location
New York City
Well, I heard Mr. Young extolling hi-res
Well, I heard he stoked everyone's fears
I think Neil Young's imagination
Is better than old banged up ears
 

beeface

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
328
Likes
778
The guy is better at making music than he is at Toblerones, there's no denying that.
 

Chrispy

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
7,938
Likes
6,091
Location
PNW
I didn't realize he had worked with Ayre....never been impressed by Ayre, tho.
 

pseudoid

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
5,163
Likes
3,503
Location
33.6 -117.9
Thank you, @amirm, for the review.
Some have asked what good is a Portable Media Player (DAP?) in this day/age of phones and - possibly - in light of streaming services.
I certainly keep waiting patiently for you to test a few capable swoonable DAPs that I would be enticed to purchase in a heartbeat. Like an SMSL/Topping -grade AiO DAP.
I just don't want to purchase one and have you test it, to only find out I bought me another lame-duck like these POnoS.:confused:
 
Last edited:

dtaylo1066

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Messages
648
Likes
807
2015 DAC poop. To Ayre is human. I did see Neil live at Red Rocks playing with Willie's boys in 2015 and the sound was quite good. Great rendition of "Words"

Glad I bought a ticket instead of a Pono. His head was in the right place, though. It always surprises me that more artists don't stand up for better hi-fi.

 

Smog

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2023
Messages
15
Likes
15
I wonder if Neal young is an ASR member. I do like his music though. Gonna assume that if he is he won’t be for long. Amir is not afraid to tangle with the big boys. NY was pretty bullish on the pono. I still use my iPod daily.
Yeh Neil young gonna be gutted after this amir defenestration of an obsolete bit of kit no longer on market. ‘if Neil was a member, bet he leaves now’ lols. Reckon mickey j also loves a topping headphone amp unboxing, chum?
 

Smog

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2023
Messages
15
Likes
15
And as for Ms Thunberg - why should I put a clearly very troubled young woman, who has been let down by her family and the medical system, on the same list as some hideous anti-Semite? She deserves compassion and I hope she can find happiness in her life one day.
yhatzee
 

Smog

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2023
Messages
15
Likes
15
I agree, the power it can/could *theoretically* deliver isn't much, but it's still enough to drive most IEMs to ear-deafening loudness. It's a portable player and most on-the-go listening "sessions" are done with IEMs. Now if this product is advertised to drive over-ears it's a different story, but as-is, regarding IEMs or feeding an amp via the line out will net you a good listening experience. It's atrocious for the price, absolutely. It probably breaks most of its made-up marketing promises, which is infuriating, but on the purely technical side of things, it'll work perfectly well within its capabilities.
All in all I think it's more a bias from my side, because most 'headless' panther reviews were of products that were actually somewhat broken in some aspect. Now the written description "poor" does indeed fit the device, especially *if* you consider the price.
Who even buys this! There is no "Hifi" listening experience on the go. It's noisy everywhere!
When I had one, I used klipse iems and I was happy. also used oppo pm2 over ears, planer, but not meant to need driving according to those devil hi if mags. they sounded good, but I did feel I might have needed an amp to get best out of em.

now one thing to potentially really get the snake oil hunters in a lather about …..the pono player had a concurrent system to listen to a track switching between ‘low res’ and ‘hi res’ as you played said track.

Seemed to me that there was a difference but accept every chance thats cos I am stupid and my stupid brain was telling my stupid self what I stupidly wanted to hear. OR worse, neil young and his coven of hi res snake oil demons were somehow cooking the low res books to fool gullible fanboys.

either way that would have been worth a test.

thoroughly bonkers thread, btw.
 
Top Bottom