Neil Young’s Pono Player Has No Bass or Treble Controls

Here’s something I never read about Neil Young’s Pono, a super high fidelity audioplayer developed by Young and a team of engineers. There’s no bass or treble controls.

From NY Magazine:

Aural edification is one thing; cost, a very different other. There’s no way around it — getting the full measure of a Pono involves an investment beyond just the player itself. While Abrari says that listeners will notice a sharp improvement in sound quality even if they use cheap earbuds with their Pono, they’ll get “maximum enjoyment” if they shell out for “a pair of headphones in the $200 to 300 range.” Then there’s the fact that getting music on your Pono involves buying the FLAC files of songs from the Pono Music online store, which is expected to charge much more than iTunes, Amazon, or other MP3 retailers. All the added expense could be a hard sell for those who’ve likely already paid for their favorite music multiple times over the years. Talking about Pono to Rolling Stone in 2012, My Morning Jacket front man Jim James also mused, “I’ve already bought Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ a lot of times. Do I have to buy it again?”

Another Pono quirk: The player doesn’t allow listeners to adjust the treble or bass. The idea here is that the device is a delivery vessel for what the artists intended their music to sound like — hence, no futzing with the levels. “Equalizers are against the Pono ethos,” says Abrari. “The only thing you control is the volume. Neil wanted to make sure you hear what the artist recorded, as opposed to you or somebody in the process manipulating the sound.”