Once an individual or organization launches a Kickstarter campaign, they’re allowed to update it with additional rewards and answer questions. You can only ask a question if you have supported the effort. I looked at the Pono KS page this morning and noticed that they’ve provided and update with answers to some of the open issues with regards to DRM, file formats and alternate platforms.
Number 7 on the list asks Will Pono support DSD playback? No plans on this first release. We are focused specifically on PCM at this time because it has broad acceptance, and when done properly, still offers the best sonic solution. While DSD is also a great format, it simply doesn’t have broad enough acceptance by consumers, studios, or labels.
This is obviously not what advocates for DSD wanted to hear. But it comes as no surprise to those of us that realize the shortcomings of DSD. Neil and his team have obviously looked into DSD and decided for now to ignore it. I have to embrace his comment that PCM has broad acceptance and still offers the best sonic fidelity. He’s right about this despite the marketing and spin that many have employed to push DSD.
It was especially interesting that they said that the studios and labels haven’t accepted DSD. He’s referring to professional recording studios and the major record labels. Neil, who happens to own a very well equipped studio, doesn’t use DSD and he certainly isn’t going to transfer his analog masters to DSD and send them to Warner Brothers Records.
My best guess is there won’t be any Pono players capable of decoding DSD. Right now Neil and his collaborators at Ayre Acoustics have finalized their design, programmed the software, had the tooling made to produce the parts and secured a Chinese company to put the units together. Does anyone really think that they’re going to abandon all of the work that they’ve already done to include a format that doesn’t register in the professional music production world or major label executive suites? Audiophiles will pester them but it won’t come to anything.
Question Number 8 asks Will there be a Pono Mac app to play the FLAC files I purchase on PonoMusic? The response is a little confusing. The Pono KS update says yes. But then refers the question to a file conversion application called MAX. I guess what Pono is saying that individuals that download music from the Ponomusic site in FLAC format will have to convert those files into some other format for them to play on a Mac. I think that the question asked if there was going to be a “Pono Mac app” that would provide playback for Mac-based music servers.
What happened to the idea that Pono was going to be a “simple”, single format operation. It seems that’s only true if you restrict your music listening to the Pono device.
And finally question ten, Any DRM limits on PonoMusic? The answer…None. So the fears that many had about the Pono world being mired in copy protection seems resolved. I’m certainly glad to hear that.
So that’s the latest news from the world of Pono…as they push through $4 million on the KS page. Stay tuned…