Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine took audio quality mainstream with Beats Electronics. Neil Young is trying to take even higher audio quality to the masses.
While appearing on "Late Night with David Letterman" on Thursday, Young showed off a prototype of the music player that's part of his long-planned music service called Pono. The device looks like an iPod but much wider. Because it is triangular width-wise, the device can lay on its side on a flat surface.
Young says the device "plays back anything, all the digital formats," and uses a digital-to-analog conversion technology to remove the need to remaster recordings and change the intent of the artist and producer. "So now we can preserve the original works of all the great artists through the years from Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway all the way up to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan and Jay-Z and all the way through," he said.
As Rolling Stone noted on Thursday, Young wrote in his new book, "Waging Heavy Peace," that Pono will bring together record labels and cloud storage "to save the sound of music." Expected to launch next year, Pono will have a line of portable music players and a music download service.