Yes, apparently so. Neil Young's new baby, PonoMusic, was properly introduced to the world last week. Its store went live, the Toblerone-shaped physical PonoPlayer was released – everything was going to plan.

But— Drat! Foiled by rational thinking!

It seems "sources" (engineers at PonoMusic) seem to disagree with exactly how hi-res these hi-res files are. For those that don't know, what Neil Young and his cronies are offering is the chance to experience all your favourite music (mainly rock, classic rock) in better quality. They're promising FLAC files that are gonna blow your socks off. Neil is particularly enamoured with the sound, according to said source: "It has been clear throughout that Neil Young himself is all about the hi-res. There's no doubt in his mind that it sounds better."

A comment on Music Week read:

"Neil Young at his age and with loud guitar amps for years and years. I am sure he has perfect hearing... :D"


Speaking of Mr. Young and the higher-ups, the source continued: "Their take is that the serious audiophile has convinced himself he has to have it. They're saying, 'We don't necessarily believe it, but nobody's going to buy it if we don't do it.'"


Add to this some actual thoughts about the difference between recording something today that can truly take advantage of being produced with a better quality sound, and then re-mastering something from ages ago. One example used in the New York Post article about this issue was Led Zeppelin's second album; the sound quality is particularly poor in any case, so other than going back in time with today's equipment and re-recording the whole thing, there's not a lot that Pono can do for it. And that will go for many a classic rock staple, too.

And, really, let's not forget that CD-quality files are more than enough to satisfy the human ear; all frequencies we can enjoy without augmenting our hearing, we can hear on CD-quality files.