One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Neil Young is an interesting guy. He’s raised $6 million on Kickstarter for a music device that plays digital music at the highest possible fidelity. He’s also just released an album of covers recorded on a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth. Open thread.

45 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    More barn!

  2. 2
    srv says:

    Neil’s fancy-pants Ayre DAC should be a return to the true way sound should be. Like partner Beck wants.

    Dude released his compressed, lossy MP3’s to HDTracks at a premium price and got caught by those nutty audiophiles.

  3. 3
    Joe Buck says:

    No, they are both like each other. Neil Young hates MP3, thinks it (or even CD recording) loses too much dynamic range, and likes the “warm” sound of old vinyl.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Wag says:

    @Joe Buck: @Joe Buck:

    likes the “warm” sound of old vinyl.

    I do too

  6. 6
    ericblair says:

    Guess he likes to experiment with sound.

    The high fidelity Ponomusic device, unless it’s comparable in price to standard equipment, is an audiophile thing. At that point, are you listening to the music, or listening to the recording? It’s a different concern, and I know several professional musicians with extensive collections and pretty pedestrian audio equipment because that level of fidelity is good enough for what they want out of their listening.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    @Wag: Well, then it’s an authentic sounding DAC like Beats’ headphones (note the pono font vs b’s)

    Least he could do is put a tube in it.

  8. 8
    The Other Chuck says:

    I want “warm” sound when it’s recorded that way. My digital copies do just fine at reproducing that, thankyaverymuch.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak passed away yesterday at 86. He had served as Malaysia’s ninth Yang di Pertuan Agong (Head of State). He was president of the Asian Hockey Federation and a past president of the Malaysian (field) Hockey Federation. He was also among Malaysia’s most prominent jurists: he served as Lord President of the Federal Court (equivalent to chief justice of the US Supreme Court).

    Here’s a tidbit to savour: as a High Court judge, Azlan Shah presided over the 1977 manslaughter trial of Iskandar ibni Ismail Al-Khalidi, Crown Prince of Johor. Iskandar was convicted and stripped of his position as crown prince. But his dad the Sultan pardoned him; he was eventually reinstated as crown prince, became Sultan himself and was the eighth Agong — and was succeeded as Agong by Azlan Shah.

  10. 10
    flukebucket says:

    I just received in my email a Human Events push for Dr. Ben Carson….

    Ben Carson is the first candidate since Ronald Reagan who has been blessed with communication skills that enable him to explain complicated issues in terms everyone can understand.

    And also

    Ben Carson has the courage to run, and the talent needed to win. That’s not just speculation.
    In 2012 Herman Cain found out something shocking. Cain’s internal polls showed that he was not only winning more than 40% of the black vote, but also more than 60% of the Hispanic vote! Only 17% Needed! The fact is that if any Republican candidate for President receives more than 17% of the black vote, no Democrat candidate for President, even Hillary Clinton, can win the White House.

    I am sure it is all just a grift but it is hilarious.

  11. 11
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    Highest possible fidelity, or highest possible fidelity our ears can here?

  12. 12
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Me, I want the “warm” picture that can only be provided by a kinetoscope.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    plug that pono doodad into some 1000 dollar ‘oxygen free’ audio cables (preferably on ‘cable elevators’ so the sound doesn’t get mucked up by being closer to the ground) and you’ve got something!

  14. 14
    Chyron HR says:


    In 2012 Herman Cain found out something shocking.

    I’m shocked, shocked to discover that a black man can’t win a Republican primary!

  15. 15

    @flukebucket: “Only 17% Needed!” This is my favorite line. “Only 17% Needed! With your pledge Human Events can find that 17%!”

  16. 16
    Comrade Mary says:

    Here’s another Canadian artist combining old and new: Zoe Keating does cello — looped.

    Apart from simply loving her sound, I had a very good reason to pick up her two albums and one EP from Bandcamp last night. She is Canadian, but has been living in California for years with her husband and son. Her husband was recently diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread everywhere. Non-smoker, vegetarian, but he still got hit very, very badly.

    The good news: they have health insurance with Anthem Blue Cross. They have paid about $100,000 in premiums over the past few years. The bad news: Anthem Blue Cross refuses to pay for his health care:

    On May 13 an MRI found 20 tumors in my husbands brain. On May 15 he could barely breathe and was in a lot of pain. A CT scan that day revealed he had a softball-sized tumor in his lung, tumors in his other lung, his liver and possibly his bones. On our way home from the imaging center our primary care doc called and told us to turn around and get to the hospital right away. My husband was admitted and they promptly removed more than a pint of fluid from his lungs, which helped him breathe better. We were there for 6 days while they performed a bronchoscopy, did more scans, gave him drugs to stop his brain from swelling and administered emergency chemo.

    Today I got a letter from Anthem Blue Cross regarding his hospital stay:

    “Coverage for the requested service is denied because the service does not meet the criteria for “medical necessity” under your description of benefits. To assist our Medical Director in making this decision, we have put a process in place to send all information about the service to a clinical reviewer with appropriate credentials. Based on their opinion, we have determined that covered for the requested service is denied. Our Medical Reviewer Layma Jarjour MD has determined we cannot approve your hospital stay for cancer. We do not have enough facts to show that it was medically necessary. ”

    Anthem is owned by WellPoint. Did you know Wellpoint CEO Joseph Swedish earned almost $17 million during his first year on the job? Now you know how they can afford to pay him.

    If you want to read more and/or help:

    Her Twitter account, which includes a link to a local tv news story and this reply to a helpful suggestion for financing: “FYI I did a cello version of the #breakingbad theme for series 1 ep 6 ;-)”

    Her music page, with links to downloads (some free) and CDs in a variety of formats. I’d suggest buying from her directly rather than going to iTunes if you like what you hear.

  17. 17
    Chyron HR says:

    You can buy a five million dollar device to play Neil Young songs, but you’re still listening to Neil Young.

  18. 18
    Citizen_X says:

    In 2012 Herman Cain found out something shocking.

    Women don’t exactly appreciate employers who try to coerce sexual favors?

  19. 19
    Belafon says:

    @flukebucket: I bet 40% of the black and 60% of the Hispanic Republican total is a very impressive number. I mean, out of Cain, Steele, Carson, and Thomas, he managed to almost get two of them. No telling whether he agreed to vote for himself.

  20. 20

    speaking of music people, I was very disappointed to see this.

    Exene Cervenka thinks the Santa Barbara shooting was a false flag operation by the gubmint to help institute gun control. And she’s truthery about other stuff, too. Fuck.

  21. 21
    catclub says:

    @flukebucket: Apparently the crazified 27% is a white thing.
    Although when Obama got 73% of the Asian-American votes….

  22. 22
    Applejinx says:

    Silly people. I know about this pono thing. It is in fact gonna sound a fuckton better than mp3s or CDs for very simple and obvious reasons: overkill in digital data resolution and the analog stages and conversion to back it up.

    End of story. It got way overfunded and became a huge success for perfectly valid reasons. If you heard it you’d know.

    I haven’t heard it, but I work on a Lavry Black into Channel Islands monoblocks, and pono ought to be pretty much as good for a fraction of the price. I’d love to have one.

  23. 23
    srv says:

    @Comrade Mary: Old fan of Zoe’s, but wondering what kind of care her husband was getting for four months before they finally figured out it was cancer…

  24. 24
    Cervantes says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m no fan of feudal hierarchies but, given that context, he seemed decent enough — and he had a good run.

    What’s your take on the more recent constitutional crisis he got mixed up in, just a few years ago?

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    @Jebediah, RBG: She’s been nuts for years now.

  26. 26
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @flukebucket: I had a guy in a yoga class last week try to tell me about Been Carson’s wisdom. Was tempted to reply with “Let me tell you about Ceiling Cat.”

  27. 27
    Comrade Mary says:

    @srv: I wonder, too. My impression of American Cadillac insurance plans is that you get multiple MRIs for hiccups. I don’t know how much doctor failure or less-than-Cadillac insurance played a factor in his delayed diagnosis.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    She needs to get in contact with the California Department of Insurance IMMEDIATELY, if she hasn’t already:

    Consumer Hotline
    1-800-927-Help (4357) or

    Anthem Blue Cross of California has been sanctioned by the state multiple times for these kinds of shenanigans and has had to pay millions of dollars in fines. The Dept. will be very interested to hear that they’re up to their old tricks and can intervene pretty quickly.

  29. 29
    srv says:

    @Applejinx: I got Class A for less than you spent on Class D. So those compressed, loud mp3’s are going to sound way better on my system.

    Is the Lavry even async?

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Applejinx: You can buy a Fiio X5 today for $50 less than the Pono’s list price.

  31. 31
    Chyron HR says:


    Silly people. I know about this pono thing. It is in fact gonna sound a fuckton better than mp3s or CDs.

    I haven’t heard it, but…

    Jack Benny reaction face.jpg

  32. 32
    Amir Khalid says:

    He did that with his judge hat on, is my guess. I reckon he called it right on the facts as presented to him, although the sudden changes of affiliation between Barisan and Pakatan must mean there were under-the-table dealings involved. I wouldn’t ever want Pakatan to learn to play as dirty as Barisan, because then they wouldn’t be any better. But they do have to learn how to fend off this shit when Barisan tries it again.

  33. 33
    rikyrah says:

    The political fight over VA privatization
    05/29/14 11:41 AM
    By Steve Benen

    As German Lopez explained, veterans’ advocates, who have long opposed privatization, haven’t changed their minds – they see this was an approach that would “undercut a system that specializes in veterans’ needs.”

    If veterans opted to use private facilities instead of those the VA operates, federal officials could decide that the public system isn’t covering as many patients and therefore doesn’t need as much money. “The more money we spend out on the private sector on veterans, the less money there is to care for those that are within the system,” says Joe Violante, national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans.

    Another concern: hospitals that see the general public won’t have the expertise to treat the specific issues plaguing veterans.

    A typical VA patient “might have a spinal cord injury, plus an orthopedic issue, plus a mental health issue. They’re a multifaceted patient,” Carl Blake of Paralyzed Veterans of America explains. “The VA is a system constructed to provide holistic care for the life of that patient. The private system is not constructed with those ideas in mind.”

  34. 34
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    fuck you very much, word press, for not allowing me to reply to MikeJ at 24.

    ETA: all I wanted to say was that it’s a bummer that Exene has been nuts for years, and that I hadn’t been aware of it, and that I wonder if she always was or if she took a sudden dive off the deep end.

  35. 35
    wrye says:

    Neil Young is a model train enthusiast who invented a special controller for his son (who has cerebral palsy) so that he could run the trains. The man is kind of amazing.

  36. 36
    gbear says:

    @Chyron HR: I was at an honest to god record store last night and they were playing Neil Young’s new record. I wouldn’t take a copy if they gave it to me. It’s one of his 100% concept 0% delivery albums. I did actually buy a used copy of Rust Never Sleeps while I was at the store, but that album kind of stand out as much better than anything he’s released since Decade, and he completely lost me after I made the mistake of buying Living With War, which was a completely slapdash performance and producton. I know that this is what makes him cool to a lot of people, (he’s ‘challenging’ us), but if I’m going to listen to an album by guys who don’t give a shit, I’d rather go with The Replacements.

    Also, count me in with the musicians who owns playback equipment that would make an audiophile cringe. It’s not horrid, but I can’t afford more than $400 for a turntable or integrated amp. I’m actually still using a Dual turntable and JBL speakers that I bought back in 1973.

  37. 37
    Rex Everything says:

    Neil Young is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

  38. 38
    brantl says:

    @Chyron HR: Nothing wrong with Neil Young. Nothing at all.

  39. 39
    Mart says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I had a white, Limbaugh listening, closet racist, gun loving, Obama hating, factory worker tell me some of the many platitudes of the good Dr. Carson. Seemed to think the liberal me would like him because he is a black, (like Obama). Apparently Dr. Carson thinks urban poor people are lazy. Flat tax. I am convinced! He’s my man too!! Carson in 16!!!

  40. 40
  41. 41
    gbear says:

    @Rex Everything: You forgot handsome. ;)

  42. 42
    Applejinx says:

    It’s not hard to predict how the device is going to sound given that we know the digital resolutions it puts out and can see the insides of it. Big honking coupling and power supply caps are what you don’t get out of iPhones. It is going to sound awesome, even if it wasn’t doing the moving average filter (sort of a secret weapon, that sounds way better than a brickwall).

  43. 43
    John Revolta says:

    Mahatma Gandhi was a pretty nice guy too. I still don’t wanna listen to him sing.

    And also, two thumbs up on the ’73 Dual turntable. Still using mine as well.

  44. 44
    Paul in KY says:

    @Amir Khalid: My condolences to Malaysia. Thank you for the info.

  45. 45
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chyron HR: Zach, is that you?

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