PonoPlayer Music Player by Neil Young

At first, the thought of 69-year-old Neil Young leading the charge on a new, upscale portable media player seems strange. But then, really, who else was gonna do it? 2 Chainz? Blake Shelton? Exactly. If anyone was going to hold the line on supreme audio quality vs. cheap and quick music, it was going to be a rock legend like Mr. Young. The PonoPlayer ($399) promises “studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible,” and we say bravo.

The device comes with 128GB of storage, enough to store between 100 and 500 albums, as well as a slot for a memory card. There’s an LCD touchscreen, three physical buttons, and that’s pretty much it. The rest is all about the sound. The player is designed to be paired with the upcoming PonoMusic.com service, which promises “the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels.” The device will also not be hamstrung by any DRM (digital rights management), so that’s another bonus. The project will hit Kickstarter on March 12th.