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Neil Young's PonoMusic hits $2M on Kickstarter in one day

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after legendary rocker Neil Young launched a Kickstarter page for his long-talked-about Pono music service, the campaign surpassed its goal of $800,000.

As of this writing, the PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign has more than $2 million in pledges from more than 6,200 backers.

One of the reasons this Kickstarter campaign blew through the roof is that music fans and sound aficionados are eagerly looking to get their hands on the Pono music player, or PonoPlayer. The player has been in development for years and will use the Free Lossless … Read more

The 404 1,443: Where we're taking the couch by storm (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Neil Young just destroyed his funding goals for a digital music player on Kickstarter.

- Meet the people making new games for Atari, Super NES, and Virtual Boy.

- Funny or Die was Healthcare.gov's No. 1 traffic referrer yesterday.

- Bill O'Reilly bites back at Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns."… Read more

Poll: What's the worst audio format?

Moving forward from the earliest days of Edison cylinders in the late 1880s, there is a long list of consumer audio formats that garnered popular support, while many others disappeared without a trace. The 78 RPM record, 45 single, and LP all enjoyed mass acceptance. Reel-to reel tape never took off, but 4- and 8-track cartridges had a good run, then the cassette hit the big time. A higher-quality analog cassette format, the Elcasette, arrived with much fanfare yet never caught on. Later, the two consumer digital tape formats, DAT and DCC, fizzled. The CD almost killed the LP in … Read more

What's up with Neil Young's Pono high-resolution music system?

The Gigaom Web site reported on December 20 that Pono announced it won't be showing at the CES show in Las Vegas in January.

I first heard about Neil Young's Pono music system more than a couple of years ago, and it was supposed to roll out a few months later. Rumors continued to circulate about an imminent debut, then fade away. Young showed a Pono music player prototype on the David Letterman show in September 2012, and it seemed like the launch was within reach.

Like everybody else I'm still unsure about how the Pono music … Read more

How to convert FLAC audio files to MP3 with Foobar2000

FLAC audio files sound great, but not every app or device supports FLAC and they take up a lot of storage space. Sometimes, you just want the convenience of MP3s, which are supported by many more apps and devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Mobile devices are often short on space, so even if they support FLAC, using MP3 files make a lot of sense.

If you already have FLAC files and would like MP3 versions, you can just convert them to MP3 with Foobar2000. It's a lot easier and faster than reripping all your CDs. Here's how … Read more

Review: Free Flac to MP3 performs conversions quickly, but includes junkware

Free FLAC to MP3 quickly and effectively converts your files, but it comes with some additional junk. While completely basic, the program operates as intended and supports batch conversions.

When you're downloading this program, it will hit you with quite a few junkware programs. If you're not careful it will take over your browser with toolbars and other nasty add-on programs. You can opt out of each one, but the program doesn't make it easy for you to avoid walking away clean. If you make it through that minefield, Free FLAC to MP3 works well enough. It … Read more

Review: Switch Audio Converter changes the audio format of music files

Switch Audio Converter for Mac lets you change any format of audio into MP3 format and vice versa in a matter of seconds. The application supports batch converting and has many other more advanced features.

Switch Audio Converter for Mac comes with a 14-day free trial, after which some extra features will expire. At around 1.4MB the application downloaded very quickly and was easy to install. The interface might seem slightly overwhelming at first as there are a lot of options, but ultimately it proved easy to use. It's very quick to select single files or a whole … Read more

Convert your FLAC files to MP3s with Free FLAC to MP3 Converter

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It's a free, open source standard for compressing audio files. It's popular because it's lossless: Storing your tunes as FLAC files preserves their quality better than more "lossy" standards, including MP3s. While many media players handle FLAC files, plenty of portable devices don't. If you store digital music as FLAC files but your portable player doesn't play them, you'll need to convert them to MP3s first. For that job, you'll need a tool like PolySoft's Free FLAC to MP3 Converter. It's totally … Read more

Can a MP3 sound better than a high-resolution FLAC or Apple Lossless file?

A great-sounding recording will sound its best only when it's properly mastered to LP, SACD, DVD-Audio, or a high-resolution file. Those formats will reveal the full glory of the music in ways that lower-resolution formats like MP3 or analog cassette always miss. But if you didn't have access to the high-resolution file to compare it with, a great recording will still sound pretty terrific as an AAC, M4A, or 320kbps MP3 file, because the recording's innate quality would shine through. On the other hand, a heavily compressed, processed and crude recording will always sound heavily compressed, processed … Read more

How to rip music CDs to FLAC and MP3 at the same time

There are a lot of great programs available to rip CDs to MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc., but most require you to re-rip your CD if you want to save the rip to a different file format. If you have a large CD collection, ripping your CDs twice could take an excruciatingly long time.

dBpoweramp for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8), is a very fast and accurate audio CD ripper that supports ripping to multiple encoders. If you want to rip your CDs to FLAC for archiving and to MP3 for use on an iPod or smartphone, dbPoweramp can … Read more