Music Technology

MÜZO Cobblestone is round and flat, plays music ’round your flat

MP3’s have long been the standard for all of our music playing devices but don’t do a fantastic job at replicating the depth and breadth of the sound originally recorded. There’s a renaissance in musical appreciation, and devices like the PONO music player are capitalizing on it by offering audiophiles lossless playback. The MÜZO Cobblestone is continuing the trend with an audio system with the capability of doing the same with any sound set-up imaginable.

The MÜZO Cobblestone acts as a hub that streams FLAC and other lossless audio formats over Wi-Fi to any and all types of wireless and wired speakers and speaker systems. Its proprietary Multi-Room Melodization supports muli-room setups to achieve true stereo sound all while adjusting EQ based on the type of music being played. The Cobblestone also sports Spotify, Pandora, and Airplay integration, just to name a few. Linkplay Technology, Inc. is looking for $100,000 to get the $59 device out to backers by January 2015.

The MÜZO Cobblestone is a promising addition to the Hi-Fi music scene. It’s ability to connect to any speaker is its biggest draw and really pushes this device forward, along with its gorgeous aesthetic. It’s in good company, too: check out the Core and the mBox to see similar executions of this idea, just without the Hi-Fi angle.


PonoMusic aims to set new audiophile listening standards with device, digital distribution

The Premise. Audiophiles and musicians alike have bemoaned the digital era for ripping all the humanity and natural sound away from listening to music. Despite a dedicated community who still swears by vinyl, the rest of the music-listening population has merely accepted these imperfections as something that comes with the territory.

The Product. Named for the Hawaiian word for “righteous,” PonoMusic makes it clear that it is not a new file format or audio standard, and yet what it does is revolutionizes the digital music store. Using FLAC as means to distribute sound  at a bitrate well above CD quality and without any compression, Pono wants to deliver users music the way it was meant to be heard. The player itself looks like an early MP3 player but has a unique, triangular shape and a LCD touch screen making control as easy as other personal music players.

The Pitch. With a lengthy campaign promo video, viewers are shown a parade of legendary music acts ranging from David Crosby and James Taylor to My Morning Jacket and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Each of these mega-stars talk about Pono as if it were the best thing that’s happened to home audio, a telling endorsement if nothing else. The rest of the campaign helps explain what makes Pono’s audio playback unique, and how it stands above other existing digital distribution models, making it more like the digital equivalent of a record album. Pono’s goal is to raise $800,000 to help establish the format for the consumer market.

The Perks. A first edition PonoPlayer can be had in yellow or black for a pledge of $300, with an expected release date of October 2014. For $100 extra, backers can get their hands on a limited-run chrome version with a laser-engraved signature from a variety of different artists supporting Pono.

The Potential. Even if the glowing praise from all of the high-profile rock stars in the video have more to do with how well Pono sounds versus trying to be respectful toward Neil Young’s vision, it is difficult to see Pono taking much momentum from smartphones and existing streaming services. Not only is the price high, but the campaign is built around the notion that hearing is believing; it will be some time before most folks can experience he triangular player versus lesser alternativs.