EnochLight wrote: ↑
29 Jan 2020
I don't actually have a MacBook Pro. Anyone agree with Neil? Or should we write this off as an "OK BOOMER" moment?
https://www.musicradar.com/news/neil-yo ... ce-of-crap
We’re guessing he doesn’t use GarageBand or Logic Pro
Neil Young has a bit of history when it comes to ‘hi-res’ audio - his now-discontinued Pono audio player was a labour of love for him - and now he’s had some rather critical things to say about the audio quality of Apple’s MacBook Pro.
Speaking to The Verge, he said that the laptop - a favourite among successful music producers around the world - is “a piece of crap,” calling it “Fisher-Price” quality.
“You can’t get anything out of [the MacBook Pro],” he argues. “The only way you can get it out is if you put it in. And if you put it in, you can’t get it out because the DAC is no good in the MacBook Pro. So you have to use an external DAC and do a bunch of stuff to make up for the problems that the MacBook Pro has because they’re not aimed at quality. They’re aimed at consumerism.”
Of course, most musicians who make music on a MacBook Pro will, as Young suggests, be using an external audio interface as well, so focusing on the quality of its built-in audio system seems a little pointless.
Young’s bigger problem, of course, is with the whole concept of compressed audio - in fact, he’s currently promoting his new book, To Feel the Music: A Songwriter's Mission to Save High-Quality Audio (co-written with Phil Baker), which deals with that very subject, and his mission to provide an alternative.
“The older technology used to give you a reflection of it so that you could still feel it,” he says. “Today, it’s reconstituted. It’s poorly sampled. It’s garbage that has less bits to save people memory, which is not even relevant anymore. We have so much memory we’ve got it coming out of our ears. Yet we’re still saving memory, saving quality, so we can store more crap. It’s just we’ve gone down this bad street, and we’re way down.”
You can hear the full interview at The Verge.
I really can't tell much difference between the DAC on a typical laptop and a DAC of like a Focusrite Scarlett other than the Scarlett would typically have more flexibility in routing, recording etc (Although Sound quality is usually something I'm not activiely listening for). For listening to music most laptop/computer DACs seem perfectly fine (especially if using cheap PC speakers). The fault usually isn't the DAC but more the sound system used to play it back. While many people are listening to music on laptops and smartphones, alot more avid music lovers are using high end headphones in which they are probably getting to really enjoy their music. I would bet many DJs, live performers are just using the MacBook Pro (or other laptop) stock outputs and I'm betting hardly anybody is worrying about the Sound quality.
Now with compressed formats I somewhat agree with him. MP3s while popular, efficient, and typically sounds pretty good, is not totally clean audio as an FLAC, or ALAC file would be. I would have thought there would be a bigger push to support this audio. There is a difference in quality, but that said in many instances it can be pretty hard to tell the difference between a 320kb mp3 and an FLAC 24 bit 44.1khz file. Even when you null the files and can actually "hear" the difference, the mp3 codecs can do a pretty good job in hiding the artifacts. Thats why it is so popular I guess for typical consumers but for audiophiles you would think they would have more songs available in FLAC or ALAC. His formats though from what I remember where super high quality like 24 bit 96khz or 88.2 khz. I'm not sure if many people can distinguish that from 44.1 or 48, but I think FLAC or ALACs would be the next step in Internet streaming of audio. The biggest issue though is the files aren't as transportable as mp3 as a high quality mp3 file would be about 10 megs, a FLAC or ALAC would be between 30-60 Megs (I think about half the size of uncompressed audio). These files would be harder to email and what not and many phones still don't natively support these files like they would with WAV or AIFF or MP3.