Neil Young says that the MacBook Pro has “Fisher-Price” audio quality and calls it “a piece of crap”

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EnochLight
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Post 29 Jan 2020

LOL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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.
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Busta US
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Post 29 Jan 2020

EnochLight wrote:
29 Jan 2020
LOL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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.
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LMAOOO :lol:

Definitely an OK Boomer (I hate that expression....but gotta admit it does have a meaning)

Cassettes had worst quality than vinyls, yet people still enjoyed them. To this day!

Heater
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Post 29 Jan 2020

I’m sure his old ears can hear the difference.

Busta US
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Heater wrote:
29 Jan 2020
I’m sure his old ears can hear the difference.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Im dead

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EnochLight
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Post 29 Jan 2020

I think he's just sore about his lossless audio quality Pono player failure.
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orthodox
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Post 29 Jan 2020

This is unrelated, but I've met some comparisons of streaming platforms before, and they placed iTunes even below YT.

As for DAC quality, I believe any built-in audio interface is inferior to external one.
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Loque
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Well, he might be right about DAC and compression (still too much 128kbit around). But the good old times were crap too. And today young ppl hear the music on their phone - none of them could tell a diffetence of DAC or compression and i cannot hear a sine at 16khz, so who needs more? And the cost of all high end equipment...

Defenetly a rant, but failed and fall of the century.
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Busta US
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Always wondered whether the Pono player was a troll or an actual thing

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BRIGGS
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Post 29 Jan 2020

How embarrassing!

And, how ironic, that laptops are getting really good these days!!!
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Kalm
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Post 29 Jan 2020

He can't be serious, I op for small to medium hotel events and the DAC on Macs sound great. The DAC on these Lenovos we use as "Show Laptops" on the other hand. . . .
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Steedus
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Post 29 Jan 2020

I get his frustration. He's a "Pro" trying to use a "Pro" laptop, but it's not built to give a "Pro" experience (purely based on my experience with my 2018 model). But what does he expect? Sure it's the almighty Apple Inc., but it's still just a laptop. Since when have any laptop speakers been any good?

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BRIGGS
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Steedus wrote:
29 Jan 2020
Since when have any laptop speakers been any good?
I bought this low end Dell gaming laptop after spending months of research. It's outdated by today's standards, but the sound is surprising. It has a built in sub woofer.

Ref: Dell inspiron 7567
Last edited by BRIGGS on 29 Jan 2020, edited 1 time in total.
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Proboscis
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Post 29 Jan 2020

EnochLight wrote:
29 Jan 2020
I think he's just sore about his lossless audio quality Pono player failure.
The Pono was a great exercise in Snake Oil salesmanship.

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Oquasec
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Did he just say laptop speakers? No dude, laptops aren't going to have sub bass below 50hz
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Well he does have an ear for high quality audio. And I'll give him lots of points from trying to start the high def streaming service.

I have lots of CDs because I'm a bit older (not that old). And my car has a stereo and man, when I put in a CD it's like night and day! I can here a huge difference in the quality compared to an AUX into my phone running spotify.

There is a case to be made for lossless audio. The thing is, most folks don't have a good enough ear to hear it. That's ok.
Much like I don't have an eye for really fine art, although I know what I like!

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EnochLight
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Jmax wrote:
29 Jan 2020
Well he does have an ear for high quality audio.
Technically, at the age of 74 - he very likely doesn't have those ears anymore. :puf_bigsmile: :lol: Most people's hearing degrades noticeably at middle age, especially for rockers in the music industry who've played around stage amps and loud music his entire life. High frequencies and mids are probably a bitch at his age.
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Post 29 Jan 2020

Jmax wrote:
29 Jan 2020
Well he does have an ear for high quality audio. And I'll give him lots of points from trying to start the high def streaming service.
The guy's biggest selling album was recorded in a barn. :lol:

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raymondh
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Post 30 Jan 2020

Difference between being an advocate and a purist. He's not interested in the tradeoff discussion e.g. cost, accessibility etc.

The thing with audio quality, is that all you're ever doing when you upgrade your kit, is move the bottleneck.

You start with being fairly happy but you want more so you buy a new pair of HiFi speakers, which sound terrific but then you need a more powerful and cleaner amp to drive them properly, and then those $quality$ interconnects. That's all great but then all of a sudden it reveals the massive difference in quality of the various recordings you have, and the mp3s you were previously happy with all of a sudden sound just a bit muddy and lack the crisp dynamics of the original CD.

And so on.... :D
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Yonatan
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Post 30 Jan 2020

He is too nice. He could say that Apple selling horse shit in nice looking boots. It is lukewarm comfortable at first mile but wherever you go, swarmes of flies are following. At first you think you being popular star with a lot of groupies, but at the end of the road it was the stinky shit they wanted to lay their eggs in.

But have anyone tried the latest Macbook yet?
They write that they have 3 inbuilt studio grade microphones and was it 6 speakers (?)..
Inbuilt mics and speakers has always been lackluster in MacBook. Is that about to change?

But as always, Apple do things in babysteps.
I mean, when will they combine the MacBook and Ipad pro so that a MacBook pro could be turned to a an ipad pro and vice verse...
I cannot see the "pro" in products that are halfbaked. Ageee all the way that they are focused on consumerizm.

Why dont bridge the gap between Ipad pro and MacBook pro?
They could do a great service to creators. Instead they are greedy and seperate them as of we where fools. And yes many buy into it.
Where is the innovative spirit?

Microsoft have better visions on that part, but they lack in other innovations. So wi have apples and pears, but nothing inbetween.
Is this 2020?

Competition among companies have long been said to be good for development and for the users. I think that is a bullshit myth. It is just a misleading mantra that have hypnotized ppl.
Competition in itself is not what creates art. Yes, the pressure of market competition can push for deadlines and a rush to get something out before the others, but it has nothing to do with real usefullness. Often things are rushed out to sell a lot of halfdone things that needs a lot of improvements.

Co-operation among innovators would have taken us lightyears further than any of the market competition has. It is holding us back...and development are like a snail.
We are being tricked and milked and fed with lies, and thus accept the slow pace of technology and the destruction of the eco systems.

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miscend
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Post 30 Jan 2020

I dunno, but I think older technology like Vinyl wasn't very high res. In the old days people either listened to LPs or cassettes. Regular iTunes AAC is probably clearer.

Harmen
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Post 30 Jan 2020

I think he is right.
But it does involve only Apple. You would expect oversampling before the DA and several other technics.
If they didn't; he is right.

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selig
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Post 30 Jan 2020

Seems he is making two separate and unrelated point - not sure how the MBP (or any laptop) has anything to do with his quest for using un-compressed audio formats.
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Yonatan
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Post 30 Jan 2020

I guess if he tried a pc laptop, he would understand all is consumerism today anf been so for x amount of years.

I dont hesitate to say Apple are market milking and not progressing much. But I still enjoy my old MacBook pro and have similar relationship. with Reason. Both love their way of their original simple view of laying out things that is inspirational to use, but at the same time frustrates when they take baby steps or half steps forward. But still good products compared to a lot of other one hit wonders that come hard and fall even harder.

Compressed formats...yes, it ruins many places still, but it is not all about memory, it is aöso to do with the streaming technologies and that many expect to take part in audio and video on mobile data... and wav is still quite ineffective.
But I do think there needs to be better options to choose what quality one wants it to stream.

If I am home and sitting with wifi and good headphones, I want loseless or as close as possible.

But when loading songs to different platforms, they should accept that flac type of compression. Isnt that quite good enough?

Yonatan
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Post 30 Jan 2020

miscend wrote:
30 Jan 2020
I dunno, but I think older technology like Vinyl wasn't very high res. In the old days people either listened to LPs or cassettes. Regular iTunes AAC is probably clearer.
Yes, at least after x amount of listenings on vinyl and cassette...degradation is terrible.

jlgrimes
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Post 30 Jan 2020

EnochLight wrote:
29 Jan 2020
LOL!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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.
Image
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.

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