16-inch MacBook Pro KeyboardSource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

"That's like Captain Kangaroo, your new engineer. A MacBook Pro? What are you talking about? You can't get anything out of that thing."

What you need to know

  • Musician Neil Young has given an interview to The Vergecast.
  • Discussing the MacBook Pro, he described it as a "piece of crap" with "Fisher-Price" quality" audio.
  • He also said that Steve Jobs told him "We're making products for consumers, not quality."

Musician Neil Young has described the 16-Inch MacBook Pro as "a piece of crap" with "Fisher-Price" quality audio in an interview with The Vergecast.

From The Verge, Young sat down with editor-in-chief Nilay Patel to discuss making music on the go, specifically how artists were sacrificing audio fidelity for the sake of convenience.

Young said he had no problem with teenagers writing hits in their bedrooms, but that the problem was when people start trying to record on a MacBook straight to MP3.

Patel said to Young: "Right. But I'm saying... I'm looking at the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple gave me a review unit. They said, "Look at all of the artists who use this thing with GarageBand to start." But you're saying that shouldn't be where the recording starts?"

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To this Young replied:

It's a piece of crap. Are you kidding? That's Fisher-Price quality. That's like Captain Kangaroo, your new engineer. A MacBook Pro? What are you talking about? You can't get anything out of that thing. 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.

Young went on to say that Steve Jobs "told me that exact thing", namely, "We're making products for consumers, not quality". That doesn't sound very Steve Jobs to me, but he continued:

Audio quality — for your reference and for anybody else that's listening — is deeper than visual quality.

You can look at things and think you're seeing everything with a hi-res whatever you're looking at in a picture. But true audio dimension is so deep, and there's so much data there if you want to capture it all — in the echo and the softness and the loudness and the difference as things are decaying and getting smaller and smaller as they go away. That's part of the beauty of sound, and the beauty of music based on that is that you can hear all of the detail.

Now, when you talk about doing that on a MacBook Pro, it makes me barf. This is where we are.

Harsh words from Young, who had plenty to say about the decline of music in general when it comes to recording, describing today's music as "poorly sampled" and reconstituted". Ironically, one of the best features of the new MacBook Pro is its excellent audio quality, at least in terms of output.

When it comes to actual recording though, it of course takes more than a MacBook to create the highest quality audio. But "a piece of crap"? Surely that's a bit harsh...