Legendary musician Neil Young has sparked controversy this week with a vitriolic tirade against the MacBook Pro laptop computer. Stating that making music on a MacBook Pro “makes me barf”, he compared the machine to a toy. Does he have a point, or is he just an old man shouting into the winds of change?
Mr Neil Young is a grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and has fronted a tireless campaign over the last decade to raise the audio quality of the music we all listen to. In 2015 he launched the Pono music player and digital music service, which was killed off just two years later. Pono was Young’s attempt to bring mastering-quality audio to the ears of listeners.
MacBook Pro: Fisher-Price Audio Quality
In a recent podcast for The Verge, Neil Young launched into a tirade against those making music on apple’s flagship laptop computer, The MacBook Pro. Young criticized teenage musicians saying that “they’re starting on a MacBook, recording straight to MP3”.
When pressed about making music on the Apple laptop, 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”.
Whether you agree or disagree with Neil Young, one has to argue the validity of some of his statements; Just look at any pro-level tour and you’ll see a stage bedecked with MacBook Pro laptops. Who records using the onboard soundcard on a laptop anyway? Even if you did, shouldn’t the song be more important than the gear it’s recorded on?
Just think about legendary albums such as Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen; recorded on a cassette portastudio and mastered on a boombox. There’s nothing to stop a talented musician making a Grammy-winning album on a MacBook. Just ask Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas…
Billie Eilish’s debut album was recorded in her brother’s home studio on an iMac and her iPhone. That album has gone on to win four Grammy awards including Album of the year, and Best Engineered – Non-Classical.
Fisher-Price audio quality huh? Now, let the debate rage on…