In a year where the Grammys saw Billie Eilish walk away with all four general field awards, Young’s comments are seemingly at odds with the direction of today’s music production.
Neil Young’s latest target in the fight to save analog music production is the digital production staple, the MacBook Pro.
Speaking with The Verge, Young added that the MacBook Pro is “a piece of crap” and, colourfully, “Captain Kangaroo, your new engineer”.
Young does have a history with hi-res audio. His (now discontinued) music player Pono aimed to address issues Young saw with the lossy, compressed MP3 format, and music players like iTunes.
Young’s book To Feel the Music: A Songwriter’s Mission To Save High-Quality Audio also takes up the same issue, so he’s definitely committed to the cause.
“The only way you can get it out is if you put it in,” Young argues. “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.”
Young suggests that digital technology is designed to save memory, at the cost of the quality of analog recording, also noting in the full interview the effect it has on modern vinyl pressings.
“The older technology used to give you a reflection of it so that you could still feel it. 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.