Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
"why would you want to listen to something with all that surface noise", the response was "life has surface noise".
I like that a lot!
We all know how sometimes you can make a positive difference to a mix by putting an almost inaudible background pad or sound fx underneath everything. It's like that room tone thing that some engineers swear by. Just an almost imperceptible little bit of sonic filler that our ears seem to like. Glue reverb etc etc. Maybe, as the quote suggests, we're so used to the surface noise of life that it sometimes seems unnatural to hear something without it? My personal view is also that our brain craves movement in sound, as it does in vision. So tiny bits of wow or flutter or hiss that come and go stop our attention switching off. We're programmed by evolution to notice change, sabre-tooth tiger twitching a leaf in our peripheral vision and all that. Nothing more boring than a perfect sine wave.
I agree with the spirit, but thing is, these micro-movements are like 0.001% of the result.. I mean you cannot take a boring song and magically make it sound good because it's on vinyl. It can be cooler, but the music (and the mix) don't get better in any way.
The surface noise thing is cool to read but a meaningless slogan.. there's no fun in racing a slower car (but it's more fun to race a faster car with a noisy gasoline engine than an electric one, any time of the year and twice on Sundays!!). It is just a head game, a fun self delusion (and by all means, nothing wrong with it, self delusion is essential to life.. anyone being totally rational would sucide in 30 seconds flat).
Sonically it's not even like the icing of the cake, it's like having bought the eggs for the icing from an eco farm feeding hens only with Bulgur grain and picking them up between 4:00 an 5:00 in the morning. Makes a difference? Sure does..
One of my band' songs has a simple lyric video, whose background consist on a old deck playing an even older vinyl record, suitably blurred. The recording is, of course, a state of the art digital one which has never seen a (non-virtual) master tape, to say nothing of a vinyl pressing plant. It has, also of course, all the tricks I know to make it sound the opposite of sterile and "digital", including the right amounts of mains hum, tape printing and so forth.
Nevertheless it's as digital as they come. And yet you can't believe the amount of feedback I've got by people stating without question that "the vinyl sound is really making a difference", "nothing sounds as good as vinyl" and suchlike.
I politely nod and thank said people - I truly do appreciate the attention, of course - and I am continuously reminded on how pop music has as much to do with image than with substance.