The balance of perfection and imperfection

If I wanted to, I could make a close to perfect sounding record.

Technology has enabled me to control pitch, time and dynamics. With enough work, I can cozy right up to perfect. But I've never had good results from that process.

When I hear perfect things, usually it's a MIDI mock-up of a cue for a movie or a demo, sourced from a library of notes with perfect pitch, perfect articulation and perfect dynamics. And the engineer recording the library has the perfect mic and the perfect preamp and the perfect placement of the microphone. If you hear one note being played, it sounds like the real thing. But after a while, the inhuman elements start to add up and the brain can detect that something is wrong. Whenever I get too close to that in my work or hear it in a near-perfect recordings, I can almost hear the MIDI that it's imitating.

By reaction, many engineers try to make something intentionally LO-FI. All the performances must be as raw and unrefined as possible. The result is even worse. There's nothing I hate more than the sound of something trying too hard to underachieve.

When mixing, I'm constantly trying to avoid these two extremes, and looking for the perfect place on the spectrum that the project wants to be.