Clearly now

There’s a theoretical point there, which is that polyvinyl chloride is colourless, so if you’re adding something to it to colour it, then you’re changing the chemistry of it slightly, and that has potential to make it sound not as good by having inclusions. Like if it’s carbon black then there can be little granules of graphite or whatever. The biggest problem is that presses are set up to run black vinyl regularly, and if you have to clear the presses of the black vinyl, then put in the clear vinyl, then the presses have to come up to temperature from cold, and until they’re operating at a stabilised temperature the pressings will not be filled properly. That is, you’ll get much more surface noise. So, coloured vinyl typically sounds noisier than black vinyl because it has to be run in a special production run, during which the presses have not quite gotten up to temperature. So you end up with poor in-fill. In-fill meaning the vinyl doesn’t penetrate all the way into the back of the stamper, and you end up with more ticks and pops, and more surface noise. So while it’s conceivable that clear vinyl would sound better were all records made out of clear vinyl, when you make an edition of a record on clear vinyl – interrupting a normal production run of black vinyl – you’re creating opportunities for that record to sound worse. So it’s sort of a theoretical point. If all records were made out of clear vinyl, then it’s possible that there would be slightly less surface noise on those records. But they’re not. And so if records are made specially out of clear vinyl, there’s a real good chance that your records will be noisier than the black records that were made the day before.

Fire Fighting: Steve Albini Interviewed at The Quietus

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