The new HD vinyl records will arrive in 2019
2018-08-14
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Vinyl disc manufacturing technology allows you to increase your sound quality
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An Austrian company called Rebeat has developed a technology that, according to its managers, allows them to manufacture vinyl records with a sound quality superior to that offered by the vinyls that we can buy now in stores. They also ensure that their technique increases the playback time of each face of the disc by 30%, which allows them to reach 30 minutes, thus exceeding the usual 25 minutes per face.

The vinyl disc manufacturing technology proposed by Rebeat allows, according to this firm, to significantly increase its sound quality

And, in addition, they say they can be read by any conventional turntable. They do not require a dish other than those we have at home. The key is in the manufacturing technique

Guenter Loibl, the founder of Rebeat, and his collaborators propose a manufacturing process very different from the one usually used in this industry. The first important difference lies in the mold from which stamping discs are obtained that will allow us to capture the vinyl copies that we can buy.

Manufacturers of vinyl records usually use nickel molds, but Rebeat's technique proposes using ceramic molds because, according to them, their hardness is such that they do not degrade with use. And that degradation, when it occurs, negatively affects the copies that we obtain in vinyl (the nickel molds do not usually resist beyond the 1,000 copies). Another important detail is that the grooves in the ceramic mold are recorded using a high-precision laser controlled by software that is able to reduce the distance separating the contiguous grooves.

This optimization of the physical space required by the grooves makes it possible, according to Rebeat, to increase the playing time of each side of the vinyl record by 30%. In addition, they also ensure that the process of converting the original high resolution audio file into the 3D topographic map that will be recorded in the ceramic mold with the help of the laser allows them to correct reading errors produced by the radial arms. and tangential.

But there is another possibility. The space that allows to save the recording of the grooves in the ceramic mold by means of a laser can be exploited to increase the dynamic range and the signal-to-noise ratio, two parameters, precisely, in which the vinyl discs until now pale in front of the digital formats. This is possible, according to Rebeat, because that space saved by the optimization of the three-dimensional topographic map allows to increase the amplitude of the furrows. Of course, in this case the time of reproduction would not increase in that 30% of which we have spoken.

So far everything sounds good. From a technical point of view, on paper all the information that Rebeat offers us seems coherent. There is only one section that, honestly, a priori does not convince: the three-dimensional topographic map is generated from an audio file in high resolution. And this file is, logically, digital, so its starting point is digital and not analog. So far, the vinyl records with the best sound quality I've heard come from analog masters and respect the integrity of the analog signal throughout the manufacturing process.

The topographic map in 3D that is going to be recorded in the ceramic mold is generated from a high resolution audio file

In LifeHacker they have spoken with several people involved in the vinyl record industry to get their opinion about the technology proposed by Rebeat, and what they point out is interesting. Buzz Godard, of Pro-Ject, a veteran turntable manufacturer, believes there is potential in this technology to significantly improve the sound quality of vinyl records. Jonathan Grado, from Grado Labs, a New York brand that makes good phonocap capsules and super headphones, believes that Rebeat proposes a more precise manufacturing method, and that is obviously good.

Cameron Schaefer, musical manager of the Vinyl Me, Please 'club, is a little more reluctant and emphasizes that, like any other new technology, it is necessary to test it before issuing a verdict. I identify myself quite clearly with these three opinions. I really care about the quality of the sound, regardless of the format and its digital or analog nature, and if this new vinyl record manufacturing procedure really offers us a dynamic range and a signal-to-noise ratio superior to those of traditional vinyl records, Welcome, be it

Many of the vinyls that we can find in stores now come from digital masters, and the sound of some of them leaves much to be desired. In any case, we will have to wait until mid-2019 to try them because, according to Rebeat, it will be when the first HD vinyl come to market.
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