Exclusive: Patents Filed for ‘High Definition Vinyl’ Technology

Imagine a vinyl record that has 30% more capacity, 30% greater volume, and double the audio fidelity of a typical LP sold today.

The technical specifications for High Definition Vinyl, or ‘HD Vinyl,’ have now been detailed in a European patent filing exclusively shared with Digital Music News on Tuesday.  This is a concept that could potentially be on the market within three years, according to details shared by Rebeat Digital, the company that filed the patent.

Rebeat, based in Tulln, Austria, submitted the EU-wide patent with Joanneum Research, with plans to quickly secure additional patent protections in the United States and worldwide.  The patent filing was viewed by Digital Music News in a private session, and we were not allowed to keep a copy of the filing.

The ‘HD Vinyl’ name is a working title, though the basic idea is this: instead of the manual and time-consuming process currently used for creating vinyl LPs, the ‘HD Vinyl’ process involves 3D-based topographical mapping combined with laser inscription technology to more quickly generate a far superior product.  Not only will the end product be vastly improved, but the time required to produce the LPs will also be radically reduced.

“…you don’t need to buy a new system…”

The result is a record that looks like the LPs being sold today, and more importantly, plays like them.   According to the companies involved, the HD Vinyl disc will play on all currently manufactured turntables and high end record players, though enhanced features will be better realized on upcoming, HD-compatible turntables.  “This is a completely backwards-compatible technology,” said Guenter Loibl, Rebeat CEO.  “It will play on any existing turntable, you don’t need to buy a new system to enjoy the benefits.”

One of the largest problems that HD Vinyl solves is the gigantic production bottleneck that is currently stunting the vinyl resurgence.  Currently, most vinyl is produced using 1960s-era, antiquated technology, with processes that are both extremely time-consuming and horrible for the environment.

Basically, two production methods exist:

(a) Mechanically scratching audio grooves into a lacquer foil, followed by an electro-plating process involving lots of chemicals; or

(b) The ‘DMM’ direct-to-metal mastering process, which involves manually scratching the audio directly into a copperplate, followed by electro-plating (and also using a lot of chemicals).

“mastering the topographic data…”

The HD Vinyl process, by contrast, involves a longer period perfecting the topographic, computer-generated, 3D modeling imprint before any physical manufacturing takes place.  “We adjust the distance of the grooves, we correct the radial/tangential errors, and we optimize the frequencies,” Loibl continued.  “You could say we ‘master’ the topographical data, which is a totally different approach.”

After that, a ‘pulsed high-energy Femto-laser’ burns the audio directly onto the stamper.  Distance between the grooves and depth adjustments happen automatically, with a 90-degree burning angle eliminating possible distortions.  All in, Rebeat and Joanneum estimate that stamper-related costs will be reduced by 50 percent, while the time required to produce a new piece of vinyl slashed by 60 percent.

The timing of this new technology could be absolutely perfect.  The music industry witnessed another surge in vinyl demand last year, with sales booming 29.8% in the United States alone, according to Nielsen Music.  That is being followed by an echo of turntable sales: late last year, Amazon reported that a $50 Jensen turntable was its best-selling home audio product for the holidays.  Even better, the vinyl resurgence could be having a spillover effect into retail, with smaller record shops suddenly resurfacing.  Bands are also realizing greater revenues from vinyl: according to financial details surfacing last year, vinyl is actually producing more revenue than ad-supported streaming.

So what’s next?  After the broader, global patents are secured, Loibl will be seeking early-stage financing, with several backers potentially in play.

117 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    My Discovery Moment Media Monetization (US, EU, China & India patent pending) can deliver 200B music industry!
    Vinyl is a niche activity bringing some fun and money to few with no potential to ever create VALID music business.

    Whoever, please help me to access Larry Page – music is the biggest MOONSHOT of digital era that will triple Google by 2025.

  2. Jose Fritz

    I talked with Larry Page. He thinks you should stop spamming digitalmusicnews.

  3. Racks4Records

    Lots of patents get filled every year, some products never make it to market. Will be interesting to follow story but in 3 years time the vinyl fad may fade(again) I hear there’s the new things, called cassette-tapes that are coming out soon

      • Michael Fremer

        I second your comment. These cranks just don’t understand.

    • Michael Fremer

      Vinyl is not a fad, it will not fade away and you are a typical, sarcastic putz who doesn’t understand what’s going on here. You are boring.

  4. Doug

    Vinyl is not scratched onto an acetate …. it is pressed from a master which was scratched. get your facts right.

    • Sagan Zardoz

      Hello Doug. Records are made by transferring the audio to a master lacquer (acetate), from which a metal cast is made – the matrix. This is then re-cast as the mother, which in turn is plated to create the stampers from which the actual records are pressed. This is true for all traditional vinyl pressings, unless the Direct Metal Mastering process is used. Hope that helps.

    • Stuart Crossland

      Not scratched, cut. Usually with a Sapphire. My machine uses a diamond.

  5. Psychedelicpiper

    If it’s not all-analogue, then it’s absolutely pointless to market this technology to audiophiles, and I’d even consider it a marketing scam. No matter how well-pressed the record is, it will NEVER, under any circumstances, sound better than its digital source material.

    Also, it should be noted, the material is still PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is outdated, overpriced, easily prone to damage, and bad for the environment.

    If this is the direction the vinyl industry is heading in, then I am worried. Things are bad enough these days with digital LP’s having flooded the market. That being said, I found this a stimulating read. I definitely believe the manufacturing process is in need of an overhaul.

    • Versus

      “No matter how well-pressed the record is, it will NEVER, under any circumstances, sound better than its digital source material.”

      If by “better” the criterion is audio fidelity/accuracy, then your assertion is correct.

      However, if “better” may include the particular and idiosyncratic distortions* and modifications which vinyl mastering, pressing, and playback adds to (or subtracts from) the accurate signal, then at least some listeners may find those changes aesthetically “better”.

      *(The much-discussed analogue “warmth”, “mojo”, “vibe”, “saturation”, etc.)

      • Psychedelicpiper

        If I’m purchasing a record for sound quality, then I expect it to be all-analogue. Otherwise, I’m just paying for an overpriced CD. I really hope this remains a patent. To me, it feels like this company just wants to exploit a niche market for profit, rather than truly catering to people who care about sound quality.

        • nikoli

          What do you mean “all-analogue”? Please define “all”.

          • Psychedelicpiper

            Pressed from analogue master tapes with no digital steps in-between. There’s really no point in investing in an analogue format if it’s going to be sourced from digital files.

        • Matt

          I was waiting for this reply to come up. I think this is why HD vinyl will fail – too many vinyl audiophiles have an absolute (one might even say religious) devotion to AAA mastering and will not tolerate a method that has to insert a digital step in the chain.

          While I can appreciate the benefits of AAA mastering, I happen to think Fremer et all are way over the bend in their absolutism about this. But fortunately for AAA vinyl folks – and unfortunately for the HD vinyl people – what I think doesn’t matter. 🙂

          • Psychedelicpiper

            Let me be clear, I am not against digital music. Most of my music collection at the moment is digital, and I do feel blessed to have this technology available, especially when it comes to portability.

            It’s just when I spend my hard-earned money on an analogue format, I expect it to be 100% analogue in cases where an analogue master is available. And I think in a world where most people are ignorant on the matter, and industry executives just care about making big bucks, a healthy degree of absolutism is important.

            I certainly don’t ever expect AAA to become a big thing, though, without some major changes in technology and material.

          • Anonymous

            You nailed it. That’s why I asked him to clarify his “all analogue” qualifier. I don’t think people like him (as you described) have any idea of the modern recording process. There is almost no end-to-end, fully analogue recordings being made.

            Between the artist strumming the chords, to the pressing of the vinyl, there is almost invariably going to be some digital step during the process.

            Thus, a person saying he won’t commit dollars to buying an album that isn’t digital should be dismissed as mere dogmatic drivel from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

            Moreover, I’m curious what in this article piqued Phsychedelicpiper’s “analogue” rant. I didn’t get the impression that this new patent has any implication on the analogue nature of vinyl.

          • Psychedelicpiper

            @Anonymous Believe me, I am fully aware of the modern recording process, and I did actually say “where an analogue master is available”. Most of the music I listen to was recorded in the analogue era, and some bands do still record completely in analogue, despite its expense. More artists would record in analogue if tape was more affordable.

            “The HD Vinyl process, by contrast, involves a longer period perfecting the topographic, computer-generated, 3D modeling imprint before any physical manufacturing takes place.” I just don’t see how this process could possibly be made all-analogue.

          • nikoli


            Even if the artist’s performance is recorded to tape, there’s a very good chance the tape is then passed into an audio interface with A/D and D/A converters… and into a DAW (Pro Tools, Logic, Cakewalk, Reaper, etc etc etc) for editing and/or mixing… and then back to tape to be sent off for mastering. So it seems as if you’re suggesting that any recording which was put through that process isn’t worthy of then being printed to vinyl. To which I call shenanigans.

          • Psychedelicpiper

            @nikoli No, I’m not. When I said “when an analogue master is available”, I meant that if the only source of the record involved digital editing/mastering, then that should be the version used, since no other version exists. Plus, some digitally-recorded records sound better than their CD/file counterparts, simply because of the lack of overcompression.

            I am aware of the process you’re describing, and that some of my favorite artists have their albums mastered that way. My Bloody Valentine’s “m b v” album, though, is a good example of a record that was completely recorded and mastered in analogue.

          • People make great pets

            And the musicians should only use analog instruments. And eat a vegan diet…

        • David Purton

          Well you will have to buy old ones then because almost exclusively all music is recorded and mixed in the digital domain and has been for decades.

          Analogue “sound” is mostly a myth of course unless you mean the poor noise performance, higher distortion content and and clicks and pops which are inevitable even on professionally cleaned vinyl.

          However “clever” this patent is does not deal with the main issue which is groove degradation just from dust in the atmosphere.

          People want convenience and sound quality and the cd is the best medium we have…88.2khz, 24 bit would have dealt with any criticism but it still comes closer to the sound you would have heard in the studio.

          And yes, I do have vinyl, and yes I do enjoy the process of playing vinyl on a “high end” system through studio monitors but is it “better” than cd. Not really!

          Here’s a test! Digital converters and specs are so good now I can record vinyl digitally and guess what…when you replay it, it sounds like vinyl ?

          • Psychedelicpiper

            Noise, distortion, and clicks and pops could be removed completely if PVC (polyvinyl chloride) was completely dumped, and better material/formulation was used for both records and analogue tape.

            Also, most of my music collection is in 24-bit audio, and I still prefer listening to actual records.

        • Richard

          All that putting digital music on vinyl does is make more money for the record companies by selling a usless product. It’s a purly redudant product and a waste of people’s money.
          Digital music on vinyl is ridiculous and defeats the ENTIRE purpose of music on vinyl…. which is for the classic analog sound.

          If I want digital music….. I’ll buy a high-definition digital disc!!!!

        • Answer

          So you can’t buy up to 99% of today’s music, since it is produced on digital systems, even if it is cut to vinyl afterwards. Probably 1% is “all-analogue”, only think of digital reverb-processors like Lexicon 480 in the production-process.
          The idea of that technology is great, if it really extends the vinyl-format further in its sonic possibilities.

        • Will

          I assume that you do not purchase any “new” vinyl records. Most of the new artists that put their new albums out in an analog media these days, have it pressed from digital form. Very few recordings today are made to analog tape. Somewhere there was a conversion.

      • Psychedelicpiper

        Curious how this patent was exclusively shared with a site that is focused on digital, not analogue, music. FYI, I am not against digital, I believe both digital and analogue have their place. It’s just that if I want digital audio, I can always buy a CD or download an album on HDTracks. Vinyl is an analogue format, it should stay analogue.

        • nikoli

          “Hello! I’m the founder and publisher of Digital Music News, the authority for people in music. My coverage focus spans streaming platforms, artist royalties, format disruption, vinyl, copyright battles, startup struggles, and financing/m&a. “

          • Psychedelicpiper

            My bad, I didn’t read that until after I had posted my comment. Still doesn’t change my argument.

      • danwriter

        That’s not true. Vinyl is routinely made from 192-kHz/24-bit source recordings.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      A lot of vinyl is actually produced from digital masters.

      • Psychedelicpiper

        Yes, I’m aware. That is why I am worried that if HD vinyl ever became “mainstream”, it would literally signal the end of any future all-analogue reissues.

        • Steve Corbett

          Truth is a lot of the vinyl recordings that you think are pure analog all the way through the chain, actually passed through digital device at some point, most likely the unit that creates the delay needed for the cutting lathe to work properly. To say that 100% analog source to vinyl exists these days is extremely rare.

      • mehrdad

        A lot of crap LP is produced from digital masters not the real one.
        Direct-to-disc recording is the subject .

        • Answer

          That wasn’t even possible in the “golden age” of vinyl in most studios, since it requires the cutting lathe and a mastering-console and an experienced mastering-engineer and an experienced recording- and mixing-engineer and good acoustics and high-end microphones in one studio.

    • Michael Fremer

      If a record is sourced from a 96/24 file, it can and usually does sound better than a CD. If a record is sourced using a D/A converter superior to the one you have at home in your digital rig, the record again has a good chance of sounding better and finally, when recordings are produced whether analog or digital, the signal can start with a tube microphone, it may be put through a vintage tube compressor (etc.). All of these things change the sound and often add distortion and noise in order to make the final product SOUND BETTER. Finally it’s mastered by someone applying his or her tastes on his or her speakers. Unlike video, there is no mastering standard for audio. it’s all up for grabs and a matter of taste. If a vinyl record is produced from a digital source it is simply adding another layer of processing. Often, actually very often, a record cut from a digital source does SOUND BETTER than the original digital source. You can say it may NEVER sound identical to the source (though I doubt you’ve ever sat in a lacquer mastering facility as I have and heard that an A/B between a file and a lacquer is virtually INDISTINGUISHABLE), but it is the height of flaming arrogance to claim it can NEVER sound better because it very often does. In fact the late great mastering engineer Doug Sax PROVED IT to an AES gathering in San Francisco a few years ago on a panel in which I participated. Part of the problem is that in today’s “fashion” CDs are dynamically compressed, while the vinyl version is not. And so, the vinyl often not only sounds BETTER it sounds more dynamic as well.

    • Ryan

      Where does it say anything about digital being part of the process? Post appears pointless.

    • Fred

      What many AAA disciples don’t know or understand that in the original analog mixing suite that innocent looking mixing desk from the mid 1980’s will have processing equipment within it that has a A/D (analog to digital) converter, then the processing, possibly a reverb or echo device followed by a D/A (Digital to Analog) converter to send the signal along to it’s next destination. This has been the case since the very late 1970’s. Even earlier there are ‘bucket brigade device’ sort of primitive precursors to digital 🙂

    • Blobbo

      So what you’re saying is everything being pressed onto vinyl was recorded only on analog tape, and mixed on legacy analog boards, using analog effects, and then mastered in analog. Give me a break. Hell no it is not.

      Analog recording is a dinosaur, though using actual analog instruments is not.
      The best of all worlds will use both analog and digital, though I agree a percentage of vinyl buyers will piss and moan in nostalgia for a time they never lived through.

  6. Versus

    Finally vinyl will sound…wait for it…just like a CD.

  7. Jay Rudko

    So if we already own a premium turntable, if we want to get the best from this new breed of record, would our current cartridge be able to handle it, or would we want to upgrade it to one that’s “HD Compatible”? And how would such a cartridge work with our existing records?

    • Racks4Records

      Article says backwards compatible
      but probably will want to buy a tube amp to make it sound more analogue 🙂

  8. nikoli

    Not sure why it seems like most of the comments are about the sound quality… the benefits here are that you can fit a bunch more music on your vinyl and you don’t have to wait as long for your record to be pressed (due to faster press times).

    As an artist who is looking to press vinyl, my band is currently deciding which song (or songs) to leave off the vinyl release due to time constraints. It would be really nice to not have to make that decision for that reason.

    • Francis

      Nikoli as a recording engineer whose career started in the era of vinyl and witnessed and participated in the transition to digital I can say with a great deal of authority that people cannot tell the difference between a well recorded analog or digital piece of music. And most of those who claim to be able to tell the difference are the ones who fail the worst. Its not the recording medium, its the person doing the recording. I love vinyl because I love an analog stage in the final processing of music, so bring on the digital masters and the analog mastering process.

      • A Studio East

        “I love an analog stage in the final processing of music”. Precisely. I really don’t know why this topic is always a point of contention. I’m sure many of us on this thread also mix and master. I can nearly guarantee that all of us have different preferences when it comes to compression on the master bus, ranging from zero to very heavy. Was this compression present on the original source material? Nope. Is one better than the other? Nope. I think adding or not adding the character of vinyl to the last stage of the process is a fair analogy.

      • Michael Fremer

        Yes, the quality of the recording if paramount, but the differences between an analog and digital recording are not difficult to discern. I get challenged all the time on this and other “tests” my favorite being hi-rez files versus CD resolution. The people claiming they are sonically indistinguishable are always disappointed by my results.

    • Psychedelicpiper

      As an aspiring artist myself, I am really excited about the opportunities the Desktop Record Cutter opens up.

  9. Anonymous

    They can try all they want to — vinyl will never sound as good as digital.

    • stevoz

      You keep telling yourself that youngin’……..you might actually believe it. Here’s a thought, go and actually listen to a vinyl LP……oh wait, to do that you’ll need a TT, ie: more than just your phone!

    • Michael Fremer

      vinyl always sounds much better. You don’t know what you are talking about. Plus what is “digital”? are you suggesting MP3s sound better than records? In that case you are mentally ill and/or just plain ignorant.

      • jDre

        Seriously, I thought this topic was put to rest 15 years ago?!? I suppose with every new generation we need to revisit these age old debates.

        But yes, Vinyl usually will sound better then any MP3 regardless of Bitrate setting. Why? Because most MP3s were created using a 44.1khz sampling rate. Sure, the sounds high to the average person, but audio producers and sound designers have for some time now been digitally sampling at 99.6khz for less loss of fidelity. That being said.. In a controlled environment. Using a new stylus, properly weighted tone-arm, and a well grounded amplifier will always produce better audio then any Mp3 you throw at it.

      • Blobbo

        You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, if you think people pushing digital as a format are trying to sell ‘mp3s’ as the optimal example, which themselves have widely varying levels of quality within the format.

        It’s already been proven that 48khz, let alone 96khz can carry a wider breadth of data than any record. What matters is that the vinyl was recorded on expensive boards in well-tuned rooms, with master engineers, and optimized gear, plus producers who had experience forcing musicians to do their best, and those musicians had higher standards to meet to get attention than they do today.

        Sonic quality is so highly variable that people claiming the format is the number one factor are just clueless, unless you’re talking a truly lower quality mp3 format. I’ve been in hot snot studios who had hacks as engineers that produced the most sterile unlistenable garbage, vs guys with not much gear that got punchy, live ‘warm’ mixes.

        Most great mixes are made from experience. Hacks can screw up the results on wholly analog equipment, and savvy people can make digital work, although digital gives you many points along the way to permanently screw up the results. Analog is just more forgiving, and the variations are ultimately more interesting, whereas digital can sound too much the same. A lot of the variation of the past was probably the result of different recording spaces, and equipment, since the luxury of 1000 options in a box wasn’t available.

        The biggest problem I see with digital is in the actual performance. Samplers are ultimately limited vs instruments that have been around for centuries. It’s like painting vs photography. Great painters have styles no one else has. Same goes for bands on instruments.

  10. spendorman slovakia

    … we optimize the frequencies …
    … loudness war level 2 ???????? …

  11. Kong

    If the figure at the top of the article intends to illustrate grooves made by this new process, the claimed backward compatibility is unlikely. Conventional LP grooves have a 90-degree V profile, with each wall moving at 45 degrees relative to the disc surface to carry a signal; one wall carries the left-channel signal and the other the right-channel signal. The grooves depicted in the figure have a flat-bottomed U profile, with the bottom rising and falling at 90 degrees to the disc surface and (perhaps) the width of the groove varying independently of the rising and falling of the floor. These two motions could carry two independent signals, which could either be or be resolved into stereo L and R, but no conventional LP stylus could track such a groove, and the chisel-shaped stylus such a groove wants (perhaps part of the “HD turntable” of the future?) couldn’t track an conventional LP groove.

  12. Rollofone Records

    Hahaha .. is it April 1st already? First: The sound is not *scratched* into the lacquers but cut – with diamond or sapphire styli. The whole idea of vinyl records is to keep sound as analog as possible. If I have to digitize the sound for a laser, I might as well sell it as DSD or FLAC. And I haven’t even started to talk about the challenges of creating grooves that will not only ‘fit’ all the styli present on the market now but will also allow the tracking. One can easily produce very dynamic grooves with … emm .. old technology that most turntables wouldn’t be able to play. Creating a great vinyl record (or the master) requires much more than just a lathe. Or a laser.

    • Fredrik

      Hi Rollofone, the problem is that today’s DSD downloads and FLAC files are mostly over-compressed and useless. I would love to be able to purchase the DSD of FLAC files used for Vinyl mastering today.

      Since a record player skips on DR0 0dB recordings vinyls are mostly mastered around a Dynamic Range of DR12 where FLAC and CD sold of the same product can be DR3-6.

      Hence despite all the added noise of the process to manufacture the current LP, it mostly sound’s vastly better than a DSD, FLAC or CD rip. In General.

      • Psychedelicpiper

        Good point, and that is the only time I am willing to make do with digitally-sourced LP’s. When an album was recorded digitally, and the FLAC is over-compressed, there is no other option available. Although lately, I’ve been noticing that overcompressed masters have started being used for records.

  13. Chortles

    How can it have “double the fidelity” if vinyl is already full fidelity? Isn’t fidelity a digital term?

    • Digitalsilence

      High Fidelity, which Mercury started with in 1951 with their Living Presence Series, is where the entire audio spectrum is captured, then played back from a vinyl source where the audio spectrum is reproduced as recorded. Techniques prior couldn’t capture the entire spectrum where lows were non existent and the highs were dropping off on playback – limited audio spectrum could only be recorded and reproduced.

      • Jay Rudko

        The term “high fidelity” was around even before Mercury began using it. It wasn’t commonly used, but it referred to sound quality as faithful to the original as the recording techniques of the day could provide. And we have seen recording techniques evolve over the years, haven’t we? Today’s recordings, when recorded digitally, are made at a higher bit and sampling rate than what’s used for CD’s. They’re “dumbed down” for CD mastering. So, even though I doubt this new HD vinyl thing is going to fly, I’d be interested in hearing it, since it can, theoretically, use a lot more of the recorded information than a CD can.

  14. Digitalsilence

    To be pure analog, Studer 80, AMPEX 300’s 450’s, Tascams, and the similar needs to return in the studios for recording sessions, edited and duped on a edited master tape, then to production tapes that were RIAA curved for use with the stylus duped from the edited master tape.

    • Rollofone Records

      Well – though some studios do still use Studer, we’re quite happy with our Otari and Tascam reel to reel machines. I am not arguing against digital music – we do use DAWs and sell digital music. But if we can keep it analog in the production of vinyl, we most certainly do so. Cutting digital music on a record is .. weird 🙂

  15. Musically speaking

    CD is gonna make a comeback after this product fails.

    • Psychedelicpiper

      CD’s are on their way out. The future of digital music are 24-bit downloads. You can buy a hi-res music player these days for the same price an iPod Classic used to cost several years ago. Not to mention, they carry SD expansion slots. Once the prices of these players comes down, more people will be buying them.

  16. RSG

    The whole thing reeks of being a marketing sham. So, big deal, they want to cram more grooves onto a disc and make them louder. These two principles cannot coexist, or you start getting pre- and post-echo. This “optimizing the frequencies” even reminds me of RCA’s brilliant idea in the 60s, called DynagrooVe, which manipulated frequencies and even (yes) added distortion so the records would sound good to the majority of the buyers (who usually played these on dirt-common console systems). Yeah, maybe this will fly for those who throw their money at the Crosley record shredders out there who can’t tell a difference, but for the rest of us, the current method is just fine.

    And, what a condescending attitude. “Scratching” into a lacquer master? No. It’s called “cutting.” I guess by the same definition, the Mona Lisa was painted by slopping paint onto a taut linen rag…

  17. Marco

    1980, Mobile Fidelity released their very first Digitally mastered LP (done by the great SR)
    No one ever noticed since it was not mentioned anywhere.

    Digitally mastering has absolutely nothing to do with CD
    If the sound is right, who cares?

    Its great to see some new development are being made; use “digital” where ever its beneficial.
    If I record my LP to tape (yes, I still do that) and I print my J-card from an excel template, I have used “digital” there where it suits me.
    This example digital is not anywhere in the signal path though, but still…

  18. Varoshiotis

    Why do many posters here assume that this is a digital based system? An analogue signal can modulate the strength of the laser to burn the groove modulations the same way an analogue signal modulates existing cutter heads. And if a computer is needed there are specialized analogue computers out there.

    • chris

      because if you read the article it’s clearly a digital intermediary process using a piece of software, the laser also seems to be computer controlled so uses a DAC of some sort, this is basically exactly the same way some 35mm film prints are produced now with original 35mm capture, digital intermediary CGI/editing and then written by laser to 35mm stock. At least on paper there will be a loss of information in the conversion from continuous to discreet value. As for analogue computers while many of them can do amazing things, there isn’t one set up to hold and process anywhere near this much information, that’s not what they specialize in. Of course you could probably build one, however you would be fighting the noise floor all the way amongst other problems. Even so you wouldn’t need an analogue computer to build a vinyl cutting lathe using lasers yo would just need to work out how to transduce the sound energy in to laser movement efficiently. The rest of the recording and mastering could also be done in the analogue (continuous domain).

  19. Alfajet

    I run a mastering and cutting studio and label with great Studer C37 valve machines and Philips 3501 tape machines. We are tied to a wonderful live room. We frequently cut direct to disc and direct to 1/4″ tape. We cut fixed pitch with no digital conversion for the preview signal (this matters less then days anyway as converters are very good). So, there are still all analogue chain recordings being made. When we cut from a digital source, it is always 96k or even 192k and never up sampled. Most often, we put hi-res digital recordings through tape before the cut (there are various sonic improvements through this process from slew rates, natural compression, improved soundstage etc). The pressing plant we use is one of the best in the world. When done this way, vinyl is the best source. Interestingly for an all analogue purist, I see no problem in this HD technology if it is real. It has benefits later in the chain for the industry, particularly at the processing end. If the converters are good and resolution maintained, it should be fine, but tests will have to be made.. The future is in how we improve vinyl reproduction, and that can include sensible digital combinations as well as good AAA signal paths as long as there is no compromise in the end product.

    • Psychedelicpiper

      I strongly believe in improving vinyl production, but I don’t believe that means we should have to sacrifice an all-analogue signal chain. Also, I think analogue technology can be improved. We’ve been stuck with the same 2-inch magnetic tape and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) for decades. Who knows how good analogue could sound if more money was invested into it.

      • cwall99

        I was wondering about this too, especially when I read this, “3D-based topographical mapping.”

        But then I thought about it for a moment… You can create a digital file based on your analog recording, right? Why not use that digital file then to map how the cutter will cut the groove, but then, go back to the analog recording (tape) and feed that to the system that controls the laser?

        It seems like a solution that might achieve the best of both worlds: digital to optimize the cutting process, and a pure analog path for the actual recording.

  20. Yoshi

    What is a FLAC ?

    My father used to fly Lancasters over Germany, they had a lot of FLAK.

    See it this way: every Vinyl molecule is a bit.

    • Psychedelicpiper

      Free Lossless Audio Codec. A common format for retaining full music quality. The sound is equivalent to AIFF or WAV, except it compresses the file size without affecting the music quality.

  21. Kong

    A more careful look at the top figure in the article shows these structures are inverses (as a stamper must have) of proper V-shaped grooves with L and R signals modulating the groove walls, so I withdraw my comment about incompatibility. However, those grooves are VERY far apart, just what you don’t want if your aim includes increasing playing time of an LP side. It also remains to be seen how the pulsed laser they appear to intend to use will either provide smooth, continuous machining of the stamper surface or how its focused light spot will resolve the finest undulations needed for accurate recording of high-frequency content.

  22. Philly Bob

    50% reduction in production costs but 200% more markup to buy the record. You think a 180 Gram is expensive at 30 to 40 Dollars US? These will likely be 70.00 US. And if they are gonna do this… why not at least make them Quadraphonic?

    • Eric Rann

      And that means lathe operators will be losing this money. F THAT

  23. Jim campbell

    I don’t think I technically understand. To make it louder, the waveforms need to be physically larger, and they take up more space. That’s why djays like 12 inch singles. They can be much louder if the grooves are spaced out over a large surface. More room for big waves in the groove. The “fidelity” (noise to sound ratio) is usually hampered not by the detail in the groove but the texture of the vinyl (which gets worse with wear and grime). This laser process may make it easier to make the records but I don’t get the volume and fidelity concepts here..

    • Psychedelicpiper

      That’s why I’m saying, replace PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with another formulation. Heck, I may sound crazy to some people for suggesting this, but I do believe that hemp plastic would make for a great candidate.

  24. dudu

    Vinyl still exist because of free download , the day major company asking to governement closing those website Wax will disapear for ever , this is so easy to do and this is where is the scam think about it , free download is permited to keep the major company dominating the market ! . THis best sounding AAA hoax is a fucking legend from the 80s when converter were not good as they are now . No sub on wax , no bass stereo and more , i own 8000 wax but im bored by all this plastic shit became fashion , the fire you can produce with scratching two stones is much better than the one you do with a lighter nope ?. Here we do With a cheap USb soundcard no mastering , sounding much better than all the expensive marketed shit , ok you have to raise the gain on the mix table but it sound better for sure , there always somebody behind great sound and not a fucking tool think about it .

    • Psychedelicpiper

      I think pure digital sounds absolutely awful for guitar-based music. Major pet peeve of mine.

      • Psychedelicpiper

        I’m assuming you’re talking about mastering in general in the second half of your comment.

      • Michael Fremer

        Very little sounds great digitally recorded…

    • Michael Fremer

      You don’t know what “the fuck” you are talking about. And adding a lot of “fucking” curse words does not improve your “fucking” credibility or knowledge base. Take it fucking from me. And if you don’t like your 8 fucking thousand records will happily take them off your hucking fands!

  25. Michael Fremer

    Give a vinyl related story to a digital news site and this is what you get: a lot of hype and unsubstantiated claims. They didn’t give it to Analogplanet where we ask probing questions before posting a story like this….there’s so much missing a factually specious here I don’t know where to begin. My inbox has been inundated with readers questioning what exactly this is beyond the hype, I invite the inventors to contact me.

    -Michael Fremer
    Editor, Analogplanet.com

    • Rollofone Records

      Michael: I am sure they had their reasons 🙂 Would love to read your review if they have the .. em .. cojones to challenge somebody who really knows a thing or two about vinyl and anlog.

  26. Psychedelicpiper

    I feel a record format war coming in the future.

  27. Towiko

    If I compare CD and MP3 sounds with vinyl, the latter wins in my ears and heart. After all, it’s all about reproducing live sounds, so artificial.

  28. Sean Davies

    See German Patent 1 045 116 of May 21. 1959 for an optically recorded master disc granted to DGG

  29. Danny Blago Meni

    “Imagine a vinyl record that has 30% more capacity, 30% greater volume, and double the audio fidelity of a typical LP sold today“. So, I did, and it’s called CD.

    • Rollofone Records

      Danny Blago Meni .. if you compare a typical LP sold today you will have to compare it with a typical CD sold today. And from what I can tell you – they suck. The ‘typical’ sold CD of today is a mass product that has been glued together without the necessary investment of time and/or love / know how / technology to make it decent. I know of vinyl productions were the mastering of the songs took a year and the results are simply breathtaking. It took us about a month to re-master “Tuxedo Junction” – one song – from metal masters so that we can bring it back on vinyl. Vinyl can create awesome results. But CDs will always be limited to their digital parameters. I agree – there are great CD’s out there – let’s compare the those with the great vinyls. The results will be interesting.

      • Luka

        Some people said if you record LP on CD, nobody know who is who in ABX blind test

  30. Nicky Knight

    Look it’s all academic this whole analog vs digital thing .. everyone is making music on macbook pro’s with logic pro x or cubase pro 8.5 or whatever daw is their choice..

    Ask someone who’s successful in pop music like Max Martin and he will tell you to stop worrying about the carrier system and focus on writing and producing hit songs..

    The big plus for vinyl is that it’s a great artifact and collectors love it’s tactile qualities and collectability value.

  31. mrvinyl

    Vinyl already is, and was the first form of distributing Hi-Def music.

  32. Rick in Hamburg

    Pulsed laser to cut: pulsed laser also is what’s used to cut CD / SACD / DVD / BluRay masters. The story device will allow higher compression on LPs, with clever software figuring out how to pack more grooves per inch. So LPs can have the shit compressed out of them too, like “modern” digital products. Said pulsed laser is thus a digital device, and is being fed a digital signal at some point. LPs sound “better” perhaps because in an unlimited playback system, their resolution is limited mainly by the noise floor, and the inevitable changes to the signal by conversion from voltage to physical movement and back (which some find quite appealing). For those of us without Fremer money, it is quite possible to get very enjoyable sound from well made recordings that live in digitized format. And many if not most CDs are not in that realm (though I’ve heard a few very musical CDs).

  33. Eric Rann

    I own a large number of disc recording lathes.

    This has defeated the purpose of disc recording.

    Is nothing safe from silicon valley?

    Do not buy this record-shaped MP3 please.

  34. Google Blind Listening.

    Finally! Vinyl that sounds almost as neutral and high in fidelity as CDs! Haha. 😀

    Half the point of vinyl is that it sounds more messed up than digital (in a pleasing and familiar way.)

    This seems kind of silly.

  35. AnalogueOnly

    Much hype from these sales people of this idea to make a stamper without the traditional steps of lacquer cutting and metal matrixing.
    They’re attitude to existing record making processes is despicable and for this reason alone they should be shunned.
    Anyway until they have a working machine it’s all just theory.
    It will be interesting to see how they are going to control the depth of the laser so it always burns to the same level and if the metal surface gets affected by the heat leading to stress on the groove walls.
    So much fun awaits them and their investors.

  36. Joe

    Humans, always looking for something to fight and kill eachother, dont like ” digital vinyl ” dont buy one.

    Why is vinyl coming back? Perhaps because what digital music and that work for hours as musician, spend tons on gear and get cents for all your hard labour isnt working for artist anymore.

    This tendency to believe that because is digital it should be free or a track that took countless hours its valued in just cents its just detrimental for new indies and small labels

    At least a vinyl gives you the feel that the music is worth something, its an item you can collect, if you ever dj with vinyl, you know how great it feel to touch what you are playing, its an item where you can express as an artist and give a very nice art cover, not tiny little images on iphones or a mediocre and simple paper sheet in most cd cases

    Vinyl its an item that you can dedicate a listening room for, and if this is giving the revenue most indies need to survive and make a living, and they are free to create more great music, i dont see why we should kill eachother arguing about it.

    Doesnt matter which format you like if there is no great musicians creating because they are working a shift at kinkos to pay the bills

    And if on top you can have a better bass response in an hd product i dont see the problem at all, you can always use valve amps and at the end listening is a whole experience, and vinyl give you that, not just disposable moments like in digital, vinyl very often you need to commit to sit and set everything in a room to have and experience the moment, surrounded with great size covert arts, and just the feel, thats something no other format have achieved and that is why we love it.

  37. Melchior-Christoph von Brincken

    Digital sources like CD and even HD Audio files at HDTRACKS have been “remastered” to sound loud.
    The “Dynamic Range” has been compromised in the process and this resulted in different apoaches: There are audiophiles which refuse to listen to 99% of CD´s produced after 2000, and are hunting for “Black Triangle” japanese first press CD´s and others from the pre 1990th.
    The second approach is to go go analog, turntable that is.
    The third approach is to listen to pre 1990 CD files combined with HD vinyl rips from a computer with a DAC.
    A non-oversampling DAC preferably.

  38. S. Chandra Naraine

    It’s fascinating to read about people’s personal understanding and explanation of the music media production systems and technologies, some convoluted, some with limited technological facts to support them and most being just what some people have read about or were told by their know-it-all drinking buddy. This is especially interesting, in this the information age, when so much information (and misinformation) is available from seemingly infinite sources, all of which would have us believe that they are the definitive authority on the subject. Truth is that the real accurate sources of the information we seek are very technical and too cryptic for most people and they are the unwitting victims of a sales clerk in their neighborhood stereo store. Sound is acoustic information which exists in one form called analog. The human ear, which is possibly the most accurate measure of acoustic information, with the exception of those who stuff listening devices in their ear canals or stand next to the speakers at acid rock concerts, is the best measure of acoustic fidelity. The ‘digital sound’ which many talk of is an oxymoron because it does not exist. Digital systems are the modern methods of storing acoustic information after the analog data has been converted using Analog-to-Digital electronic conversion. As with any system which involves additional processes in the chain, the grossly inadequate conversion techniques introduce artifacts which do affect the acoustic information in profound ways. However, the inventors of this limited method of storing analog information in a digitized format, calculated that most human being would not notice the loss of original acoustic information and made the decision that their choice is good enough for us all. My claims in these comments could be, and very well should be, challenged as there are many very reliable and accurate sources which will verify the facts.

  39. Schecky

    “$50 Jensen turntable was its best-selling home audio product for the holidays.”
    $50 dollar turntables tend to really suck. Just what would be the point of this new technology being played on a piece of junk?

  40. David Hawks

    Imagine the price of these new record skyrocketing

  41. BillR

    I worry about this removing the reason for buying vinyl, because it is truly analog. It also mentioned optimizing. So they want to over compress stuff for vinyl now. How many know it’s really polystyrene? 🙂

  42. vinyl Magoie

    Folks…. it’s about the music. Ic an enjoy listening to a great performance played throught the airwaves on my portable Roberts radio fine. I can hear more of the recording on my “Hi Fi” system via CD and for some reason if I have a Vinyl copy of the same that gives me more pleasure most of the time. I have yet to hear “His Res” downloads and so forth… probably wasted on my 71 year old ears.

    If this article is true and it comes to pass and I can play back on my 401 etc then great…. always assuming that the music I like will be issued on this format.

  43. Anthony

    This patent process seems to use a computer to map the topography. Well I imagine it uses digital steps to create this. For instance, to create the depth of say a micro valley it would have to determine what depth. So how will it instruct the laser to cut to that specific depth, numbers or digital increments. This is another digital technology. The analogue master will pass through this digital converter to create the topography so it wont be cut in a true analogue way. Would be interesting to hear though.

  44. Johnny Rotten

    I’m going to buy all new HD vinyl records and a new system and my LPs and system will sound better than everyone else’s.