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An Austrian Company Has Invented High Definition Vinyl

Patents filed by Rebeat Digital for new system promising higher audio quality and lower costs.

by Benjamin Boles
Mar 16 2016, 7:35pm

Image courtesy of MetalSucks.net

Austria's Rebeat Digital have revealed details of a new vinyl pressing technology that could transform the industry, according to Digital Media News. The company has filed for a European patent for what they are calling HD Vinyl, which they say will double the audio fidelity of LPs, as well as boosting both volume levels and the amount of music you can put on a disc by 30% each.

As impressive as those claims are though, what may be more even more significant is how much they claim this new process will impact the manufacturing of records. The technology will supposedly reduce vinyl stamping costs by half, and cut the amount of time required by 60%. The recent boom in reissues and major label vinyl runs has created a lot of difficulties for smaller independent labels competing to use the same few pressing plants, resulting in long delays and increased costs, so any improvement on that front is a big deal.

Traditionally, master discs are produced by mechanically scratching the groove to produce the stamper. Rebeat have taken a completely different approach, using 3D topographical mapping to create an optimized virtual version of the master disc, and then a high energy laser to burn the grooves into it.

"We adjust the distance of the grooves, we correct the radial/tangential errors, and we optimize the frequencies," Rebeat CEO Guenter Loibl told Digital Music News. "You could say we 'master' the topographical data, which is a totally different approach."

The HD Vinyl discs will be playable on normal turntables, although the company says that HD turntables are also in the works to take better advantage of the technology. It will still be about three years before the discs start hitting the market, and Rebeat is currently courting investors.

Benjamin Boles is on Twitter.