Tech by VICE

Here's What Spinning Vinyl Looks Like Under a Microscope

Ben Krasnow gives an up-close look at how your record player really works.

by Annie Armstrong
26 June 2015, 3:30pm

By coating an LP with silver and blasting it with electrons, Ben Krasnow of Applied Science gets a close-up look at the meet-cute between needle and vinyl. In the project video below, Krasnow delves into just how intricate vinyl records are. He compares the density of content between a stereo record with two channels of recording to that of a capacitance electronic disc (commonly known as an analog video disc), which has such dense content that you can see the light diffract between each groove. At an extreme level of magnification, the silky smooth surface of the record reveals jagged braids of cut vinyl. Krasnow’s motion-controlled electron microscope takes stop-motion photos of the needle’s drag at a rate of 50 microns a second. 

To get the full breakdown of Krasnow’s scientific method, watch the video below:


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