Vinyl has been having a bit of a prolonged moment over the past few years (it's reported that sales went up again in 2017), which is great news! Long live physical music, long live the practice of rooting around for hours in record shops and finding the thing you've been looking for for literal years – nothing like it in the world. It's probably good news, then, that vinyl, despite being officially Old, is having its own technological advancements: Austrian startup Rebeat Innovation has recently stated that it could have high definition vinyl records in stores by next year.
As much as I (and maybe you, too) like records, however, I have no idea what the fuck "high definition vinyl" actually means, so let's consult Rebeat Innovation shall we? In 2016, they patented a new method of pressing vinyl via "a laser manufacturing process for producing High Definition (HD) Audio master matrices which enables, for example, LP records to be produced with full frequency response and a striking improvement in listening quality," which sounds good and impressive. And now, speaking to Pitchfork, Rebeat Innovation founder Günter Loibl says the startup has received $4.8 million (~£3.4 million) in new funding, and hope to realise the project on a large scale, in order to bring it to vinyl heads as early as next year.
If you want to get technical about it, the patent describes "3D-based topographical mapping combined with laser inscription technology" which basically means that lasers are used to inscribe "stampers" which then stamp the grooves on the record for higher fidelity audio. Loibl says that starting from this summer, Rebeat will start sending out trial "stampers" to a few pressing plants, with a hope to present at the vinyl trade conference Making Vinyl, which will take place in Detroit in October. And then, as he told Pitchfork, “It will take another eight months to do all the fine adjustments. So by summer 2019 we shall see the first HD vinyls in the stores.” We're in the future baby!
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