Big news out of Europe the other day, as the future of the vinyl industry may soon have a major upgrade on its way thanks to an Austrian company and their concept of High Definition Vinyl. While a pressed record has come in various forms since they were introduced well over a century ago, we’ve been stuck with essentially the same quality of sound for seemingly almost as long. Fortunately, all of that might be about to change.
Rebeat, a music enterprise company based out of Austria, has recently filed an EU wide patent for what they’re calling High Definition Vinyl (or HD Vinyl…the title is a work in progress), with plans for worldwide patents on the way. What the hell does that mean, you ask? Pretty much exactly what you think it does. Picture your standard vinyl record but with bigger capacity, louder volume, and higher quality sound. Best of all – you don’t even need to go spending hundreds of dollars on a new piece of equipment!
The entire process is done via a combination of laser inscription technology and a process called 3D-based topographical mapping. The result is a beefed up LP on steroids with “30% more capacity, 30% greater volume, and double the audio fidelity”. All while being able to press these HD records at a much quicker rate, with estimates of a 60% reduction in production time.
The vinyl industry has been dying for something like this to come along. The recent surge in record sales has bottle-necked the production of LP’s, mainly due to the difficulty of securing one of the exceedingly rare pieces of technology used to make them. If you think it’s just a matter of finding a press at the next shop over, think again. Because aside from a very recent resurgence in the manufacturing of pressing machines, the production of record presses has been almost nonexistent since the 1980’s.
Another issue that is currently plaguing the rate at which records are being pressed are the costs involved with pressing a piece of vinyl. While the cost of a record has many factors in what determines its final price, there are some directly related to the stamper and how it’s used in the entire process. The new HD vinyl, which could potentially be available within three years, is estimated to slash stamper related costs in half due to Rebeat’s techniques of perfecting the imprint before any physical procedures take place.
“We adjust the distance of the grooves, we correct the radial/tangential errors, and we optimize the frequencies. You could say we ‘master’ the topographical data, which is a totally different approach.” – Guenter Loibl, Rebeat CEO.
Something like this couldn’t come at a better time for the record industry. As 2016 shapes up to be the biggest year in vinyl since the 80’s, it’s only a sign of things to come in future years. Everything seems to be pointing at another big change in the way we listen to and share music, and while something like High Definition Vinyl may be a step in somewhat of a different direction, there’s nothing to stop it from gaining a massive share of the oh-so-sweet vinyl market that will surely never die.
How do you feel HD vinyl would effect the record market? Is this just another instance of a company trying to cash in on a growing trend, or is there something here that could make a dent in the industry? Let us know by sharing your thoughts below or start the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!