Are we about to get ‘high definition vinyl’ technology?





HD Vinyl would have 30% greater volume and double the audio fidelity of today’s LPs.

It sounds like something of a contradiction in terms, but Austrian company Rebeat Digital have filed a patent to develop what would be the world’s first ‘high definition vinyl’ technology, capable of producing records with longer playing times and a wider frequency range that would potentially cut waiting times at pressing plants in the process.

As Digital Music News report, the HD Vinyl process would involve using 3D-based topographical mapping combined with a laser to burn the music direct to the stamper.

This would potentially optimise the groove structure on each record and reduce wear on the stamper, meaning that each one could be used to press a greater number of records. Rebeat estimate that this would reduce the time it takes to produce a vinyl record by up to 60%, going someway to alleviate the well-documented bottleneck in worldwide vinyl production.

Describing the process, Rebeat CEO Guenter Loibl says: “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.”

Although the process would be radically overhauled, Rebeat stress that the finished product will look and play like a vinyl record, with HD Vinyl discs compatible with all turntables currently manufactured, however the enhanced audio quality of the discs would be best experienced via HD turntables, which may also be on the way.

As Loibl says: “This is a completely backwards-compatible technology… It will play on any existing turntable, you don’t need to buy a new system to enjoy the benefits.” Despite having filed for a European patent, the technology is someway off hitting the market, with Loibl currently looking for investors. [via Digital Music News]

Earlier this year a Canadian company Viryl Technologies developed new record presses aimed at reducing vinyl manufacturing time.

Next: Pressing Matters – Listen to our podcast on the supply and demand of the vinyl industry