Vinyl has seen a resurgence in recent years and the technology used in producing records will finally be updated as HD Vinyl has $4.8 million in investor backing to fund their concept for vinyl production.
Austria-based Rebeat Innovation came up with the idea for HD Vinyl, hoping to solve problems the vinyl resurgence is facing and improving vinyl records. The company claims the product will have longer playing time, better sound fidelity, artist metadata embedding capabilities, and will be compatible with any existing record player.
One of the biggest problems the vinyl industry faces is manufacturing enough to meet the demand, taking up to six months to fulfill an order, some artists are even unable to place orders. A very limited number of vinyl plants are still running and they use decades-old technology from the 1950s. The old machines struggle to meet demand, which might explain the increased vinyl prices with the resurgence.
Cutting lathes and nickel-plated stampers to press vinyl are outdated and HD Vinyl will use lasers to etch a better ‘stamper’. The stamper presses the vinyl at a high temperature, turning the PVC into a disc. The current method of making a stamper is a long process and with HD Vinyl the process will be shortened by creating a 3D map of the groove then cutting the stamper with lasers.
This improved technology could make the turnaround time for record production several days instead of months, as well as stretch out the lifespan of the stamper to press more records before needing a replacement. It will also reduce the environmental damage of vinyl production by eliminating chemical processes and toxic waste.
The first giant laser machine needed for production has been purchased and test pressings have started in Austria with Joenneum Research. HD Vinyl aims to have their product hit the shelves by summer 2019.