"HD Vinyl" Mastering Process Promises Hi-Res Results - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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"HD Vinyl" Mastering Process Promises Hi-Res Results

According to an article published by Digital Music News and covered by Vice, a recent European patent filing detailed a process for creating HD Vinyl pressings. What the articles describe is a mastering method that improves upon traditional laquer cutting by laser inscribing masters using data optimized in 3D modeling software. It would allow the creation of records that play longer, louder, and offer higher fidelity than is achievable with current vinyl record production techniques.


Is vinyl about to join the 21st century?

It’s important to note that these HD Vinyl records would not require new equipment to play. Guenter Loibl, Rebeat CEO told Digital Music News that "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."

Current vinyl record masters are created with antiquated equipment, including lathes that mechanically cut the groove. It's a process that depends on a very limited supply of equipment and technicians. Mr. Loibl explained some advantages of HD Vinyl: "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."

It’s somewhat ironic that digital technology can be used to create a better vinyl record, given how strongly the format is associated with analog music reproduction. Of course, a patent filing does not mean it will come to fruition. However, the companies involved–Joanneum Research (one of the largest Austrian research institutes) and Rebeat (an Austrian company that specializes in digital music distribution) are legit, so there’s a real chance it could.

I was not content to publish this story without talking to Guenter Loibl directly, given the potentially huge implications (for the audiophile comunity) of adopting this new approach to making vinyl records. He quickly replied to my inquiry, and offered a tidbit not covered in the other articles: "Our technology provides for the editing of nano-structures, so it will be able to cut much finer (waveform) structures than a traditional lathe could. Comments about sapphire cutting the groove (on a lathe) and how it cannot be replaced by laser are definitely not true. The level of detail present in the groove is much higher than on current vinyl pressings."

The unabated rise in the popularity of records has led to a shortage in production capacity. The HD Vinyl solution promises to eliminate that bottleneck while reducing the overall time and cost of manufacturing records. Add the benefit of superior-sound and longer playback time to the mix, and you can see why this is a technology that could pique the interest of audiophiles who are already invested in vinyl playback systems.

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post #2 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 05:06 PM
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One of the big problems over the years was getting consistent pressings. New technology on making better lathes for records basically stopped many years ago. This is an excellent sign that there is a growing interest in LP's and that companies are willing to invest in new technology. Hopefully the audio will be in the same range as direct to disc records. It will be interesting to see how this advances.
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post #3 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
It’s somewhat ironic that digital technology can be used to create a better vinyl record, given how strongly the format is associated with analog music reproduction.
As someone that moved on from using LP's mostly, why do people still feel so attached to a media that is so easily damaged? FYI I had inline impulse reduction, noise reduction and dynamic range recovery boxes to remove imperfections caused by mastering or wear and tear, but with comparisons to recent optical media, I just don't get it why people cling to expensive turntables and LP's anymore? Storing them is a PITA also.

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post #4 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post
As someone that moved on from using LP's mostly, why do people still feel so attached to a media that is so easily damaged? FYI I had inline impulse reduction, noise reduction and dynamic range recovery boxes to remove imperfections caused by mastering or wear and tear, but with comparisons to recent optical media, I just don't get it why people cling to expensive turntables and LP's anymore? Storing them is a PITA also.
IMO they just sound so much better than optical. And Flash MP type systems are not even in their galaxy soundwise.
My interest is totally piqued on this. I'd love to hear some remasters of classic pieces reproduced this way.
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post #5 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post
As someone that moved on from using LP's mostly, why do people still feel so attached to a media that is so easily damaged? FYI I had inline impulse reduction, noise reduction and dynamic range recovery boxes to remove imperfections caused by mastering or wear and tear, but with comparisons to recent optical media, I just don't get it why people cling to expensive turntables and LP's anymore? Storing them is a PITA also.
The subject is a New Mastering Process not another vinyl vs digital circular argument. Hope we can break w/AVS tradition and stay on topic for once.
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post #6 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 08:32 PM
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IMO they just sound so much better than optical. And Flash MP type systems are not even in their galaxy soundwise. My interest is totally piqued on this. I'd love to hear some remasters of classic pieces reproduced this way.
What piqued my response to borrow your word is the "hi res" term applied to a copy of a copy of copy that is usually the LP you purchased. Getting rid of the mechanical errors produced by older mastering lathe's is definitely a plus. Still its a contest of dynamic range, frequency response and total length of the recording that is permitted. You remove the mechanical errors by this new process, that relates into more accurate reproduction on a copy compared to the source, but does it equate to high res audio?

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post #7 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:04 PM
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Amusing how 'high definition audio' keeps getting redefined.

Will crosstalk, frequency response flatness, noise level, pitch stability, and the list of other common LP issues become nonissues for 'HD vinyl', as they already are for CDs?
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post #8 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:09 PM
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Amusing how 'high definition audio' keeps getting redefined.

Will crosstalk, frequency response flatness, noise level, pitch stability, and the list of other common LP issues become nonissues for 'HD vinyl', as they already are for CDs?
If they actually eliminated all that analog warmth it is going to sound as sterile as those evil digital CDs.
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post #9 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post
Amusing how 'high definition audio' keeps getting redefined.

Will crosstalk, frequency response flatness, noise level, pitch stability, and the list of other common LP issues become nonissues for 'HD vinyl', as they already are for CDs?
Given that it's just a marketing term, it makes sense that the term be used loosely.
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post #10 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:48 PM
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If they actually eliminated all that analog warmth it is going to sound as sterile as those evil digital CDs.
So, if I digitize the output of a
vinyl-->TT-->cart--preamp-->amp setup
at CD rates, it will sterilize the distor....er, I mean the 'analog warmth' out of the signal?

Who knew?
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post #11 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:51 PM
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Given that it's just a marketing term, it makes sense that the term be used loosely.
Its a good topic to discuss, my biggest problem with LP's when I was playing them a lot was dealing with LP surface noise floor at low frequencies, especially 500 Hz and below. These plots are from a 2004 article from audioholics.

A typical LP just before the music starts


A original masters pressing LP same situation

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post #12 of 242 Old 03-17-2016, 09:54 PM
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Given that it's just a marketing term, it makes sense that the term be used loosely.
well it does have an accepted technical meaning....it means resolving very small, details (i.e., very small/subtle differences). For audio, that's directly related to the inherent noise in the system, which determines the lowest-level signals that can be differentiated, and for vinyl that means....oops, never mind.

'HighER def' might be the more apt term for what they're selling here (if measurements show that it is higher than standard vinyl playback).
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All of this is most likely going to make "us" analog lovers embrace our vinyls tighter...

Whenever the talk about more volume, lower noise floor, more dynamic range... etc... etc... begins you can near 98% be sure the audio is going to be destroyed and will most likely sound digital...errr... lifeless, cold and very very precise...

Leaving all the marketing talk aside, I think it is a little too early to speculate anything, we shall see what this brings when it is out...

But before then... analog vinyl rules...
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post #14 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 04:21 AM - Thread Starter
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well it does have an accepted technical meaning....it means resolving very small, details (i.e., very small/subtle differences). For audio, that's directly related to the inherent noise in the system, which determines the lowest-level signals that can be differentiated, and for vinyl that means....oops, never mind.

'HighER def' might be the more apt term for what they're selling here (if measurements show that it is higher than standard vinyl playback).
That's you defining it. I mean, if it's any accepted technical term, the question is... by who?

Gotta love semantics.
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post #15 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 05:14 AM
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I seem to remember digitally mastered vinyl in the late 1980's and early 90's. I know the audiophiles of the day rejected the concept but, perhaps today, it may meet with a more positive reception. It is hard to understand why someone wants to put a digital file on a record, though. Records are noisy and wear over time. There are certainly simpler methods for playing digital files.
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With the higher volume that these records will produce I wonder if this will affect LOMC carts and phonostages w/high db ratings. Will we need less output to create a bigger sound??
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post #17 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I seem to remember digitally mastered vinyl in the late 1980's and early 90's. I know the audiophiles of the day rejected the concept but, perhaps today, it may meet with a more positive reception. It is hard to understand why someone wants to put a digital file on a record, though. Records are noisy and wear over time. There are certainly simpler methods for playing digital files.
It's not a question of putting a digital file on a record. It's a question of whether using a lathe to cut vinyl can be improved upon by lasers and 3D modeling the groove in order to optimize it.

This process, if it comes to pass, sounds like has the potential to lay bare some of the fallacies that vinyl aficionados hold so dear, namely that what's etched in the groove by a sharp needle somehow has magical qualities that make it superior to a decent digital file.
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post #18 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post
As someone that moved on from using LP's mostly, why do people still feel so attached to a media that is so easily damaged? FYI I had inline impulse reduction, noise reduction and dynamic range recovery boxes to remove imperfections caused by mastering or wear and tear, but with comparisons to recent optical media, I just don't get it why people cling to expensive turntables and LP's anymore? Storing them is a PITA also.
I totally agree. I'm never going back to vinyl -- been there and done that.
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post #19 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I totally agree. I'm never going back to vinyl -- been there and done that.
I'm 100% with you guys on that. It's like slide film and slide projectors. Yeah, the tech works. But, no thanks in this modern era.

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I'd perhaps buy one just for fun if it ever makes it to market at a reasonable price....like $10. Vinyl simply isn't worth more to me...
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One of the big problems over the years was getting consistent pressings. New technology on making better lathes for records basically stopped many years ago. This is an excellent sign that there is a growing interest in LP's and that companies are willing to invest in new technology. Hopefully the audio will be in the same range as direct to disc records. It will be interesting to see how this advances.
I'm pretty sure the cutting lathe was far down the list of reasons for bad pressings- the material used for the albums sometimes had chunks of cardboard and other contaminants because they used vinyl that was re-ground, without making sure it was clean. Items made from virgin plastic (doesn't matter which formula) are of higher quality but re-ground is more like a hot dog- they toss everything in, the pellets are mixed and if it has parts of a cardboard box, they'll be rejected. If they're caught (which at least one of my records wasn't).

I have a hard time believing these will have longer play time- that was one of the problems with vinyl before- loud bass passages caused wider modulation of the cutter head and the playback stylus didn't necessarily track it well. If they plan to come up with new equalization to replace RIAA, it could work, especially now that the price of a good DSP is low. They could create new custom curves that allow much better bass management
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Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post
As someone that moved on from using LP's mostly, why do people still feel so attached to a media that is so easily damaged? FYI I had inline impulse reduction, noise reduction and dynamic range recovery boxes to remove imperfections caused by mastering or wear and tear, but with comparisons to recent optical media, I just don't get it why people cling to expensive turntables and LP's anymore? Storing them is a PITA also.
To me, the difference is analogous to the difference between making tea with a tea bag and making tea with loose tea. Many tea drinkers could not care less about the difference and, indeed, with a fairly decent tea bag, many tea drinkers would argue that there is little to no difference between bagged and loose leaf tea. On the other hand, loose leaf tea drinkers will argue for the process and the rituals involved with making tea, which some of the time, offers a different sensation on the palate.

I do not play a musical instrument nor do I grow tea. The closest that I can come to making music is in my handling of the physical media, choosing my sources (turntable, cartridge, platter mats, cleaning process etc.), amplification devices and transducers. The closest that I can come to the tea production process is in physically handling tea leaves of different taste, aroma, shape and colour, choosing a teapot (we own eight), choosing a cup and whether to drink it natural or with complementary additives designed to vary the experience.
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post #23 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm pretty sure the cutting lathe was far down the list of reasons for bad pressings- the material used for the albums sometimes had chunks of cardboard and other contaminants because they used vinyl that was re-ground, without making sure it was clean. Items made from virgin plastic (doesn't matter which formula) are of higher quality but re-ground is more like a hot dog- they toss everything in, the pellets are mixed and if it has parts of a cardboard box, they'll be rejected. If they're caught (which at least one of my records wasn't).

I have a hard time believing these will have longer play time- that was one of the problems with vinyl before- loud bass passages caused wider modulation of the cutter head and the playback stylus didn't necessarily track it well. If they plan to come up with new equalization to replace RIAA, it could work, especially now that the price of a good DSP is low. They could create new custom curves that allow much better bass management
That would severely hamper any acceptance of such a product. If these records don't simply play--properly and with great fidelity--on existing record players, it's DOA IMO. Unless the process cuts production costs anyhow (with no other benefit), in which case it'll become the standard way to make records before you know it. The hardcore analog vinylphiles will at least have the old lathes to themselves. If it comes to pass.
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post #24 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 07:52 AM
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That would severely hamper any acceptance of such a product. If these records don't simply play--properly and with great fidelity--on existing record players, it's DOA IMO. Unless the process cuts production costs anyhow (with no other benefit), in which case it'll become the standard way to make records before you know it. The hardcore analog vinylphiles will at least have the old lathes to themselves. If it comes to pass.
I don't see anything about the new cutting method being a big improvement for cheap equipment that can't sound good in the first place. An old POS BSR turntable with a cartridge that was $25 in 1978 isn't going to reveal much of anything from this but they already say it will cut costs and speed up the process.

It'll be interesting to see how the new pressing plant in Canada works out.
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"...records that play longer, louder.."




Just by these claims you can deduce that there is some audiophoolery going on.


Louder and longer play time on a record are more or less mutually exclusive. Louder means the groove needs more space and longer playing time limits the groove spacing.


A digital correction of the inner and outer groove angles differences will make some audiophiles using very high end record players with linear tracking arms very unhappy.


Claiming hi res for such a low res format is ludicrous.
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post #26 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 07:56 AM
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Considering how successful other high quality alternatives to traditional music delivery such as SACD, DVD Audio and Tidal have been I'm sure this will sell like hotcakes!

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post #27 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
It's not a question of putting a digital file on a record. It's a question of whether using a lathe to cut vinyl can be improved upon by lasers and 3D modeling the groove in order to optimize it.

This process, if it comes to pass, sounds like has the potential to lay bare some of the fallacies that vinyl aficionados hold so dear, namely that what's etched in the groove by a sharp needle somehow has magical qualities that make it superior to a decent digital file.
OK. Well I guess some people can't let go of a technology that became obsolete 30 years ago.
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post #28 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 08:16 AM
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OK. Well I guess some people can't let go of a technology that became obsolete 30 years ago.
Makes me question whether some people buy hifi for the technology or the sound. The technology may be obsolete but the sound of vinyl on a good table with a good cartridge is worth the effort.
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Makes me question whether some people buy hifi for the technology or the sound. The technology may be obsolete but the sound of vinyl on a good table with a good cartridge is worth the effort.
To some. I wouldn't if I didn't already have a tt/record collection.
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post #30 of 242 Old 03-18-2016, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Makes me question whether some people buy hifi for the technology or the sound. The technology may be obsolete but the sound of vinyl on a good table with a good cartridge is worth the effort.
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To some. I wouldn't if I didn't already have a tt/record collection.
My guess is if something like this comes to pass, its success will be dependent on whether some famous rapper, country singer, or female pop star decides its cool... or not.
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