HIGH DEFINITION VINYL IS ON THE WAY
Pop the corks on your champagne and get your turntable primed because folks, we’re here to tell you High Definition vinyl is on its way.
That’s right. A canny Austrian Startup called Rebeat Innovation has found a way to make vinyl that promises 30 per cent more detail and get this, a 30 per cent longer playing time.
Rebeat Innovation has signed an agreement with the Czech company GZ, to press the new HD Vinyl records.
No, it’s October, not April 1st and GZ is not a figment of a flimflam man’s imagination. This outfit is a serious business employing more than 2000 people busy producing more than 60 per cent of the world’s vinyl records.
Rebeat has also hammered out an agreement with two more important vinyl production companies called RPA in Connecticut and Viryl Technologies in Toronto.
Both have agreed to back the new HD Vinyl format that should be available in 2019.
Rebeat Innovation had already raised US$4.8m to perfect HD Vinyl, adding another US$1.9 million this year.
But there’s still plenty of work to be done to meet HD vinyl’s 2019 release schedule. In particular, Rebeat and its partners will have to find a new way to mount the HD Vinyl samplers into pressing machines, according to Rebeat Innovation founder, Guenter Loibl.
Since HD Vinyl stampers will be made out of laser-cut ceramic instead of electroplated metal stampers, new fittings and moulds have to be developed.
Rebeat Innovation patents describe a faster non-toxic way to produce the stamper.
Vinyl records are currently made using a copy of a copy of a copy of the original master stamper, but HD Vinyl production requires only the use of the original ceramic stamper.
As for toxic chemicals, these are eliminated by replacing the traditional electroplated nickel stamper by a ceramic stamper that is cut with a laser.
The HD stamper is cut by a laser out of a ceramic plate, ensuring a perfect groove. The durability of ceramic, so Rebeat Innovation says, means no wear and the same quality no matter how many copies are pressed.
As for the mooted 30 per cent longer playing times, this is said to be achieved by using especially developed software to optimise the gaps between the grooves of a vinyl record.
This space can also be exploited for better dynamics or superior signal-to-noise ratio while still allowing room for a 30 per cent increase in playing time.
HD Vinyl; can be optimised for either radial or tangential tracking by a stylus, a feature that by itself is sure to win approval from audiophiles.
HD Vinyl is also said to have a higher frequency range and produce records with a consistent sound quality no matter how many are pressed. The format is also said to be 100% backwards compatible and can be played with standard single point pivoting tonearms and tangential trackers.
Rebeat Innovation says the first HD Vinyl test pressings will be released in 2019 and commercial quantities should be available to consumers several months later.
Watch this space.
One of the veteran journalists of the HiFi industry, if there's a speaker he's likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia for over two decades.
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