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Music Media Science Hardware

Getting Groovy -- Playing Records without a Needle 43

WillOutPower writes "The New York Times is carrying a story of two physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developing a method of recording sound from old records (remember spinning your platters on the hi-fi?) but not by playing them, instead taking a picture of them. Or more specifically the groove in the record. The Library of Congress is funding the research, which is in the nascent stages. Now maybe I can throw out that old Victrola in the attic and make room for my clunker i386 PC." We've mentioned this before.
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Getting Groovy -- Playing Records without a Needle

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  • Re:Another approach (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caseih ( 160668 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:24AM (#9073739)
    Our university library looked into buying a couple of laser-turntables for the purpose of digitizing our vast LP collection. Turns out they are way too expensive to be reasonable right now, and also because they are so accurate they produce way too much noise (much more noise than a conventional needle). The computer scientist in me says that's okay because you can clean up the noise digitally, but in the end they chose to buy some really high-quality needle-tipped turntables.

    Someday if we can get players for old LPs that don't use a needle (either laser or image scanner with a good noise-reduction system), I think there would actually be a consumer market for them. Many of us have stacks of old LPs that we would still play if we could (without damaging them further). Many LP recordings apparently having higher-quality sound than CDs (apparently that's not hard) and quadrophonic sound.
  • Re:Another approach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by raoul endres ( 156335 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @11:46AM (#9074073)
    I have a number of songs on both vinyl and cd (being a part time dj and all).

    The vinyl has so much more bass response, it blows any cd away. There's just something about analogue that digital can't quite reproduce. CD's tend to cutoff at about 20Hz, below which is all the stuff you 'feel' rather than hear.

    Makes a big difference.
  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:16PM (#9074466) Homepage Journal
    There are two big caveats here -- While there is a high end frequency cutoff for CDDA (about 22,050Hz), there technically is not a 'low end'. However, this is not to say that CD's do not have somewhat of a problem in the low, low end. In most cases, this is either the fault of the person doing the mastering not picking up on the lower end or the machine playing the cd not bothering to reproduce it (usually the latter).

    It's very difficult to argue that buying newly released vinyl is in some way 'better' than buying a digital copy. Consider that even the new vinyl you buy was probably recorded and mastered digitally. Although this process was probably done with a higher resolution than CDDA gives you, it doesn't rule out other higher resolution digital formats (DAT, HDCD, DVD-Audio, etc.) being 'closer to the original' thn buying an analog reproduction. The analog record might still sound better than the CD to you simplay because you have better reproduction capabilities on your turntable than your cd player.

    There is also the very valid argument that you can scratch with vinyl if this is your thing and any digital recreation of that process is pretty much crap.. But it isn't an argument you mentioned :)
  • Difference? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Erasei ( 315737 ) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:29PM (#9074610) Homepage
    Can someone with clue explain to us lay-people how what the article describes is different from what this kid did 'in a couple of late nights'? His software scans the record in using a standard flatbed scanner. Is the new version being goverment funded supposed to able to 'rip' at a better quality, or what exactly is the deal with the government funding on this?

    http://www.cs.huji.ac.il/~springer/ [huji.ac.il]

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