Dust off your record player, a new startup is looking to bring high-definition audio to vinyl

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For many audiophiles, music buffs and more, vinyl is the go-to way to rock out to your favorite tunes. And while cassette tapes, CDs, the iPod and other more modern devices for enjoying music have all but killed the century-old media storage medium. Or so we thought. A new startup company is looking to breathe some new life into vinyl by creating an all-new high-definition version.

Deemed HD Vinyl, the new media standard enters a market overrun by digital audio streaming and a variety of high-end music-playing devices. So what gives this new take on vinyl a chance against these newer, more convenient competitors? Well the folks at Rebeat Innovation, an Austria-based startup, contend that its new vinyl LPs can have up to 30 percent more playing time, will be 30 percent louder, and boast more faithful audio reproduction.

And while the first two are certainly benefits compared to traditional records, it’s the final perk that offers something to audiophiles and vinyl hold-outs of the past.

HD Vinyl records are practically indistinguishable from their century-old counterparts, with the main differences stemming from how they sound, and how they’re made. In fact, it’s the company’s unique production process that allows the high-definition records to boast the high-quality sound they claim to. The first step in the process is converting the digital audio file into a 3D topographic map.

While old records are crafted from a needle etching grooves into the vinyl’s surface, Rebeat Innovation is opting for higher-precision tools. Thanks to a laser engraving process, the HD Vinyl records are said to be more consistent and lose less audio information in their creation, resulting in better quality audio. The laser method also creates rivets in the vinyl that perfectly matches the intended shape of the analog groove, allowing music to sound better when played on traditional record players.

For current vinyl fans wondering when they’ll be able to upgrade their collection to the new high-definition standard, it’ll be quite some time before HD Vinyl will be coming to the consumers. Things are looking positive for the company though, as they have ordered a roughly half-million dollar laser system that is said to be arriving in July. Once received, they will be able to begin creating albums in mass, with an estimated 2019 launch date. Not launching until next year may seem like a long ways away, but fans who have been holding onto vinyl for decades can surely wait a little bit longer.

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