National Museum of American History curator Carlene Stephens examines a glass disc recording containing the audio of a male voice repeating "Mary had a little lamb" twice, made more than 100 years ago in Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Lab. (Source: Rich Strauss, Smithsonian)
Nevertheless, it is unfortunate to say, since 3D printing is based on digital signals, the LPs created are digital copies. In other words, less quality than they could be. In the case of preservation, It is good enough. Now it just seems silly to print an LP. I suppose it's a good option for those hipsters out there. It's all about image these days.
Not for me, your mileage may differ. I retired my vinyl years ago, and I'm a firm believer that the CD is king and that digital music reproduction gets a bad reputation because of squished down MP3s. Tape has way too much hiss, except when used with DBX or other companding. That said, I still love my old Fender tube amp, so I do believe in some retro gear.
When CDs were just starting to get distributed several record labels simply mastered the CD from vinyl with a hefty low pass filter to kill the pops rather than digging the 2 track master out of the vault. it was a sin, considering the wonderful technology that was available, and my old vinyl copies were much better than the CD. I had a copy of "Layla" that was just terrible until they remixed the CD from the original 16 track in 1990. Geoff Emerick, made certain that he original masters were used for the Beatles material and now you can even hear the dust on the faders (rotary back then).
Cabe, this music lover has been hearing those arguments, and promises promises, for a couple decades. For some types of music, in particular the human voice, the sound simply isn't as good. I've been sorely disappointed on that end. OTOH, instrumentals, especially strings, are great or OK on a) CDs and b) a lot of high bitrate audio files. Regarding picture size, etc.--it was a real shock back in the day to get CD versions of LPs and not be able to read anything on the covers--or later, when an "album" was initially released as a CD, and the album cover content dropped to practically zero. OTOOH, now we sometimes get inserted booklets, which can hold a lot of info.
Couldn't agree more. I can't wait to see what sorts of applications appear. Especially as the technology evolves toward improved resolution and a wider range of materials and post-processing capabilities.
To be completely honest, I like LPs, not just for their music quality, but the packaging is big. It's cool to see the pictures larger, it's a fun novelty. But with high bit rate audio files, that surpass CD quality and approach analog, I see no practical use for LPs anymore. (Maybe the hardcore DJ business?)Think of it like integrating a curve, eventually digital will match it so fine that the difference will be indistinguishable.
Plus, one speck of dust popping the sound of an LP ruins it for me. I have a few old Beatles records that have permanent tiny scratches, playback drives me crazy.
The printed audio is only surface texture. The higher the resolution printer, the better the audio quality. I suspect that in the near future almost perfect copies could be made. Or perhaps like an LP printed with CD quality audio. Either way, the future looks good for keeping the LP record around.
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