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3D Printers Give New Life to Old Recordings
1/18/2013

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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)
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)

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SparkyWatt
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Re: Cool application of this technology
SparkyWatt   1/21/2013 1:47:13 PM
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BTW - Your description of Cylindrical co-ordinates was completely correct.  I was referring to the description in the previous paragraph.  It was your "polar" co-ordinates that I think you meant "Spherical" and put in an extra angle.  It occurred to me after I posted that my reference was ambiguous.

Larry M
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Re: Cool application of this technology
Larry M   1/21/2013 1:50:30 PM
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Right.  I wrote incorrectly and your second post clarified that.

3drob
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Re: Cool application of this technology
3drob   1/22/2013 1:08:03 PM
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Ahhhhh, Bach!  (sorry, bad pun-ish MASH reference).

Yes some older recordings used the Z-axis to encode audio info but most use the radius (I believe "squiggles in the groove" is the technical term), so a simple polar coordinate system is usually sufficient.  LP's/45's squiggle both sides of the groove independantly to encode stereo, so that does add a z-axis component.

All of this just shows how hard it really is to capture info from obsolete media, and how much harder it would be to "print" a record ("disc") with any usable fidelity.

Ann R. Thryft
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An accomplishment to get this far
Ann R. Thryft   1/23/2013 1:34:50 PM
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Wow, that's precision! I'm not surprised CAD software can't model audio. Sound--more precisely, music--is extremely complex. It's amazing that 3D printing can do this at all.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: An accomplishment to get this far
Cabe Atwell   1/23/2013 3:46:06 PM
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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.

That's good news.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: An accomplishment to get this far
Ann R. Thryft   1/25/2013 11:50:28 AM
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Exactly--which tells is how good a job they did. And I'm with you on LPs--nothing beats the sound, at least for recording and playing back some things, like the subtleties of the human voice.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: An accomplishment to get this far
Cabe Atwell   1/25/2013 4:33:46 PM
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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.

C

Scott Orlosky
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Re: 3D Printing Popularity
Scott Orlosky   1/27/2013 2:37:21 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: An accomplishment to get this far
Ann R. Thryft   1/28/2013 12:17:54 PM
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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.

tekochip
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Re: An accomplishment to get this far
tekochip   1/29/2013 9:58:24 AM
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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).

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