Would you spend $15,000 for a record player that could play your records in a 100 percent analog fashion without ever wearing them down?
That’s what the Japanese company ELP promises. They sell the world’s only commercially-available laser turntable, which forgoes the needle in favor of five precisely-focused lasers that read the record’s grooves and feed the information to your speakers. The audio waves are never digitized, making for purely analog playback.
The main advantage is that ELP’s turntable can play the record an unlimited number of times without wearing down the vinyl the way a needle does. As pointed out in an in-depth study by Engineering and Technology Magazine, the technology also holds hopes for transferring recordings from fragile shellac records, which were used to play music before the advent of vinyl records, without having to digitize them (causing them to lose sound quality).
The laser turntable can also play damaged records that have become unplayable by normal turntables, because it can focus its laser “stylus” only on the parts of the groove that aren’t damaged.
Then again, for $15,000, you might as well just build your own recording studio.
By Chris Kissel/Diffuser FM