No doubt fuelled by the continuing boom of nostalgic audiophiles clamouring over a largely antiquated product, Austrian firm Rebeat Innovation is pioneering an improved vinyl format that simply does everything better. Rose-tinted glasses or not, there’s no denying the physics of it makes sense.
Putting modern-day precision manufacturing through its paces, HD vinyls eliminate a large portion of inefficiency and workarounds on the records of old. For example, the “grooves” are packed far tighter on a HD vinyl, possible because digital analysis of a particular soundtrack can determine the maximum amplitude and thus how much “space” is required in between the grooves. New manufacturing processes thus only create grooves as wide as they need to be, whereas old vinyls erred on the side of caution and were full of “dead space”.
Combining this and other breakthroughs, Rebeat Innovation estimates that each HD vinyl can contain up to 30 per cent more information over a classic one. Quality has been bumped up as well – records were originally created using copper presses, which lost shape (and thus fidelity) over the course of production runs. Most modern vinyl presses, HD vinyl among them, employ ceramic presses which are essentially immutable, and deliver much more consistent sound.
The best part? Unlike Toshiba’s HD-DVD kerfuffle in the 2000s, there’s no need to upgrade existing equipment to enjoy the advancements. HD vinyls are fully backward compatible – they can be played on old record players.