Get Ready for High Def Vinyl

Everything else is going HD, so why not vinyl?

Austrian-based startup Rebeat Innovation has received almost $5 million in funding to continue developing a new kind of high-resolution vinyl record that not only sounds better than the best of today’s vinyl releases but plays longer and louder as well.

Rebeat founder and CEO Günter Loibl told the online music magazine Pitchfork that “HD Vinyl” records could be available for sale next year.

The company’s HD vinyl process involves converting audio digitally into a 3D topographic map and using lasers to inscribe that map onto a “stamper,” the master plate used to imprint grooves into a vinyl record. In this case, the stamper is made of ceramic to ensure there’s no quality difference between the first and last records stamped. The nickel stampers used in conventional record manufacturing have to be replaced after stamping about a 1,000 copies and there is a significant degradation in quality between the first and last copy produced.

Describing HD Vinyl as a “massive improvement” over traditional vinyl records, Rebeat says its patented laser-cutting process makes possible a significantly wider frequency response — up to 100 kHz on the outer edge of the disc — better dynamics, and a higher signal-to-noise ratio in addition to 30 percent more amplitude (volume) and a 30 percent longer playing time than current vinyl records. The process is also said to eliminate the toxic chemicals used in the vinyl mastering process.

Rebeat plans on making HD Vinyl turntables with digital connectivity in the future but, in the meantime, the new records will be fully compatible with existing turntables and deliver a “major” improvement in fidelity over conventional records.

Loibl told Pitchfork that once Rebeat’s new laser system is up and running he hopes to produce test stampers in time for October’s Making Vinyl conference in Detroit. From there, the goal is to refine the process with an eye toward getting the first batch of HD Vinyl releases in stores by the summer of 2019.

For more information on HD Vinyl, visit

Rich67's picture

This is interesting engineering and science, but to what end?

vqworks's picture

The promise of the new vinyl sounds impressive but...the proof is in the pudding.

I'm always open to any format that claims high quality but Günter Loibl must also ensure that the spindle hole is centered accurately. Most uninformed consumers like to mention surface noise as a common flow of vinyl. Well-made vinyl is largely free of this issue and there are a lot of great pressings that don't have audible surface noise. The most urgent issue is off-centered pressings. The DIN standard is that the spindle hole cannot be more than .2mm off-centered. Somehow I don't think this standard is being met very often. If the new vinyl can be accurately centered, then we might have a truly great variant on the vinyl format.

On the hardware end, we currently have a lot of new turntables that have resurrected the largely 1970s S and J-shaped arms that only increase resonance, reduce stiffness, and add mass. All things being equal, straight low-mass tonearms (popular in the 80s) are better in these respects in addition to keeping the tracking force more stable when playing through warped records, provided that the tonearms bearing friction is designed to be adequately low. Phono cartridge manufacturers could then manufacturer higher-compliance cartridges to take advantage of these tonearms.

vqworks's picture

I meant to state "flaw" rather than "flow" at the 4th line of the 2nd paragraph. The 4th to the last line of the last paragraph should end with "tonearms'" instead of "tonearms".

Apparently, I was asleep.

Electroliner's picture

With the possibility of a response curve up to 100Khz, it might actually be possible to resurrect CD-4 and have it work properly this time.
I think stamping SQ encoded material might also benefit with more accurate grooves and less decoder errors. I'm interested.....