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Thread: How Vinyl Works - just for fun

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    How Vinyl Works - just for fun

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    This isn't anything really pertinent other than my own interest being piqued here. I have always wondered exactly how a record player captures and produces the sound in the grooves of the vinyl. Of course, I have watched dozens of videos and read plenty of articles, but there is one aspect that has never been properly explained to me. Let me tell you what I understand and where I am having a hard time grasping the concept, before we get many replies that aren't helpful to my understanding.

    Sound is produced. That sound vibrates a needle. The needle cuts small grooves into vinyl. When traced over again, with a certain device, and into an amplifier, those grooves play back the recorded sound. So, then, the recorded sound is literally etched into the vinyl.

    Here's what I don't understand fully enough - Surely those grooves can be reproduced with things OTHER than sound. The vinyl doesn't know that sound caused the needle to etch into it, only that it is etched. So, couldn't we take a needle in hand and introduce small grooves into the vinyl to reproduce the same sounds? What is it about vibrations from sound moving the needle and making grooves that is distinct from a human holding the needle (or a machine, even, for preciseness) and replicating the same grooves? The vinyl wouldn't know what caused the grooves, only that they exist. How does a groove that is, let's say, .1mm thick and bends at such angle for so long, and is X mm wide, etc. etc. produce ONLY that sound that it does? What if no sound was produced but the EXACT same groove the needle made from sound was produced by hand or machine? The groove would be no different, yeah? So why would the played back sound be different?

    Hopefully where I am misunderstanding was made clear. Obviously, the thing works. lol. I'm just confused on this one aspect and I've never looked into it beyond a few videos which never closed the knowledge gap. Thanks anyone
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

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    I think you're exactly right taras, it's just a track and the record doesn't care what made it. You could probably draw any sound you want by cutting it just right. Or maybe even store video if you translated the pictures to vibrations, and back again, I wonder!

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    Really though, if I made a machine that etched grooves into vinyl in the exact same way the grooves are on a, let's say, Mozart record...would it sound like Mozart? Same grooves. Same depth and thickness to them, just made by machine/hand instead of vibrations from sound. On a microscopic level, those grooves must be incredibly detailed and precise.

    Haha, looks like I'm only hundred+ years late to the party!
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

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    Truth of the matter is, sound has never cut vinyl. At least not as far as I know. The first sound recorders were wax rolls. Sound would be captured causing the needle to move and cut a groove in the wax roll. Flubbed up and want to start over? Heat the wax so it reflows. The source of a signal for vinyl comes from a tape recorder. So, if you had moxart on tape, you could reproduce it on vinyl. Will it be exactly the same? Nope. Limitations of the tape, the amplifiers, the cutting needle, vinyl, scratches, dust, warpage, etc... all will alter the sound. But, it will be close enough so you can listen and say, Hey, that's Mozart!

    Detailed and precise is a relative term. I work in the microscopic world and vinyl records would not come to mind as being detailed and precise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    The first sound recorders were wax rolls. Sound would be captured causing the needle to move and cut a groove in the wax roll.
    ...and if you put the exact same grooves into the wax via some other method, hand perhaps, you would reproduce the exact same sounds?
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrushkiwt View Post
    ...and if you put the exact same grooves into the wax via some other method, hand perhaps, you would reproduce the exact same sounds?
    If the grooves were cut EXACTLY the same, then sure. But....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    If the grooves were cut EXACTLY the same, then sure. But....
    I guess that's what I have a hard time believing and acknowledging. How does a groove in wax sound like a church/hall/outdoors, etc... it's a damn groove! lol. science.
    "No healthy person waits in line with a slew of geriatrics on a Sunday morning for pancakes" - RFR https://soundcloud.com/andrushkiwt

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrushkiwt View Post
    it's a damn groove! lol. science.
    Yup, complex periodic waveforms. Who woulda thought?

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    Someone should type out the binary data for a CD from start to finish. It's just a bunch of ones a zeros. How hard could it be?

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    It's data. It represents voltages that move the speaker cone. You could interpret the data in any other way and display it as text or colours, depending what you decide the depth of the groove (and the associated numerical value) means.
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmys69 View Post
    You can't layer shit with another layer of shit and expect it to sound like anything other than multiple layers of shit

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