Contactless Vinyl Record Playback

It is somewhat ironic that the owner of a brand new USB turntable with 6g tracking force is thinking of contactless playback, a playback system that will preserve records forever, however I hope you will forgive me for starting this discussion. It has been in my mind for several days, inspired by this picture of record needle and groove playback.

 
The first time I heard of a contactless playback system was about 10 years ago, when I was getting my records transferred to .wav files. "There's a player that plays the record using a laser" my friend says. Immune to record noise and scratches, which was a problem with one of my online purchases.

It is only last month that I came across information on such a player, and listen to the sound of it online, through YouTube. I thought it sounded smooth, others think it sounds lifeless, but the idea of playing records without having to worry about damage of any sort makes it seem worth it all, the $16,000 or the used price on E-bay for $2000.

Here is the video. I really hope this technology becomes cheaper: CD players used to cost $700 or above, in our money today it would be about $2000 maybe.

 
I found the ~5 gram cartridge on my Mother's RCA stereo ripped the highs off a new Mercury Living Presence LP in one play. Christmas 1967 was very disappointing. New stylus didn't help.
Age 19 I bought an AR turntable, vintage 1961. Tracked at 1.5 g. No more damage occurred. I've been listening at 1.5 g for 53 years, no audible damage. I do wash the dust off from time to time. Original 1961 cartridge with new stylus didn't damage, but wouldn't play high velocity ATCO 45's. Grade FTE would, but blew a chunk out of the diamond after 6 years. Shure M97 Era IV lasted 51 years, was concerned about rubber getting a bit stiff. Bought a replacment before Shure shut down the factory. The burglar took that in 2020, all electronic equipment, 2500 LP's, 250 bought new.
 
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No more damage occurred. I've been listening at 1.5 g for 53 years, no audible damage

1.5 seems the magic number. That's good to know, thanks.

The burglar took that in 2020, all electronic equipment, 2500 LP's, 250 bought new.

Did I read that right? The burglar took your equipment and 2,500 LPs? I have to imagine it was for speculating in the illegal vinyl trade, not as a a Hi-Fi vinyl enthusiast. That is so unfortunate. What's more, you may have seen your rare records flogged on an online buy and sell.

How often did you replace the stylus?
 
The ELP had a major problem with noise, as it plays all the dust on the record.

Yes I heard about that, but I could not hear anything on the video. With 1.5 tracking, seems to be a moot point.
What about a a3 9600dpi flatbed scanner ?

Yes, that has been tried, however with disappointing results. There was a program at the Library Of Congress to photograph the records and digitize then, with better results.

There was a thread in 2010 that brought up this subject. A laser player, running at 10X or so, provided the hardware and software can keep up with it,
would have been a good solution to that members problem.

https://www.diyaudio.com/community/threads/vinyl-scanner.165078/

The IRENE project:

IRENE uses a non-contact, optical-scanning approach to digitize historical grooved audio formats such as lacquer discs and wax cylinders. Audio can be retrieved from fragile carriers without risk of groove wear, and from damaged and broken carriers that are otherwise unplayable.

Optical scanning is a process whereby the physical sound carrier is imaged at high resolution and preserved as a digital image file. This file may contain either a two-dimension photographic or three-dimension topographic rendering of the entire physical object. Once digital, the file may be analyzed and processed by software, in order to extract the audio and optionally apply restoration techniques in both the image and audio domain.
https://irene.lbl.gov/
 
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The concept may be worthy, yet the cost and other downsides would leave me out of the game. Someday, it could be done more realistically in every aspect, and then worth a consideration audition. This post concerns the ELP system only. The fiber optic device is a new concept altogether to me. Both of these systems are impressive in their own ways. Too bad that there isn't funding for the needed improvements of both.
 
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1.5 seems the magic number. That's good to know, thanks.
....
How often did you replace the stylus?

There is no 'magic number', it depends on a number of parameters ime. Sure a lower weight protect stylus and records but if not enough weight bass or vibration will sidetrack stylus...

Stylus replacement: my 'main' MM ( Ortofon OM40) is still very ok after 4 years with 1or 2 hours daily play ( average). MC (technics 310mc) is still ok too but see less play ( and got it second hand so don't know it's previous life condition and hours of play).

But i have OCD about cleaning: both records and stylus i clean before each side play ( carbon/velvet fiber brush for records and for stylus Onzow's stylus cleaner).

Moon Gel pads can be used in place of Onzow's if you want cheaper solution.
 
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The ELP had a major problem with noise, as it plays all the dust on the record.
Nope, it didn't/doesn't - it's not the turntable's fault your records are not absolutely clean! A "major problem" might be the thing can't read translucent/transparent records.

@BasicHIFI1,

a well-minded advice (which should be given to you a long way ago)...forget about getting a turntable.
 
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I don't know about ELP but my TT could not read coloured/transparent discs too ( there is an optical cell to detect disk. Technics SL10). It was easy to fix in my case: a 'Canson' sheet ( thick paper close to cardboard) cut to size inserted between plater and disc...

Why forget about a TT @borchee?
As i own a number of them ( as well as many other source) i can only disagree with this!
 
Your Technics doesn't read records optically but with brute force...a stone scrapping grooves.

To forget about getting a TT is directed towards OP, not you, nor anybody else. Read his posts/threads regarding TTs, sound quality comparisons and what not, and you'll know what I mean.

Turntables?...bloody relicts!...yes, I confess: Guilty!

Revox B790 (2).jpg
 
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Oh nice Revox linear traker!
It's been a while since i've seen some. Great desks!

Was there a Studer equivalent? I think i've seen some with same design as yours but stamped Studer in a studio. Maybe i dreamed it?

Yes brute force. :)
I should not talk about my couple 1200mk2 + Ortofon concordes played with fingers on discs... ;) Brutal i agree! Relics maybe but i like their sound even in direct comparison to my (professional high end) digital system: they are on par to my taste.

I find you hard on BasicHifi, the question he ask are legitimate for a beginner in my view but yeah there is some differences between a 200$ deck and a 10000$ one ( ELP)...
Are they worth the difference...?
 
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@krivium,

no Studer TT equivalent...only tuners, CD players, cassette decks, a mixer, a power amp, and two tape decks (Studer model Revox B77 MKII and model Revox PR99 MKIII) sort of...and some speakers.

Read this, for example, and then tell me I'm being hard.

Worth the difference?...I don't know and I don't care. A $2 quartz watch is more accurate than a $$$$$$ mechanical Patek Philippe - you can guess which one I would prefere. What I mean...it is 2023 and physical music formats are obsolete, like it or not...they are fun though.