Back to the Future!

Once upon a time, I was quite the audiophile. I babied my Japanese virgin vinyl albums, taped them, and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned by trusty albums to keep them safe and playable. I even invested in a linear tracking turntable to minimize the wear on the grooves as much as possible on the few occasions when I spun a platter. If there was a way to promote long life of my grooved friends, I was all for it.

A little bit of coolness has hit the turntable market, making my machinations look primitive now.

I found a new turntable that uses no stylus whatsoever to play the album. It’s done by a frick-in’ laser (with apologies to Mike Myers). ELP Corporation is marketing a laser turntable that promises to deliver audiophile quality without the use of a stylus. For you, they’ll sell it for $15,000.

Fifteen kilobucks?!

To top it off, they even have a declicker that can be added to cut out the pops and crackles in realtime. That’ll set ya back another $2800.

So, for slightly less than $18k, you can listen to your vinyl in as pristine a fashion as is possible. I know there’s a bunch of audio pundits out there that talk about the “warmth” of analog sound — vinyl and tubes — and I wonder if this combination of devices puts you more on the warm side of that equation. You are, after all, reading the vinyl, but there’s a whole bunch of electronic matter between the disc and your ears.

While this is cool, and at one time would’ve absolutely mesmerized me, I think I’ll be able to find it within my soul to live without this latest Japanese beast. It is cool though, and may bring some old vinyl some new life.