Vinyl record sales are currently at their highest since 1988, according to the Record Industry Association of America. So, naturally, more and more artists are offering their music on the resurgent physical format.
Pretty soon, thanks to a new tabletop gadget, it’ll be possible for any old garage band or open mic stalwart to cut their own records. The €999 Phonocut, which is about to launch as a Kickstarter project in the coming days, will allow music fans to put anything, including their own music, on vinyl.
With the Phonocut Home Vinyl Recorder, all you’ll need to do is place the blank record on the turntable, connect the audio source of your choice, and then press the start button. From there, a diamond stylus will etch the audio content into the wax.
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It is compatible with 10-inch vinyl records and can hold up to 15-minutes of audio on each side. So, if you’ve ever wanted that EP you recorded in the basement to own on vinyl, now’s your chance. Theoretically, if you wanted to add a live performance to vinyl, it’s possible with the Phonocut.
In an interview with Wired, the makers of the first consumer analog vinyl lathe said the device was idiot proof. Phonocut co-founder Florian Kaps said: “Even I myself should be in a position to cut the records.”
He adds: “People love records, but they don’t know anything about how they are produced. We have to inspire them to think about it and raise their awareness for the possibilities of what they can do with it.”
In a post on its website, the company explained its vision: “Since the invention of record discs in 1889, mankind was dreaming of a simple but precise desktop machine which would enable anybody to produce their own quality records with just the push of a button. Since the 1930 ties several machines have been introduced but all if them finally failed to reach a broader audience, mostly due to poor sound quality, overly complicated technical handling or unaffordable pricing.
“2019, more than 70 years later, vinyl records are celebrating a surprising worldwide comeback but still their production is locked up inside of high-tech, high-volume pressing plants. But as we know technology exploded in many fields opening up the incredible opportunity to finally re-think and re-invent record production. This is exactly what we did together with a small team of globally acknowledged experts.”
We’re interested to hear how durable the records will be, how many plays they can handle, and how much the blanks will cost. Those could be make or break issues for Phonocut. Limited pre-orders for the device will hit Kickstarter on Tuesday 15 October.