Remember Laserdiscs? OK, here’s another question: have you ever wished you could play your most prized records without fear of damaging the vinyl via stylus wear? What about that egregiously warped crate of favorites you left in the trunk of your car?
Well, prepare to get psyched, because Japanese Laser Turntable company ELP has released a “revolutionary way to revitalize your vinyl records without damage from conventional turntable needles,” allowing listeners to play wax needle-free, without a change in sound quality or digitalization.
A 1954 study on record life recently shared by Shure revealed that “the majority of listeners were damaging their valuable collections of records through the continued use of worn styli.” According to ELP, their product will finally solve that problem. The laser picks up all of the audio signals in the groove, virtually replicating the original sound of the recording’s master tape, without losing any of the beloved crackle of the wax. Most importantly, there will be no record wear because the laser merely reads the information, but there is no actual contact with the vinyl.
“The Laser Turntable employs patented technology that produces phenomenal fidelity while never physically touching the record, thus eliminating the deterioration to the album’s surface inflicted by conventional turntables,” ELP’s website explains. “This virgin audio information is then reproduced without digitization maintaining true analog sound as close as possible to when the master tape was recorded. The Laser Turntable even allows you to play records that have been severely warped or damaged over years of wear and tear.”
The lone downside is the price tag: ELP’s Laser Turntables range in price from $14,000 to $18,500, but the ELP website apparently still has two units still available for just under $9,000. Also, it doesn’t appear that the laser works with colored or clear wax, but you’re probably not trying to play those records anyway.
Check out the ELP laser turntable below.