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Analogue MP3 Player

Nightmares on Wax. With added snap, crackle and pop.
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There’s no doubt about it – MP3 players are cool. And having a jukebox the size of a matchbox in your pocket has obvious advantages.

But there’s also something about vinyl that means it will never lose its appeal. Watching that little needle trace its slow arc over a swiftly spinning record has a pleasingly simple appeal. And when you think about it, on an almost microscopic level what’s actually happening is that the needle is driving down a concentric vinyl canyon, bouncing and careening over pits and mounds on a bone-jarring journey that would test even the most hardened off-roader. That tiny needle must go through hell – yet it looks smooth and unflappable as it skims elegantly across the platter. It’s kind of fitting that its “tiny” vibrations can be easily amplified to ear-splitting proportions.

Seems a shame just to dump the thankless needle from its role in music making just because technology has moved on a bit. It’s not like it can just retire and take up crochet or something.

So – analogue MP3 players. Bring back the needle and the damage done. Take a small ring of metal – maybe half an inch in diameter, and a quarter of an inch wide – and, for that ultimate old-skool vibe, coat its outside surface in a few millimeters of wax. A mechanism in the center of the ring rotates it at a constant speed.

Now attach an MP3 player. But don’t attach that MP3 player to a set of headphones. Instead, in an arrangement that would make a swiss watchmaker queasy, attach a tiny needle to the MP3 player that shudders and judders according to the music that flows into it. Like headphones, but in needle form. You’ve guessed it – this vibrating needle is in direct contact with the wax surface of the ring, and thus transcribes the music onto it.

On the other side of the ring, there’s another needle that scratches its way through the pitted track that the other needle has laid down for it. It re-translates the pits and bumps into actual music as it passes its hectic vibrations to your quivering headphones.

After the wax has been passed across the ring from needle to needle, a tiny heater melts the wax again and an unrealistically small cooling element hardens it to make a fresh canvas for the write needle to nervously dance upon.

Ear-trumpet-style fluted megaphone speaker is optional. Because there is a fine line between old skool and ye olde skoole.

lostdog, Apr 29 2005

scratchophone http://www.boingboi.../scratchophone.html
driving around in circles. [jaksplat, Apr 30 2005]

Digitizing Vinyl http://www.acfnewso...gitizing_vinyl.html
the needle vibrates sideways [FarmerJohn, Apr 30 2005]


       Hmmm... I suppose you could add a third needle (or laser scanner or something) that would record the bumps and dimples after the second needle had gone over them (complete with the microscopic amounts of wear the needle has added) and re-save this new version over that section of the original MP3...
lostdog, Apr 30 2005


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