Watch a Needle Ride Through LP Record Grooves Under an Electron Microscope

Last year, we highlighted a 1956 video from RCA Victor which demonstrated how vinyl records were made back in the good old days. If you have 23 free minutes, you can get a pretty good look at the production process — the live audio recording, the making of a master disc, the production of a mold, the eventual mass production of vinyl records, etc.

Almost 60 years later, vinyl is making a comeback. So why not let Ben Krasnow, a hardware engineer at Google X, give us a much more modern perspective on the LP? Above, watch Krasnow’s stop motion animation, made with an electron microscope, which shows us a phonograph needle riding through grooves on an LP. Much of the 9-minute video offers a fairly technical primer on what went into making this stop motion clip in the first place. So if you want to get to the action, fast forward to the 4:20 mark.

If you hang with Krasnow’s video, you can also see him take some microscopic looks at other media formats — CD-ROMs, early forms of DVDs, and more.

via Devour

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Related Content:

How Vinyl Records Are Made: A Primer from 1956 (That’s Relevant in 2014)

How to Clean Your Vinyl Records with Wood Glue

World Records: New Photo Exhibit Pays Tribute to the Era of Vinyl Records & Turntables

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Comments (3)
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  • Monica MacKeachan says:

    #record #recording #vinyl #vinylrecords #needle #workout
    #groove #grooves #modern #classic #juxtaposition #magnification #enhanced #vision under a #microscope

  • David Reaves says:

    Fascinating! It might be interesting to show a scale of some sort, in order to compare the actual relative sizes of the ‘grooves’ of the various media. I’d bet the LP groove would hold many, many (hundreds, perhaps?) DVD grooves, for example.

  • Jahn Ghalt says:

    Mr. Reaves

    For “old school” guys there is little need to look up anything to get the scale.

    LP’s are nominally 12″ – 6-inch outer radius. Estimate a 2.5 inner radius – which leaves 3.5 inches playing surface.

    Unlike CD (DVD, Blu-Ray) the rotation is constant at 33.3/minute.

    Use 20 minutes as an average:

    (33.3 rotations/minute)(20 minutes) = 666 rotations.


    (3.5 inches)/(666 rotations) = roughly 0.005 inches groove-groove on average – aka 5 mils.

    See, Mr. Reaves, you could have done this yourself.

    Now go look up CD and DVD “pitch”:

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