Vinyl archaeology

Tom James @ 22-01-2009

vinylAs formats wither and die and the digital dark age trundles ever on enterprising hackers are already developing techniques for extracting data from older formats. Here a gentleman has extracted discernible sound recording from a photograph of a vinyl disk:

Remember those flat round things you may have found lying around the house. Those that never really worked well as flying saucers? Well, the other day I happenned to have a good look at one through a magnifying glass. I was able to discern something waveform’esqe in the shape of the groove. I thought, “groovy, there must be a way to extract something sensible off of that” (actual thought quoted).

Once the image was ready, writing the decoder was very simple. All it did was rotate a “needle” around a given center at some predefined angular velocity, attempting to keep track of the groove the needle was initially positioned on. The offsets (dr) between this track and the basic radial were bunched into a sequence of samples. these were later converted into wav files.

It’s a beautiful project – and it actually sorta works. You can listen to the results and compare it to a recording direct from the disk (or were they called discs?).

[via Short Sharp Science][image from Hryck on flickr]

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Vinyl archaeology”

  1. Tom Marcinko says:

    >>were they called discs?)<<

    We prefer the term “platters,” young man. : )