DIY Records — Many services help you take outmoded audio/video formats and digitize them. The Vinyl Recorder T560 does almost the exact opposite; it lets you cut records on the fly from any stereo audio source. This technology isn’t new. The T560 is made of commercially available parts and has been on sale since at least 2013, but it’s very much of this moment. Vinyl has had a resurgence recently, driven by audiophiles and those who appreciate the aesthetic of records and record players. In fact, the RIAA announced in September 2019 that it projects vinyl sales to generate more revenue than CDs in the U.S. for 2019 (though both are a distant second and third from streaming service numbers).
Jukebox Hero — The rise of the CD threatened Vinyl Recorder creator Friederich Schien’s vinyl jukebox business; new songs simply weren’t being published to the records his jukeboxes could play. In response, he started cutting his own records from CDs and later, digital recordings. A DJ asked him if he could make a machine to automate this process, and the Vinyl Recorder was born.
The machine is pretty simple: a stereo input attaches to an audio source, while a diamond lathe carves the tracks into a rotating vinyl dubplate or lacquer master on a turntable. As the tracks are cut, the shavings are sucked away from the record.
So who’s it for? — The kit is for sale at vinylrecorder.com for $4,000, making it too expensive for most individual hobbyists. According to Wesley Wolfe, who was exhibiting the kit at CES, most of the company’s customers are independent labels, musicians, and recording studios, for whom the ability to cut a record anytime can make for a interesting novelty. They also do events — which means the possibility of letting people create custom playlists and cut records of them at Input’s next party has just become increasingly likely.