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Vinyl records are coming back to our lives slowly. As an analog music medium it is been used for more than 70 years. If you are curious about how a vinyl record works, here it is briefly.

The vinyl recording starts with making a groove on the master disc which will then be reproduced. The groove is the bumps and dips on the surface of the disc which is a mechanical representation of the waveform. This wave is not much different than the digital version that we are used to see on any DAW. Sound vibrations are transmitted as a groove with the help of a needle (screw). Image below shows a screw in action.

vinyl detail

The needle prints the waveform on the disc with a spiral motion. This way all the recording is transported to the disc continuously. As you would guess, the bass sounds has the deepest cut as their mechanical impact is huge. When you zoom in really hard, this is how a groove looks like.


When you put a record on a player, the needle retraces the groove with bumps and dips to recreate the music recorded. Needle is attached to a magnet, and as the rotation begins currents are generated and transferred to speakers after being magnified. One last funny thing is the classic crackle noise every vinyl outputs. This is simply the friction between the needle and the groove.

This whole analog (organic) process explains why a vinyl sounds warm and charming. This lovely video below reveals this process in more detail.

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