As a reflection on the transitions between physical and digital media, I decided to convert a physical vinyl copy of Daft Punk’s ‘Around the World’ into a digital audio format on both Youtube and Soundcloud.
Basically what’s happening here is the record (consisting of one long, spiral groove towards the center) spins on the platter, and the needle at the end of the tonearm is tracking the groove. This needle oscillates side to side at the same frequency as the sound which was recorded to it (if you look at a vinyl groove under a microscope it pretty much looks like the soundwave itself is embedded in the vinyl). The needle contains a magnet which is moving in relation to a coil in the cartridge (I can’t explain this part in much more detail because I pretty much failed Physics) which converts the side-to-side movement of the needle into an electrical signal. This signal is then transferred to a pre-amp, which is really just an equalizer to lower the high frequencies and boost the bass frequencies, as it’s hard to fit low bass frequencies in the small grooves of a record. The signal from the pre-amp then heads to the amplifier (all speakers that require power have an amplifier built in), which dramatically boosts the signal of all frequencies (as the signal from the turntables cartridge and consecutively the pre-amp are very, very quiet). Finally, this electrical signal is applied to the speaker cones, causing them to vibrate in tune with the recording and create the soundwaves which go to your face holes. I’m sorry if this example is confusing, I tried :p
This video itself is an interesting example of media transformation, as this song was in a digital form to start with, due to the nature of its production. So the digital track was converted to an analog sound to be recorded to the vinyl, which was then transformed back into a digital format by the turntable’s ADC (analog to digital converter) to be sent to the computer via USB. Media transformation at its finest!
This is the 12″ single of Around the World from 1997, played on a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable with the Ortofon OM 10 cartridge and captured in Audacity via the turntable’s USB output.
This video is super interesting to watch if you want to learn more about how vinyl records are made.
This is my second original YouTube video post.