The Laser Turntable Advantage

The Master Tape and The Laser Turntable

When a vinyl record is made, the original sound of the master tape is engraved in the vinyl. Only a select few, professional sound engineers, musicians, and record producers ever have an opportunity listen to the original sound of the master tape. This is because it is impossible for the needle of a conventional turntable to reproduce that sound due to the distortion that occurs when the needle comes in contact with the grooves. Since there is no contact between the laser and the record, the laser reproduces the original sound without this distortion, and without any damage to the record.

The Laser Sound

The laser reads the audio information engraved on the wall of the groove, and can read the signal in the upper reaches of the groove wall, something that is impossible for a needle to do. This area is never touched by the needle and has no wear. The laser reads the audio signal with much greater precision than any needle, making the laser sound quite similar to the original music on the master tape — acknowledged by professional sound engineers in Japan. The Laser Turntable (LT) brings musicians and analog music lovers excitingly closer to the master tape, revealing the beauty of analog music captured in vinyl records.

The performance of the Laser Turntable means No Needle, No Wear. The LT features an absolutely contact-free optical pickup system. Play a record thousands of times with no damage to the record. Get the same sparkling sound on the thousandth play as on the first play.

The Laser Turntable allows you to:

  • Play your vinyl records without damaging them.
  • Discover great new analog sound in your vinyl records.
  • Play damaged records with better results than a needle.
  • Have the convenience, control, and safety of playing vinyl records just like a modern CD player (the record is contained inside the machine, and with a remote control (sold separately) you can click to play any track while the LT tells you the elapsed and remaining times).

The Laser Turntable has Five Laser Beams

  • The first two beams aim at the left and right shoulders of the groove for tracking.
  • The next two read the stereo sound at 10 microns below the shoulder (the standard position).
  • The final beam maintains the height between the laser head and the surface of record, to manage thicker or warped records.

The Laser Reads New Audio Information

  • The same audio information is engraved from the shoulder to the bottom of a record groove. Audio information read by the laser is 10 microns below the shoulder (see below). Therefore, the laser is picking up audio information which never been touched or possibly damaged by a needle. It plays the virgin audio information on the groove without an digitization.
Laser beam diagram

This diagram illustrates how the tiny laser beams from the LT read the walls of the groove compared to a standard monaural stylus.

Laser Beam Position is Easily Adjusted

Occasionally, audio information read at the standard laser position is seriously damaged due to wear from a very big needle. In this instance, you can adjust the laser position up or down using a button on the LT's front panel in order to enjoy better sound quality (this is called the VSO system).

Mechanically-Independent Left and Right Lasers

These lasers can reproduce true superior stereo separation, greater than the capability of a cutter at all frequencies.

Continuous Turntable Speed Control

Control 0.1 RPM steps throughout the 30 to 50 RPM range for LP's and 45s on the LT-1LRC. The LT-11XRC and LT-1XRC models that play 78s also offer a 0.2 RPM step control over the 60 to 90 RPM range.

Superb Fidelity

The incident area of the laser beam on the groove is only one-fourth the contact area of the best stereo needle and twenty-six times smaller than a mono needle (see below). That's why the laser beam reads everything – including dirt and dust in addition to the audio signal – in the groove, so the vinyl record must be absolutely clean and free of debris.

The incident area of the laser beam on the groove is only one-fourth the contact area of the best stereo needle and twenty-six times smaller than a mono needle.

True Analog Playback

The laser beam travels to the wall of the groove and back. The reflection angle is transferred to the audio signal, meaning that the LT maintains analog sound through the entire process, without any digitization. As a result, the LT cannot differentiate between an audio signal or dirt on the record. To keep your records clean and improve the overall audio signal, we recommend a record vacuum cleaner.

No Sound Coloration

Any kind of cartridge contacts a record groove, so it cannot reproduce sound without some coloration. Additionally, cantilever resonance, moving coils and magnets, inertia and mass, and tone arm resonance all produce their own sound coloration. Therefore, some cartridges may be suited to jazz or classical music. However, the LT has no contact and therefore no coloration added, so the audio reproduction is as close as possible to the master tape.

No Acoustic Feedback or Sound Alteration

Feedback is typically caused by sound from your speakers (or from elsewhere) reaching the turntable and mechanically picking up the vibrations, to be amplified again. No needle "singing." The LP is safely in a drawer and the laser reads only the undulations of the groove. No need for elaborate vibration isolation pads and "gizmos." The LT will not hear outside noises such as footsteps on the floor, door slamming, or other vibrations in the area. To demonstrate this, pound the table on which the LT rests with your fist. Nothing but the music on the groove is heard on the playback system or transfer to CD.

Plays Warped and Rippled Records (Up to 5mm Deviation)

In some cases, the LT plays even broken records when all the pieces are placed on a tray without tape or glue.

The ELP Laser Turntable is the Pefect Choice For...

  • National, State & Local Universities/Schools
  • Libraries
  • Record Repositories
  • Musical Societies

As well as...

  • Professional Studios: to transfer records to digital for commercial release.
  • Archivists: to restore old and valuable recordings.
  • Institutions: to do research on rare recordings and preserve the content by transferring to another medium.
  • Serious Record Collectors: who want the best music reproduction without damaging the record.
  • Hobbyists: to transfer records to CD, and who especially want every nuance and detail from the recording.
  • Record Stores: which sell rare records and wish to demonstrate the disc quality to consumer.
  • Anyone who loves vinyl, 45s, and 78s. There is so much great recorded music that will never appear on CD.

There is only one Laser Turntable. There is nothing else like it in the world. Finally hear what is REALLY on the record!

contact: chiba@elpj.jp

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Reported by
Sanju Chiba,President & CEO
ELP Corporation, Japan
Conatct: chiba@elpj.jp

Copyright © ELP Corporation, Japan, 1997 – Present