Yep, 3D Printed Records Sound Awful, But They're Still Pretty Awesome

If you don't recognize it, that's Daft Punk's Around the World playing off a plastic LP created with a high-resolution 3D printer. It sounds awful, even worse than AM radio ever did, but that's not what's really important here. The fact that it exists at all is what's neat, and it's another example of how we're just barely beginning to wrap our heads around the potential of 3D printers.

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The custom printed record was created by Amanda Ghassaei, a tech editor at Instructables, and she's actually posted a rather thorough tutorial on how it was made. But even with access to a top-of-the-line 3D printer with a resolution of 600 dpi and the ability to create layers just 16 microns thick, the plastic LP doesn't have anywhere near the detail of a record created through traditional methods. And that's why it sounds so incredibly terrible. Although, there's probably some audiophile out there who prefers the crackling lo-fidelity sound of 3D printed vinyl to MP3s.

Illustration for article titled Yep, 3D Printed Records Sound Awful, But Theyre Still Pretty Awesome
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[Instructables via Wired Design]

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DISCUSSION

MAKE2 Mifune

It only sounds awful because he's not using a magneto stabilized 20kg harmonically balanced plate, nor is he using a fossilized ancient redwood tone arm, balanced to the specific gravity of his latitude, longitude, and altitude. That kind of shit matters if you want a proper sound stage and to experience the warmth of how vinyl should sound.

Jokes aside, I wonder if one could make a playable record using an inkjet printer, simply using variations in amount of ink deposited. Granted, you would only want to play it using a throwaway cartridge.