The obscure subculture of lathe-cut records—vinyl records hand-cut in real time by hobbyists and entrepreneurs—got a big shove towards the mainstream at the annual South By Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference, which presented the Vinylrecorder T-560, a Do-It-Yourself record-making machine that plugs into your CD player or laptop.
Highlighted in this year’s Wired SXSW Liveblog, the German-made Vinylrecorder T-560 is a vinyl enthusiasts looking to transfer their entire digital collection onto records. Purchased for 3,200 euros ($4,000 USD), you get a complete mechanic stereo cutter head with a diamond stylus, mono microscope 40x, and lamp, a 19-inch main unit with RIAA encoder, a groove controller, stylus heating regulation, regulated power supply and 10 10-inch blank discs. The price also comes with a free day of training on how to use the device in Germany (but you have to pay for your trip over there). Training is also available in the US for an additional charge.
Vinylrecorder’s Wesley Wolfe said the idea for the Vinylrecorder T-560 came from the need for updated vinyl records in a jukebox. The device is analog, and mechanically cuts the sound wave or groove into a blank vinyl record.
While the machine would allow users to cut their own limited runs of vinyl, unsurprisingly, its appearance was met with something less than enthusiasm from at least one boutique record manufacturer. UK-based The Vinyl Factory sniffed on its blog,
“Although the even less assuring “Made in Germany – No cheat” tagline on their homepage is unlikely to assuage your doubts, the idea itself, at least, is a nice one. Likewise, although the finished product looks like it was assembled in a garage with bits of Meccano and several tubes of UHU, these seem like extraordinary lengths to go to in order to scam what, let’s face it, is already a niche market.”