What Would a Wooden Record Sound Like? Someone Found Out by Laser-Cutting a Few
A few months ago we showed you Instructables Tech Editor Amanda Ghassaei’s 3D-printed records. Ghassaei is at again, but this time she’s favoring wood to 3D-printed plastic. Ghassaei has created records by laser-cutting pieces of maple wood. These wooden records sure look beautiful, but how do they sound?
As you can probably guess — they don’t sound great. Like her 3D-printed records, these wooden laser-cut versions are more of an experiment about what is possible rather than an attempt to best vinyl. Due to the limitations of the the wood and lasers involved, the grooves are significantly larger than vinyl records, and the turntable has to be set to 33.3 RPM just to be able to fit one song per side.
Once the needle hits the wood you hear significant ambient noise, but you do also hear the song. It’s recognizable as music for a while, but as the needle approaches the center, quality falls off in a big way. By the end of the song, you’re essentially just listening to noise.
Here’s the wooden version of Radiohead’s “Idioteque”:
I was just explaining this article to a friend, and when I mentioned that the records don’t sound very good, she said they’d probably look nice on her wall. I think she’s right. I might not listen to a wooden version of my favorite songs, but I’d probably frame one.