New is old again: How to turn MP3s back into records

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To every thing, turn, turn turn….and when there’s a time to dance, put on a record, not an iPod.

For the daring or the curious,the Instructables website has instructions for converting today’s modern MP3 files into old-timey records.

Audiophiles often argue that the warmth and high fidelity of records trumps modern digital file formats. That’s not the advantage here, however; the author of the guide notes that the records he created are lower quality, with a sampling rate of 11kHz (one quarter of a typical MP3) with a 5-6 bit resolution, while MP3 audio is 16 bit.

But the song is clearly recognizable, if grainy, and for retro lovers or just a fun weekend project, it’s intriguing.

“This project was my first experiment extending this idea beyond electronics,” the author explained. He printed the records on a UV-cured resin printer called the Objet Connex500, using a custom-written program to automatically convert the ones and zeroes of the audio file into peaks and valleys on a record.

“It works by importing raw audio data, performing some calculations to generate the geometry of a record, and eventually exporting this geometry straight to the STL file format (used by all 3D printers).”

Intrigued? Learn more, or try it out yourself -- if you’re feeling brave.