Tokyo (Japan) - Leave it to the Japanese to take the old and neglected vinyl record albums and literally blast them into the 21st century. Japan-based ELP Corporation has released the LT-1LRC laser turntable which uses not one, not two, but five lasers to read the pits and grooves on records. Record collectors shouldn’t have to worry about any damage because the lasers harmlessly bounce off the pits and grooves of the record - something that can’t be said for the traditional record needle.
Grooves are tracked by aiming a laser for both the left and right sides of the groove. Two other lasers read the music, while the last laser measures the height to help cope with warped records. ELP claims that the lasers have one-fourth the contact area of a stereo needle and twenty-six times less than a mono needle. The smaller contact area means the lasers can pick up readings from damaged grooves that have been ground down by other record players.
The laser turntable will even read signals from dirt and dust, so ELP recommends that the records must be "absolutely clean and free of debris."
Anyone who has owned an old-fashioned record player knows the problem that loud speakers can cause : Sound waves from the speaker can feedback into the player and cause the needle to skip. The tracking lasers on the laser turntable negate that problem and ELP dares you to, "pound the table" with a fist to test out the player.
The player has been available in Japan for a few years and is now being released to the US and Canada. Three models are offered for LPs, 45 RPM and 78 RPM records with prices starting at $15,000. You will be saddened to hear that shipping is not included and the purchaser is responsible for import duties and sales tax. However, ELP does throw in a free remote control.