The past few weeks have been pretty exciting for us. Mid of December we tried for the first time ever to press HD Vinyl! During the year we prepared for this milestone by taking several steps:
- Mid of this year we implemented a new scanner and stagecontroller for our laser. We are now able to seamlessly cut the ceramic plate and produce smooth grooves.
- Together with an expert tool maker we developed a prototype for the mold. It uses vacuum to hold the ceramic stamper in the pressing machine.
- The concept of our Perfect Groove software was presented at Making Vinyl in Berlin. The software is being developed together with mastering expert Scott Hull from Masterdisk. First market feedback was very positive with studios requesting to use the software as a quality control tool in their standard mastering process.
- We added four more people in reasearch and software development to our team and started planning of a production facility at our premises.
Results of first test pressing
With the mold prototype and several ceramic stampers in our bags, we headed mid of December to a pressing plant. It was time to attempt for the very first time to press HD Vinyl.
The mold was easily attached and the stamper was successfully fixed with the vacuum. Thermal cycling tests showed that the ceramic stamper withstood the changes from room temperature to over 170°C (350°F) and back.
However, the mold deformation during the pressing cycle requires a slight redesign of the vacuum suction for keeping the stamper fully attached under heat. This will take more time than anticipated and thus we have to revise the time to market.
Roadmap to first HD Vinyl release
Once we are satisfied with the achieved HD-Vinyl quality, we will start planning for a release date together with label partners.