A new machine offers users the ability to cut their own 10″ vinyl records instantly.
The $1,212 Phonocut is expected to arrive in December 2020, though it’s available for pre-order now. Its co-creator, Florian “Doc” Kaps, said that simplicity was at the core of its operation.
“It has to be idiot-proof,” he told Wired. “Even I myself should be in a position to cut the records. … Digital has a big problem … it’s not real. You can very easily access it, but you only can see it or you can hear it. You can never lick it, you cannot smell it and you can’t touch it. We human beings do have these five senses. And at the end of the day, we need all these five senses to fall in love, to feel happy, to build trust.”
The Phonocut hopes to solve that problem by allowing users to cut records in real time. They can feed music to the 18-pound lathe while playing it; a diamond stylus will etch the sound wave onto the disc, with around 15 minutes of playing time on each side.
Kaps said he hoped the machine would contribute to the increase vinyl interest over recent years. “People love records, but they don’t know anything about how they are produced,” he said. “We have to inspire them to think about it and raise their awareness for the possibilities of what they can do with it.”
“When people are making these records, it’s about the meaning of them, the emotional process,” said co-creator KamranV, who suggested one use could be making custom “mixtapes” for friends.”It was the idea of making it and then taping it in real time and giving it to someone. That’s the same emotion that we dream of this machine bringing for others.”
Kaps insisted the Phonocut project wasn’t an artistic endeavor. “We really want to change the world of the music industry and offer a new option,” he noted. “It will never replace streaming or anything, but it will inspire people to create real beautiful, tangible pieces of music again.”
A Kickstarter campaign, which will offer the Phonocut at the discount price of $1,100, launches on Oct. 15.