Believe It Or Not, Russian Hackers Are Trying To Save The Vinyl Album Sound

vinyl Russian hackers on Bobby Owsinski's Production BlogEven skeptics agree that once you’ve heard a recording on a well-cut piece of vinyl, it’s hard to go back to listening to anything else, especially to the digital streams that we’re all now used to.  The problem with vinyl is that it’s not all done well, sometimes using inferior vinyl, and that it ultimately begins wears out after not much more than a handful of plays. Still, even with the pops and clicks of worn vinyl, there’s still something inherently pleasant about listening to vinyl that we’d all love to capture. Now a group of Russian hackers are doing just that, even though it’s definitely violating international copyright laws.

A duo calling themselves AudioPhil track down the best sounding vinyl editions of iconic albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Presence and The Beatles‘ White Album and Abbey Road to play them through an audiophile analog signal chain, digitize them, and then spend months cleaning them up by removing any clicks and pops. The “digital prints” are then posted on RuTracker, an illegal Russian torrent site that hosts pirated films, music, software and books.

Since all albums are posted free of charge to anyone who might be interested, this venture is done entirely out of passion for the music, as it normally costs the duo thousands of dollars and untold hours of time, according to this Wired article. .

The AudioPhil project is “much more than just digitisation”, says the partner known online as Shurup74. The process includes restoration and mastering, which results in “a full-fledged phonogram with carefully restored sound and tonal balance. Considering how many outstanding phonograms were damaged by time, were digitised with low quality and destroyed, and are losing their integrity after each use, it makes sense to revive them and try to save them in high resolution.”

It’s not like there are tons of people downloading these files. AudioPhil’s version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon has a file size of about 2GB and has been downloaded only about 22,000 times. Given the fact that the album is said to have sold as many as 45 million, the Floyd members aren’t exactly losing another Ferrari in the matter.

Still, it’s hard to condone someone pirating music, even though their hearts seem to be in the right place. Maybe someday we’ll be thanking them for this.

Crash Course Access
Spread the word