American record producer and singer-songwriter T-Bone Burnett has announced a brand-new analogue disc music medium called “Ionic Originals.”
Burnett claims that the Ionic’s sound quality surpasses that of compact discs and vinyl. The medium will also beat the sound quality of digital streaming, he says. Each disc is manufactured by painting lacquer onto an aluminum disc, while the sound is etched on it in a spiral.
Ionic discs are able to achieve such high sound quality by combining a vinyl record’s PVC plastic, which has no metal components, with a CD’s polycarbonate plastic and metal layer (usually aluminum). According to experts, it appears that the discs are produced through a merging of traditional vinyl manufacturing and how sound engineers create metal “stampers” to press the records.
Stampers are mainly used as masters for mass duplication. Because they are usually made in small numbers, consumers rarely are able to purchase any.
In a written press release, Burnett calls the Ionic “the pinnacle of recorded sound” and compares each disc to a painting. “Not only is an Ionic Original the equivalent of a painting,” he says. “It is lacquer painted onto an aluminum disc, with a spiral etched into it by music. This painting, however, has the additional quality of containing that music, which can be heard by putting a stylus into the spiral and spinning it.”