While the big streaming services are currently adopting the benefits of lossless listening and Dolby Atmos, T Bone Burnett is taking a very different approach to audio innovation. The Grammy Award-winning American producer and guitarist with Bob Dylan’s band in the 1970s is obsessed with analogue sound.
T Bone Burnett has recently completed a series of special studio sessions with Bob Dylan, during which the singer-songwriter revisited some of his most iconic songs. The results of these sessions will be released as Ionic Originals, newly developed discs that represent “the first breakthrough in analogue sound reproduction in more than 70 years”.
To mark the release of this new disk format, Burnett has formed a new company, NeoFidelity, which will focus on recording artists across a wide range of genres and serve as the distribution platform for the Ionic Originals.
The new disk format is an aluminium disc painted with lacquer that holds a spiral groove that loops from the outside towards the centre. In other words, it’s a lot like a vinyl record. The only pictures released by Burnett show him holding what looks like an oversized CD with grooves clearly visible on its surface.
Details from the press release can be read below:
“An Ionic Original is the pinnacle of recorded sound. It is archival quality. It is future-proof. It is one of one. Not only is an Ionic Original the equivalent of a painting, it is a painting. It is lacquer painted onto an aluminium 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.
“When describing the quality that raises analogue sound above digital sound, the word ‘warmth’ is often used. Analog sound has more depth, more harmonic complexity, more resonance, and better imaging. Analog has more feel, more character, and more touch. Digital sound is frozen. Analog sound is alive.”
The first release(s) will be some newly recorded Bob Dylan originals. Other than that, there is very little information at present.