Mesmerizing video captures record needle riding microscopic music grooves

You've never seen Bach like this before.

 

Mike Wehner

Tech

Published Jun 19, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 1:09 pm CDT

Music has magical powers—if you don’t believe me, just ask this kid—and the way a relatively low-tech device like a record player creates it can be equally mystifying. Using a scanning electron microscope, Applied Science has created a fantastic breakdown the technology, complete with stunning videos of a record needle performing its all-important task.

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Applied Science

Most people know that a record player reads its data via the groves in a vinyl record, but you’ve probably never seen the process play out at a microscopic level. 

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That’s because making a video like this isn’t as simple as just sticking a record player into an electron microscope chamber. It’s a complicated process of not only cutting the scanned objects down to size, but also coating everything in a conductive substance so that it actually shows in the scan. 

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In case you’re wondering just what musical masterpiece you’re watching play out at the micro scale, it’s Bach. Now don’t you feel classy? 

Screengrab via Applied Science

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*First Published: Jun 19, 2015, 12:10 pm CDT