Creating music samples with vinyl records

Music sampling has been done for years using different techniques. Currently samplers (either as a piece of hardware or as software) is the most extended tool for playing samples that can come from digital formatted music, live recording, vinyls or tapes. One of the most old techniques for sampling was cut&paste the audio tape. I love this video from Delia Derbyshire using reel-to-reel recording, creating loops by cut&pasting the audio tape, and sync the samples to create music.

Driven by my devotion for vinyls and analog processes (perhaps a bit of Dj wannabe too), and emulating the audio tape cut&paste technique, I tried to make the vinyl sampling a bit more analog – literally cut and paste pieces of vinyl to create samples.

I bought some second hand vinyl records, different music styles: Supertramp, Wagner, Paul Anka, Chicago, Lil Jon and some random ones to make the first tests. I spend a couple of hours browsing and listening to old records – I remember thinking “all projects should start like this”.

Back to the studio, I considered different options to cut the vinyls – it had to be a clean cut in order to minimize the resulting groove and therefore the stress on the stylus.

I first used a hot wire cutter – it took some time to set the right temperature so the wire cut but didn’t deform the vinyl. It was quite important to keep a constant speed to avoid undesired melting too. I cut a small sector with the idea of reversing it afterwards, so a song from Side A would have a sample from a song from Side B.

The piece fitted quite well in its natural position but not in its reverse position. I had to smooth it out with a file, but there was already a serious gap and V-shape groove pretty difficult to resolve.

So I jumped into the second attempt, using a blade. It took around 50 passes to cut one straight line.

I cut a radial sector, it was slightly better than the first trial (no melted material) but I had to remove a burr with a file and again, it created a tiny gap, big enough to scare the stylus.

Then I tried the laser cutter and things went better.

I made many tests to find the right laser power in order to get the cleanest cut possible. The best setting was to let the laser go through *almost* through the vinyl, and then crack manually the last thin layer (1). If the laser goes all the way through, it melts too much material and leaves a gap (2). If the laser doesn’t go enough deep, it’s pretty much impossible to take the piece out without creating an undesired crack (3).

Even if the laser is well calibrated, it always cuts creating a cone-shape cut. Using the first option the crack doesn’t take out any material or creates burrs on the bottom surface, so that surface is the one I used for playing the record afterwards. The top one always have a gap where the stylus would go in.

I made some tests with different sectors to analyze repeatability and the cut wasn’t totally consistent on different positions of the disc and even on different positions of a sector. I think it’s due to the difference in resolution of the laser head depending of the combinations of X and Y axis speeds.

These are sectors from the same record, already exchanged, seen from the laser cut side:

And this is seen from the bottom side, where the final layer is cracked. Aligning the surfaces properly the gap is almost not perceptible by the finger:

The first time I placed the record on the vinyl player for testing, I noticed that the sectors were too small and it was difficult to guess which sample was it. The transition wasn’t clean – when the stylus found the groove it created a low sound (similar than a bass drum).

I decided to cut larger sectors on different records and exchange them to create loops or tunes using samples from different albums. I cut these patterns:

I cut the same angle in the label area so after the sectors were exchanged, I can remember which samples contain every record.

 

I exchanged the sectors from 4 different records: Paul Anka, Supertramp, Lil Jon and Chicago. I selected these four from the once I bought since they have the same thickness (1,2mm). The pieces snapped pretty well on its new position but I secured them temporarily with tape, so I could adjust the height and make the surface as even as possible before playing the record.

 

This are some of the resulting albums:

I made a video containing part of the process and the result, playing the records in a vinyl player.

It’s possible to hear (and see) the the stylus jumping a little bit – that’s not good for the needle. However this bumps create a new beat over the unmatching beats of the two samples, and that helps to define a new rhythm. I thought about selecting specific samples and make them match perfectly but that would work only for one rotation, so it might be good for scratching but not for listening continuously – it’s quite difficult to find records that the beat corresponds with a revolution.

It’s been an interesting experiment with a really fun process. I knew it would be, having vinyls, music and lasers involved :)

 

 

68 Responses to “Creating music samples with vinyl records”

  1. Samples de sonido con discos de vinilo | Francesc Masana Says:

    [...] método analógico y artesanal empleado para hacer los muestreos se explica en Creating music samples with vinyl records, con un vídeo que muestra el proceso y algunos resultados del [...]

  2. Samples de sonido con discos de vinilo | Microsiervos (Música) Says:

    [...] método analógico y artesanal empleado para hacer los muestreos se explica en Creating music samples with vinyl records, con un vídeo que muestra el proceso y algunos resultados del [...]

  3. DougEgen.de » Blog Archive » Ishac Bertran’s Analog Vinyl Sampling (Video) Says:

    [...] Informationen gibt es bei Ishac Bertran Amazon.de [...]

  4. Vinyl sampling por Ishac Bertran | miniPLUG Says:

    [...] obtener el corte que necesitaba para que los samples tuvieran un sonido menos accidentado entre si, como explica en en su blog. El resultado y parte del proceso fué compilado en este video. [...]

  5. Analog Vinyl Sampling | Defgrip Says:

    [...] is a really interesting, ambitious and time consuming experiment that I’ve never seen before. Basically, Ishac Bertran cut out sections of one [...]

  6. Just find it out Says:

    allgreatmusic.com…

    ishback» Blog Archive » Creating music samples with vinyl records…

  7. .alca | producciones alcastudios blog Says:

    [...] Más info http://blog.ishback.com/?p=918 [...]

  8. Analog Vinyl Sampling | et voilà Says:

    [...] Das ganze Ergebniss kann man in seinem Video bestaunen. Seine Fotos und Videos  sind zu dem auch optisch sehr schön anzuschauen. Noch mehr Informationen über seine Arbeit und eine ausfürliche Erklärung findet ihr auf  Ishacs Blog. [...]

  9. Handmade! Non le vinyle n’est pas mort : mixez avec vos ciseaux! | Smashy Beats Says:

    [...] qu’il n’y a pas que la musique n’a pas toujours été numérique. Ishac Bertran, a créé un remix en utilisant quelques vinyle de sa collection et une paire de ciseaux. Une [...]

  10. TradeMark G. Says:

    Nicely done! Always wanted to see something like this happen but without computer guided cutting it was just too iffy. Old pal Greg Fernandez used to do a much messier version which he called “flogging”, which goes like this:

    Take a base record and put it on the turntable. Take a second record and break it — make sure the middle/spindle hole stays intact. Put that record on top of the base record. Play.

    Much like this project, the result is that you sometimes get a loop, or sometimes the tonearm advances as usual, or sometimes it’s less predictable. And yes, of COURSE it destroys the needle. Best to use a Califone, Fisher-Price, or similar record player made for grade school child abuse.

  11. Analog Vinyl Sampling – Platten zerschneiden und neu zusammensetzen | Spiegel Offline Says:

    [...] Idee: Ishac Bertran stellt alles auf den Kopf und bastelt echte Platten neu zusammen, anstatt die Sounds am Computer zu [...]

  12. Analog Vinyl Sampling « UGSMAG – Independent Hip Hop Magazine Says:

    [...] ishback via grandgood Tweet Read Related: Gear & Tech, Vinyl [...]

  13. wirklich witzig... - Seite 1449 - DJ - Deejayforum.de Says:

    [...] AW: wirklich witzig… /* */ Creating music samples with vinyl records [...]

  14. Abstract Hip-Hop Music» Blog Archive » Analog Vinyl Sampling Says:

    [...] ????? ????????? ?????????? ?????. [...]

  15. Vinyl Sampling: Von Vinyl zu Vinyl! Says:

    [...] Ishac Bertran Blog – Sampling Vinyl zu Vinyl, Was ist Sampling? Antwort auf [...]

  16. Analog Vinyl Sampling : Steelberry Clones Says:

    [...] Music sampling has been done for years using different techniques. Currently samplers (either as a piece of hardware or as software) is the most extended tool for playing samples that can come from digital formatted music, live recording, vinyls or tapes. One of the most old techniques for sampling was cut&paste the audio tape. I love this video from Delia Derbyshire using reel-to-reel recording, creating loops by cut&pasting the audio tape, and sync the samples to create music. More information here: blog.ishback.com/??p=918 [...]

  17. Muestreo experimental analógico con vinilos modificados. | Magesy R-Evolution Says:

    [...] Más información aquí:blog.ishback.com/??p=918 [...]

  18. GERGAZ NETLABEL » Analog Vinyl Sampling Says:

    [...] nástroj pre vyberanie kúskov z vinylu ako aj podrobnejší postup jeho práce nájdete na stránke A tu už je video ?asti postupu a výslednej [...]

  19. Vinyl Analog Sampling | viniloBCN Says:

    [...] es tiempo y paciencia. Básicamente, el diseñador con base en Dinamarca (nacido en Barcelona) Ishac Bertran lo que hace es recortar secciones de un registro y las reemplaza con secciones similares de otro LP [...]

  20. Analog Vinyl Sampling | Songcography.com Says:

    [...] Experimental analog sampling with modified vinyls. Sectors from a vinyl record are cut and replaced by pieces with exact shape from other records. When played in a vinyl player the needle follows the grooves from both sectors creating sampled tunes or loops. [...]

  21. Vinil + Laser Cutter = Analog Sampling | IdeaFixa - artes visuais, ilustração, design e fotografia Says:

    [...] 40 em diante. Mais informações sobre esse experimento, bem como o processo de tentativa e erro, aqui. Deixe seu comentário! Tags: analógico, laser cutter, sampling, vinil Clique [...]

  22. Waxy: vinyl analog sampling | Entertainment News: Movies Trailers, Reviews, Celebrity Gossip and News - Latest Celebrity News and Scandals Says:

    [...] cutting records and recording songs together to create new music [via] Daily Feeds Mashup http://blog.ishback.com/?p=918 Tags: analog, sampling, vinyl, [...]

  23. Rick Says:

    VINYLS is NOT a word. its VINYL, like FISH.

  24. Infovore » Links for October 3rd through October 4th Says:

    [...] ishback» Blog Archive » Creating music samples with vinyl records "Driven by my devotion for vinyls and analog processes (perhaps a bit of Dj wannabe too), and emulating the audio tape cut&paste technique, I tried to make the vinyl sampling a bit more analog – literally cut and paste pieces of vinyl to create samples." Cut & Paste with physical vinyl; bonus points for excellent Delia Derbyshire video. (tags: sampling vinyl lasercutting music records ) [...]

  25. Mental Transfer Relay » With a few vinyls and a laser cutter, Ishac… Says:

    [...] *NOTlabs [...]

  26. stephe Says:

    When you laser cut vinyl it make Methane gas, something to think about.

  27. peter Says:

    2 thoughts
    - how would it sound if you cut some spiral shapes, rather than going along the groove?
    - you’d probably like listening to Eric Copeland

  28. Mansunthemonkey Says:

    Nice work, wish I had time to do projects like this!

    Not sure if it’s been said in the comments, as most of them are in a language I can’t read, but an *almost* surefire way to tell if a record has one beat per revolution is to look at the vinyl. A spiral pattern will be present if the beat almost matches one revolution, with the spiral obviously getting tighter the more even the beat-to-revolution ratio gets. Seems to be most common in thick grooved 12″ house singles though…!

    Amazing post, love it! Thanks!

    Eddie.

  29. Rich Seymour Says:

    Christian Marclay has been doing this since the 80s, but not with the groove. Nice.

  30. Jan Says:

    can you cut PVC with a laser? always heard that you can’t cut PVC, cause the chlorine in the burning process will damage the machine.

  31. Creating music samples with vinyl records. « pegpost.com.br Says:

    [...] veja mais [...]

  32. Sony PS-F5, PS-F9 & Flamingo Portable Linear Tracking Turntables - Cuttin’ Vinyl Says:

    [...] (Read about the process of making this on Ishac’s site) [...]

  33. Some Old Vinyl Records + A New Laser Cutter = Amazingness | FEELguide Says:

    [...] Music sampling has always been right on the edge of music technology, but ironically Ishac Bertran has found a way to embrace a brand new technology in order to give a big wet kiss to to an older one.  By using a laser cutter, Bertran has developed a technique of cutting out radial segments of old vinyl records and replacing them exactly the same size replacement pieces from different records.  Yes I know what you’re thinking: why the hell didn’t I think of that?!  Take a look at the terrific demonstration video below to see what I’m talking about.  And for a more detailed explanation of Bertran’s technique be sure to visit his blog by CLICKING HERE. [...]

  34. Mikey Says:

    You should seek out records that are either 133.3bpm played at 33rpm or 90bpm played at 45rpm. Or at least fairly close to these tempos. Choosing these tempos will mean that you have a neat 2 or 4 beats per revolution of the disc and your new hybrid rhythms will feel less disjointed. Plenty of records in existence in this bpm range.

  35. Analog Vinyl Sampling | Adam Jones Says:

    [...] Read more about the process on Ishac’s blog. [...]

  36. Sampling Vinyl Records With a Laser Cutter Says:

    [...] designer Ishac Bertran created ingenious analog remixes by cutting pieces out of vinyl records with a laser cutter and placed those pieces into other [...]

  37. Stuart Says:

    Yep. Christian Marclay did it this stuff using a fine saw…. But he did many of his cut-up records with picture discs and colored vinyl.

  38. Ishac Bertran: Analog Vinyl Sampling « Things I like Says:

    [...] Project Page [...]

  39. claudiomoderini Says:

    FYI and for not reinventing again the wheel..check this out..LP cut-up and much more..Christian Marclay mini documentary – YouTube – goo.gl/JoSfo

  40. nobby Says:

    get a job

  41. Bob Says:

    nice crazy idea! “physical sampling/rearranging” would have been a more exact description of the process….

  42. Analog Vinyl Sampling | Hypecasted Says:

    [...] Check out the full scoop here. [...]

  43. ionoi » Blog Archive » ishback» Blog Archive » Creating music samples with vinyl records Says:

    [...] ishback» Blog Archive » Creating music samples with vinyl records. [...]

  44. The Awesomer Says:

    Analog Vinyl Sampling…

    By carefully laser-cutting, then mashing up segments of vinyl records, designer Ishac Bershan manages to make (crudely) sampled music without need for a digitizer – just an unhappy needle…….

  45. Väldigt analog sampling | iPortal Says:

    [...] blog.ishback.com [...]

  46. Analog sampling with a laser cutter « BuildLounge Says:

    [...] Bertran has done this very interesting job of creating sampled albums using a laser cutter. He had the idea, but cutting turned out to be the biggest issue. you can see from his blog that he [...]

  47. DiY Analog Vinyl Sampling // FILTER27— Electronic music blog, obscure grooves, vinyl culture. Says:

    [...] Creating music samples with vinyl records [ishback.com] [...]

  48. Video: Analog Vinyl Sampling | Tyson Williams Says:

    [...] designer Ishac Bertran created ingenious analog remixes by cutting pieces out of vinyl records with a laser cutter and placed those pieces into other [...]

  49. Analog Vinyl Sampling | PAMPIG Says:

    [...] Von Ishac Bertran. [...]

  50. DJ With a Laser Cutter « DinoRobo Says:

    [...] posted the entire procedure on his blog, along with notes on how he first experimented with a hot wire cutter and even a utility knife [...]

  51. ReasonsForYou Says:

    Does Girl Talk know about this yet?

  52. Analogue Vinyl Sampling | Wood for Trees Says:

    [...] Nice That reports: Ishac Bertran has taken the world of audio sampling back a few decades to a time before music went digital. Using [...]

  53. RAYONNA Says:

    VERY GOOD AT THE SAMPLES

  54. Emendando vinil, o sampling analógico | Update or Die Says:

    [...] informações no Blog do Ishac-ac-ac-ac-ac-ac-ac-ac [...]

  55. Matt Melnick Says:

    Can you elaborate on the laser cutter you used? Not sure I know what one is, what it looks like, or where to get one! Thanks. Great post.

  56. martin tétreault Says:

    wow !
    it remids me of my earlier experiences with records back in 1984.
    this is the cover of the fsirts album 1989
    http://www.actuellecd.com/fr/cat/am_017/

    bonne journée
    martin

  57. WWSh084 » L'Inaudible Says:

    [...] coffee, Walter’s piano, Walter’s mystery beatbox Analog vinyl sampling d’Ishac Bertran Dubstep Beatbox Dubstep : décryptage d’un phénomène musical chez MusikPlease Dubstep [...]

  58. Experimentation de sample modifié sur vinyle | Undressed Design Says:

    [...] Experimentation de sample modifié sur vinyle Par B.M. le nov 17, 2011 • 9 h 48 min Pas de commentaire Ishback Bertran expérimente la modification de vinyles pour créer des samples anlogiques. Il découpe et remplace certaines pièces du disque aux formes exactes ce qui crée des boucles et un changement de son lorsque l’aiguille suit les microsillons. Plus d’infos ici. [...]

  59. xoeve Says:

    Nicely done! Always wanted to see something like this happen but without computer guided cutting it was just too iffy. Old pal Greg Fernandez used to do a much messier version which he called “flogging”, which goes like this:

  60. Grubby Says:

    Mate you have way, way too much time on your hands!
    I’d rather be mixing with three decks!

  61. 100 Workout Says:

    Ishac – my hat is off to you for taking on an awesome project like this. You’re like a modern day Jean Michel Jarre… this is incredibly inventive and while might not have resulted in exactly what you wanted the first time around, if you nailed it with a few records it could absolutely light up a party. Nice work!

  62. Ravel Says:

    Very interesting. A mix of some vinyl art we can see (and buy) on the Net but with the sound. Redifinition of a musical puzzle.

  63. Giuliano Says:

    Tu sei malato! Lasciatelo dire. E curati! Secondo me uno come te ha la nonna a tocchetti nel congelatore. E non vede una figa dal giurassico! Ripigliati!

  64. music library Says:

    music library…

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  65. Music and Recording Says:

    Music and Recording…

    [...]ishback» Blog Archive » Creating music samples with vinyl records[...]…

  66. jpereira Says:

    This is simply impossible. It is impossible that you could cut the vinyl and align with those tools and that the needle does not skip. When you cut the vinyl with heat, melt the edges, you lose the continuity of the tracks and the needle jumps.
    Neither do I think you can have synchronized the drums of both songs because we are talking about microscopic precision and you are using toy tools!

  67. Stephano Says:

    great, so cool ….
    Technical question: what laser you used? what power? I am very interest to try this idea? thank you for answering me and I gave details. Greetings from Switzerland.
    Steph

  68. Christian Marclay / Ishac Bertran // Live Vinyl Sample Playback « the very very very Says:

    [...] recently came across a project by the multimedia artist Ishac Bertran who has developed an interesting way of making analogue remixes. In the post-mashup age of vinyl resurgence and exchange-shop excess, [...]

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