Wednesday, September 08, 2010
The presentation of the name all in capitals indicates it's an acronym (or bacronym) Somtimes on the dot gov site it's even presented as I.R.E.N.E. It stands for Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc. Following that theme, the test record the Library of Congress samples to display he fucntion of IRENE is a 1950s 78 "Goodnight Irene" performed by the Weavers. More here and here.
This turntable is barely a turntable. This turntable doesn't even turn, it doesn't spin the record. It doesn't even have a needle or anything I'd call a tone arm. Instead, it operates optically, not with a lazer but with a camera. It captures 2 dimensional images record grooves making a map of the entire groove surface. Software then uses that data to reconstruct the sound. When a fleck of lint might make a traditional record "pop" or a scratch cause it to skip, IRENE reads right over it and lets the software reconstruct the best possible sound. It can even play broken records. the best part is that since it doesn't touch the record, it does not contribute to further wear leaving the best possible master for future attempts at playback.