T Bone Burnett Debuts New Audio Format That’s “The Pinnacle Of Recorded Sound” With Bob Dylan Re-Recordings

Jason Myers

T Bone Burnett Debuts New Audio Format That’s “The Pinnacle Of Recorded Sound” With Bob Dylan Re-Recordings

Jason Myers

T Bone Burnett has unveiled a new analog audio format that he’s calling “the pinnacle of recorded sound.” He teamed up with Bob Dylan, who re-recorded a number of his own songs, for what is being called an Ionic Original, a one-of-a-kind disc that apparently surpasses the sonic fidelity of existing formats like vinyl, CD, or streaming.

“An Ionic Original is the pinnacle of recorded sound,” Burnett said in a statement. “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 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.”

“When describing the quality that raises analogue sound above digital sound, the word ‘warmth’ is often used,” Burnett continued. “Analogue sound has more depth, more harmonic complexity, more resonance, better imaging. Analogue has more feel, more character, more touch. Digital sound is frozen. Analogue sound is alive.”

A press release notes that one of Burnett’s aims is to “reset the valuation of recorded music.” He’s formed a new company to do so called NeoFidelity, Inc., which plans to record and distribute future Ionic Originals.

So it’s kind of like a digital NFT but make it IRL. Or a collector’s item, if you will. Pono except that it’s disc. Or like the short-lived Super Audio CD?

This is not the first time that Burnett has dipped his toes into the high-fidelity experience. Back in 2008, he talked up the audio system Code, a disc that was meant to produced higher-quality sound on DVD players. At least one album, John Mellencamp’s Burnett-produced Life, Death, Love And Freedom, was released using the Code format, though it seems to have petered out soon after.

There’s no word on how much an Ionic Original will cost or how exactly they’ll be made available.

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