It’s vinyl Jim… but not as we’ve known it!

Evovinyl arrives – a plant-based PVC substitute

By Roy Gregory

Marc Carey of Evovinyl developers, Evolution Music (Left) and Pete Thomas of PMC (Right)

A press-release from UK loudspeaker manufacturer PMC arrived today, announcing the company’s investment in a new, environmentally-friendly substitute for the PVC used to press vinyl records. Decried for its appalling ecological impact by environmentalists, an alternative medium for pressing LP records is a major step towards sustaining analogue disc production, making this seriously good news.

Five-years in development, Evovinyl is finally ready for prime time. Like existing vinyl formulations it can be formulated in different colours, including black, with the added advantage that it can also be pressed at lower temperatures, an attractive additional energy saving for record plants. The material even naturally dissipates static, making discs less attractive to dust and it can also be used for moulding plastic parts for other applications, such as parts for drive units or cosmetic trims, locating cradles or extension beams for electrical components or rotary controls.

The press release suggests that when it comes to LPs, performance is indistinguishable from conventional vinyl pressings, something that seems frankly unlikely, given the mechanical nature of analogue disc replay. But that certainly doesn’t mean that Evovinyl discs will sound worse. They will almost certainly sound different and may sound better, but comparisons might prove difficult, as few commercial releases are going to be offered pressed in both materials, while ‘special’ comparison discs are always going to be fraught with problems.

With one major pressing plant already signed up to switching all production to the new, plant-based material and major artists interested in seeing their music pressed on it, it looks like analogue disc can look forward to a petrochemical-free future, which has to be good news on many different levels. It looks like the future’s bright: the future’s green – or black, or orange, or pink…

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