There are a few hit-job videos and reviews from some geniuses who tried out a broken LT... ("drop" ship, much?) Indeed, if the lasers are out of calibration, or if one fails to clean his records reasonably when dusty, pickup will suffer - but on clean, black vinyl pressings, the LT doesn't miss a wiggle and, best of all, can't scratch the grooves...
From Bill Gaw: "...There is significantly less background noise, both from the loss of groove hiss and amplification noise, thus more ambience and air is discernible. Alas, the increased noise from clicks and pops can be disconcerting. Thus, pristine records will sound pristine and less than pristine records may be more difficult to listen to. Turning on the noise control, while reducing the clicks, will deaden musical transients that are about as sharp as I have ever heard from vinyl.
"The ELP picks up every bit of musical information in the groove. The most difficult information for a pickup system to obtain is the micro-information including the air around the instruments, the ambience of the hall, and the high frequency overtones of the instruments that are all captured on the smallest of the groove modulations. This is the ELP's major strength as the laser has a significantly smaller contact area than anything except those needles with a super fine line. The laser also reacts at the speed of light to the modulation changes, as it has no inertia. Another benefit is that it has the advantage of no force on the groove yielding no chance of damage..."
Listen to the nice-sounding (and "doing-no-harm") playback of even a digital capture on ELP's YouTube clip. The LT sounds great.
(Jump ahead to 7:13 for vinyl audition.)
Prior art did lead to this machine, but this isn't your uncle's Finial. The ELP's development wasn't completed until 1997. These are 5-laser players that benefit from not being "mounted to a pivot point," since that always creates mis-tracking for most of the effective radius of a side. The laser pickups don't need to touch the groove: two of the five lasers are devoted to scanning the two groove walls so that the two pickup lasers are always pin-pointed over either side of the centerline. The fitth laser adjusts depth for less than ideally-flat pressings. The depth of scanning is also adjustable to avoid previously-marred areas of stylus contact for pressings previously played on less-than-ideal "manglers".. It must be used intelligently, but results (on non-damaged examples) are laudable.