Auric Illuminator, Optrix, others

Recently bought duplicate CDs to try some CD enhancers which have been getting some outragious reviews of significant improvement in sound by improving data read off CD surface. After carefull comparison I must say I prefer untreated CD. The sound is slightly altered with treatments, usually sounding "smoother" however this was accomplished by obscuring fine musical detail, especially treble detail. I want more detail and nuance, not less. I do not have $20,000 plus systems most reviewers have, but my $7,000 system based on Musical Fidelity X-Ray is fully capable of detailed presention. Also magazines perpetuate the notion that there are many CD tweaks (CD mats, blackout pens, surface sprays etc) that you must have to improve sound.....has anyone else done careful comparison with duplicate CDs to study effects of various treatments?
My only experiments here have been with the Bedini Clarifier and the AudioPrism Blacklight. I will not comment about the Bedini right now because I have not used it in a while. But your comments match very closely with my experience with the AudioPrism Blacklight. The Blacklight changes the sound alright. The beneficial effect is to increase warmth, but at the cost of slowing and obscuring leading edge or transient detail. So I no longer use the Clarifier. My philosophy concerning using tweaks to voice a system is first of all avoiding components that mean the final voicing has to fix too many colourations in the first place. Then use tweaks which enhance the performance of the components rather than attempt to ameliorate their faults, since the later is not really possible, you can only mask them. Finally there are the tweaks which do the final voicing in terms of the character of the sound. And here you want to use things that act as close to pure filters as possible, as opposed to things that have an impact on the sound by adding time-based distortions (some technologist will tell me that these are the same thing - no doubt - but I mean smearing). So if I want to warm up the sound of a system I reject products like the Blacklight because the warmth comes at an unacceptable price. There are other ways of getting that warmth without loss of immediacy and impact, or PRAT, or dynamics, or transient speed, or however else you choose to describe it. But sometimes the final tweaks cannot achieve this, and the cause is usually your choice of components, and tweaks cannot fix this problem.
Red, all good points you make. My collection of CD enhancers is not a total loss though. I will use "auric illuminator" on any CDs I have which have a very bright recording (usually a rock/alternative recording ) and here the "smoothing" effect is beneficial and makes recording closer to nuetral and more enjoyable to listen to. Most Cds I have are not bright, and these will get no treatment because I want maximum detail retrival. BTW I got Blacklight disc few years ago and noticed no benefit to sound.
Yes Megasam. I think that getting a revealing system and then using the CD tweak to make it less revealing (or smoother, or warmer) when the source demands is probably the ideal way to go.
When I upgraded my system, over half my cd's sounded terrible (especially rock, etc). The system was so detailed that it wasn't forgiving of poorly recorded cd's. I thought I'd never listen to over half my cd collection. I tried the Auric Illuminator, because if you didn't like the results you can wash it off, and it only cost $39. It worked fairly well. In matter of fact, the treated cd's sounded great in my car's cd player. The Auric Illuminator isn't the perfect solution, but for the price it brought back most of my poorly recorded cd's to a listenable level.
Tried both Auric and Optrix. Optrix provides more detail from untreated CD with no "highlighting" of any frequencies that I can detect, while Auric appears (in my system) to obscure some detail from midrange through treble. I use only Optrix, now. John
i use compact disc's not really an enhancer,but true no residue cleaner.i find after cleaning more detail,better ambient background,truer bass definition-never loose information- always seem to hear more of every frequency.only 16.00 a bottle-cable company.
Redkiwi-- or anyone; What is PRAT? Thanks, Craig
PRAT = Pace, Rhythm and Timing
Great info guys, I bet Garfish would have got it had it been acronymned correctly PRaT.
Some more detailed info about my comparisons. Using duplicate Cds, when testing Optrix I heard no significant difference in sound when compared to untreated CD, so if you use Optrix you will have clean CD but I hear no real difference. Auric Illuminator did slightly change the sound making it "smoother" more laid back. I won't say it obscured fine details, but it rounded the sharp edges a bit, making a more relaxed sound but less pointed dynamic contrasts. I will use it on very bright recordings like the remastered David Bowie "Ziggy Stardust" as the smoothing effect makes this CD more enjoyable. But most of my Cds will get no treatment as I want to preserve full dynamic contrast and detailing. Neither product changed 3D soundstaging to any noticable degree.
Thanks Shawn re: PRAT. And Jking... don't know if I would have figured it out or not; I can be pretty dense-- but that is an important one to know. Megasam; on Tsquared's recommendation, I got a bottle of Optrix and treated two CDs that I was very familiar with. It seemed to me that the only really noticeable difference was improved smoothness, but of course you don't always want improved smoothness as dynamics are decreased as you noted. I suppose too that it is somewhat system dependent, ie if your system is a little edgy, you may want to treat just about everything. I decided that I would only use Optrix selectively. Craig