You must have been speaking with Rick Schultz of Electronic Visionary Systems. If you haven't check out his website: tweakaudio.com - he is truly the king of tweaks. Great guy and really know his shit cold.
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There have been numerous threads here about CD tweaks/treatments like Auric Illuminator and Optrix. I use the Illuminator and really like it; am not familiar with optrix but know that there are many out there who are very positive on it. Here's a cheap total system tweak I read about on Audio Asylum a couple of weeks ago. Go to an auto parts store and buy some dielectric tune up grease (from $3 to $15) and apply a fine film of it on all power connections (DO NOT apply to signal connections such as spades, bananas or interconnect RCA's!) such as prongs on male ends of power cords and female iec's (just use a q-tip or toothpick to put a little of the grease into the openings and connect up!). This supposedly helps to maximize electrical contact and prevents arcing etc. I thought the result was pretty good in terms of quieter background, smoother delivery of the music etc. In my opinion, much better than XLO's TPC which Jonathan Scull raved about in Stereophile a few years ago. A nice cheap tweak!
Sanding or smoothing the edges can only achieve so much. I too was skeptical of all of this stuff ( I do NOT believe in "green marker mumbo jumbo") until i tried the Audio Desk Systeme. You know, the "CD circumsizer". It's a motorized platter with a variable speed control ( up to 9000 rpm's ) and an arm equipped with a tapered blade on it. You clamp the CD in place TIGHTLY and proceed to motor the disc up to speed while applying light pressure with the cutting arm. This does several things to the CD. First of all, it actually trues the disc. You would not believe how much "wobble" some of these discs have from the manufacturer. It also removes any burrs or rough edges. It also adds a downard taper to the edge of the disc. All of this adds up to a disc that is better balanced, has less diffraction / reflection problems while offering quicker data retrieval / read times. The results were a great improvement in terms of detail and resolution with a decrease in upper midrange / lower treble glare. Bass was also cleaner and especially improved on "muddy" or "murky" recordings. Pace actually seemed to pick up after cutting these discs especially, probably due to the bass not dragging any more. We tried this using several duplicate discs within the same system and came up with pretty consistent results. My girlfriend, who thinks all of this stuff is "goofy", noticed the difference right away. She told me that i better NEVER cut any of her discs before we did a few comparisons. After we did the first few comparisons using duplicate discs that i had and she heard the difference, she asked me to cut one of hers that she listened to all the time. She is no longer afraid to cut her discs and now thinks differently of SOME of my tweaks. Sean >
Sean, Cable Co has been trying to convince me to get the Audio Desk CD lathe but it is a very expensive tweak and obviously irreversable if you change your mind. Sanding the edges of CD is similar to blackening edges, trying to minimize light scatter. I am very positve about Auric Illuminator after testing several similar products using duplicate CDs. I also like to demagnitize using Bedini II. The ultimate tweaked CD according to Cable Co is Audio Desk Lathe/Furutech RD-1 (demag)/Auric Illuminator triple treatment.......BTW if you get duplicate CDs you can send one to Cable Co and they will but it on A.D. lathe and return it to you, Sam
Sam, I have a Bedini Ultra Clarifier and Auric Illuminator also. I will say that the Bedini does work, but not for a long time. As to the Auric Illuminator, i haven't tried it yet even though i've had it for at least a month or so. I have to give it a shot and see what i think. I came to much the same thought process though as what you suggested. I ASSUMED that putting all three of these things together should work quite well. As to the Audio Systeme piece, i picked mine up locally at Music Direct. I know that the Cable Company takes these back in on return occasionally and sells them for considerably less than new price. If you email me, i'll get back to you tonight and fill you in on what i know about it. As to doing discs and having it be "irreversible", that is "kinda" true. You can always flatten the edges again by using a different blade. You also don't want to do discs that are overtly thin sounding. Like anything else, you learn what works and what doesn't. Sean >
Sean, you must try Auric, especially useful on your typical rock/alt CD which don't have the best recording to begin with. Will make them much more listenable on high resolutiuon system......I think I will hold off on A.D. CD lathe for now, I may send Cable Co a test CD to trim as I have some duplicate CDs just to test tweaks vs original.
monroemed, you might try home depot or loews. course, if you wanna ruin your perfectly adaquate cd's on the absolute cheap, just take 'em outside, put 'em on the sidewalk, label side up, place your nike-clad feet on each, then do the hokey-pokey. i guaranty ya you'll hear the results on your next play. and it's a completely free tweek! 'cept for the nikes.
For a CD that "skips" or doesn't read properly try a little Meguiare's gently applied by hand and then polished off completely. Yeah, I know this stuff is for cars but it really works. I'm not kidding. Do not know about the long term effects, but I doubt that it does any harm. Anyway, who cares? It's a CD, not an LP.
I think a good way to learn something is to ask the question, "how can this be so?" Got to thinking about audio CD tweaks... if I were to apply any of these to a CD-ROM, what do you suppose would happen? Would my software run faster? Would it produce more accurate results? Now, I asked that with tongue in cheek, because I think you all would recognize that those are ludicrous expectations. We recognizes that the cheap mechanism and electronics in a computer does just fine at absolutely accurate reproduction (i.e., bit for bit, error-free) of what's on the CD-ROM. The only difference with a CD-ROM and CD player is that the CD player takes the additional step of reading out the data placed in buffer memory (i.e., RAM) synchronously with a stable clock and driving a D/A. Fluctuations in the motor speed spinning the CD don't matter, affecting the rate at which data is clocked INTO buffer memory. (Obviously, the average rate of input must equal the readout rate of 44.1 kilosamples/second, and a servo circuit controlling motor speed makes this so.) Differences in A/D chips, filters, and analog output electronics I understand and accept. But we're not talking about any of that -- we're talking about tweaks to the disc. So how is it that these tweaks being mentioned in this thread improve the result? Please note that I'm not arguing with you if you say you hear a difference. I respectfully accept that. Please just help me understand why this can be so.
A very close friend of mine manufactures CD's and travels internationally setting up other companies CD production. When I told him how great the "green ink" markers were, he told me I was nuts. After much discussion, we took two identical CD's, marked one with the "green ink" and left the other alone. Upon doing an A-B comparison, I came to the (grim) realization that the only benifit of the green ink was to the manufacturers and retailiers that sold it! All of my (former) precieved perceptions were there because I WANTED the green ink to work. The fact is it does not. The whole reason for bringing this up, is that the ONLY why for you to really know if any of the "tweaks" work is to do your own BLIND TEST. Listen to your ears, not to what your eyes have read! Two last thoughts: In theory, sanding the interior hub of a CD may reduce slight burrs (if any), while too much could widen the opening too much - be carefull. The second is an article I just read (my friend the CD manufacturer e-mailed it to me) that you may find enjoyable: http://www.emedialive.com/em2000/standard9.html
I agree that marker'ing CD's doesn't do squat. I can honestly say that i've never been a believer in that "tweak" even though i've done side by side comparisons. Rodney from Audio Asylum conducted a test using markered, non-markered and "de-burred" discs. This was done using a CD burner and comparing them to the original in terms of data content and the time it took to correctly extract the data. The results showed that the de-burred discs had by far the fastest read and data retrieval times with the least amount of errors while the discs that were markered ran consistently MUCH slower and had far greater reading errors than a stock disc. Draw your own conclusions from this one. Mine AREN'T in favor of markering. Sean