I give my CD's a mud bath in volcanic ash followed by deep tissue massage and a sour cream facial. It widens the soundstage, makes the intruments seem more palpable and I hear detail I've never heard before. In fact, after interviewing several recording engineers, I have discovered that this treatment allows me to hear detail that the musicians only considered, but didn't even put on the recording. Now, THAT is detail!
Herbie's Audio Mat is one of the only tweaks I've run into that a crowd of about 25 audiophiles also all agree is effective. The cost $20, so it's not too risky.
The only downside is that they lose stickiness and need to be washed w/warm water & dishsoap to regain the tackiness required to stay on the CDs. Cheers,
Wash your hands before you handle your discs.
Shine Ola. There is a thread that I'm going to attempt to direct you to, hopefully this works ...http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1096407732&read&keyw&zzshine=ola
Mapleshade's micro-smooth - I had two cds that had numerous skips that two CDPs just would not read and play. After applying micro-smooth to each they both played smooth as silk. As for all the other benefits the maker claims I do think I hear a slight improvement in the overall clarity. But for sure it does help laser read the disc. Hey $16.95 is money well spent.
As Jes45 has stated Shine Ola is the one that I used and I must admit it works pretty well. The dealer I go to gave me a money back offer if I did not feel it helped the sound, and it did. David
I'll definitely second you on Herbie's mat, Spencer. Interestingly, it's not that great on SACDs (at least in my changer, the fabulously cheap (and fabulous!) Sony DVP-NC685V). After a little experimentation, an Audio Prism CD Blacklight is the best so far in that system. Don't know why, it's not that great w/CDs...
The only treatment that I've heard an unequivocable improvement on all CDs treated was the use of an edge trimmer that bevels the edge of the CD. An expensive device, and one that I don't plan on getting until data is in on the long-term effect on treated CDs, but it does work.
The product that Larryi is referring to is manufactured by Audio Desk. I have heard redbook discs that have been beveled by this device but recently here on Agon someone mentioned that there might be less than satisfactory results with hybrid discs.
I use the Mapleshade Ionoclast gun. I zap the CDs. It increases low-level resolution. As a result the system appears to be more sensitive and plays louder to the observer. For me it really does work. About $40. I haven't tried the other stuff yet.
I second Tindersticki on the benefits of AudioTop digital, but there are several additional benefits, such as the Audio Desk trimmer with black edge coating, and the Furatech demagnetizer.
I have been using the Audio Desk for years. There is no problem with it using it on cds, sacd, sacd hybrids, dvds, or dvdas.
Each tweak adds significantly to the realism of the sound.
Shine Ola since I found this to be a better product than Optrix.
I used to use Mapleshade Micro-Smooth followed by Optrix and then the Mapleshade Ionoclast gun. There is a cumulative effect as advertiesed by Mapleshade. I still use the Ionoclast since I found it brings out additional detail and, more importantly, provides a more "natural" or slightly less mechanical sound.
I no longer use the Micro-Smooth and Optrix combination since Shine Ola by itself was a better improvement by a slight margin. And I didn't have to spend time buffing my CD's with Micro-Smooth.
I second the Herbie's Audio Mat. Other than having to keep it clean (not too difficult really), the only downside I've experienced is forgetting to peel it off after playing the CD. More than once the Herbie's Mat has disappeared into the gaping maw of my CD collection and it can take some effort to remember which disk it may have been left on, especially if I don't miss it for a few days.
Holy thread resurrection, Mapman !!!!!
I use Kleenmaster Brillianize to clean CD's. Just spray on and wipe off with a microfiber cloth. Leaves no residue and sounds better. Much less expensive than audiophile cleaners/treatments. Most hardware stores carry it.
Cream Electret, Xtreme AV Liquid Resolution, Red X Coordinate Pen, Cryo or home freezer, purple pen around outer edge/black pen around center hole.
My Empirical Audio music player with an outboard optical drive and sophisticated programing has made treatment inaudible on playback from my hard drive.
Geoffkait, no Audio Desk edge treatment or NESPA?
Tgb, no Nespa, no Audio Desk. I had a pseudo Nespa for a while - an adjustable and powerful strobe light. (I like photon canons a lot.) I used to have the Intelligent Box, another photon canon. I use the Quantum Clip on CDs and Red Sharpie for the outer edge of all Mercury Living Presence CDs, the ones with a black/white label. Oh, and the Walker's Talisman demag thinggie and Mapleshade's Ionoclast. I also happen to be a big fan of Monster Cable CD Rings.
Someone who owned a hi fi store said the only cd tweak that made a very audible difference was a device that beveled the edges.
Anyone familiar with that?
Silly, but works. Clean your discs with dryer sheets. I have revived beat up goodwill $1 discs with this method.
I bought the Shine ola. I tried it on 4 CDs and did not hear a difference. I'll continue to experiment with it. The only effective tweak that I have found is a bulk tape eraser. I demagnetize the CDs with it and they sound better. I have been demag'ing my discs for 18 years now. I was very skeptical at the time but decided it to try it one day just for kicks. The improvement was amazing.
As it turns out the level of the CD transport area may or may not be the same level as the top of the chassis. Even a couple of degrees can be audible, The best way to obtain absolute level of the CD transport is to remove the cover of the chassis and place a bubble level directly on the CD transport. Absolute level of the transport results in better focus and balance.