I'm not in the industry right now, but let me say this. Besides being vastly more maliable right down to the "electron microscope" level, gold is supposed to reflect infared wavelengths better than aluminum, and I think it probably does (don't know where the proof is right now, though). That said, it's possible and even likely, that the two CD's you are comparing didn't have the same production process, or even the same master (much less the same "glass master"). So there will be audible differences there. Also, the gold CD might actually be better, with less "digital glare", than the aluminum one. This has been my experience. Also, if the gold CD you are referring to is a MoFi, I've always felt that their "gain 2" process seems to have less air and zip than the aluminum version from the record company, but in turn has more bass dynamics and extension. Just my personal experience...AND IF YOU WANT A BRIGHT-SOUNDING GOLD CD, TRY THE "XLO/REFERENCE RECORDINGS TEST AND BURN IN CD". The Big Band brass track will take your ears off if your system is the least bit "analytical". Also, you need to try AudioQuest "Laser Guide", and the Bedini Ultra Clarifier. You'll thank me later...
Not in the industry either, but agree with Carl. One other thing to consider is that your system may be "tuned" for the sound of the aluminum discs/normal pressings. For example, maybe your system is a little on smoother, mellower side of neutral, which might be hiding some of the glare of the standard discs. Then, when you put in a Gold version, it will sound mellower and smoother, of course. This has been my personal experience, since I own 95% aluminum discs, my sytem also sounds a little lifeless with gold discs. however, in almost all cases, the gold versions have had more inner detail, better rythm and pace, and more realistic timbres. Regarding the Ultra Clarifier, I have noticed LESS of a difference after its use on gold discs, than on aluminum discs. Any comments Carl ??
I don't think there's too much of a difference. It might be less of an improvement for gold ones, but it's hardly perceptible. Maybe fractions of a percentage point of the difference, for what it does with aluminum. (Realize that what's happening to the CD with the Bedini has as much to do with the plastic polycarbonate, as it does with the data layer.) Even CD-R's are vastly improved by both the Bedini and the Laser Guide (and there's zero metal of any kind in them). On your favorite CD's, even several applications of the Laser Guide (buffed properly) get it a little closer to "analog", making the digital "grit" a few more dB quieter. It's not as if the polycarbonate is truely "optical quality", even on DVD's or SACD's. Even the best Carl Zeiss glass lenses for cameras, binoculars, and telescopes must have complex coatings on all surfaces to get maximum performance (called "ultra-multicoating"). If any of these lenses were made from the polycarbonate that CD's are made from, it'd be like looking through dense fog, and you couldn't see much of anything at all. Yes, we're talking about a very thin layer for a CD, but we're also talking an EXTREMELY small area (thru this thin polycarbonate layer) when it comes to what the laser must focus on/through. Much smaller still for DVD and SACD.
Interesting. So perhaps the difference in Gold releases is that the whole package is better. From the masters used, to perhaps the polycarb medium as well, that accounts for some of the sonic differences, with or without the tweaks. Overall, I have prefered the Gold version in probably 90% of the ones that I've shelled out for.
Hi Carl, sorry didn't followup this post sooner. BTW what is Bedini Ultra Clarifier? and what exactly does it do? I have my friend to check out the two subject CDs on his hi-end Marantz cdp and I haven't the result yet. The alum and the gold in question are both made by Sheffield LabUSA. Jazz pianist/composer Pat Coil album names "Just Ahead" and "Pat Coil Gold". The gold is described as audiophile ref. system 20=>16 if i remember correctly. There is a Japanese company here manufacturing the raw polycarbonate for the CD manufrs hope to check that out too with the material technologist. thanks. Phil.
I tried to answer you earlier, but every damn time I want to post something, Audiogon's server somehow crashes! Give me a break, you dunderheads! I don't have the particular CD's you are referring to. Go to bedini.com for more on it. Basically, it's a motor that spins the CD at several thousand rpm, over magnets fixed in its base. They claim it has a polarizing effect on the potential stored energy/static electricity of the CD. I know that it works, whatever it's doing.
As far as a magnetic clarifier having an effect, "SHOW ME THE BITS!!". Has anyone done a comparison of the bit stream coming from an ordinary CD and that coming from the same CD after "clarification" (or any other tweak for that matter)? I'd like to see two factors assessed: the change, if any, in the actual set of 1's and 0's presented to the D/A, and the jitter in the D/A output clock. If these two characteristics are identical "before" and "after", why should the D/A output (and hence, the sound) be different, "before" and "after"?
Bedini has performed that test, but I doubt you'd trust their data. I don't need to see, because I can hear. Every time I played a CD, it always had more detail, dynamics and liquidity after the Clarifier (I played the same track before, and then after). The ones and zeros exist only there on the disc. When it comes time to read that data at warp speed, all kinds of things can and do happen. Try one yourself, if you don't beielve me. YOU HAVE NOTHNG TO LOSE, AND MUSIC TO GAIN...
Carl, if you and others say you hear a difference, I will grant you that. I'm interested in finding a comprehensible reason why. And seeing that you don't know me, please give me the benefit of the doubt for being fair-minded. Let's also recognize the potential for the placebo effect and/or wishful thinking coming into play when judging whether one's $179.95 plus shipping was well spent. Show me the bits.
I don't have the test equipment to "show you the bits". Buy it for me, and I'll show you, or else research it some more. I payed far less than that for mine. Also, don't blame me if you don't trust your own ears. This hobby is for those that do, like me. If you don't want to try one for yourself, then DON'T. I don't owe you any more than this, since I have no vested interest in selling you one. I mean, you seem to fall into that category that believes cabling and the like make no difference. Do you work for Consumer Reports? I hear they're hiring; I'm sure you'd be elated to work there. Good luck with that...