TAS Recommended CD Tweak….

In The August issue of The Absolute Sound, RH gives a glowing review of a product from Digital Systems & Solutions – “UltraBit Platinum Optical Impedance Matching Disc Treatment System.” According to RH, he was floored and, “….This wasn’t a subtle difference; there was a wholesale increase in apparent resolution, space, clarity, soundstage dimensions, and vividness.”
Apparently, this is a liquid solution that is applied to CDs and DVDs ($65/bottle).

Regardless of the whole “advertising thing,” I don’t believe someone like RH would put his reputation on the line by giving a bogus review. I wonder what, “This wasn’t a subtle difference…” means to the average person’s ears?

Also, in the same article, RH makes the statement, “…Similarly, it’s incontrovertible that a CD-R burned from a CD sounds better than the original CD.” I did not know this. Have any of you come to the same conclusion?
It's not been true in my experience but I am trying as hard as I can to find out how to you can get to that result.
Some say the same thing about Clocks and Pet Rocks.
Sam Tellig used to love Armour-All and praised it in the pages of Stereophile when RH was there. Just did wonderful thing when applied to CD's. Results didn't tarnish his reputation a bit.

Now when I think about it, 'reputation'. for what?

FWIW, just what might 'Optical Impedence Matching' be? Caveat emptor spelled sideways? :-)
I would like to see a bit-for-bit comparison. If the bits are the same RH was fooled.
Yes that's true...but to me quite unbelievable. I just have a regular Sony burner in my computer. I used to make CD's for friends...then I noticed that the copies sound slightly better than the originals. I don't know why, but there it is.
Stringreen, Can you describe what 'better' means to you. Also, if I were to play the CD-R version on a different CDP would it also sound better on it as well, or is this another instance of 'synergy' at work?
There is a short discussion of optical impedance matching here in section 7.2.

A Google search for "optical impedance matching" will produce links to several studies.
You can buy a whole snake for less.
I'll be dammed! Thanks Tvad. I'm a tad less ignorant tonight. Only a tad mind you. :-)
I had the top Sony ES cd player hooked up to their top cd recorder for awhile. My then 14 year old daughter asked me to copy a friend's cd. Thinking it was a good way to see what she was listening to, I got a book and began to listen as I recorded. Not bad says I, and then I thought I heard electric violins in the background, but they were covered up by something. So I listened to the copy. There were those violins, clear and out in the open, as were the spaces in between the music, as if the recording had been cleaned up and made clearer. Noise reduction? Seemed like it.
I have no personal experience with the D,S&S, but I do use a product manufactured by LAT International (along with a myriad of other mods).

However, the differences with using the LAT "Optical Enhancer" are quite profound.

In terms of physical properties, "Impedance Matching", whether of electrical properties or otherwise, are quite real. I might also mention there are other advantages to the LAT product in that it also has a static reducing agent. Stray electrostatic energy and lasers is not very nice together sonically. For those doubting naysayers, I've attached an interesting patent white paper provided to me by fellow Audiogonr' Davehrab. Interesting reading regarding electrostatic effects on laser playback systems.

Spinning CDs

I hope others find it interesting also. Ed.
Stereo Dave makes a cleaner, spray,check it out,decent price plus a explanation on website about it,
LOL. Why bother with tweaking CD's when you can build an anti-gravity space ship.

Yes, indeed, there is a patent too

The way I see it your CD player is a rotating mass and therefore you should be able to fly using three or four players and some Duct Tape, of course...
"build an anti-gravity space ship"

So you could fly back to Uranus?
Until Billy Mays sells it, call me skeptical.
I find it interesting that many long-time posters here on the 'Gon are still skeptical of CD enhancing treatments. Until you try them and truly form a solid opinion, you are losing credibility.

I don't know why the stuff works, it just does. I have tried several different brands of liquid enhancers and each one causes a different sound in CD playback. Why? Don't worry about it.

Yes, I was initially skeptical at first too, but I tried one and was intrigued. That first treatment was Optrix. After trying a couple more different types, I decided to give Liquid Resolution a spin. Holy smoke...that stuff is great! Why? Still don't worry about it.

Yes, RH is correct about UltraBit changing the sound of CD's. His theory of why it works is a different story.

Who knows Audiofeil, perhaps billy mays already sells it :-)

Now it's your turn.
Impedance matching between what and what exactly? Yeah so the treatment adjusts the optical impedance of the polycarbonate surface of the disc. So what? The disc still has to reflect the light from the source so that it can be detected. Oh, so match the optical impedance between polycarbonate of the disc and the glass of the detector lens? That won't help and it's not about that. Accurate clocking of the data is what makes a real difference and that's not on the disc but in the player.

Sony spent megabux to formulate the new polycarbonate used in Blueray; it is one of the most pure manufactured materials known. The current CD or DVD grade material won't allow use of a 405 nm source, only red lasers will work with this stuff because the material is inferior. So no treatment is going to change the composition-dependent optical impedance characterstics of CD grade polycarbonate via a simple surface treatment. You'd have to change the chemistry of the interior that the light passes through as well. Get out the snakes.

The one thing that does make a real sonic improvement to CD playback is the Audiodesk that trues the spin balance of the disc. Now that's physics.
I'll give it a shot but only if they include the Ginsu knives, a Popeil pocket fisherman, and some OxyClean.

Oh yeah.

Don't forget the ShamWow.

Right back at you.
Why do folks who eagerly provide positive testimonials regarding products, which do not have a clear connection between scientic theory and its application to audio stuff, shy away from specific's in their testimonials.

In my sxperience, products do not exist which just flew into the lab on the wings of a bird. The inventor had to have basic premises (theory) to work on in the beginning, kept endless notes during developement, and in the end not only had a product which worked but could explain exactly how and why.

For some reason, in audio, we have a abundance of products which exist only because of subjective testimonials of end users (and shameless promotion by the manufacturers and their sockpuppets) yet defy any known scientific exploration or direct theory, let alone application. I've always found that curious. In the context of difference in use, exactly what does 'better', 'great'. 'improvement' and the like, mean?

I think the reference to Billy Mays is perfect. If you shout loud enuf, you will divert the attention of the audience which will not note the sillyness of the testimonial of his pitch and what he is actually demonstrating. I just love his 'potential uses' depicted in his sales of some epoxy (which can be found at your local hardware store cheaper). Sure it works well when appropriately used, but for some of the things he demonstrates chewing gum would work as well.

Perhaps RH's description of the effect of the product is correct, and it makes sense that all of his adjectives, when boiled down to a common denominator, clarity of signal, reflect some type of removal of something which interferes with the clarity of the signal and produces a cleaner signal, but should we not expect a specific body of evidence supporting the application of the underlying theory? Not being a scientist I have no understanding of how the addition of a materiel on the surface of a CD can actually effect a change in the underlying clarity of the materiel on the surface of the CD itself. Let alone if there is any long range detrimental effect. Armour All any one!

Perhaps the problem I have with the use of superlatives so often used to describe the effects of many tweeks is I can't understand why, if the effect is so great, why would there ever be a discussion of the products effectiveness in the first place. Just because a person is a cynic doesn't mean they don't have good ears. And just because a person is (potentially) gullible doesn't mean that they can hear.

Time will tell. If it really is as great as RH sez it will have a broad base of continuing support. For myself, when I have read enuf positive and intelligent testimonials by experienced audiophiles I give this a try.
I have serious doubts that one would be "floored" by applying ANYTHING to a CD.

Had not read TAS for months and just picked up a copy. Very disappointing in general.
I'm not a engineer, so I'm just guessing here. Maybe it has something to do with tracking error? If the correction part of your cd player doesn't have to work as hard maybe that leads to better sound? Like I said I'm just guessing. I read something about this long ago how if the laser doesn't get all the bits then it fills in the missing ones by averaging the bits before and after. I hope that someone with more knowledge than me about this will chime in.
Racamuti...When a CD experiences a data reading error it does not just fill in with average of adjacent data. (This is a common misconception). The CD is encoded with a CRC error correcting code so that the garbled data is recovered as if it had never been messed up. I suggest you read up on error correcting encoding.
Here is a link to the TAS article in question: UltraBit Platinum
I would have to agree with Eldartford that before and after bit by bit comparison would answer the question. I would not be surprised if it did make a change.

Surface texture (or polish) should make a difference in the refraction properties of the whole disc. Although the CD surface looks very polished, there is a measurable texture or finish to the surface. This treatment could "theoretically" reduce that texture or further smooth the finish and allow for less reading error.

Also polycarbonates and acrylics will absorb molecules, water/O2/CO2 etc. So again it is "theoretically" possible that the solutions are altering the base properties of the optical layers.

Both optical clarity and surface finish are easily measured, (with lasers no less) hence, the manufacturer would have no trouble establishing a claim on that basis, if true.

But hey, I am a Package Designer, so what the heck do I know. I can count on one hand the number of check sum errors that have shown up optically reading untreated storage media over and over again.

Jim S.
The last thing I pray for before going night night is the advent of a new audio magazine, "Double-Blind HiFi," dedicated to discovering whether people hear the differences they claim to hear. Silver vs. copper, wet cds vs. dry cds, 1k cables vs. $10 cables, etc... I don't doubt I'd be surprised from time to time, but I suspect that most of the time my suspicions would be supported. Included in prayer is the reintroduction of the pillory for exposed charlatans, all of whom would be forced to listen to Britney Spears on a tape loop through a Lloyds Landau all-in-one stereo until they repent.
I wouldnt try the stuff ab sounds wrote about on price alone
The above postings thus far do not include anyone who has actually tried the stuff.
So here goes... (try to hold back the negative creative comments), I am only trying to give my take on the actual use of this product.

I have tried the ultra bit ,and it is great! Works so good that I wont play a CD now unless it has been treated.

The soundstage is wider, the bass deeper,tighter and the treble is more extended. Plus the discs are super shiny.
I dont understand the impedence thing , but the discs are definitly improved after treating.

Lately, I have been making compilations of artists onto CDR's. I treat both the original and CDR before copying. The CDR copy comes out outstanding!.

I am about 1/3 to 1/2 way thru a bottle and I have done maybe 60 Cd's.
The bottle will never do the 500 CD's as claimed.
Tell you what Ozzy, if the price is OK I will get some and try it and report back. Fair?
Ozzy- Having actually read the "white paper" that George Louis wrote, and found that it does make a great deal of sense from a technical standpoint: I ordered the UBP last night, directly from him. He certainly does like to talk! This will be the first CD tweek I'll have tried, outside of having treated the edges of a few CDs with emery cloth and green marker to absorb some stray LASER rays. That tightened the bottom up on some discs, but nothing earth-shaking. I'll post the results of my UBP tests also. Enjoy your music!
I am about 1/3 to 1/2 way thru a bottle and I have done maybe 60 Cd's.
The bottle will never do the 500 CD's as claimed.

Wow but that is amazingly good. I would not complain.

Tonight, I am 1/3 to 1/2 way through a $40 bottle of wine and it is merely my second CD!
I've tried 3 different CD cleaners. The first was called Q-151, of which I have not heard in a while. The bottle says "CD Coating Oil." I did some A-B testing, and concluded that it did have a modest effect of seeming to make the sound somewhat more detailed and clearer. I did not notice a timbre change.

The same would be true for Mo-Fi Shine Ola. Modest, but the difference seemed to be real. I guess, however, that it wasn't quite real enough, because I haven't been using it lately.

I also tried something called Optrix. There is some information posted elsewhere on the 'gon about Optrix. I tried it on one CD and thought the sound was a bit brighter (which is something I really can't stand), so I didn't mess with it anymore. One could say that I didn't give it a fair chance, I guess. But, you know, first impressions...
Thanks Eldartford, Looks like I have some studying to do!
Extreme A/V Liquid Resolution and Jena Labs 3D-X are among the very best of today's CD treatments.

Anyone try purple pen on the CD edge?
Racamuti...Error correcting codes are really interesting, and much more widespread than you might think. IMHO the most dramatic example is in the transmission of data from distant space probes using tiny transmitter power. For example, transmissions from a probe in orbit around Saturn can "drop out" for about a minute, and still all the data can be recovered intact. Of course, to do this a great deal of bandwidth is devoted to the redundancy needed for error recovery.

As I have said before, error correction is not a band aid for transmission errors. It is an integral part of the Hardware/Software data transmission system. Error correction makes it possible to operate the hardware much faster than if it had to be error free, and even though some bandwidth is used up for the error correction capability, the overall result is higher bandwidth.
I suggest you read up on error correcting encoding.

Yes it is based on Reed-Solomon Interleave.

However, contrary to what Eldartford mentions, if the error correction fails (a really badly damaged CD) then most players will "interpolate" between data points. On a bad CD with "CD Rot" it can actually sound exactly like Vinyl surface noise (pops and clicks).

If error correction did not work to way more than 99.9999% accuracy then your PC that you are using to view this thread would crash constantly (perhaps it does and you need a new hard drive...).

Despite the fears propagated by analog users about CD accuracy, all the science suggests that CD discs and readers are generally orders of magnitude (10's and 100's of times) more accurate than any analog reproduction. Digital is the only way to preserve data such that it can be copied thousands and thousands of times without error - this is because errors do not accumulate as they do in any analog chain.

All this makes computing, satellites and other amazing things possible, stuff that purely Analog systems are incapable of.

Of course A to D and D to A conversion is a crucial step and it is fair for analog users to criticise the quality of this process, however, this step occurs after the data has been read, decoded and error corrected from the disc.
Does George offer a trial sample?

It seems that if one were to send him identical burned CDs of the same recording, one labeled "A" and one labeled "B", and asked him to treat one but not the other without saying which was treated, then the effectiveness could be tested. Even better would be to do this to two or three recordings.

Then, after listening, if one believes they heard a difference between the discs, a call to George to learn which disc, "A" or "B" was treated, would confirm the listening test (or not).
Shadorne...Yes. If the error correction can't hack it data is interpolated. Not the greatest, but preferable to aborting the disc if it happens once or twice. I didn't mention that because it clouds the issue, and it ain't supposed to happen unless the CD disc is badly damaged. The RS code is configured to reliably correct errors to the extent they are expected from the hardware, and to handle most kinds of disc damage.
So why do people bother with EAC and CD Paranoia and whatnot? Is there any reason to use those products over ripping via iTunes, for example?

Shadorne, there are many audiophiles, even some with credibility, who claim that copies of CDs actually sound better than the originals. How can this be?
Shadorne, there are many audiophiles, even some with credibility, who claim that copies of CDs actually sound better than the originals. How can this be?

If I trust in science then I can only assume it is mostly the placebo effect. In some rare cases, no doubt there may be an explantion. (For example, a wobbly CD might cause the laser tracking to draw power in an oscillatory manner and cause jitter in the DAC via a feedback mechanism from the shared power supply.) As a generality, burned copies of CD's should be the same and indistinguishable from the original. The error correction that Eldartford mentions practically ensures the bit stream read from the disc will be perfect and identical. As I mentioned above, if this were not true then PC's would not work and our whole computing industry and internet would be on its knees.
Shadorne, there are many audiophiles, even some with credibility, who claim that copies of CDs actually sound better than the originals. How can this be?

Another explanation might be that some users CD playback equipment might simply be faulty - to the point where even the disc type has a bearing on the sound. Or that the burning program is not actually making an identical copy (some programs will re-dither re-sample when converting redbook CD data to a PC file on the computer and the then back to a CD redbook file. Some programs may even have bugs.)

I use this SeedeClip and it certainly does alter the sound as it tries to reduce the tens of thousands of flat top clipping on your average modern crap hpercompressed CD track.

BTW - When CD data flat tops then it is possible that the actual waveform it represents is actually BIGGER than CD redbook format specifies and exceeds what D to A converters can handle - at this point a CD is illegal or out of spec (most rock/pop CD's today are out of spec) and it may sound different from one CD player to another (depending on how the D to A converter behaves when trying to reconstruct an illegal signal - one that exceeds the redbook format itself...)

Did you purchase both the cleaner and the UltraBit solution, or just the UltraBit solution - do you clean your discs prior to adding the UltraBit??

There is quite a bit of online information regarding optical impedance matching. I guess my real skepticism has more to do with my own ability to perceive any difference. I’m one of the oddballs who can’t hear much (if any) difference in cables and tweaks. For only $65.00 I will try it though. I do not expect to hear any REAL improvements. However, there is always that possibility...

I'll let you know if I'm "floored!"
I purchased e bottles of the ulta bit and one of the cleaner.the cleaner thus far has not been used
El, Shadorne, All,

How much error is inherent in error correction? Error correction tries to recreate the original through mathematical prediction, but most predictive mathematical models are not perfect, just good enough for the purpose.

Or is my understanding flawed?

Jim S.
You may all remember some of the earlier discussion of the Memory Player. If my memory serves, Robert Harley and others argued, as Shadorne has, that Read Until Right can not be the reason the player sounds good, if indeed it does. It's not about RUR for the reasons Shadorne outlines. And yet, there still seems to be something going on. Because Harley himself has said that copies can sound better.

I remember a little paragraph blurb in an early issue of Wired magazine in which they took aim at something Reference Recordings was doing (direct-to-CD, I think it may have been), claiming that clearly RR didn't understand digital technology or they wouldn't being doing what they were doing. Guess what? I'm pretty sure it was this author who didn't know what he was doing, who knew just enough about digital to be dangerous. These people are everywhere, trying to save us poor souls from the deceptions of charlatans. That's good, but things are often not as simple as they first appear to be.
Stilljd...Your understanding is flawed. Error correction is 100 percent up to the point where there are more errors than the code is set up for. The link that Shadorne provided is pretty good.

Another point...If an error occurs there is no extra time required to correct it. (Some have suggested that error correction causes the dreaded jitter). All the data with or without errors runs through the algorithm all the time.
ozzy & authursmuck, have ordered at your posted results to try (see my other post) I'm confident that it's going to make a nice difference and be cost effective in doing so.

Yep, re-read the link with a different perspective and I understand the point.

Error correction codes do not prevent errors caused by stray scattered laser light getting into the photodetector. That much is clear.
Geoffkait...That isn't clear at all. A read error is a read error whether it is due to scattered light or a scratch on the disk. The error correction algorithm doesn't care.
Eldartford, Whether it's 'all that clear' or not is often in direct relationship to the products a poster is trying to sell. Obviously since Goeffkait is trying to market a devise which will remove the effect of stray light, it would be clear to him. How else could it be. Free, indirect, marketing sure is a wonderful thing! :-)