Following up on the digital audio tweaks I’ve tried to improve my CD listening experience, I present a smaller list of prohibitively expensive or crazy tweaks. I haven’t heard the benefits of these tweaks and electronics. Either my wallet hid itself from me to protect my financial well-being or it slipped out of my snake-oil covered hands.
CD Tweaks I’ve not tried
(due to their expense or believability)
In order of crazy (pseudo science and expense):
- BEDINI – QUADRI-BEAM ULTRA CLARIFIER: My Vandersteen salesman ran my demo CDs through this machine. Since the listening room was all his equipment I have no way to tell if it did anything. The effect is supoposed to last through multiple playings but I didn’t hear anything at home either.
- AUDIO DESK SYSTEM W – HARDENED BLADE: Cuts your CD collection into perfect circles, so you don’t have to listen to wobble chaos. No experience with the device, but seems shady.
- MFSL – ULTRADISC 24K GOLD CD-R SPINDLE CDR (25 DISCS): I have a problem paying more than three cents for CD-R. These couldn’t be one hundred times much better.
- MUSICAL FIDELITY X-V3 BUNDLE – X-DACv3, X-PSUv3 & X-10v3: I would love this neat stack of Digital to Analog engineering in my rig. It’s combo of a superior DAC, power supply and tube stage can’t be beat in taming your digital gremlins. Unfortunately, the X-v3 bundle is $1298.00 out of my price range for tweaks and accessories.
- Burwen Bobcat Windows Media Plug-in plus Daniel Hertz Model 1 USB DAC: This software and DAC combo reportedly improves all digital audio from MP3 to CD to sounding like the best analog and SACD. This tweak’s main problem for me is its Windows XP PC requirement and reliance on Windows Media Player. I’ll stick with my Mac Mini and Airtunes.
The equipment above present too large a gap between price and performance. The marginal (or worse, psycho acoustic) improvement gained through a demagnitized, lathed and golden CD-R resampled and played through my system cannot justify the tweaks’ combined cost.
The "maybe my equipment is too inferior to reveal the benefits" is a trap you can fall into while investigating and auditioning audiophile tweaks. You think that upgrading an amp or cable or processor or equipment rack will lift the curtain of benefit for the tweak. Even worse, you can easily, unscientifically, continue to add more tweaks. The more tweaks in the system the more potential incompatibilities and problems encountered.
Inconvenience plays an important role in how many tweaks you want to employ in your listening sessions. For me, the process of manually pressing the power button on my Rogue Audio Magnum 99 Preamp, waiting for it to warm up and only then pressing play on my CD player is complicated enough. If I also had to demag the gold CD-R copy of The Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, give it a shave, spray it with some anti-static aerosol, spin around three times and clack my magical clogs (I have Bybee Quantum Purifiers built into the heals), I would never listen again.