I posted this on Audiogon and Audioasylum last night and figured many here might see it there. This morning after further consideration i decided to add it here too as the techie/skeptic ratio here is much higher and i think this can benefit from some good objective analysis. although i hope that many here would listen to and use this tweak i understand that realistically, most will just want to toss around the theories behind it. in any case; this forum deserves to know about this.
This tweak makes huge improvements to system performance; lowering noise floor, improving dynamic contrasts, improving bass articulation, improving the sense of space and scale, and improving naturalness. The effect does vary from disc to disc from considerable to mind-blowing. This tweak is for Lps, Cds, SACD's and DVD's.
I've been trying tweaks since I got serious about this hobby 14 years ago. I've got all the different products that clean, treat, or mess with' discs. Most disc tweaks work to some degree..but none have ever worked well enough to become essential.until now.
I will start by giving an overview of what I do to apply the tweak and how I think the tweak works. Please understand that everything I will explain is my interpretation of my observations and me re-hashing what has been told to me. I'm no techie or engineer and so please be gentle when judging my ability to reveal cause and effect. Next I will describe a bit about the history of how the thinking about this tweak evolved.
Basically; this tweak involves two processes. De-ionization and de-magnetizing of mediasimultaneously. Since these processes are not permanent effects; time is an important element of how well and how long lasting the tweak works. From my observations; it seems that de-ionizing accounts for approx 75% of the effect and de-mag about 25%. I apply the tweak by placing the disc (Lp, Cd, or SACD) onto my Acoustic Revive RL-30 Demagnetizer and then blowing hot air with a hair dryer onto the disc while the demag process is happening.
I apply the process to both sides of any disc; for an Lp I apply the process first to the side I won't be listening to and second to the side I will play. The effect is only strong for 15 to 30 minutes so I always reapply the process when I change sides. For a Cd or SACD I do the label side first and then the read side. This takes about 25 seconds per side for any disc. So a total of 60 seconds start to finish. For digital I hear 100% of the effect all the way thru most discs. For Lp or digital disc if the disc is stopped and started a few times the effect diminishes. It's ideal to place the disc immediately on the tt or transport..and immediately play.
The hair dryer is one that uses Tourmaline to provide negative ions to equalize the charge on the surface of media disc. Then there are Tourmaline balls encased in a diffuser attached to the barrel of the hair dryer. Hot air blown thru the diffuser releases negative ions from the Tourmaline onto the media.
I have been using this tweak for almost 100% of my listening for the last three months...doing before and after comparisons regularly. I've done 15 to 20 blind observations..with 100% correct choices. I've had 5 separate visitors to my room who have all had similar reactions as myself.
This tweak evolved from a discussion between my local friend and now President of our local audio club, Andrew Kosobutsky..and Brian Kyle of Xtreme Cables in California. They were discussing a contact treatment product which Brian sells and somehow the discussion evolved to the Acoustic Revive RIO-5II, which treats digital media with negative ions with natural ore Tourmaline'. Brian was making some Lp sized sleeves out of Tourmaline cloth to see if that would have a positive effect on Lps. You would need to blow hot air from a hair dryer onto the cloth sleeves to get the Tourmaline cloth to release the negative ions onto the Lp.
Brian had heavy Tourmaline cloth and lighter Tourmaline cloth and asked Andrew if he could do some listening to both and give him his impressions. Andrew agreed and Brian sent him the sleeves.
Andrew already owned the Acoustic Revive RL-30 III large disc demagnetizer which he used for his Lps. After demag'ing the Lps he would try the Tourmaline sleeves. Then he tried both processes simultaneously and discovered a huge improvement..this was the break-thru moment. It turned out that the effects of both processes when done at the same time were more than additive.
A week later Andrew called and came over to demonstrate the tweak in my room. I was highly skeptical but it blew me away. I asked Andrew if I could get a set of sleeves to try and after checking with Brian, two sleeves were sent to Andrew for me. I agreed not to tell anyone about how this worked. Andrew knew I had lots of visitors but I agreed not to explain it to anyone.
For the next few weeks I enjoyed the best music reproduction performance I had ever heard form any system. I listened to everything again.for the first week I listened to everything twice.first without and then with. 40% of the time it was much better, 30% of the time it was amazingly better, and 30% of the time I could not believe what I was hearing. After that mostly I just did the tweak..i was convinced.
Andrew was not satisfied. He was convinced that the effect of the Tourmaline could be much greater by using more of the Tourmaline than the sleeves or even the Acoustic Revive RIO. He found some Tourmaline balls in China and had them shipped to him. He then purchased a Tourmaline hair dryer and installed these tourmaline balls in the diffuser of the hair dryer. He experimented with a few different ways to have the balls in the diffuser. He brought over his first effort and it was clearly much better than the sleeves. Then a week later he brought over the version I am now using. Much better, and very nicely put together.
Andrew had shared his simultaneous demag idea and tourmaline ball direction with Brian and Brian has developed his own tourmaline hair dryer product (which I have not yet seen or tried).
Demagnetizing a disc is nothing new. There are numerous products already out there that people already have or can be purchased. I am not in a position to say which is best; but I know the Acoustic Revive ML-30 III works great and accommodates all types of discs. As far as I know all the demag products I've seen allow for using the hair dryer to de-ionize.
There may be hundreds of ways to de-ionize discs; I'm only familiar with the Tourmaline sleeve/hair dryer approach, the hair dryer with tourmaline balls in the diffuser approach and the Acoustic Revive RIO-5II. Personally I have not tried the RIO and you can't demag simultaneously with the RIO. Brian Kyle will be selling a Tourmaline Hair dryer with Tourmaline balls in the diffuser but Andrew is not doing a commercial product.
Considering all the techie horsepower in our hobby; I would guess that almost every audiophile either could do this himself or knows someone who can.
One last thing about the Tourmaline hair dryer with tourmaline balls in the diffuser.it's scary what it can do by itself. Blow it on an untreated Lp already on a tt and you get much of the effect.blow it on cables and the bass improves and the soundstage expands. I think we are only scratching the surface of what this process can do to improve performance. I wonder if digital transports might not incorporate demag and de-ionizing in some way to sustain the effect permanently.
I do not know if the effect of this tweak will be the same in every system. I suspect that the higher the resolution, the lower the noise floor, and the better the acoustics of a system are..the greater and more consistent the result will be. I think one issue will be that this tweak will make many systems..sources, preamps, cables, amps, speakers, rooms..more enjoyable. Upgrades might not seem as needed when things sound so good. The focus might become a bit more on finding new music and not so much on gear. I know that sounds quite over the top but that is how it has effected my viewpoint.
I am wearing my body armor and will take all my meds..i'll have my Lagavulin handy. There is likely to be much understandable skepticism initially until people have a chance to hear it for themselves. If there is anyone in the Seattle area who would care to hear it..or someone visiting Portland next week for VSAC who has the time for a side trip to the Seattle area (2 ½ hour one way drive to my home from VSAC)...they are welcome.