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August 2014
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Audiolics Anonymous Chapter 169
Home Sweet Home
Article By Bill Gaw

 

Editor's note, Bill is back to once again with this very last article to tout the same gear as before, so this is his very final thoughts.

It has been a while. AA 168 was written shortly before my retirement 19 months ago when I felt I needed to take a break from reviewing and recharge the batteries. There was no longer any enjoyment either in the writing or the music. High-end audio has a tendency to do that, dragging one into listening to the sound of the individual components or the system rather than the music. It happens to most reviewers, and many audiophiles.

Audio had become boring. My wife and I took six months off and went down to our retirement home in the Caribbean, and even on returning to New Hampshire last summer, stayed away from high end audio from June to November, when I returned south. Yes, I did listen to music on the my Audeze LCD 2 headphones, and  Stax Electrostatic headphones and amp there, driven by the Smyth Realizer, which recreates my home system in a reasonable fashion, but listening sessions would only last a movement or two of a symphony before petering out. This year, by the end of seven months in the Caribbean, we got to the point of discussing selling the northern house and moving into a condo for summers, where my system built up over 30 plus years could have no place. No more 2 acres of lawn and leaves and other housekeeping chores. No more umpteen thousand dollars of mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance. But also no more 6 foot long horns with 8 subwoofers.

Then we returned home to New Hampshire, and after letting the system warm up for a couple of days of watching video, sat down for my first real listening session in 19 months. What a revelation! Suddenly I was in a concert hall truly enjoying everything I could throw at the system. Horns and tubes, especially with a 7.8 surround system enveloping one in sound, have a way of doing that. Back was the joy first obtained when playing my French horn in several orchestras those many years ago in high school. Alas for my bank account, gone was the wish to sell the house, and be stuck with a lesser music system. On the other hand, gone also was the need to ever improve the system with new equipment, tweaks and software. My system and 4 terabytes of music would satisfy me for a lifetime. This went on for about a month. Then little defects in the sound began to creep into my consciousness.

There would be nights when even the three Pure Power +1500 power supplies would let in those electrical gremlins just enough to disturb my pleasure. That would lead to my contacting PurePower for the new +2000 power supplies they had promised. Unhappily they have not arrived as yet as they are selling them as fast as they can be produced in their Canadian factory.

Happily an event occurred which has seemed to cure this problem. We had a thunderstorm one evening while listening to the system, and the electricity went out. The power supplies started running on batteries and for about three glorious minutes the sound was even better than before. They had done this before when disconnected from AC, but running multiple tube amps only allowed them to do this for a few minutes. Then, for the first time since its $12,000 installation several years ago after a week without electricity, my whole house generator kicked in. Wonder of wonders, the sound continued to be gorgeous, the best ever heard with my system. I had tried small 4-5 KVA generators in the past, but each had actually worsened the sound, while the 20 KVA generator tightened the base, cleaned up the midrange of some left over grunge, and quieted the small amount of electrical noise still let through by the power supplies while on AC, allowing both the micro-dynamics and ambiance to fill the room with space not heard before in my system.

Then, at the beginning of July, the air conditioning kicked in and started giving off RF noise which was picked up as static sound by my long rear channel interconnects, even though they're balanced. Finally, George Louis sent me an email about his new disc cleaning formulation. With these three events, that old nemesis, Audiophilia Nervosa, kicked in. So here I am, back to experimenting and writing. God help me!

 

Digital Systems & Solutions UltraBit Diamond Plus Disc Treatment
Digital Systems & Solutions UltraBit Diamond Plus Disc TreatmentFirst off, by his emails and correspondence I've heard about by my original hi-fi guru, Clark Johnsen, plus having reviewed several of his products previously, I must say that George, who I have yet to meet, appears to be both a little crazy in a good absolutist sense, and a superb tweaker of audiophillia. I previously reviewed his Ultrabit Platinum plus and Clean Disc kit and found them to work as described. I used it on all of my 600 CD's, 100 plus DVD's and 60 laser discs which I transcribed to hard disc. The discs in an OPPO disc player and my HTPC revealed more information than without the treatment and allowed the computer with the EAC copying program to work both faster and with less error correction. So much for the "bits is bits" crowd.

So George sent me his latest creation, Ultrabit Diamond Plus to review along with a note from Jennifer Crock of Jenna Labs, maker of fine cables, extolling the product. Unhappily he failed to include his new cleaner, but let me know that the new Diamond Plus is somewhat incompatible with the old cleaner, but does a very good job of cleaning normal grunge from the discs. Only if one needs to remove another polishing solution should one need the new cleaner.

Included with the bottle of Diamond Plus were a couple of cleaning cloths and a special pad for polishing the discs, and then emailed me the instructions for use. Anyway, I got out multiple Blu-ray classical music discs which had never been treated with any other solutions, and played them first on both my OPPO BDP 105 player and my HTPC. They sounded good (not great as discussed below) as usual. Then the solution was sprayed onto the discs and buffed up to a mirror-like shine and replayed. In every instance both the audio and video were also "shined up". As usual, the video improved somewhat in clarity but not to the same degree as the audio. Maybe when they get to the new UHD standard will one be able to see marked improvements.

On the other hand, the audio side was markedly improved for a very reasonable price. I've found that for some reason the Blu-ray discs, especially those from European orchestras, are somewhat dull sounding with less than appropriate ambiance from the surround channels. Whether it's due to their being produced from concerts recorded for television viewing I have no idea. It's not the Blu-ray system itself, as all except one of my recordings from the San Francisco symphony orchestra are superb. That's a recording of the Shostakovich Fifth symphony which was recorded in Russia, and has the same problem as the other European produced disc. Go figure.

In all case, there was a considerable improvement in all sound parameters I can think of; more ambiance and micro and macro dynamics, cleaner soundstage and tighter bass and individual instrument placement and space. I could go on like most reviewers with the names of multiple recordings and spend pages describing what I heard, but really you must try the stuff on your system to appreciate what it does. Interestingly, the treated discs sounded almost as good as the hard is files played through RAM on my computer, until now the best playback I've achieved.

Unhappily I didn't have any more of his Platinum plus, which is still available, to compare the new solution with, but I'd go with the Diamond Plus from this point on. My only concern now is whether to pull out my 700 CDs, DVDs and laser discs and re-transcribe them to hard drive, a monumental task. Guess I'll try a couple and compare the hard disc digits with the original copies to see if there's any improvement.

He has not sent me the list price for the Diamond plus, so hopefully he'll let us know in his discussion below. I do know the price is very reasonable and is well worth the price!

 

A Few Words From George Of Digital Systems & Solutions
The price for 2-ounce container of UltraBit Diamond-Plus will treat approximately 1,000 to 1,250 discs and should last approximately 10 years with a rebuffing every couple of years. Thus your discs don't need to be treated each time they're played as some treatments require. All our products have a 100% satisfaction money back guaranty that includes shipping both ways plus $10 extra simply for trying them. We put our money where your ears are because we believe the evaluation of an audio system is in the ear of the beholder! UltraBit Diamond-Plus™ (UBD-P) has an MSRP of $100 for 2-ounces. CleanDisc-Plus™ (CD-P) has an MSRP of $25. When ordered together, the total is $125 plus $10 shipping. Overseas shipping is $26. If you order two of any item shipping to the same address, the second item is only 50% more with no additional shipping charges. Get Music in better, to get Better Music out and rehear what's possible. 10 seconds and 10 cents is all you need!

George S. Louis
www.AudioGeorge.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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