If you want the utmost clarity from your CDs

This product has been around for a long time. 
Someone mentioned it recently in passing in a post, so I thought I’d give it a try.
For $35, it’s made an amazing difference. 
It’s Herbie’s Super Black Hole CD Mat.
Considering How much I’ve spent changing components in order to achieve better SQ, this cheap little device is ridiculous!  
The difference in clarity is palpable.  
If you haven’t tried it you owe it to yourself.


@slaw I ordered 1 around 10 years ago. Got about 5 years use out of it. After a while the adhesive texture wears thin even when damped with a cloth. Never had an issue with thickness has to be less then 2mm. It did take a slight treble edge off my North Star Sapphire.

My PC ate off the adhesive. Herbie's replaced it.

Glued the old one on a top load magnetic puck.



Sounds like it. It seems at 2mm, that could throw off the reading by the laser? I don't know just wondering.

I would think if it had any merit at all, the manufactures would have thought of it and maybe included something similar in the box, or redesigned the cd tray. I'd have to agree with a few others, that it very well may throw off the laser reading. To me, my cd's sound fine played in my machine as is. It is more a thing of mastering than anything else. Kudos to the willingness to try it, just not for me, nor is the green pen thing. 

Try cleaning them with products such as ReVeel/ReleeS that come in sachets/spray.

De-magnetising and removing static from CD's works, by either method, before inserting the CD into a transport, or by mats / discs used on top of the CD during replay. 

It is a very cost-effective means of "improving" sound, especially on CD's that have not been played for several weeks, or more.

I don't own a CD player, but have just checked the website and for the sake of accuracy it is 0.64mm thick. If I owned a CD player of any calibre I would have thought that at $34.99 it is well worth a punt. If it works great, if not then nevermind. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

“By reducing micro-vibration in the CD spin during playback, laser-reading error is potentially reduced.”




of course they have zero measurements to back this ridiculous claim up

Re reading error, even crude 50c computer drives have read errors around only 1-2 bits per million.  You ain't going to hear them.  Read errors are not the issue with digital SQ.  Problems centre around jitter, clock errors, DAC clock integration with the disc player and the low bandwidth and sampling rate of the CD standard made unavoidable by the storage capacity of a 5 inch disc in 1984.


Even though the mat will not improve SQ, within 1mm or most probably more you don't need to worry about its thickness.  From the get go the laser readers in CD transports are self-adjusting to locate not only laterally on the line of pits but also vertically to obtain the correct height above the disc to maintain focus.


So this is $34.99 snake oil.  As snake oil goes, cheap at the price.

@clearthinker So this is $34.99 snake oil.  As snake oil goes, cheap at the price.

And for an experience so intense as to seem almost tangible, who wouldn't want to just have to try it?


Do you mean 'so intense that it's inaudible'?

Well, it's your $34.99 if you have money to burn.

I explained in my previous post that replacing 1-2 bits in a million will be inaudible.

Here we have the classic face-off between the view point of a pure subjectivist versus an objectivist with the knowledge of how the technology works saying based on the science, that the sound cannot be improved by this tweak.  Unless the listener can prove his ability to identify the tweaked disc through rigorously conducted double blind tests…the effect has to be psychological.  

Who has the patience for that!  This is a hobby.  It’s supposed to be fun.  I hear what I hear!  
Oh, honey, it’s time for my dose of invermectin!

@clearthinker I explained in my previous post that replacing 1-2 bits in a million will be inaudible.

And I’m just expanding on the OP’s use of the word palpable in describing the item being promoted. One must explore every superlative employed in the marketing handbook. Could be marketing bottled air, too.

If I am to believe those who have NOT ACTUALLY HEARD the disc I must have a vivid imagination.

"If I am to believe those who have NOT ACTUALLY HEARD the disc"

Yes, thus explaining to the masses, by using measurements & specs., that you can't hear a difference and it is silly to even think of that. It would seem that they also have insight on how everyone's brain works and how they interpret what is heard, thus saving us from ourselves. One can only imagine why they would want to do that in the first place. Now I ask, is that really clear thinking?

Is PALPABLE the most misleading word in audio?  It's certainly the most over-used.


Of course the best double blind test is where the palpables are asked to choose between the same material and system played twice.

Those who can do it, prove that it's all a game and that the human brain and psychology can convince their owners there are differences when there is none.  This is caused by subjectivity and limited ability to concentrate and clear the head of all extraneous issues.  We all do it.  Even the 'goldenears' who of course actually have ears like mine and yours.

Thanks rvpiano,

im going to order one and check it out. I got some Bernie’s gliders for my big heavy speakers and like them quite a bit. 

$35 bucks for a potential improvement is nothing in this hobby. Reviews on the Herbies website are very positive. 

Well there appears to be no shortage of customers posting positive experiences of the mat, 4.8 stars out of 5 , as proponents of a certain brand of aftermarket fuse use as a mantra “ it comes with a returns policy “ so no worries


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I purchased one last year knowing it could fall in the snake-oil category.

When I do A/B comparisons I have a young non-audiophile friend listen as well.

I silently arrive at my opinion first before asking what he thinks. We both agreed that this device added a bit of clarity to my classic Sony CD player used as a transport.


I bought this disc several years ago. It does work but not on all CDs it seems. I did a blind test with my son-in-law with a certain Red Hot Chili Peppers cd and he, and I, could hear a difference in tightness of bass and clarity of sound-stage.

Not all music styles seem to benefit from the disc, at least not audibly. I think how revealing the equipment is also determines how well this disc works. I think it offers good value for a small incremental improvement.

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Ok @rvpiano Im in, just ordered one. Also in another post, and I’m not a sales person, the ultra bit platinum spray works great as another tweek I’ve have great luck with. Thanks for the advice. 

If this produces palpable improvements for no physically known reason, it leads one to wonder what other methods or treatment might lead to even more palpable improvements! I don’t see any need for the treatment to be in the same room, or even on the same planet as the device it’s improving. That’s just closed minded thinking. What all might we be missing out on? What is the true upper limit for sonic bliss? Ooh, there's a new market potential here! Like Software as a Service, this could be Tweaks as a Service - TAAS. Somebody somewhere else will host the tweak for you for an ongoing fee. No need to have a bunch of stuff to keep track of in your local environment. 


if you haven’t tried it YOU are speaking theoretically.

Observation is part of the scientific method.

I wonder if anyone tries a tuning mat of larger diameter like this? I would imagine a smaller diameter mat/pad might work better because of higher centrufugal mass in the center of a CD.


Before buying trying either Black Hole CD Mat or full scale tuning mat I introduce above, out of curiority I decide to give a DIY mat a try.  I took a unused mouse pad and cut the dual concentric shape out of the pad to my best ability based on the dimenions of the Black Hole.  The mouse pad is even thicker (1.5mm vs 0.68mm) so I presume it will work better than the Black Hole because of the extra weight.  I make sure the inner circle is cut precisly such that it will fit nicely into my CD / SACD player spindle.

I could tell you, at least to my ear, it makes no difference in terms of SQ, clarity, etc.  I was sort of disappointed...  Well, folks, don't be.  I could also tell you a way  that could possibly improve the clarity of CD playback and cost you nothing is to play the CD directly into the power amplifier. (make sure the impedance matched between the CD/DVD/SACD player and the PA) 

I was on the fence but after reading this review https://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/vt.mpl?f=tweaks&m=171365 I decided to put my $39.26 in. (Finally someone on this forum speaks my language.)

@shopanon So I notice the guy, Mike, wrote the review is a "Dealer."  I would like to know your own experience with it.  Please report back to share.  

No experience with this guy or forum, only the appreciation of some insightful comments about the type of music that I usually listen to. He describes things that I look for in classical music but can't really articulate, so I trust what he said (albeit 13 yrs. ago). But that is approximately where I stand (except for some recent Schiit acquisitions) when it comes to my newest audio system.

This sounds great and something I’d really like to try.  But, I’ve already had to have my Oppo transport mechanism repaired once so I’m a little concerned this might mess it up again.  And since Oppo is DOA I’m concerned about having to have it repaired.  Any info on this damaging any transports/CD players?

I’m using it on my OPPO for SACDs and my transport for CDs with no problems.


The person's opinion is 100% correct.

Anyone who does not agree with him, ah!, is a scientifically-poor person.

Therefore, the $34.99-snake oil is around us.

Several $100 - several $1,000 per foot speaker cable = absolutely wasting $$$.

My speaker is Vienna Acoustic's Mahler = sound awesome with Monster cable

(100'/$50). I did try $500 cables. No difference between them. So, I sold the $500 cable.

I don't get the snark in this thread. Herbie's has a sixty day return policy and a lifetime warranty. It still is under forty dollars.

I have tried cd pads in the past and have had issues with them getting stuck inside. No more pads for me. I used a Bendini clarifier, demagnatizing device and still treat the cd edges with green paint, seems to work quite well.