Wash, Cut, Polish & Demagnetize


As I sat and read through the most recent threads on the "Agon" forum, I noticed a thread regarding "Glossary of Audio Myths". I noticed several comments regarding "greening" and demagnetizing CDs.

Without delving too deeply into the effects of laser light diffraction, deflection, dispersion and reflecting light from adjacent tracks creating "jitter", and to avoid reduntantly examining the fact that the aluminum "wafer" in a CD is not always just aluminum, but in many cases aluminum "alloy", I would like to attempt to dispel a few of these "myths".

Many CD manufacturing facilities use a coating of mold release agents on the manufacturing machinery and on the plastic substrate material in the actual CD to facilitate ease of handling throughout the manufacturing process. Somewhat similar to spraying a cooking pan with "PAM" to reduce sticking. The residual amounts remaining on the CD upon completion of manufacturing should be removed as it will cause minor deflection and loss of focus of the laser beam. Specialty chemicals are available specifically for this purpose. I wash the CDs thoroughly using Dawn dishwashing liquid and very warm water. I cannot confirm that this process is as effective as using the specialty chemicals, but it leaves the CD surface extremely clean and seemingly free from any "oily" feel.

I then cut the edge of the CD using an Audiodesk CD cutter. This process reduces the amount of laser scatter from exiting through the outer edge of the CD and flooding the inside of the CD transport with reflected laser light. By cutting a bevel on the edge of the CD, you actually reduce the edge surface area by which the diffracted laser light can disperse. Some may feel that this a bit excessive, but we must keep in mind that the results of these treatments are cumulative.

The next process involves applying CD "Green" to the beveled edge. The properties of the color value of the Green used in the majority of these coatings tend to absorb any stray laser light. I still, to this day, have not been able to figure out why Green is the color of choice although, I have been told that it is simply the values of each of these colors (Red laser light and Green) that work together in unison to "neutralize" the light. The initial washing of the CD also helps to enhance the adhesion of the green coatings.

Upon allowing the CD green to dry, I then apply CD diamond using 100% cotton balls, and polish using again, cotton balls. CD diamond is an optical enhancer similar to Optrix,
Vivid, etc. and also contains a anti-static component. Most of these "optical enhancers" work by simply filling in microscopic pores in the CD surface permitting a more direct transmission of the laser beam through the plastic substrate material to the actual CD surface.

The last step involves demagnetizing the CD using a Furutech RD-2 CD demagnetizer. CDs, contrary to what most people believe can and will become magnetized. The results are a less black background, a general "haze" and loss of detail. If Cds were made using pure aluminum with NO trace elements, this step might not be required.

The results of all this? Pretty damn amazing. Again, recognizing that the results of all of these steps are cumulative, when all is said and done, the improvement is quite significant. Although these steps may sound somewhat time consuming, each CD actually only takes about three minutes to complete.

I hope I have provided some insight as to "dispelling" some of these myths. I can, and will, stand by this process as time and time again these enhancements have made CDs a lot more listenable. And, I have dropped the jaws of many non-believers after they have heard the actual results.

Any comments regarding this process are welcome. Happy listening.


128x128buscis2
Sam: I have purchased discs that were markered and / or "cut" from local music shops without even knowing it. That is, until i got them home. Quite honestly, the markered discs bothered me more than the "cut" discs for the above mentioned reasons. Obviously, someone in the Chicagoland area is performing either or both tweaks and those discs are being bought and sold via shops that offer used discs.

I also agree with your suggestion of using identical discs. While my Brother and I have quite a few of the same discs, we had a hard time finding discs that actually were identical. Many had different spacing in terms of burned vs unburned areas, etc... Since both discs supposedly contained the same amount of info, one would have to wonder if one version would be easier to read than the other or if different materials were being used to store the data. I know that the BMG's and "store bought" discs supposedly contain the same info bit for bit, none of the BMG's resembled those from the original manufacturer. Sean
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I have 2 Ella Fitzgerald discs that are completely identical (both from Decca, made the same year- everything the same). One has been Lathe-trimmed, one has not. Once i get my system back up (about another week), I am going to take the Pepsi challenge and post a result...
Herman, absolutely fascinating reading. Thanks for the contribution. I think many of us will find this info extremely informative. Talk about dispelling myths, I always thought that the laser was reading "pits" not "bumps".

Great stuff Herman, Thanks again, ED.
Another benefit in using the Audiodesk disc shredder, you can use the shavings as tinnsile, for your christmas tree.
this will help "pay" for the Disk shredder. Also, you can shredd the edge of the cd so sharp, Your wife can use your cd's as cutlery for the kichen, doing this, the shredder has a great wife acceptace factor, another added bonus.
Sean, what angle, etc. does this edge trimmer work at? Is there a corner radius? Is only the O.D. being beveled? I ask because I can turn the CD on a small bench lathe.
For people here considering $600 for a CD lathe, realize you can buy a real bench lathe for $400 from Wholesale Tool. Has a 7" swing.
Buscis2 http://www.harmonictech.com/furutech/magic/_series.htm
does not work.
Also show me the magnetic strength of ferrous impurites in the aluminum of a CD. Pure and total nonsense, IMHO of course. I'll bet inconsequential even running through an MRI machine let alone a CDP. Antistatic is another matter.
I got the help of the engineering manager at one industrial fluids company and he supplied me with optical oil of greatest transparency to CD laser light and matched the refraction of the polycarbonate CD material. Did nothing to help the sound but if I got it on too thick did degrade the sound.
Did get some optical oil from a local microscope supply house and that did WILD things to cymbals etc. Not repeatable for some reason.
So I've settled on an industrial plastic cleaning solution which leaves no residue and spraying/polishing out CD with Novus #1. I did not find this smoothing out the sound as Sean noted. Then again Novus is not a coating like Auric etc.
That $70 Vivid does sound interesting though.