On January 22, 2014, I posted an article about the efficacy of treating an optical disc with some sort of solution and buffing the surface of the disc in the hopes that it would improve the fidelity of the playback. You can check out the post here. The post included a photo of the Essence-of-Music product, which I described as snake oil and a product completely without a technical or scientific leg to stand on. I also said that I would do an objective test of discs that have been treated vs. untreated ones. I did that test yesterday.
What triggered my impromptu research was an email from the developer of the Essence-of-Music product, a gentleman name Dr. Robert Spence. He authored a very thoughtful and polite email expressing his disappointment by my “self-motivated and poor characterization of [his] product”…a product that he obviously continues to have confidence in. He questioned how I could make any reasonable statement about a product with which I’ve had no personal experience.
He inquired why I would use my discussion of the “discredited product as a bludgeon on a colleague and business competitor”. I was naturally curious about his criticisms since the open paragraph of my post explained why I was writing the post and why I chose to avoid naming any person or company in conjunction with the gist of the article.
So I responded that I have had experience with products similar to his and that I would be willing to objectively test his product at my studio. A subsequent email let me know that he wouldn’t be sending a copy of the Essence-of-Music product because he “lacks confidence that [I] could or would be objective” in evaluating the product. If I was him, I wouldn’t send it either…I understand. Although, if my assessment showed me that I was wrong about the Essence-of-Music tweak, I can assure you that I would not hesitate to publicly apologize and then tout his product with my full endorsement.
I must say the Dr. Spence’s tone was polite and respectful but he did pointedly cast me as an uncaring person and one lacking in character. I feel no need to apologize to Dr. Spence. I wrote the piece because there are way too many expensive products like his that are “snake oil” plain and simple. And today I can prove it…at least with regards to “surface” treatments of optical discs. I’m sure believers will not accept my results and fade back into their emotional “faith-based” beliefs but at least I will have tried.
Let me first reiterate a fundamental fact…there is no way that you can do anything to a properly functioning optical disc and pickup system to improve or change its “fidelity”. The job of the medium and optical laser pickup is to communicate a whole lot of digital ones and zeros between them.
Stay tuned for part II…