I received a copy of an email this morning from Mark of CDIllumination, the company in Australia that is “vivifying” CDs by copying them to Gold CD-R. I wrote about the folly of this service for the obvious reasons that a “copy” from a Gold CD-R will output the same stream of bits as the replicated original. In fact, it might do it better than the copy because the disc is actually pressed or stamped instead of “burned” as the CD-Rs are. Anyway, Mark expresses confidence in his process:
Thank you for asking about the CD copying. I use several processes that I have verified to improve the sound of the copied CD, together they work synergistically. I am still trying other methods to try to further improve things.
These processes were derived empirically after I noticed that some copies of CDs improved others degraded. I kept the improving ones. Certainly decreasing jitter improves things as does reduced BLER on the CD, however, other processes improve things and I don’t know what to measure to make a correlation. But that doesn’t matter as long as there is an imrpovement.
I do make adjustments to the pits and lands of the burned cd as well as altering optics. I have also tried many types of discs from black to aluminium to silver to gold reflective layers and my personal preference is for the gold. The others are not to my personal taste but the sound is different.
I would group the differences in the rip, the computer hardware, the cd optics and finally the burning process. It takes me about half an hour to do this with a photocopy image of the original cd onto the new cd. I think the result is a bargain compared to an equipment upgrade that might cost many thousands and not return the same improvements.
But these are just words.
Here is a challenge to you: send me a cd in WAV with music that you know well as a reference (compilation is OK) and I will do the process free of charge. If your ears and equipment are good, I know you will hear the improvement first hand. If you do a compilation perhaps some of your friends would like to contribute a track or two.
Mark – CD Illumination”
Here’s a few questions or points that are worth making.
I’m a little skeptical of any company that uses the term “synergistically”. That term shows up too often in the high-end audio business. I would prefer to know what exact processes the gentleman from CDIllumination is using to “improve the sound of the copied CD”.
He mentions decreasing “jitter” but doesn’t say at what point in the process or that clock can be completely redone at the very final stage of the process…thus removing any artifacts associated with timing errors.
Reducing BLER or error rates on the CDs doesn’t really count for much either. Most errors are correctable and the original disc and copy will produce the same stream of bits.
Mark of CD Illumination says he does, “make adjustments to the pits and lands of the burned CD as well as altering optics”. What does that mean? How does he accomplish that since it’s a rigorous process defined by the specifications of the CD-R Orange Book.
Ultimately, this is going to come down to blind faith again. He says that everything in his process, “doesn’t matter as long as there is an improvement”.
Finally, he asks that the reader send him a cd in WAV file format. The process is taken from a replicated CD…that’s what should be sent. I wrote to Mark as well and look forward to hearing from him. I’ll keep you posted.