Musical Meddling: CD Treatments
Innovative Audio Products CD Clarity
4 November 2002
Along with the receipt of the Dave Herren’s Cobra Cable reviewed in my last
Musical Meddling column, I received a bottle of fluid invented by Dave for any
optical disc treatment (CD, DVD, SACD, CD-R, LD, etc.) called “CD Clarity.”
Dave’s products are available via the web at The Audio Difference, based in
“CD Clarity” is a slightly translucent blue, nontoxic, non-alcohol based fluid
that is said to perform a number of important enhancements when applied to the
playing surface of any optical disc. Dave states that it cleans discs and coats
them with a "dry film protectant" to help shield them from scratches, fingerprints
and dirt and helps seal and close fine scratches, holes, and imperfections in
the disc's polycarbonate coating and it also contains an antistatic agent. “CD
Clarity” is therefore said to improve the intensity of the laser beam reaching
the disc, to permit a more accurate reading of the information on the disc.
While it is no secret to me that optical surface treatments can have a wonderfully
positive effect (I’ve been using them since the late 1980’s), what is a pleasant
surprise here is that “CD Clarity” is so affordable at just $12 a bottle — plus
$3 for shipping. It comes in a self-applicating spray bottle, some 6” tall and
1 5/8” in diameter, and Dave claims there is enough fluid to treat approximately
400 discs. While I’ve no idea what is in the concoction, it is effective.
Spraying a fine mist onto an audio CD, then polishing it dry with a clean cotton
cloth, proves an easy enough method of application. In a matter of seconds the
treatment is complete and ready for audition. I used several duplicate discs,
which I have verified sound indistinguishable from each other, that keep on
hand for just such evaluations.
After the quick and easy application of “CD Clarity,” audio discs played with
slightly improved musical focus and resolve, meaning instruments were better
delineated and located. There was a bit more continuity to the overall harmonic
texture of the disc, making the digital disc sound that much more like an LP.
There is a slight warming of mids and reduction of high frequency glare that
is always welcomed, especially on contemporary pop recordings. Also noted was
a slight reduction in that digital “haze” or “fog” that almost always veils
some of the presentation. Finally, there was a slight refinement to bass and
midbass articulation that easily aided the rhythmic presentation of the music.
With DVD’s, the changes are very similar in the sonic realm, but the video
improves slightly as well. Color saturation becomes a bit more vivid, and three-dimensionality,
the perceived depth noted in the picture, becomes slightly more pronounced.
Mind you, these are subtle flavor changes, not like changing speakers or source
components, but more like the subtle changes noticed in changing a power cable
or an interconnect. I am happy to say that, for $15 delivered, it is easily
worth its asking price.