- What is Essence of Music?
Essence of Music is an Optical Audio-Video Digital Disc Treatment. It is an essential product for preparing your CD and Blu-ray discs for upload and playback. Ripping following Essence of Music application reveals and permanently captures enhanced details, spatial cues, and ambient intimacies of a live event to your media server – delicacies always present, but obscured within your disc, prior to Essence of Music application.
For more information, please view our retail literature here.
- How does Essence of Music improve the performance of a media disc?
Essence of Music improves a disc’s surface by reducing birefringence (double refraction) on the disc surface and by enhancing the disc’s optical transparency using nano-coating technology. Digital noise is thereby reduced. The improvements in performance are easily discernable during Audio and Video playback (See more information on birefringence below.)
Birefringence (bi-refraction) in optical digital media discs is caused by “frozen in” stresses introduced into the disc during the injection molding and cooling processes of manufacturing. Birefringence leads to a loss of light at the read optics of a disc player or transport, reducing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Reducing Birefringence lowers the bit error ratio (BER) insuring a more efficient and reliable retrieval of the encoded digital data present within each disc. Essence of Music Treatment targets these frozen in stresses at the disc’s surface.
When a single laser beam enters the stressed polycarbonate surface, it splits (bi-refracted) into two beams. The two beams then arrive at slightly different times to each of the pits and bumps in the disc’s encoded data layer. Bi-refraction is repeated again when the beam (now beams) exit the disc as one to four beams per each pit or bump – all originating from the original single laser source beam. The encoded data carrying countless ‘bit read errors’ arrives to the player’s optical pick-up at different speeds, time, and phase, resulting in optical phase anomalies, timing induced jitter, and other distortions – digital noise. The player or transport has and requires very sophisticated error correction circuitry tasked to recreate lost and/or corrupted data.
- Doesn't the error correction circuitry present in all disc players already correct these issues?
Many studies confirm the efficacy of error correction circuitry in recreating the encoded data. We agree. Even so, we surmise that the less the error correction circuitry is called upon to intervene, the truer the playback performance will be to the master recording. A reduction in the BER allows the error correction circuitry in a player or transport to be less needed, reducing the circuit’s power requirements, and improving the circuit’s efficiency.
- What is Birefringence and why is it a potential source of musical degradation?
Birefringence (birefraction) occurs when the light transmitted through a medium takes two separate paths. In optical media discs it is caused by residual stresses introduced during the disc’s manufacturing process, specifically transient cooling stresses, and transient thermal stresses.
In Japan, producers of SHM-CD, HQCD, Blue Spec CD, and others, have improved disc manufacturing techniques by utilizing a higher quality polycarbonate plastic to reduce birefringence. Essence of Music brings much of the improvement of these expensive newer production discs to your existing CD, DVD, and Blu-ray library. ( Birefringence Links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jMRJW2lnYs ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6U4uembaNQ ; http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue39/shmcd.htm )
Don’t take our word for it.
The following articles in Absolute Sound and Stereophile respectively, found the same results.
CD: The $2000 CD made From Glass By Robert Harley • Absolute Sound: April 6, 2009
“…it’s worth noting that polycarbonate can introduce optical distortions that affect the playback laser beam. Specifically, polycarbonate can cause a phenomenon called “birefringence”—a double refraction of the playback beam introduced by variations in the refractive index of the material through which the beam is passing.”
CD: Jitter, Errors & Magic By Robert Harley • Stereophile: May 1, 1990
“CDs exhibit greater variations in jitter than that between a cheap transport and a state-of-the-art transport, the inexorable conclusion is that CDs made under different conditions have different sonic characteristics.”
“Birefringence, which varies in amount between manufacturing runs, should certainly be considered a potential source of musical degradation.”
“Although I had wanted to find measurable differences with the tweaks, the experiments at least ruled out data errors and jitter as the cause of audible differences. More significantly, however, the jitter measurements led to the hypothesis that the conditions under which CDs are made have audible effects on playback quality. This idea has profound ramifications, warranting a full investigation to reveal its merit.”
- What benefits accrue in using Essence of Music prior to ripping discs to a media server?
Essence of Music optical digital audio-video disc treatment improves the polycarbonate disc surface to reduce birefringence. The resultant decrease in the bit error ratio (BER) and increase in the signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio facilitates a more accurate retrieval of encoded digital data within a disc.
Phase anomalies are reduced to provide sharper transient attacks, better focus, improved spatial characteristics and decay, yielding a more precise, holographic presentation. A more realistic portrayal of the performance results. Users are rewarded with a revelation of information captured by microphones and cameras during the original audio/video recording sessions; information always present, but simply obscured by digital noise.
Ripping following Essence of Music application permanently captures the additional detail, spatial cues, and ambient information to your hard drive.
- Are there any media discs on which Essence of Music is not recommended for use?
Essence of Music can be used safely and effectively on both sides of 99.95% of all commercially produced CD’s, SACD’s, DVD’s and Blu-ray discs and R & RW formats. A few Philips (pre 2004) Hybrid dual-layer SACD’s (only) have a well-documented issue with a silicone coating added during manufacturing. These Hybrid SACD’s were produced for several record labels. Philips advises against using any cleaning solution on these early Hybrid SACD’s produced by Philips Sonopress – Germany and Philips ODTC – Netherlands pre 2004. To identify a suspected Hybrid SACD disc, locate the hologram on the laser read side of the disc just outside the spindle hole. Only one gold Redbook CD (produced for a private label in 1988) has been reported incompatible. We recommend that if a disc is an early (pre 2004) or a rare/expensive CD, or SACD, quickly test it for compatibility per the enclosed manufacturer’s Directions.
- Have the effects of Essence of Music be measured?
In an independent test, Jim Aud of Purist Audio Design utilized a certified Phillips Professional CD reader with two identical discs. One disc remained untreated (control); the other disc was treated with Essence of Music. A 33% reduction in bit read errors (BER) was documented.
- Have any listening tests have been conducted?
In subsequent testing by Purist Audio Design, single blind listening tests were conducted using the company’s reference audio test system. Two identical copies of 8 different CDs were played randomly. Participants selected the Essence of Music treated disc every time. Audible improvements noted were additional detail retrieval and an improved spatial presentation.
- Bottom Line
Essence of Music improves optical digital media by reducing birefringence (double refraction) on the disc surface and by enhancing the disc’s optical transparency. Our disc treatment reduces the BER thereby increasing the SNR. A more accurate data read and delivery of the encoded data to your player results. Ripping will capture enhanced information to your media server. Discernable audio-video improvements are confirmed by industry professionals and customers in professional reviews, customer testimonials, blind A-B testing, and is also supported by independent BER and SNR test measurements.
We recommend Essence of Music Treatment prior to ripping your audio-video disc library or before playback. The improvements described are long-lasting and believed to be permanent. A 30 day in-home satisfaction assurance policy is included with your purchase.
- PDF's and More Information