This is a review of the Audiotop “Digital” CD/DVD enhancer/mold release formula. I was introduced to this product by Brian Ackermann of Aaudio Imports when I attended a private show he sponsored with Ricardo Reyes of Musical Artisans. I was focusing on the interesting and excellent equipment they were demonstrating when Brian asked if I used any CD enhancers. I told him that I have used several, and that I had a definite preference for Walker Audio Ultra Vivid (which I still think is an excellent product). He asked if the disc I brought with me that day was treated with Ultra Vivid (it was) and asked if I’d like to try an experiment. He said he has something that would remove the mold on CDs, as well as the Ultra Vivid substance. I was skeptical, but I said OK. Brian’s product took under 30 seconds to apply, and when I listened to the same disc it was unmistakably improved. I tried it on another, with the same results. Interested, I bought a bottle to try out at home in a more controlled listening environment. I’ve been hooked since.
I ran three sets of “experiments” with others: two sessions with two separate audiophile-types, one on my system, and one in the other audiophile’s system, as well as a session on my system with two completely non-audiophile types. In all cases, I used CDs that they brought to the listening session; in all cases, they thought the CDs sounded better after treatment.
So what does Audiotop Digital do?
There were three obvious characteristics of the “Digital’s” effects: a very obvious increase in clarity and transparency, much better separation of performers and instruments, and a deeper and somewhat wider soundstage. Let’s take these one at a time.
Clarity and transparency. Reviewers use the phrase “ripped away a veil” when they refer to an improvement that makes you feel as though a curtain had previously existed between you and the performers. This was the most immediate effect of the Audiotop Digital in my system. I’ve had this general impression with other upgrades, but not very consistently. Usually it’s tonality, PRAT, soundstage, bass depth or clarity or some similar characteristic that was improved. This spray actually made everything feel “cleaner” and less congested.
Separation. This may in fact be a side effect of ripping away a veil. But I certainly could discern each performer much more clearly, though not at the expense of the musical whole. The effect was an enhancement of the illusion of actual performers in the room.
Soundstage depth and width. I usually proceed with “width and depth”, but here I do mean depth first, then width. My soundstage has always been very wide, so adding more width is always surprising, but I never hear more depth without an equipment upgrade. The additional depth was a significant bonus, with greater layering of the performers.
So, did I try using Audiotop Digital with the Walker Ultra Vivid? Absolutely! I’m both obsessed and curious. Applying the Audiotop Digital first made the biggest improvement. (There’s no point to applying the Ultra Vivid first since Audiotop Digital will remove it.) Adding the Ultra Vivid made less of an improvement, but it did marginally improve the tonality of the music. If you’re a fanatic you’ll want to do it. However, by far the greatest improvement came from the application of the Audiotop Digital.
I must confess that I did something before writing this review that I never do (or, I guess, never did before): I read two other reviews of the product before writing my own, including that of our editor. These other reviews noted a definite improvement when Audiotop Digital was applied to CDs and DVDs, but seemed to be somewhat lukewarm. That was not my experience. In my system, the improvements were immediate and obvious, on a par with or better than many significant component upgrades. Moreover, they were clearly and substantially better than any other CD-enhancing solution I have used, including my previous favorite. Don’t get mad at me Constantine.
This is the third product distributed by Aaudio Imports that I’ve been impressed with. Brian Ackerman has indicated that he’s scoured the planet for the best, and I’m beginning to believe him. In fact, Audiotop Digital is now my reference CD treatment, and I bought four more bottles. I’m 65% through my entire CD collection, and it has never sounded better. Some may complain that it’s expensive at $99, but with a little work I’ve experienced the equivalent of an equipment upgrade. Definitely recommended.
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