Some of our readers may have noticed that I use several products sold by Walker Audio. In fact, I now use eight Walker Audio products in my system: the Velocitor, Prologue Amp Stands, Valid Points and discs, Silent Source cables (all but my digital cables), Reference High Definition Links, Extreme Super Silver Treatment, Talisman and Ultra Vivid. The original “Vivid” CD/DVD treatment was the one that started it all for me. It clearly improved the sound of my CDs and DVDs (as well as the video quality of my DVDs) and made me curious about other things recommended by Lloyd Walker.
Some of those things seemed like they had to be snake oil, but damned if they didn’t actually improve the sound every time I tried one! After a series of positive improvements with different Walker products, I came to the conclusion that it’s silly not to try every item that Lloyd recommends. After all, they all come with a 30-day return option.
The original Vivid was subsequently replaced with an improved version known as Ultra Vivid. I purchased Ultra Vivid somewhat reluctantly since I liked the old version, but I shouldn’t have worried. In some cases the difference was subtle, but repeated use demonstrated that Ultra Vivid was superior to Vivid in every way. The improvement was a testament to Lloyd Walker’s obsession with detail – an obsession that drives him to constantly tinker with and improve the products he sells.
This obsession has manifested itself in another level of improvement to Ultra Vivid. The new bottle doesn’t look much different. There is simply an added label that states “new improved version”. If you’ve previously used Ultra Vivid and are familiar with its effects, you’ll notice even more of the good things it does. I’m always reluctant to say any particular product is the “best”, because there are products I haven’t tried, and there are always clever, industrious people who are working to build a better mousetrap. However, I’ve tried three other CD treatments, and for my taste the new improved Walker Ultra Vivid is the best currently available.
What does the improved Ultra Vivid do? Well, those of you familiar with Lloyd Walker’s products will be able to relate to this: every CD treated with Ultra Vivid sounds more natural. You say, “What the heck does that mean?! What about clarity, detail, dynamics and reduction of glare?” Absolutely! The improved Ultra Vivid does all that extremely well, but it’s the elusive quality of naturalness that puts it over the top. For example, I had two non-audiophile friends over last month for some listening. They brought several of their own CDs. I played several cuts from their CDs, and they “ooohd” and “aahd” over how great they sounded in my system. I then told them I’d like to try something.
I took those same CDs, treated them with Ultra Vivid, then replayed the same tracks without changing anything else in the system. I said nothing at all, but within 15 seconds each of my friends demanded to know what I had done. They were sure I substituted my own CDs. I told them to listen some more and tell me their impressions. Initially they talked about detail, then clarity, then other buzzwords. Finally, after about 30 minutes, one said, “It just sounds so much more natural!” He immediately wanted the info for Ultra Vivid that night, and the other called me the next day for the same info.
I believe that this quality of striving for natural sound is the idealized goal that Lloyd Walker is obsessed with, and that he tries to inject it into each of his products. He may not succeed every time or in equal measures, but that’s the goal – not simply “detail” or “clarity”. It’s the sum of detail, clarity, openness and other buzzwords that creates that “natural” feeling.
So will new improved Ultra Vivid fix your terrible-sounding CD player’s faults? No, but it will sure make it more palatable. And if you have a high-end system, you may find that a few pennies per CD will give you more bang for the buck than that component upgrade you’ve been contemplating.
Thank you very much for the review. Ultra Vivid has been “Improved” for some time. We will soon be no longer adding the “Improved” label to the bottle. However, readers should know that all new Ultra Vivid kits contain the “Improved” formulation.
- (Page 1 of 1)