So I was with some established audiophiles over the weekend doing, you know, audiophile things and, all of a sudden, this beige box is thrown on a table accompanied by all these little spray bottles of clear liquid. I recognized the box from past articles here and there but it didn't connect just what the heck the thing is.
Simply, the RealityCheckCD is a CD press for your living room. We've talked a lot about why CDs are inherently inferior (for you non believers, read about it here) and why USB audio as well as high-end CD players do what they do. To correctly CDs flaws, the RealityCheckCD methodically extracts the original content from your poorly pressed CD and puts it on a new custom black CD (because black is better, I guess) using superior pressing methods than the original crap CD machines the labels use.
The duplication process is actually really easy: original CD in top tray, virgin CD in bottom tray, hit green button, 15 minutes of ???, and magic! Then you use the spray liquids to polish up the CDs for better laser retrieval in your hi-fi CD player. I'm not sure I completely understand the entire liquidization process (there's like 4 different liquids) but, hey, I'm told that's what the instructions are for.
Now, I wouldn't be going to great lengths to describe this thing if it didn't work. In fact, I hate tweaky stuff and believe tweaks are part of what keeps the industry down. Tweaks scare the hell out of audio newbies and make us look like raving lunatics. *cough*
So, anyway, the RealityCheckCD is up and running and we're popping CDs in. SonicFlare contributor Danny Kaey had some girly CD -- he's just like that, I guess -- with really bad mastering. We put Danny's new black CD in and, guess what, everyone flipped out. You can't make a silk purse out of, you know, girly music, but it was stunningly better. None of that tweaky joker stuff where you have to cock your head, squint and then pretend you hear a difference, this was huge. And as anyone waved their arms and tried to describe the sonic changes (using audiophile language, of course), I put my incredible intellect to work and said, "the CD stopped sucking." Everyone nodded profoundly. Yes, the RealityCheckCD simply makes your CDs stop sucking.
With a price around $600-700 (depending on options), this is one tweak I may have to get my grubby hands on. There's no website yet, but you can contact the man behind the curtain George Louis to purchase. Clark Johnsen over at Positive Feedback talks in great length about the RealityCheck CD here and Enjoy the Music's Bill Gaw reviewed it here. Freaky stuff but I'm a believer. Of course, the real question raised by all this is just what kind of improvements an HDD-based system can provide using similar extraction methods...