POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 28
Liquid Resolution CD Cleaner and Enhancer
as reviewed by Larry Cox
This is my follow-up to Robert Levi's article about the Liquid Resolution CD/DVD/HD-DVD Cleaner and Enhancer System. CD cleaners like Liquid Resolution have been around for a long time, and I've tried quite a few of them, with varying results. I've been using the excellent Discsolution for the past seven years. It is an easy-to-use formula that emulsifies the tissues I use to clean CDs, meaning that I do not have to clean in strokes from the inside to the outside of the disc. Discsolutioned CDs sound louder and have greater focus and musicality. Alas, Discsolution's formula died with its inventor, so it is no longer available. Some of my CDs have also been treated with bits of foil from Peter and May Belt. I tried this procedure years ago, and never got around to removing the foil. At the time, it seemed to have an effect, but until this review, I hadn't given it any further thought
To test the Liquid Resolution cleaner, I used The Commitments soundtrack, because I had two copies. One copy had the Belt foil, the other was untreated. Neither had been cleaned for over a year. When my wife and I listened to the Belt and non-Belt CDs, the Belt CD sounded slightly better. Next we cleaned both CDs with Discsolution. This improved the clarity of both. The bass started and stopped more quickly, midband performance was more vivid and transparent, and the top end lost a bit of spittiness. The Belt-ed CD again sounded more pleasant, rounder, and slightly fuller.
Then we tried the Liquid Resolution cleaner on both CDs. Both sounded even more clear and clean, as if we'd moved closer to the musical event. This was quite impressive, especially since I'd been so satisfied with the Discsolution. The most surprising thing was that our preference shifted dramatically toward the non-Belt CD. Although the Belt CD had previously sounded fuller and rounder, it sounded diffuse under the more powerful microscope of the Liquid Resolution treatment.
I tried Liquid Resolution on many CDs. On Shawn Colvin's "Sunny Came Home," from A Few Small Repairs, her voice had more body and clarity, and lost its wispiness without changing register or losing its femininity. On "Boracho #1," from Flaco Jimenez' Buena Suerte, Señorita, the reedy quality of his accordion was better delineated, and infused with more body and tone. On Pepe and The Bottle Blondes' "Unnamed," there was in increase in clarity, but to my surprise, the somewhat breathy quality of the female singers didn't improve much. However, on "Rumba de 5 Kilos," the acoustic guitar gained a burnished, lit-from-within quality, and the rhythmic qualities of the track were improved.
CDs treated with Liquid Resolution sound more clear. It's not the same kind of improvement that a more transparent component gives. It's like getting a more powerful prescription for glasses—everything is a lot easier to see. Imaging is also better. Midband performance is more vivid, without becoming unpleasant or unrealistic. My experience with treble seems to have been similar to that of Bob Levi. After Liquid Resolution treatment, treble was much more vivid. The starts and stops of treble notes were much more clearly portrayed. Although treble notes decayed out of existence at a much more precise instant, the top end seemed to lose some of its finely filigreed shimmer. Bob described a decrease in treble cues, and while my description might seem agree with his, the way in which treble notes disappeared on treated discs sounded more natural than it did with the Discsolution.
After I had been using Liquid Resolution for a while, Brian Kyle (Mr. Liquid Resolution) informed me that the gray cleaning cloths he had sent me, and the ones that Bob Levi had used, were defective, and he sent me some new white ones. Were the gray cloths defective? Bob did not think that Liquid Resolution cleaned his CDs as well as other products, but I didn't have that problem. Nevertheless, the white cloths seemed to clean better than the gray ones. Perhaps I scrubbed harder, but the new cloths brought further improvements. I first experienced this when I recleaned Ry Cooder's Chicken Skin Music and played "I Got Mine." There is a cymbal at the opening of the track that sizzles at a low volume for extended periods. When I cleaned the disc with the gray cloth, the sizzle was not that noticeable. After cleaning it with the white cloth, the sizzle gained impact and body, sounding more like a buzzing bee than a sizzling steak. It was easier to hear, without destroying the sonic balance of the track. It seems crazy, but Liquid Resolution applied with the white cloths improved my experience even more than it did with the gray cloths. Send in the butterfly nets.
There are a few ergonomic points to consider: First, Liquid Resolution requires a two-step process instead of the single step required by Discsolution and other cleaners. It will take a little more time to clean a CD. You will also have more stuff to deal with—a Step One bottle of cleaner, a Step Two bottle of Final Rinse, a plastic canister to hold a cloth for the Step One Cleaner, another for the Step Two Final Rinse cloth, and yet another for the as-yet-unused cloths. The cloths are reusable, perhaps as many as thirty times, which is nice, but I wonder who's going to count to thirty with each cloth? Not me.
I really prefer listening to music to employing tweaks, which tend to get in the way, but I can't deny that Liquid Resolution makes a pretty big difference. The stuff is aptly named. It improves the clarity and imaging of CDs, bringing the listener into an immediate, almost near-field presentation. Using it might be problematic in systems that have forward or hard sound, but in mine, it was very welcome. I doubt that I will use Liquid Resolution every time I play a CD—it's too much work—but I bet that I'll use it when I'm planning a dedicated listening session. Larry Cox