Just when you thought physical media was dead, here comes the Ultimate Disc from First Impression Music. Winston Ma has taken the compact disc further than I could ever imagine (and them some). Here is a quick explanation from FIM, "UD means the “Ultimate Disc”, which is a combination of a 24 K gold CD with Resonance Control Coating (RCC), directly burnt from the master disc/hard drive one at a time, then, washed by de-ionized water and finally dynamically balanced and tested with an average block error rate lower than 5 (Industry standard is 220)." Read more for the incredible details surrounding these discs.
There is no way I can explain this better than FIM, so I'll include an extremely detailed PDF at the bottom of the article. For those of you who thought a CD was a CD you'll want to read the following.
What is the problem with discs in general?
Not all discs are created equal. To name a few of the differences:
- Some are thinner than normal, which may cause excessive vibration and resonance.
- Some are eccentric and not perfectly flat, causing excessive fluttering and wobbling.
- Some are not even in thickness causing irregular rotational speed changes.
- Some are not perfectly circular, hence dynamically unbalanced.
- Some with multiple, heavy, and colorful designs printed on the label side, cause possible distraction and non-linear reading of the laser head.
- Some are made of poor quality dyes, foils, and polycarbonate material or the reflectivity of the foil is poor, causing the laser to misread.
- The glass stamper is made with excessive jitter rate during the conversion.
- Some have excessive block error rates.
- Some have excessive numbers of pin-holes in the foil, or the foil is too thin.
- Some have micro- or glaring defects, overlooked in the computer or the visual checking process.
- Some are produced with sub-standard quality control.
I'm sure not all readers will be thrilled with the new Ultimate Disc from First Impression Music. I can tell you that some very respected audiophiles I know have done critical listening tests with these discs and concluded they sound better than "normal" compact discs. Even stranger is that these audiophiles compared the same album ripped on to a hard drive from an Ultimate Disc and a normal Disc, and the files ripped from the Ultimate Disc sounded better each time. What this means is, of course, up to you and your ears. I hope to get a few review samples in here so I can give it a shot myself. I'll need to save some pennies if I want to purchase a few Ultimate Discs as they sell for $35 per blank disc. FIM will release some albums on Ultimate Discs and they will start at $50 each and go up to $150 for Direct-to-Master-UD-Editions.
Click here for full details
P.S. Here is a little information for those of you who read all the way to the bottom. FIM will debut some fabulous new high resolution music at RMAF. Direct-Cut LP transfer to digital using the latest mastering technology in 24-bit 352.8 K Hz! DXD (Digital Extreme Definition). FIM has eliminated all generations of transfer of information, and directly recorded the musical signals into a hard drive in DXD. Look for the direct-cut LP into direct digital recording of, Jun Fukamachi At Steinway (Take 2) LIM DXD 038 to make its debut at the Show. I'll have all the details as they happen in Denver.