violetpen.JPGHISTORY:

It was the green “pen” (really a paint marker) by “CD Stoplight” that really popularized this idea of treating the edges of your CD. Scoffers loved that one. To the everything-sounds-the-same crowd in our friendly little community of audio hobbyists, simply hearing about someone merely asking about the pen, they reacted to you as though you had lit their head on fire. In case there was any remote chance on earth that you asking about it might one day eventually lead you to possibly considering whether you might consider purchasing one of these ghastly $2 pens and trying the experiment yourself, you were bombarded with an array of facts and figures that told you in no uncertain terms, you were wasting your precious time and money.

Well who would have figured they were all wrong? Me, that’s who! (I was an early and proud advocate of the green marker back there in the 80’s, and despite the fact that they went out of “fashion”, I never wavered on that one bit). n.b. The fact that they did go out of fashion is not an indication that they didn’t work as the naysayers will try to claim. Not in the least. It’s simply an indication that yes, even in audio, there is a ‘fashion” sense to things.

This tiny little humble green pen, combined with the extremist points of view you find among hobbyists, managed to polarize the audio community into two distinct groups: the so-called “reasonable, rational audio enthusiasts”, sole possesors of common sense, and of course, the “wacko tweakos” who all live in fairyland, according to the first group. The first group, who believe that man can live by measurements alone, insisted that “bits were bits” and the green pen could not possibly work because laser light operates at a totally different wavelength and does not interact with the colour of the marker.

They had done many tests involving analyzing data, to “prove” their assertions. And they were right, as a matter of fact. About the point that the green marker can’t interact with the laser light, as claimed by the company, to “reduce stray light” and enhance optical retrieval of data (ie. reduce EC interpolation). However, while they were busy devising tests with the goal of bringing a halt to all sales of green pens around the world, whether or not they’d be used for audio, they were unknown even to themselves, building strawmen. Or, logical fallacies. What they ended up proving is that the company was wrong. But that didn’t prove the effect of the pen didn’t work, it only proved the company that made it didn’t understand how it worked. After all, thousands of audiophiles, including a major editor of a major audio magazine, had tried it on their CD’s and found that it did produce some improvements in sound.

During all of this controversy, PWB were quietly selling their own version of the green marker. Except unlike all the other green markers people were using on their CD’s, it wasn’t a green marker, it was a violet one. Having already researched the phenomenon, Peter was already way ahead of the green marker people, in finding that violet has superior effect on sound quality. Furthermore, unlike all others, his marker, although similar to off the shelf models, had been treated to improve the effect with proprietary methods (yes, this is possible and yes, it can make a profound difference!). Not only did Mr. Belt have a uniquely treated CD edge treatment marker, but it wasn’t green. And not only did he have the only violet marker specifically for CD edge treatment, but it didn’t come with the same theory that CD Stoplight gave for their pen.

It came with a totally different explanation, and even a different recommended usage. The explanation it came with can be found in The Tao of Beltism, where I touch upon the effect that colour has on our primordial senses. The recommended usage that came with Belt’s pen included treating LP’s and cassettes! So while all the audio zealots were ranting and raving on about how much of an insane ripoff this new “green pen” was to audiophiles, this unassuming audio merchant in Leeds was selling his markers at a much higher cost than the ones that so outraged the audio zealots. Plus, he wasn’t even advocating anything that remotely resembled a “reasonable theory of operation”, like the CD Stoplight people, no. He was saying it worked equally well on LP’s and cassettes, none of which would normally work with a laser. So as a strange footnote to audio history, Mr. Belt got a complete pass on the violet pen, perhaps because the fanatics were too busy yelling about the green one to notice his. And you know what was even stranger? Peter was right.

PROCEDURE:

You don’t have to buy Peter’s specially treated “Chunky Violet Pen” to test his theory out. You might find that violetpen2.jpgfortunate as its probably the most expensive marker sold, but it is also the most unique, and reportedly, worth every cent. Once you understand Beltism better, you understand that PWB’s treated objects do not resemble their counterparts, in their effect on perception of sound. So the experiment only requires that you obtain a violet coloured chisel pointed market, that can mark around the edge of a CD. Obviously, different shades of violet will end in somewhat different results. Since this isn’t about ultimate sound quality (if it was, then the only option would be PWB’s “CVP”!), whatever you get will be fine for this experiment. About a medium should do.

The CD Stoplight pen users all put solid green rings around the perimeter of their CD, as advocated by CD Stoplight. Belt went further into the research and found that overkill. So the recommendations are to mark 1cm lines on the outer edge of the CD with your violet marker, at the four positions of the clock (12,3,6,9). For added effect, mark the entire circumference of the inner edge with a black marker (this follows the pattern of the Heaven & Earth technique). As mentioned, if the effects are heard on CD’s, they will be heard on LP’s or cassettes as well, if you treat their edges in a similar fashion (1cm lines).