The “freezing” saga

There is no need to go down to Cryogenic Temperatures.

The “freezing” saga has been rumbling on for the past 15 years. From time to time, discussions about the effectiveness of “freezing” are revived only to die down again. More discussion surfaced again on the Internet in the summer of 1999 and, copied below, is one of my many replies that summer to “an enthusiast”
May Belt


Further discussion by John Traynor

Answer from May Belt to Keith Howard’s Hi-Fi News article

Follow up to the above article by May Belt.

Dear Enthusiast,

Thank you for your very friendly E-mail’s. Yes, I know what you mean about the ‘strands’ in some of the discussion groups.

The ‘non-thinkers’ react at being asked to ‘think’ by mockery, ridicule and insults. Intelligent people are then reluctant to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ because no one likes being mocked, ridiculed and insulted – so the ‘non-thinkers’ win !!! and nothing progresses forward. Even when a sensible, intelligent discussion is started, the ‘ridiculers’ take over and the sensible ones retire and the ‘ridiculers’ win again!!

You seem to be genuinely interested in what is ‘going on’., particularly on the subject of ‘freezing’. I would refer you to an article by Robert Harley, entitled “The Cryogenic Compact Disc” and published in the magazine ‘Stereophile’ in October 1990. I regard this article as one of the most significant articles in the history of audio !!

Because :-

a) Others had made the freezing discovery completely independent of Peter Belt. Peter and I had known of the importance of freezing for more than 15 years but we also knew that you do not have to go down to cryogenic temperatures – you can use a normal domestic deep freezer, providing you follow certain procedures. These are described later in the section on ‘experiments’.

b) The four pages of the ‘cryogenic’ article deal mainly with the freezing of Compact Discs but the significant part of the article is the small sentence I have highlighted. This, in effect, is saying “freeze everything” and the sound will be better. BUT, this significance seems to have been missed by the entire audio industry.

Hundreds of our customers have known about the freezing techniques – but they would be regarded as “amateurs in audio” – so let us have a look at the so called “professionals in audio”.

How many of the “professionals “, working in audio, read that Stereophile article ? If not many, why not? If they did read it, what did they do about it? If nothing, why nothing?

If you want to explore this further, these are the following experiments to carry out.

Anyone can try the following experiment for themselves.

Take three identical CD’s, listen to all three to determine that they all sound identical and then keep one of them as the control disc. Of the remaining two, place one of them in the deep freeze overnight, then the following morning lift it out and allow it to return to room temperaturevery, very slowly. The best way to do this is to wrap the disc in a towel or blanket. When the disc is fully de frosted, listen to it for a short time, then substitute it for the control (unfrozen) disc. The disc which has been frozen should sound better than the unfrozen disc.

Now, take the second disc, freeze that one overnight and the following morning lift it out and allow it to return to room temperature very, very slowly. The second night, repeat the procedure. Freeze it a second time and, after lifting it out, again allow it to return to room temperature very, very slowly. Now listen to this disc which has been frozen twice in comparison with the disc which was only frozen once. The disc frozen twice should sound better.

In our experience, freezing any more than twice does not create much more of an improvement, so we think it not worth the effort of freezing more than twice.

In the UK, it is relatively easy to obtain reasonably priced identical copies of a CD because we have a few monthly audio magazines which carry a CD attached to their front cover and all we have to do is to buy three copies of the magazine.

One of the important parts of the experiment comes now.

The explanation put forward in the Stereophile article was that the cryogenic freezing of the CD improved the quality of the HF signal retrieved from the (digital) disc.

But, you can carry out the freezing experiment using three identical audio tapes !! and obtain similar results.

Further still, and this is the crucial part of the experiment, if you have an audio tape cassette player, keep this player connected to the AC supply (because you have to be opening and closing the drawer) but disconnect it from the audio system (because you will not be listening to the tape cassettes) – you will be using a Compact Disc as the source of the music. Place a ‘frozen’ audio tape in the drawer of the PASSIVE cassette player and listen to the CD. The ‘sound’ of the CD will be perceived as having improved further. Then take the ‘frozen’ audio tape out of the PASSIVE cassette player and replace it with the unfrozen audio tape. Listen again to the CD. You will find that the ‘sound’ has deteriorated and you will not get the good sound back again until you place the ‘frozen’ audio tape back in the PASSIVE cassette player. When you experience results such as these, then you will realise that any explanation to do with ‘an effect on the signal’ is no longer valid. There is no signal going through the cassette player or the audio tape but you have experienced an improvement in the sound !!!

Placing a strip of P.W.B. Rainbow Foil in two areas of the label side of a CD (one strip anywhere on the disc and one strip specifically over the Compact Disc logo) before ‘freezing’ a CD gives an even greater improvement, than one can achieve by merely freezing. Similarly with an audio tape.

When you have carried out these experiments and you have experienced the results described, then you will begin to realise that there is something else going on which cannot be explained by anything conventional electronic or acoustic theory can offer !!!

We had come to the conclusions 15 years ago that Robert Harley came to at the end of his article.

“My fascination with CD tweaks stems not from their intrinsic abilities to improve CD sound as much as it comes from the realization that if any tweak has even the slightest audible effect, conventional digital audio theory is turned upside down.”

If you can change the “sound” by exchanging a frozen audio tape for an unfrozen tape, stored in a PASSIVE cassette player, whilst listening to a Compact Disc – then you have to begin to look for explanations outside the conventional theories of “sound can only be altered by affecting the signal travelling through the equipment or by altering the acoustic air pressure waves”


It is a terrible indictment of the audio industry if not many of the “professionals working in the audio industry” read that cryogenic article. It is also a terrible indictment if some “professionals working in audio” read that article, tried the experiment, heard what Robert Harley heard and did nothing, said nothing, preferring to keep their heads down behind the parapet. Peter Belt’s technique of freezing using a normal, domestic deep freeze was public knowledge, published in an audio magazine, for all to read – both public and “professionals working in the audio industry”.

We do know of instances where, one item of equipment has been ‘treated’ and this ONE ITEM submitted for review. This ONE ‘treated’ piece of equipment has done the rounds of the various reviewers, getting a ‘rave’ review each time. BUT – this was the ONLY piece of equipment so ‘treated’. All identical pieces of equipment, coming off the production line, have not been treated and have therefore been sold to the public on the back of a rave review of ONE piece of ‘treated’ equipment. If the reviewers were not told that that piece of equipment had been ‘treated’, then they would not know that it was any different from the production run pieces – they certainly would not be able to SEE anything different !!