I have a music CD that probably cant be replaced. It's very scratched,
but none are deep scratches, just a lot of fine scratches. I once heard
about polishing it with toothpaste. Is that a good idea? Or is there
something better? (that's not costly).
I did wash it with Dawn dish soap, and also with rubbing alcohol.
I realize that they cant be permanently fixed, but if I can get it to
play one time without screwing up, I'll copy it to my harddrive, and
turn the songs into MP3s. Right now, it plays, but has a lot of skips
firstname.lastname@example.org formulated on Monday :
I have even used fine steel wool to fix a bad spot before. Your *new*
scratches must be radial (center to edge) and it doesn't always work.
Another idea is to try playing it on different players, some players
will have no problems dealing with some scratches where others will.
On 08/29/2016 01:18 AM, email@example.com wrote:
The public library here has a resurfacing machine that costs either 25
or 50 cents per disk. I can't remember which. I've never used it but the
librarian says it's saved a lot of their DVDs that have been scratched.
The better machines cost $120 and up but you might be able to find a
similar deal at your library or maybe a gamer store.
Toothpaste is worth trying. Pretty much everyone has some, so you
don't have to go out and buy something new.
Someone else mentioned trying different players, and that's worthwhile
You can also try reading it with Exact Audio Copy on your computer. I've
heard that sometimes can read damaged disks and get a good copy from
If you do get a good copy, you should probably burn it to another CD or
otherwise archive it. Use a lossless format so you'll have the original
if you ever need it again.
Have you looked on iTunes or Amazon to see if the album is available there?
That might be an easier option than trying to repair a scratched CD,
especially if you only want selected songs from the CD.
You could also look for used CD's on Amazon or other sources.
Otherwise, I would try a fine automotive "polishing" compound. A "rubbing"
compound would probably be too aggressive.
There are also kits that are made for polishing up plastic headlights.
Those might work, but for the price you could probably just buy a new CD.
On 8/29/2016 3:18 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've found, as another said, different machines might be more forgiving.
But, using a computer to copy the disk has usually worked for me.
Clean it first and then try to copy it. Again, a different computer
(different drive) could work. I don't know whether the copy software
makes a difference or not. I use Roxio.
On 8/29/2016 12:34 PM, email@example.com wrote:
I think it also reduces the read speed when there seems to be a problem.
When it hits a bad track it hangs on that track for a while, apparently
as you said, re-reading it multiple times. As I said, it seems to
Try a different player!
Whether or not a CD/DVD player can play a disc is more a factor of how
good yer player's software is. I had a $250+ Sony with less features
than a $50 Walmart Emerson. I ended up tossing the Sony out a second
My daughter and SIL had an older Xbox. It would play everything! My
daughter's and granddaughter's DVD collection (vast) was NEVER stored
in their protective envelopes/cases. Needless to say, they were
scratched beyond belief. Their dog (big!) would walk across or even chew on
'em. Some were so scratched, they looked like they been dragged
across the cement patio. I know dang well none of them would play on
my Sony, but that damned Xbox played every single one without a single
stutter. Blew my mind!
I asked a knowledgeable friend why this old Xbox could play almost
everything. He sed it was the software. He claimed it was the
sophistication of the video software that made the difference.
Something about a player's ability to back-buffer(?) a corrupt image.
Since older Xboxes were essentially full blown PCs, a really large
powerful program was no problem.
The software can be a factor as well. Some software expects a good
data stream coming from the hardware and will fail immediately if it
sees errors. Other software can go back and re-read the disk and attempt
to get valid data from it.
The Exact Audio Copy website claims:
"It works with a technology, which reads audio CDs almost perfectly. If
there are any errors that can’t be corrected, it will tell you on which
time position the (possible) distortion occurred, so you could easily
control it with e.g. the media player"
"With other audio grabbers you usually need to listen to every grabbed
wave because they only do jitter correction. Scratched CDs read on
CD-ROM drives often produce distortions. But listening to every
extracted audio track is a waste of time. Exact Audio Copy conquer these
problems by making use of several technologies like multi-reading with
verify and AccurateRip."
True enough, but GIGO still applies. If scrathes are the problem
resulting in skipping or dropouts, which is usually the case, then
dynamic processing (or post processing) software can only do so much. I
worked for years on laserdisc and CD units without what would normally
be called "software". Dynamic processors for vinyl recordings made a
big difference too, but are not strictly speaking part of the player.
Scratches seldom cause any data to be lost due to the interleaving, EC,
and eight-to-fourteen modulation used, but they *do* cause tracking and
focus errors in the lens and sled mechanisms. Skipping and dropouts
usually occur as a result of this, not because of the D/A, EC, or
Something that never became all that popular at the time was the
digital output from the "player" which just gave you a raw data stream
without any post processing at all - on a fiberoptic cable. This is why
I didn't consider any post processing to actually be a part of the
"player" proper. This is why I thought "software" was irrelevant.
Now, I suppose everything from the disc surface to the earbuds is
considered the player. Technology moves on. :)
The way that scratches are handled is part the hardware and part any
firmware controlling it. Some players are better at this than others,
and I agree that if you have severe mechanical damage to the disk that
none of the rest of the reproduction chain really matters.
As for dynamic processors for LPs, do you mean things like the dBX
companders? The 3bx was the best one I ever played with, and it still
didn't really improve things. Phonograph records are just not very good
and while you can make them sound different, you can't improve their
I know people that spent a lot of money on external D/As that they fed
from a digital output of a CD player. It was either coax or
Toslink. There were big arguments about which was better, and plenty of
people trying to apply analog concepts to digital circuitry. (Basically,
any of the gadgets and gimmicks that had been sold to suckers for
phonographs was recycled for CD players.)
I was always astounded at how much money people would spend on
"improvements" that, if actually real, were so tiny compared to other
problems that they weren't even worth worrying about.
The quality of the original recording, the speakers you use, and the
listening room all have effects on the final sound that swamp slight
misbehavior of most of the electronics in the system.
One good thing is that there is less for the average person to screw up
with an ipod or whatever player they own. They can't break off the
needle, get pizza sauce on the record or CD, and their cats won't shred
their speaker cones nor will their toddler stick its finger into the
tweeter. If they lose their ipod or run over it with the car, apple or
amazon still has all their music waiting for them to download again.
Right, I was basically thinking about the laser power, focus offset (or
bias), focus gain, tracking offset (or balance), and tracking gain
settings which the average user cannot control (or set correctly) which
will allow the CD to play through perfectly. The is no programming at
all software or firmware involved. Sometimes an otherwise identical
player can play through a scratch that another has problems with just
due to differences in adjustments.
If the reflective surface has a small spot missing (light shows through
the disc) or obscured (fingerprints for example) error correction often
handles it through the encoding system's built-in data redundancy and
in the hardware's handling of the digital signal - which I didn't
consider to be 'software' as such even though I suppose it could be
considered so. Much of what was hardware can be emulated today in
software or firmware. Firmware=software to many people, including me.
Yes, that and cereal data (a small joke) removing "Snap, Crackle, and
Pop" and other surface sounds. Similar (though not as good) to the sort
of things which can be found here:
My working experience was back when digital audio was new. The closest
thing to DAT was PCM gear which recorded audio as video onto VCR tapes.
I'm sure it is all done digitally with actual "software" these days.
Some stuff was worthwhile for studio gear but, as you say, basically
useless for home users. It became "audiophile" home user equipment but
I considered most of that to be a 'bragging rights' kind of thing that
most people wouldn't hear the difference in anyway.
In studio gear, every little thing is additive in the final product, so
it makes it worthwhile in that situation.
Yes, miniaturization and digital A/V technology changed everything.
I'm glad those days are gone. I don't miss all the surface noise from
phonograph records at all. Ditto for tape hiss.
Was it the Sony PCM-F1 that would use a VCR as storage?
I never had much luck with DAT drives. They broke a lot, and a tape made
in one often wouldn't work in another. I knew people who used them in
the studio and heard a lot of complaints, and I used them for data
briefly, but went with other technology pretty quickly.
In some cases, yes. I was thinking more of some electronics designers
where they decide that some measurement is the secret to good sound. So,
they do all kinds of things with their gear to maximize or minimize
whatever it is, and then advertise the heck out of it.
There is also some stuff that's just snake oil.
Watch out when reading that, your brain might melt. :) There were people
that paid a lot of money to have some clown call them up on the phone
and make noises at them.
I worked on/with Sansui's PCX-1 and PCX-11 which both used that method.
It was probably Sony technology anyway. A lot of brands had
competitor's technology inside anyway. What it says on the outside was
often not what it said in the inside.
I saw some of those, but never had to work on or with them.
Yes. THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) ratings of .008% or whatever when
most people couldn't even detect 10% clipping.
I had a quick look, and might go back for a read when I feel the need
to be punished.
They're helical-scan drives similar to Beta or VHS, but much
smaller. The tape is 4mm.
I saw businesses using them for data backups, and finding out that the
tape they made a year ago can't be read in the drive now since it's worn
and the alignment has changed.
There are also larger versions using 8mm tape. I think there are a
couple formats for data and at least one for video. They're a bit more
reliable than DAT, but not nearly as good as drives that use linear tape
(not helical-scan). Come to think of it, I think these were used for
audio as well. I can visualize one of those all-in-one recording
consoles with a tape drive built in and it was 8mm.
There's a lot of that. Pick something to optimize and then show everyone
how your product is 10 times better than everyone else's as measured by
this one metric. Then hope that nobody notices that the overall
performance isn't that great. :-)
Some people almost make a fetish out of "high end audio." There are
people who buy very expensive fractional-watt tube amps that use
directly-heated triodes and are single-ended, not push-pull. Then they
get some boutique cone speaker, often with a whizzer cone, and proclaim
that it sounds better than anything more modern.
These are also the people who won't listen to anything but LPs and then
only ones where the whole recording process was analog too.
I met a couple of guys with systems like these locally. They were
telling me how wonderful their systems sound. In both cases they had
them in the basement, with cinder-block walls and concrete floor.
One guy was into weird cables and he had them all suspended from the
ceiling via strings from tacks in the joists of the floor above. It
looked like something you'd attach over a baby's crib and set to
spinning. He also had AC power cords that were as thick as fire
hoses. He had replaced all the fuses in his equipment with solid
copper rods because he thought the fuses were too "restrictive."
Next he told me that his $10K turntable had stopped working, so we
would have to listen to CDs instead. Then we found that his very
expensive CD player only liked a few of his CDs. He kept trying to load
them and it kept spitting them out. Once he did get one to load, it
skipped several times and then settled down.
He didn't have much room in his basement, so you had to sit very close
to the speakers. Needless to say, it sounded terrible and I had to keep
from laughing at him.
There's some lunatic in the UK, Peter Belt, that sells the same kinds of
products. He recommended that you use a sharpie to write "OK" on all of
your CDs to make them sound better.
I know, the company I worked for had us QC them, but I never had to
repair one or align one. Helical scanning mechanisms can be very
'picky' as to alignment.
You can use the desired tape and align them to that, but if you use an
official alignment tape you may even make matters worse. I imagine it
can be even worse with the smaller size of the DAT mechanisms.
No mattresses, molded foam, and egg cartons glued to the walls -
Ha ha ha, that's a new one on me.
Audio diplomacy. I had friends with 'boom boxes' turned way up,
Exclaiming how great it sounds, and I just couldn't listen to them.
Diplomacy only goes just so far.
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