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Big Orange

Scratched Discs

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I had a couple of music CDs scratched - I handed one semi-defunct disc into a charity shop and the other I had professionally repaired. Unfortunately the repaired disc (despite its new pristine surface) still irritatingly skipped on two multi-media sound systems but played fairly well on my laptop's disc drive (with a nasty sounding pop occurring at the start of every song played). Luckily the CD was repaired enough that I could digitally extract the music and transfer it to a USB system, with the music sounding as clean as a whistle.

I've occasionally had similar issues with DVDs and PS2/Xbox 360 discs, but in virtually every case they've been second hand and taken more a battering. Second hand discs that were presumably not stored or treated well by previous owners have a nasty habit of becoming brittle (with the inner disc ring cracking).

I find that playing music discs very often for three to five years seems to wear them down and scratch them, even if you handle and store them sensibly.

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I had a couple of music CDs scratched - I handed one semi-defunct disc into a charity shop and the other I had professionally repaired. Unfortunately the repaired disc (despite its new pristine surface) still irritatingly skipped on two multi-media sound systems but played fairly well on my laptop's disc drive (with a nasty sounding pop occurring at the start of every song played). Luckily the CD was repaired enough that I could digitally extract the music and transfer it to a USB system, with the music sounding as clean as a whistle.

I've occasionally had similar issues with DVDs and PS2/Xbox 360 discs, but in virtually every case they've been second hand and taken more a battering. Second hand discs that were presumably not stored or treated well by previous owners have a nasty habit of becoming brittle (with the inner disc ring cracking).

I find that playing music discs very often for three to five years seems to wear them down and scratch them, even if you handle and store them sensibly.

But how is that possible if it is a laser reading them?

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But how is that possible if it is a laser reading them?

Mishandling at a point other than during the playing process. By the same token, scratches on LPs are not caused by the playing stylus (unless it mistracks and skates laterally across the vinyl): they are caused by abrasions on the edge of the inner sleeve during insertion and removal, accidental dropping, etc. etc.

This report has some pretty good handling and storage recommendations for digital optical discs. The short version is to store them in as dark an environment as possible (if in jewel cases, store in a light-tight drawer), because light exposure damages the data layer; room temperature and humidity with no sudden changes; handle by the edges only; never touch the playing (opposite from label) surface; and use only in retractable tray type players, not in ones in which you have to stick them into a slot (e.g. car CD players and Mac laptops), because they cause abrasion which, over repeated insertions and ejections, will scratch them to the point of causing read errors.

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I keep my video game discs inside a plastic box or a wooden cabinet, stored upright. My DVDs are stored in a shelve and a alcove, but in pretty dark rooms with no direct sunlight and curtains drawn (my DVD packaging is in generally better nip than the battle damaged, dog eared packaging of DVD box set casings seen in libraries and second hand shops). Common sense dictates me not to touch the silver surface nor bump or drop the discs deliberately, but sadly I must say the constant handling of music or game disc must take its toll after many years, even if you're fairly careful. I recently had a collection of second hand games, plus old DVDs and music CDs repaired. I get occasional smudges that make discs skip, but usually is not permanent damage (if you polish discs carefully with a dry cloth).

By the way the music disc got very badly scratched because a crumb fell into the disc tray of my sound system.

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I had a couple of music CDs scratched - I handed one semi-defunct disc into a charity shop and the other I had professionally repaired. Unfortunately the repaired disc (despite its new pristine surface) still irritatingly skipped on two multi-media sound systems but played fairly well on my laptop's disc drive (with a nasty sounding pop occurring at the start of every song played). Luckily the CD was repaired enough that I could digitally extract the music and transfer it to a USB system, with the music sounding as clean as a whistle.

I've occasionally had similar issues with DVDs and PS2/Xbox 360 discs, but in virtually every case they've been second hand and taken more a battering. Second hand discs that were presumably not stored or treated well by previous owners have a nasty habit of becoming brittle (with the inner disc ring cracking).

I find that playing music discs very often for three to five years seems to wear them down and scratch them, even if you handle and store them sensibly.

Er, ok.

Look I'm not being funny or nowt, but these "music CDs" of yours don't happen to be black, about 12 inches in diameter, sport a label in the middle with a small hole drilled in it, and have stuff printed on it like "LP", "Side One" and "33rpm" by any chance...?

:)

XYY

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Rip them to .WAV while you still can.

Well I could extract the data from the heavily damaged disc and the rest of my music CDs play fine (and I'm now recently storing them better, keep them away from sources of heat and light, while keeping them upright).

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Well I could extract the data from the heavily damaged disc and the rest of my music CDs play fine (and I'm now recently storing them better, keep them away from sources of heat and light, while keeping them upright).

I think you missed the 'while you still can' bit.

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Er, ok.

Look I'm not being funny or nowt, but these "music CDs" of yours don't happen to be black, about 12 inches in diameter, sport a label in the middle with a small hole drilled in it, and have stuff printed on it like "LP", "Side One" and "33rpm" by any chance...?

:)

XYY

Them ones last longer. I still regularly play the first album I bought in 1974ish.

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Perhaps next time better to bin it. I'd be p1ssed off if I bought a donated CD and found it didn't work properly.

Doing that has actually been bugging me on hindsight, but I only hope the buyers could use the busted disc to rip the soundtrack or know the same disc repair people I do (both places are in walking distance of each other). Plus the CD I gave away mostly played alright (just jumping in a few songs). And second hand stuff more often gives up.

I'm getting into the habit of looking after my old stuff properly (like putting fallen apart booklets back together with tape and getting transparent plastic covering for my other reading and drawing books).

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Them ones last longer. I still regularly play the first album I bought in 1974ish.

I have some LPs which have some clicking and cracking noises in places, but they all play. None are "scratched".

I have some CDs (audio and PC) which don't work at all.

It's like digital TV. Back in the days of analogue it might glitch a bit but it worked, with digital Freeview it kind of either works or it doesn't work at all in a sort of binary fashion.

But then maybe we used to look after our vinyl better because it was so vulnerable. After all, Tomorrow's World* told us that CDs were "indestructible".

The price of progress, eh? ;)

* There are some topics which really show one's age..

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I too remember TW smearing a CD with jam, then wiping it with a damp cloth and playing it!

That said I have had some CDs since 89 or so and my first one (Elvis Costello, Girls Girls Girls) was playing fine in the car this week nearly 25 years on, I vaguely remember a problem with the end tracks of a second hand CD but that's it.

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I too remember TW smearing a CD with jam, then wiping it with a damp cloth and playing it!

That said I have had some CDs since 89 or so and my first one (Elvis Costello, Girls Girls Girls) was playing fine in the car this week nearly 25 years on, I vaguely remember a problem with the end tracks of a second hand CD but that's it.

I am surprised you kept the car that long! You are as tight as I am! Do you have any eight-tracks left? :blink:

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I am surprised you kept the car that long! You are as tight as I am! Do you have any eight-tracks left? :blink:

I would love a classic car with an eight track player in it!

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I would love a classic car with an eight track player in it!

One of those Austin Martin's? Rather expensive to keep maintained! I wonder if the Gibson Brothers "Everything is Great" made it beyond cassette! I'll not be playing it! It would be undignified!

I nearly bought an Aston once! I had an insane lust for big cars when I was young! :blink:

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I have some LPs which have some clicking and cracking noises in places, but they all play. None are "scratched".

If you want to get rid of the surface noise, this gadget achieves excellent results. Don't use their fluid, though: it's a ripoff and leaves deposits that causes crud to stick to the stylus. Distilled water plus one or two drops of dishwasher rinse aid for vinyl, and just the distilled water for shellac (78s) works fine. The rinse aid doesn't do anything for the cleaning at all; it just helps the discs dry more quickly.

But then maybe we used to look after our vinyl better because it was so vulnerable. After all, Tomorrow's World* told us that CDs were "indestructible".

CDs were invented for ease of use, not audio quality or longevity. A problem with the early ones (mid to late '80s) was that some had acidic dyes in the label that attacked the substrate, deformed and ultimately compromised the data layer. This problem had been addressed by the early '90s, the substrate material in a CD, DVD or BD is still very susceptible to temperature and humidity changes and extremes in storage over a long time period. And the problem with digital data is that either you recover the signal perfectly (using error correction to recover small amounts of unreadable data in some cases) or nothing at all (if the data loss is too great). With a damaged analogue recording (gramophone record, film, videotape with dropouts), you might see or hear evidence of damage, but at least you'll still see or hear something.

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If you want to get rid of the surface noise, this gadget achieves excellent results. Don't use their fluid, though: it's a ripoff and leaves deposits that causes crud to stick to the stylus. Distilled water plus one or two drops of dishwasher rinse aid for vinyl, and just the distilled water for shellac (78s) works fine. The rinse aid doesn't do anything for the cleaning at all; it just helps the discs dry more quickly.

Cheers for that - have bookmarked it. I will at long last finally be getting the vinyl going again - my collection is here in about eight big boxes under the stairs, old turntable knackered so I need to get a new one + phono stage. It's so many years since I've played any but they seem to have survived storage very well.

CDs were invented for ease of use, not audio quality

It certainly wasn't for audio quality. I'm looking forward to actually "seeing" the music again rather than just hearing it.

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If you have 78s as well as vinyl in your collection, the Vestax BDT-2500 turntable is IMO an excellent buy (£300-400). Not made anymore, sadly, but new old stock occasionally pops up on Amazon and Ebay. It'll do any speed from 16-96 RPM, and has a built in RIAA phono preamp (which can be bypassed if desired) that is the equal of something you'd pay £50-80 for separately. It uses a standard DJ-type headshell, meaning that you can swap cartridges and styli quickly and easily.

If you just want to play vinyl, I like the Project Debut (£200-400 depending on options). There are variants with or without built-in preamps, and although I've never used it myself, I've heard anecdotals to the effect that the extra £50 or so for the glass platter version is worth it. It's being bundled with the Ortofon 2M for around £300 at the moment, which is a lot of turntable and cartridge for the money.

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If you have 78s as well as vinyl in your collection, the Vestax BDT-2500 turntable is IMO an excellent buy (£300-400). Not made anymore, sadly, but new old stock occasionally pops up on Amazon and Ebay. It'll do any speed from 16-96 RPM, and has a built in RIAA phono preamp (which can be bypassed if desired) that is the equal of something you'd pay £50-80 for separately. It uses a standard DJ-type headshell, meaning that you can swap cartridges and styli quickly and easily.

If you just want to play vinyl, I like the Project Debut (£200-400 depending on options). There are variants with or without built-in preamps, and although I've never used it myself, I've heard anecdotals to the effect that the extra £50 or so for the glass platter version is worth it. It's being bundled with the Ortofon 2M for around £300 at the moment, which is a lot of turntable and cartridge for the money.

No 78's - mostly 12" dance singles.

I had earmarked this and this

Though they're competing with an old Thorens turntable with a Goldring GX-1052 cartridge (I can still remember!) - don't know what the model of the turntable was, but the detail it revealed versus the Ariston Q-Deck (how old am I?!) was remarkable. I actually like quite a "cold" clinical sound. Sadly I fear the turntable is beyond redemption - needs new platter, motor, tone-arm, belt...

But anything, after all these years, has to be better than stuff piped through the PC or the TV-amp-speaker setup. I've really let myself go ;)

Then we'll move to the amp and speakers... I can see where some of my cash is going in 2014.

We do live in a cottage in the countryside with stone walls, you can have the system absolutely deafening in the living room and even in the kitchen next door it doesn't sound like it's that loud. The opportunity has never been better, so it would be a shame not to take advantage.

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If you have 78s as well as vinyl in your collection, the Vestax BDT-2500 turntable is IMO an excellent buy (£300-400). Not made anymore, sadly, but new old stock occasionally pops up on Amazon and Ebay. It'll do any speed from 16-96 RPM, and has a built in RIAA phono preamp (which can be bypassed if desired) that is the equal of something you'd pay £50-80 for separately. It uses a standard DJ-type headshell, meaning that you can swap cartridges and styli quickly and easily.

If you just want to play vinyl, I like the Project Debut (£200-400 depending on options). There are variants with or without built-in preamps, and although I've never used it myself, I've heard anecdotals to the effect that the extra £50 or so for the glass platter version is worth it. It's being bundled with the Ortofon 2M for around £300 at the moment, which is a lot of turntable and cartridge for the money.

Do you also recommend one of these too? Dynamic wide sound aparently! http://www.whathifi.com/review/merlin-tarantula-figure-8

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Do you also recommend one of these too? Dynamic wide sound aparently! http://www.whathifi....antula-figure-8

My own, purely personal opinion is that seriously expensive interconnects, speaker wire and mains cable is essentially snake oil. I suppose that if you're one of these hifi nerds with truly more money than sense (e.g. spends six figures on a turntable, five on a moving coil cartridge and a similar sum on amps and speakers), they might clean the signal up a little bit. But still, if the power supply to your house tends to fluctuate by a hertz or two ... what's the point? And furthermore, even if you do have solid gold wire linking your amp to the plug in the wall, if you then have cloth-insulated, low grade copper alloy stuff (so low grade that even the pikeys wouldn't bother nicking it) from 1955 linking the plug in your wall to the substation ... ?

The mains and speaker cable I use are bogstandard 45-amp solid core mains wire, of the sort you rewire your house with, and for interconnects shielded, good quality coaxial wire, and aluminium-clad RCA plugs connected with silver solder (cost to make up a stereo interconnect = around £15). The interconnect signal is low voltage enough that you do want to shield it from electromagnetic interference, but the solid gold RCA plug BS interconnects at £100 each from poncy hifi shops ... well, if That's Life were still going, Esther Rantzen should have done an expose about it.

The really hilarious thing is that there are companies selling digital interconnects, both optical and co-ax, with poncy gold plugs, thick shiny wire etc., for £50 plus. I suppose with analogue you could just about make credible claims that high quality wire preserves more of the signal, etc., but with SPDIF?! Either the digits get through or they don't. So how can the £50 piece of bling be better than the £3 cheap 'n chinktastic one from Ebay?

My record collection is mainly jazz, classical and spoken word, and so the gear I would tend to go for is perhaps not what someone listening to rock/pop/dance etc. would: still, I've heard nothing but good things about the Project line.

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By the way the music disc got very badly scratched because a crumb fell into the disc tray of my sound system.

I borrow a lot of CDs from the library. They do seem to get quite a bit of abuse, but the biggest problem in ripping them is always those circular scratches caused by sharp objects in the player.

With small scratches, it really is possible to polish them with toothpaste or T-Cut. Both are slightly unpleasant to use, but you can also get "diatomaceous earth" on the internet, which is what they both contain. (Presumably you can also polish a scuffed car with toothpaste, or brush your teeth with T-Cut)

I've managed to rescue at least a dozen discs, but I've also made quite a few worse. The trouble is, it takes a long time and I get careless. I can't realy be bothered any more, I give them a quick once over, but if it's no better, I just give up. The tip about dishwasher rinse aid was good, I just tried it the other day, and it made a disc a lot better.

DVDs seem to be a lot more sturdy than CDs. I dont know if it's in the physical design, or there's something about the file system that makes it easier to read damaged ares. Blue Ray has not been tested.

Oh, what you have to be careful about apparently, is not scratching the other side (where the picture is), that is actually where the data is physically located.

And another "Oh". i've also tried using polishers attatched to a drill, and that always ends badly, even with the fluffiest polishing attatchment I could find.

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