You can make them sound better by burning at 1X and using the Mitsui Gold CD-R. To make the copies sound really good you need a $1000+ CD Recorder. You will never get good CDs from burning on your computer.
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It could be in the burning process and not in the data transfer. Cds are stamped with pits and cdrs are made by heating up some sort of dye. Cdr does not use the same dye as cdrw. Some of the older cd players that could not play cdrs could play cdrws and vice versa. The lasers may not read the dye as easly as they do the pits. Could this cause a loss of sound quality maybe? I don't know but something does, thats for sure. I wonder if you played a wave file off your hard drive bypassing your pc sound card to your stereo system it would sound any better than than the same file burned onto a cdr and played over the same system in an a/b test?
Buckingham has it right except for the $1000 CD Recording. The new Yamaha recordings make great CDs. I just bought one. It claims it can burn at some ridiculous rate, but I use it at 1x for audio and 8x for data. The audio sounds fantastic. As to where to get Mitsui CD-Rs:
It is possible to make bit-perfect copies with a computer, and pretty easy to prove to yourself that you did so correctly. I wouldn't worry about anything else until you go through the steps to prove or disprove this capability. My opinion is that if you're getting bit-perfect copies, you'll have no sound degradation and, by implication, if you're experiencing sound degradation, that you're doing something that causes the copy to not be bit perfect (ie, running it through the sound card).
Many disagree with this - speed of burning, type of CDR, etc. also being seen as key variables. They may be correct, but the accurate copies is what I'd check first.
My cd copies sound very,very good and most people probably would say that they sound the same as the cd. But-I am used to my system and how the real cd sounds on it and the copy has a slight loss of air. In the car and on my other system they sound pretty much the same. I always burn at slow speed and burn to hard drive first.
there are many places on line to get the mitsui's, just go through a search engine and compare prices. As for quality I have copied over 200 cd's and I have found by comparing directly with the discs going at the same time you virtually can not tell the difference. I have found that the main thing is to first copy the disc onto a hard drive and then put the music onto a cd-r, that way you are not dealing with buffer zones. On scratched discs this can become a problem. It once took me an hour to upload a 43 minute disc with a bad scratch that played perfectly on my cd player. And you could not tell the difference in a straight comparison.
So much on sound can be subjective but if you record your discs to your hard drive first and have somebody else handle the cd comparison test and all you do is listen you should not be able to tell a difference. If so maybe you should submit a resume to Steve Hoffman
My friends and I don't hear a difference between the original CDs and CDR copies made with either my Pioneer PDR-609 or a friend's Pro Marantz unit. Another friend's newer Phillips recorder seems to make very slightly rougher copies, but one would need to have the original CD to detect the difference.
There was just an article in "The audiophile voice" where several brands of blanks were compared and the results noted. The main advice was, copy to the hard drive first and then to the blank. Why would this be better? I've made copies on my computer that no one can tell the difference. And they were not copied to the hard drive first. The main thing that I have learned is, use a name brand blank, and copy no faster than 4X
Sogood51 was correct in mentioning that the quality can be affected by the burning process. Jitter on playback can be reduced by altering the method by which CDR's are recorded, and this process can potentially offer an increase of dynamic range of a 16 bit recording by more than 20db.
I have quoted from a recent article discussing Yamaha's Audio Master Quality Recording below;
"Yamaha decided to deal with this by creating a process they called Audio Master. They decided to artificially slow down the speed of burning by increasing the length of the pits and lands. Although the disc is still spinning at its 24x or 32x speed, the density of bits on the CD's goes down. The normal 1.2 m/s linear speed turns into 1.4 m/s. 74 minute discs suddenly only hold 63 minutes, and 80 minute discs now only hold 68 minutes due to the extended pit length. Although the feature sizes are increased, they're still within Red Book standards. Now the reader's laser has more room with which to sample and determine if it's actually looking at a pit or a land."
Link to the full article >here
Yes the copies are very close to orginal, i believe both are true A) can't tell the difference and B) a slight loss in quality. IOW there must be some quality loss, but not easy to detect. I don't like these recorders, will put a big strain on Tower and many classical labels and orchestras to turn a decent profit. Especially the orchestra members. A 4 or 5 member Rock band splits the profits much better than a 75 member orchestra. Any thoughts here??