Can the copy sound better than the original?

Ridiculous question on the surface, I know. Here are the particulars:
I burned a copy of Mike Patton's "Mondo Cane" to listen to at work. I played the cd-r to verify that it was functional and it seems to sound significantly better than the original manufactured disc. More cohesive performance, better detail in inner voices, a sense of being in the space with the performers, and soundstage depth that is unusual for this system. Nonsense, right? I will state upfront that I have no affiliation with Memorex whatsoever. The cd-r I burned was a Memorex
"Black" cd-r. The only explanations I can come up with are that a) there was some compression in the transfer into i-tunes b) there is something about the way a laser might read a cd that would cause a typical silver cd to reflect garbage light onto the laser, whereas a black cd has less spurious reflective emission. Anybody else care to try this and confirm/de-bunk my perception?
Great question. I have heard the same results when I rip a cd to wav and then burn it to disc. Hope someone can answer in detail why this happens.
I've heard this via a couple of formats and despite the "It can't be happening" thought, there it is. In addition to CD-CDR comparisons, I've found that making a 2-track open reel dub of a 4-track original often sounds better to me.
I know this has been argued endlessly but I don't find the idea that farfetched. The issues with reflected light are one possibility but consider also that, during the copy process, the CD has gone through the error correction process of the CD drive. If the burned CD-R needs less error correction AND the error correction algorithm in your CDP is audible at some level then ...

See this thread, in which the same question was discussed. The bottom line, IMO: Yes, it is quite plausible, and is even expectable depending on the media and the player. The quotes contained in my post that is linked to in that thread present several reasons, involving interactions that can occur between the mechanisms that track and read the disk and other parts of the player, resulting in jitter and noise issues.

-- Al
Ths364 - It can be also, that many ripping programs like EAC or MAX go many times over the same sector until they obtain proper checksum. CDP cannot do that, working in real time, (at least most of them) and interpolates missing samples. That way CDR can become better (repaired) version of poorly printed (or scratched) CD.

Cross Interleave Reed Solomon Code used with CDs can error correct scratches along the disk up to about 4mm and then for scratches between 4-8mm it interpolates. Above 8mm it quits (pops).
Seems to me these would all be reasons why music servers should outperform CD players, since the ripping process delivers this performance increase. Better yet: download the music file. Right?

And then there is the issue of black CD-Rs, CD treatments, the SHM CDs from Japan, CD mats, and so forth. Shouldn't all the benefits reported for these tweaks be automatically present in a properly downloaded file?
I tried playing CD's on my iMac through a DAC. Didn't sound very good. Burned the CD to the iMac hard drive. Played the burned version and it sounded considerably better.

Lesson, clearly the transport makes a huge difference. The copy is hopefully an exact duplicate of the original, so it's tough to focus on that.

Separately, depending on the recording, a lesser copy may actually sound better if it looses some of the digital hash. Doesn't mean its better, just sounds better.
Well this may disprove the assertion that cd is a fatally flawed medium. In a few years when all the bugs are worked out and distortions removed, cds may sound a lot better than anyone thought they could.
Meiwan, I do believe your conclusion might be somewhat presumptuous. Please read the posts above. While the transport might indeed make a difference, I would guess (presumptuously? :-)) that the extra stages of error correction might have at least the same, and probably more of an effect on the superior sound of some copies.
You would think it would be a quantum light thing, but since the program ripping/burning it is a measuring device it it probably really a particle thing :-)

I've always had a similar question on using black vs regular silver Cd's when burning music. Is ther really a difference or not? Same question for the relative quality (cost) of said blank CD disks?
Years ago when this debate first surfaced, the conclusion that seemed most plausible, IMHO, was that the burned copy benefited from the computer's error correction, more uniform deposition of the pits and lands, and CD-Rs dont have all the holes and other manufacturing flaws typical of commercial aluminum CDs.
This is not nonsense at all. Years ago I had a CDROM rewriting service to improve on commercial CD quality. If you use Mitsui Gold Audio Master, it will sound even better.

For all of you that dont think jitter is an issue, this is the primary issue with digital audio, and that is the difference you are hearing. The pits in the CDROM are more defined and accurately placed, so it sounds better. Less jitter, better sound quality. No matter how good the transport is, it is still affected by the pit jitter. This is not about errors or error correction. This is a thing of the past. With a clean disk, there are no read errors.

Take it up another notch and use an external CD writer, clean the blank CDROM with a good treatment before writing and mod the external writer to have a Superclock or Ultraclock to reduce jitter even more. Now this is music.

The ultimate is without a doubt computer audio done right. This can achieve levels of jitter not achievable with CD players. This is why I junked my CD transport years ago. Not for the convenience, for the sound quality.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks everyone,for the comments and information! This may be my favorite new cheap "tweak". I've heard digital done well (SACD and in the recording studio) so I don't mind shelling out for cd's- especially if they can be bettered "in-house". This will get me by until I'm ready to leap into music server territory.
I was very lucky to buy a closeout of Dysan brand CD-R 700 "Black Writable Audio Compact discs a few years ago. I bought 5 20 pack cases. They are excellent. They are completely black even the area around the center hole. I have archived by best discs this way. I would suggest Taiyo Yuden, Mitsui or MFSL Gold as well. Superior results if you follow Steves' recommendations.
Always, when you copy on a good 2 track reel at 7 1/2 IPS, and you can double that with EE tape.
This has been my experience as well - follow Al's link for a good discussion.
Digital error correction, which all digital processing must have, will make or break the sound. If there was no correction, the playback would fail within the first 100ms. Most manufacturers do not do a good job in the area of error correction. Some do an excellent job. Digital is still transmitted as an electrical signal. Not all of the signal originally encoded in the recording studio arrives onto the consumer cd. Assumptions will be made by software to fill in the gaps. These gaps come in the form of media scratches, clock timing misalignments, mastering, and signal loss through circuitry and cables. Extracting all of the data is the only way to get what was originally recorded. Unfortunately, the way music is created and the media is manufactured, getting apples to apples data from studio to consumer is just not possible. Getting apples to apples data from your cd to your cd players outpput is next to impossible. How the gaps are corrected is mostly what makes a bad, good or great digital player.
My Cary Xciter through it's USB input makes all of my redbook cds sound better than ever. It is odd that flac ripped discs sound better than the original, but it just plain does on this dac.
If your burner is doing it's job the copy should be exact.
"If your burner is doing it's job the copy should be exact."

The problem, if I can be so bold, is that even if the files were to be compared and found to be exactly the same, I.e., no errors or differences, the sound of the copy will be better than the original. In short, it is a Strawman argument that the files must be different for there to be a difference in sound. Also, let's say the burner is not doing its job perfectly for some reason and there are errors or differences in the copy - that in itself would not explain why the sound of the copy is better although it could explain why the sound is worse. Does anyone not see where I'm going with this?
i think the answer depends in part on what "better" means.

my experience comparing copies to originals is cd dependent.

now let me define better. it implies a subjective preference.

better means more realistic or natural timbre of instruments.