CD player - skips and static pops ... related?

Over the last 5,6 months or so, my Meridian 506.24 has started skipping. Initially, it was just once every couple of weeks, but recently its been once a day. Also, recently, I hear a static pop coming through the speakers usually accompanied by a skip but NOT always. Are these two issues related? Is this typical behavior for a dying cd player? Ugh ... I love my Meridian and don't want to start auditioning players again.

I'm reasonably sure that the pops are not related to my amps. Both power(SS)and pre (tube) have been upgraded recently and the problem existed before the change. I'm also sure that it's not a tube issue, replacing with new tubes has no effect. This popping occurs at low volumes and normal volumes so I don't think I'm clipping the amp. I'm reasonably sure the speakers are fine, they went back for a refinish job a couple of months back and were also checked out and given a clean bill of health.

Other than the skipping & popping everything sounds great, no obvious distortion of any kind.

The Meridian is getting up there in age. This static popping has me worried that maybe there is another issue involved here. Could electrical surges being causing this?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Sounds like maybe a good laser cleaning might do the trick.
My take is some dirt is the problem. Maybe a hair.
Pop the lid and dust it all around with a computer duster spray can. Then clean the laser lens. With the cover off you should be able to clean it with abit of soft material. Do NOT press down on it, just slide it over the surface.
Pushing down could damage the lens tracking devices
Thanks for the responses.

Elizabeth - what constitutes a "abit of soft material" Would a q-tip do the trick? I'm afraid to scratch the lens.

Is it safe to use the compressed air on the lens?
a Q-tip will work but compressed air is preferred unless there is an actual dirt film on the lens. I have used a q-tip dipped in alcohol,pressing ever so lightly and using compressed air to blow off residue on my 508.24. Hope this works. I'm assuming your CD's are also clean? I had a problem when I first got my 508 skipping and I had to send it back to the factory for repair. It was something minor but was repaired under warranty. The Meridian should last you many many years.
Skips are not only from dirty lenses but also from worn parts causing the laser drive head assembly to mistrack. The laser itself could be worn out, or the drive mechanisms are gummed up, loose servo gears or deformed drive belts, or a glitch in the logic circuitry.

The popping sound is most likely from loose connectors or soldered leads anywhere from the optical circuitry all the way back to the output jacks. The pops are most likely from arcing which are probably not related to the skipping.
I think I will try the compressed air first. If that doesn't work then the q-tip/alcohol route. Hopefully that will do the trick.

Gs5556 - my first hunch was what you are describing - arcing. Hopefully we're wrong, and a lens cleaning will do the job. The thought of putting significant $ into repairing an older CD player isn't particularly appealing ... hopefully it's an easily repairable issue.
Hello, my CD player suddenly began skipping and the fix was an optic lazer replacement. The "quick fix" for my particular situation was to elevate the front of the CD player approx 4-6 inches when inserting a CD. Once the CD was mounted and all track were initialized, I could then lower my cd player into its original position and let the music play without error. It was a pain but it worked....good luck

Besides a dirty lens, the other cause of skipping I'm aware of that's user-fixable is heat. If the player is sitting on top of your amp or is in an enclosed cabinet, or both, the heat can create enough change in the dimensions of the player parts to cause laser alignment problems. That probably wouldn't explain the static pops, though.
Somebody just posted a thread about occasional pops heard through his/her speakers thinking that maybe static electricity could be causing this. A fellow a'goner responded supporting this. I wonder if I am experiencing this also. I live in NYC where we have very dry winters. I am going to try a humidifer and see if that helps the popping. Hopefully the air/q-tips will alleviate the skipping!

Thanks everyone!
I wonder about using alchohol to clean a CD lens. Couldn't that leave streaks? If you smear some alchohol with a soft fabric over a glass or plastic surface you will sometimes observe streaking once it evaporates. I'd also question using Q-tips. I'd never use either on a camera lens. For laser lenses I've actually used good lens cleaning tissue with lens cleaning fluid which does not tend to streak when it evaporates (though most do contain some form of alchohol). Now I'm just operating based on conjecture and experience with camera lenses, which are coated lenses. Regardless, alchohol will streak a plain glass or plastic surface as well if allowed to evaoporate. Q-tips not only can release loose cotton fibers, but can also harbor foreign objects in those tiny nooks and crannies. Don't even think about using the ones you used on your ears and put back in the box for later use to save money!

Just my .02 cents.....add .98 cents more and you can buy yourself...well...absloutely nothing in this economy.


Drugstore isopropyl alcohol streaks because it is only 70% alcohol, the rest is water and whatever other stuff the water contains. Rubbing alcohol, if you can find it, is usually 99.something% alcohol and won't streak. But, in my experience, the drugstore variety has always worked just fine and if it fixes the problem, the problem's fixed.
In case anyone is still following this thread ... I tried some compressed air on the lens and it seems to have done the trick, no skipping for a week, fingers crossed, knock on wood.

The popping also has abated since moving a humidifier into my listening/living room. I don't really understand the science behind this one but go figure.

Thanks everyone.