NO NO NO NO NO. I don't know if you heard me correctly. NO! CD'R's sound terrible. The only people that believe that CD'R's or CDRW's sound good are the same people that believe that MP3's sound good.
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My experience has been much different than Mfgreps above post. When a good source component, good CD, good blanks, and good recorder are used at 1X speed, I've made many excellent CD-Rs using Pioneer W-739 and 509 recorders at 1X speed. I would expect that CD-R recordings made on cheap, high speed computer "burners" would not be as good. I've never heard MP3, and have no interest in it. Cheers. Craig.
I wasn't referring to anything other than 1x speed, nor was I referring to MP3. Only a fool would even waste time burning a CD-R at over 1X speed, IMO...........................Joe: You know what? I don't feel like explaining why. If you make lots of copies, and hear no difference, that's fine with me. Be happy, go forth and populate the earth with perfect CD-R's. I never said there was a big difference, just that they don't sound exactly alike to me. I have a few things I am trying that might futher lessen the difference, but I have too many cables and speakers that I am reviewing to waste time wondering why a copy wouldn't be EXACTLY the same as the original. PERHAPS YOU CAN TELL ME WHY A COPY IS IN EVERY WAY, EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL? (since you want to discuss it).
I have had the experience that they often sound better with my methods and equiptment used. I think that the blanks themselves make a big diffrence, I have only found one brand, TDK that has produced noticably better sound. It seems to make a bigger diffrence with some CDs as well. With a few of my recordings the diffrence was huge as to how much better the recorded version sounded. There has been a lot of mixed opinions and a lot of other threads on this site in regards to this, but for me personally I would prefer the sound of the CDR to the original most of the time.
Wow EJlif....I must try new methods. The CDR's that I have heard sound as if a curtain was hung in front of the music...with poor bass extension and lack of details. I thought them comparable to tape (without the noise problems associated with tape) I too have heard that certain brand discs make a HUGE difference with regard to using them for audio recording. My brother told me which to buy...and I cannot remember. I can inquire if anyone is interested. Interestingly...my new CD player will play CDR's (Levinson no.39), however, my old Muse model 8/296 combo (CD, DVD, 24/96 player) wouldn't read them!! Kevin Halverson at Muse also informed me of some inherent problems with the format from a technical perspective. Problems included degradation of sound and interestingly....he told me that the CDR's cannot be in the heat for long periods (ie: in a hot car). He told me that the CDR's can lose digital information or even blank out in the high heat of a closed auto.
For years I made CDR backups and copies, and didn't really notice anything different. Now that I have a more revealing system (having been shown the error of my lo-fi ways), the difference is quite aparent. While I'm not going to argue with anyone about "how" they sound different, I WILL say that CDR degradation is a fact, and I have witnessed it with some particular brands more than others. It starts with a pop here and there and gets progressively worse until most cd players won't play it. Not only is this a problem for music, but I've also lost data discs to the same fate. (Over an elapsed time of approx. 5 months) Granted, there could have been something terribly wrong with that set of CDRs, but... And lastly, copying a CD to hard disk, I can't help but notice the pops and clicks that are present even before it's burned to the CDR. (Using headphones and classical) Perhaps it's a problem within MY system. This makes me think that maybe some of the problem of CDRs lays not only in the medium itself, but also in the path which the data takes to that destination. While I haven't tried every method of improving the sound here, I have been writing at 1X, reading from source at 1X, copying disk images to HD 1st, etc. Sound still isn't up to snuff. Happy Listening
I recently began copying most of my collection onto CDRs using a recently purchased computer - in other words, recent hardware and recent software. I hear no difference and believe that the reason I hear no difference is because it's extremely easy to prove (repeatedly) that the CDRs are a bit-for-bit exact match to the original CD. If you're hearing a difference, I can think of no logical reason other than that the bits are different, which certainly has been the case with older hardware and software, but has no reason to be the case now. Degradation may also be a real phenomenon, but in that case it is again due to bits that are unreadable and therefore end up at the DAC differently.
I have mastered over 2000 hours of live music in either the analog domain or digital. Since 1989, I have been exclusively recording digitally to DAT. Of course I would have rather used analog equipment, however, because all of my recordings are done on location I have to use the best possible portable gear, which has included very expensive mics, Neuman, B&K, Schoeps and AKG. I have also used the following DATs, Panasonic SV250 and 255, Sony D10 pro II and PCM 2600. I always use an outboard mic pre-amp, Aerco MP2, Lunatec, Byer, Schoeps ect. Also, I have used many A/D's, Sony's SBM, Apogee's AD 500 and 1000, ect. Why I am stating this is that I believe I have a good idea how the mastered DAT sounds. For archival purposes I have DAT back ups and recently CDR's. I can detect generational loss from DAT's. It comes across as a thinning of the sound, ect. On CDR, which I use a Marantz CDR 630, I haven't noticed a significant loss, at least not large enough to become dogmatic in my views. In summary, if you have the original, hey, play it and enjoy it. It should sound as good as it is. If you are making a copy for back up, well, that is why you are copying it, for back up. Buy original when possible and support the artists. However, at times a copy is all we have to listen to.
Hi there, The theory is simple - in bit-for-bit perfect copy there is no loss of information. Period. However, if there is an error during the copy process, the CDR or CDRW can still play and the error correction software in the player can mask it - hence the degradation in performance. Even a click or a skip in extreme cases - this is a due to a big error not corrected by the player. On the other hand, a copy can sound BETTER than the original. Simple explanation - the amount of jitter introduced during recording can be LESS than the amount of jitter on the original. The huge buffers in computer CDR burners can help exactly with this. They buffer the signal from the original CD, and use the computer own clock as a sync signal when writing to the copy. The clocks in computers run at 10-100 times higher rate of the synch signal of the clocks in ordinary players and DACs. Consumer players/recorders combos often don't have these big buffers, run at 10 to 50 Mhz (as opposed to up to a GHz or more in computers) and can introduce more jitter. Especially at high speeds. Hope you know how jitter translates into signal degradation during payback... To summarize: given the following: - bit-per-bit perfect copy - no errors during copying - the same or smaller amount of jitter in the copy - AND - your player can read wihout a hickup (e.g. reads 100% of all bits recorded) there is simply no way the copy can sound worse than the original. If anyone hears a degradation the reasons could be: - introduced more jitter in the copy - there are errors during the copy process or it is otherwise not bit-per-bit perfect copy - player can't read all bits properly so it has to "guess" and interpolate the signal - OR one's just hearing things... Hope this helps a bit. Please, visit http://www.digido.com/jitteressay.html for more info. I'm in no way affiliated with the folks there - I'm just an EE and signal processing major with a mid-fi system that supports the theory - in most cases there is no difference to my ears... Regards, Kocho
I agree with KTHOMAS. I use a Sony DVP-7700 for a transport and a Monarchy A-22 for the DAC, great sound. When I record I use the same set up and record with a Pioneer PDR-509. By using a AudioQuest digital Pro coaxial cable From the digital out of the Monarchy to the digital in to the PDR-509, I get a perfect bit for bit copy of the original CD. I cannot tell the difference. If there is any degradation in sound, I do not think it is audible. Just my opinion. Mike
I have burned close to 100 CDR's on my Dell computer with an HP burner. I copy all files to hard drive, then burn CD at 1X. I have not been able to hear any significant degradation in sound quality. I will not say the copies sound better or maybe even as good, but they do not sound bad. I have a superbly resolving stereo worth almost $15000. There might be a slight change in some characteristics, but I have not been able to pinpoint it. I do a lot of listening through headphones, and even then, I detect very minor differences. Could just be psychological. It is certainly orders of magnitude improvement over ANY home tape system, and I've owned three different RTR's and a pretty good cassette deck. Never satisfied with any form of tape (including 7-1/2 IPS on Revox), but CDR is almost as good as original. Most people would never detect any difference. If you detect drastic degradation, you're doing something wrong or your equipment is defective.
Kocho, is the dye material used at all a significant factor (from cynine to phthalocyanine sp?, etc.). I've heard that the better CD-R's take the laser info more cleanly since it is a "physcial" process, regardless of the accuracy of the machines at hand. A hypothetical analogy would be if we had some cutting tool, but the materials we are cutting are different (the different dyes), then the resulting cuts on each piece could be different. I.e. a conventional power saw running through wood will cut much differently than if we tried to cut glass with it, even though the saw factors are all same. I don't mean to make an unscientific analogy that holds no worth to it, like the infamous "running through a forest" one and loudspeaker cables. Personnaly, I've had no problems with my CD-R's and think they sound quite fine.
Ezmeraldall, I suppose dye matters to the extend that some manufacturers obviously did a better job. What I mean is that on Memorex I had to throw out several CDRs after copying since they were unreadable. I generally have had no such problems with Sony or Smart & Friendly or TDK or Nashua (even with 80 minutes disks). Originals reflect light better than CDRs that in turn are more reflective than CDRW. So I would assume that CDRWs have the potential to introduce more errors than CDRs and thus the quality could degrade more. I really have no way to tell what happens in reality, as I have no equipment to verify if all bits were transferred OK to the copy. To my ears copies usually sound indistinguishable from the original even through my Sennheiser HD600 headphones. Of course, my source is a modified Sony ES player, so it is not top of the line in many respects - that might be masking some very subtle differences that other people might be hearing indeed - I also agree with the other people here who said recording at lower speed (1x) should be better than higher speed. Obviously there is some difference in the way CDR/CDRW disks are perceived by players (both computer and audio) as they take significantly longer to initialize (read the number of tracks and start playing) than original CDs. I don't know why. I usually copy CDs from one CD-ROM to the CD burner directly and do not go through the hard drive. If I'm making a mix from several CDs, I usually make it piece by piece on a rewritable CD and then copy the whole thing to a CDR if I want to keep it. Sometimes I just leave it on the CDRW that my player reads OK too. This way if there are problems I don't waste the blank. I get almost 100% playable copies when I do a disc copy. Where I get problems sometimes is mixing CDs so if I do the mixing on a rewritable CD first, then verify it is OK and then copy the whole CD I'm almost certain it will work as audio CD. Kocho
For CDR technology to be useful as a computer data media requires vanishingly small rate of uncorrectable errors during the transcription. When was the last time you had a "bad" data or program file on a CD? This means the post-correction error rate must far better than 1 bit in every 10 billion. (In round numbers, there's about 5 billion bits of data on a CD). If the post-correction error rate were not that low, CD-R would not be reliable enough for use in the computer industry. When I say "correction", I mean recovery of the original data provided by the error-correction coding used for both audio and data CD formats. Think about it: a computer program will not tolerate interpolation of bad data. So no way is an alleged difference in sound due to data errors, unless consumer CD-R burners are truly, truly, crappy and do have much higher data error rates as compared to computer burners and CD-ROMs. A different issue is whether clock jitter differs when reading CD-R vs a stamped CD.
I would add to the response of 1439bhr the following: There might not be any errors on the copy. In fact as 14 says there should not be any. However, the reflective properties of CDR and CDRW are different than these of regular CDs. This is the main reason some audio players do not read them at all. Others misinterpret quite a few bits because of difficulties reading them. They have error correction algorythms that are meant originally to correct erors due to scratches, vibrations and dust. That is how audio data ends up interpolated and hence the sound might be inferior. Of course jitter remains a factor too... Kocho
I think CDRs sound fine for listening to MP3 sources or in the car. On my home system they are clearly marginal. Why? I think the primary reason is jitter. The CD burners clearly don't have the jitter specification that the original stamping process had. Stereophile ran tests about 5 years ago during a controversy that centered around whether different CD plants produced better/worse CDs from the same master source. BMC was the target of those complaints. The bottom line was that the various copies were absolutely identical bit for bit but they sounded different. That was the time when the significance of jitter was just becoming apparent. So it the pits are shifted ever so slightly because of a not absolutely accurate spin speed a phase shift or random jitter can be introduced.
Good point about reflectivity. Too bad that $200 CD burners can outperform big buck audio players :-( Concering error correction algorithms: notice I used the term "correctable error": this is an error which is detected by the error correction algorithm and CORRECTABLE -- the original data word is restored to its proper value. I won't go into technicalities, but the use of redundant bits allows this. For example in an (11,8) code, 11 bits are recorded to represent 8 bits of data input; at playback time an 11 bit is read and the error correction algorithms decides which 8 bit word was intended. It can perfectly correct any single bit error out of the 11 bits, but if a pair of bit errors happen within that 11 bit word, all it can determine is that an uncorrectable error has occurred. If 3 bits out of the 11 are in error, the algorithm cannot recognize the situation and the wrong 8-bit word is output. An uncorrectable error is one in which the algorithms has to "fake it" via interpolation, or in really bad cases, shuts down the output.
And it should be pointed out that the original CD was stamped all at once, and NOT spinning at full speed and having the data burned by a laser into a photo emulsive substrate. So, when a CD-R is "burned", we are talking about it first being read at the full 1x speed, and THEN written at the full 1x speed. And there are a myriad of other factors, such as the light passing thru the "decidedly NOT 'optical lens quality' polycarbonate", TWICE (once to read, once to write, with the writing energy level of light much higher than the reading energy level...all at full speed)...the various reflective properties of the gold or silver reflective layer (those are the only two materials used, no CD-R's use aluminum), the various opacity properties of the different dies used in the photo emulsive substrate. And also, how all of this affects the "jitter performance", which as pointed out above, can be both mechanically-interface-related, and also can take place in the digital domain during the data transfer through the circuitry. My point is, there is NO such thing as a "perfect copy" of anything ANYWHERE, simple physics (and the uncertainty principle) dictate this. Also, my brother is both an EE and a computer programmer, and he informs me that a data CD has much higher tolerance for errors than an audio CD, because of the nature of the error correction of the software (it does perform heavy interpolation to correct for errors...no personal computer would function at all, if this weren't the case).
Except it's mostly correct. When modems transfer data they do simple error detection/correction like the (11,8) method mentioned above. If there is an unrecoverable error, the word is resent. I wonder if data roms will also rescan a disc when an unrecoverable error is detected while the transport in an audio CD will simply interpolate. Just a thought. This came up in a previous thread and someone actually did some experiments with strait digital dumps. It was interesting and highly (in my mind) unexpected.
Carl, I think that you're somewhat talking past Dshin. He objected to the ---- data CD has much higher tolerance for errors than an audio CD, because of the nature of the error correction of the software (it does perform heavy interpolation to correct for errors...no personal computer would function at all, if this weren't the case) ---- which he seemed to intereprate as you claiming that data PC's do interpolation of data in the read process. His only point was that data roms never interpolate data in the read process. I think.
In any case, I have direct experience with minor read errors WHICH DO INDEED pass through to the write process, when producing an audio CD-R, and that was at 1x speed both ways. Most everyone in the computer field reads and writes data CD-R's at least at 4x speed, and usually higher, and the data gets transferred and then recorded WITH ABSOLUTELY NO ERRORS. It doesn't matter to me where the interpolation occurs, it's just that it DOES occur, so in my view and experience, you CANNOT compare the process of reading and writing a Data CD-R, with that of reading and writing an Audio CD-R. The nature of CD audio, is that EVEN SMALL ERRORS DO INDEED "GET THROUGH", and everyone in the recording industry who's involved in the production process knows this all too well.
With up-to-date software and hardware, it is easy to prove to yourself that bit-perfect copies are being made when using a computer CDR setup - there are many programs to grab "files" of data off an audio CD and compare them to files grabbed off other audio CDs. Occassionally the copying software reports an error and won't finish the job, but every copy I've ever compared to the original matches perfectly. I sold my Phillips CD copier/recorder, so I can't do the comparison on copies it made for bit-perfect correctness. To the extent that they are bit-perfect and any difference is in jitter induced by the reflective properties of the media, I can't wait for networked components so the perfect copies can be delivered anywhere for playback. It is also annoying to think that a multi-thousand $$ transport can't retrieve data off a CDR as well as a $69 CD drive for a computer.
My multi-thousand dollar CD player played the original CD better than the CD-R machine played it, when I used the CD-R machine to play the original CD, to make the copy. And the CD-R drive did indeed let a read error through, which was then written on two separate CD-R's I made on two separate occasions, in exactly the same place. And the DVD-rom drive read that area of the original CD just fine, but kept encountering a read error 3 tracks after the first one (which the CD-R drive had no trouble with), and would not even allow the CD to be copied. Again, my $3000 CD player played the original CD without missing a beat in EITHER PLACE, and it doesn't even track CD's as well as my cheap 6 year old Sony carousel changer!! THIS IS ALL VERY REPEATABLE...and I reiterate again that there will never be such a thing as a "perfect" copy of anything, especially in the world of digital audio. You would have to downgrade the term "perfect", to something else that is NOT actually perfect.
For archival purposes we need to strive for perfect copies using any media. That is without a question the audio holy grail! My question to all these posters is, "What are you copying and why?" As I have posted, I copy to archive my vast collection of self mastered concerts and for the cost of media and hardware, as well as storage factors, digital storage appears to me to be the best media. If one is looking to copy their friends CD of "whatever", and they are not satisfied with the clone, well, go buy the original and be happy. If you are archiving your lp collection and your not satisfied with digital, well buy a reel to reel and be happy. If you are doing as I am doing and your not happy with analog or digital, well, involve your self in engineering and come up with something better. Or, voice your opinion with some ideas for action. I think what irks me is damnation without a valid alternative. Okay, your not happy with cloning or recording to digital. What is your alternative? It is easy to be critical. Hey, anyone can be a critic. How about some solutions or alternatives.
Perfection is the Holy Grail. In practice, this means "vanishingly small error rate" relative to digital data. Uncorrected bit error rates (BER) on the order of error in every trillion bits is not uncommon for some high-quality digital data transmission systems. That BER is roughly one error in the equivalent of (whips out slide rule here... hmmm... fiddle... fiddle...) about 184 compact discs, assuming 680 MB of useable data per disk. Not too shabby.
I have done the test repeatedly and absolutely can't hear a difference unless there is an error on the copy that makes it clearly audible. Have performed the test on apparently good copies and both myself and a friend I listen with regularly, couldn't hear a difference. We have done blind tests on numerous occasions, the results are always the same. I don't even pretend that I can hear differences because I hear none. Those that can hear a difference would have to prove it to me. Not that I really care other than I have a difficult time imagining it. I say if you can REALLY hear a difference of a good copy from the original you have better ears than I do.
Perhaps that is true; and in any case, you have made up your mind, and so have I, Tubegroover. I can't even imagine anyone NOT hearing a difference (in a decent system), and I doubt there's any way I can prove it to you just by simply repeating myself here, especially if you can't hear it for yourself in the first place. So what are we talking about, here? None of us are swaying each other's findings or opinions...ABSOLUTELY in ANY way...so what is this about, then?
Well Carl if you say you can who am I to say you can't? My tests were done on both my system and my friends, both highly resolving systems and the results were the same for us. Ironically the first time we did the test I picked the copy as being the original 5 out of 5 times. Now I guess the only thing that proves is I thought the copy sounds better than the original and also that I really did hear a difference. It could never be repeated so it was probably luck on the order of being dealt a full house poker hand.
What we are talking about here is the entrenched analogs against the open minded digtals. Every point made by those saying there is a difference relates to the older technology analog systems. The fact is, a numerical copy is a numerical copy, and it doesn't matter that the CD is burned or stamped, gold or silver, or if the lens is plastic or glass. We are not talking about cartridges, after all, or frequency response of a tape deck. This is digital, which is a simple sysytem of transcribing numbers from one file to another. There is no system interaction, no cabling, no impedence, or any other crap which encumbered our efforts for years in the analog domain. If you don't like digital, you won't like CDR. If you accept digital technology, and I mean the very basic concept of it, then you will recognize that it is possible to make indistinguishable copies. That's not to say perfect, but indistinguishable. If you can hear a difference between an original CD and a copy made in the proper manner, then you are exercising an active imagination. It is not a matter of better hearing or a better system, but your own mental image of what is actually being reproduced. We accept that.
That's your opinion, and it most certainly isn't fact. CD-R's aren't simple numerical copies at all. You need to brush up on the basics of digital audio, and pulse code modulation. And THAT is fact, and we ALL recognize THAT. I am neither closed minded, nor do I "not like" digital. I am simply telling it like I hear it. If you don't hear it that way, please do not tell me what I hear, or don't hear. That is the epitamy of arrogance, insolence, closed-mindedness, and shows a lack of any civility. I AM NOT TELLING YOU WHAT YOU ARE HEARING, so kindly refrain from telling me what I hear. I have an imagination, but I can also hear at least as well as the best human ears in the world can.
Madisonears to say that it doesn't matter if it's burned, stamped, gold or silver implies to me that you have either never tried to resolve the diffrences or don't have a resolving system. I have tried all sorts of angles and they all make diffrent sounding CDR recordings, especially CDR brands. The digital cable, the source player, even the shelf material that the CDR recorder is placed on contributes to the sound of a CDR. I bet a lot of guys who say that a copy is a copy period are just echoing what they read or heard someone else say, not from actually comparing the copy to the original on their own systems. To me music and science are two different things.
Carl, thanks for the charming compliments. Hearing as well as a dog must truly be a curse. Barking like one, even more so. I guess there are differences to those who can hear them. To others, probably most humans, there are not significant enough differences to bother with. Those who obsess over the tiniest of variations after extensive and excruciatingly close observation are neurotics who cannot grasp the importance of music over mechanics. Sometimes I want to just chuck the whole business and buy an AIWA rack system at Sears so I can just listen to the music.
You ought to do that. Actually, even my brother who isn't an audiophile heard the difference immediately. And this wasn't some half ass copy either, this one was made by a Tascam CDRW5000 with a Meridian 506.24 as the transport. I am not seeking to put machinery before music...NEVER HAVE, NEVER WILL. And thank YOU for THAT kind compliment, along with the continuing judgemental attitude. If you have such a problem with all of this, you ought to refrain from commenting in this thread, since you can't control your emotions, and aren't bringing anything even remotely objective to the table.
The epitome of arrogance, dear carl, is using the word without knowing how to spell it. I am not afraid to admit my human frailty. When it comes to music, if you really listen to IT and not the metal or wooden box it comes out of, it is, indeed, very hard to control one's emotions. Maybe I'm wrong about the sound of CDR's, but I sure like the music I can put on them. Maybe my system just "isn't resolving enough" (what a condescending load of garbage), or my hearing doesn't extend into the supersonic range. And who said these comments needed to be objective? What I believe, not what I omnisciently claim to be fact, is that there is so little difference between original and copy that, without direct comparison, most people will detect none. So copy away, fellow music lovers, but please don't pirate them. As much as we generally despise the record companies, they're there because they can make money doing it. If they can't make money by selling CD's, there goes the music biz.
Forgive my spelling, and I'll forgive your cheap shot of pointing it out. Look, I don't need a moral lecture from you on this, and I never said that the comparisons were anything other than "direct", nor did I ever say that I didn't enjoy putting music on CD-R's (I do). My point in this thread was to answer the question at the top, and not to belabor it to those who are closed-minded on the subject. If you can't hear a difference, I'LL SAY ONE LAST TIME, PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME (or snidely imply) THAT I DO NOT, or otherwise presume in a most pompous manner that your system is somehow more resolved than mine (and therefore I am hearing some other anomaly). THAT IS THE EPITOME OF ARROGANCE, at least in this hobby...and NOT just making a typo when typing the word. And BTW, "supersonic" refers to velocity, and not frequency. AND IF YOU ARE SO PETTY AND IMMATURE THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE THE LAST WORD HERE, THEN I AM EVOLVED AND CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO ALLOW YOU THE INSOLENT PLEASURE OF HAVING IT, madisonears. So have at it (and realize that in doing so, you are illustrating your personal bias against ME, for everyone here to judge)...
I'd like to better understand what is going on in the making of a CDR, because apparently I don't - I thought that the most basic form of creation for a CDR on a computer was a straight reading of the bits off the original and writing of those same bits onto the CDR. What actually happens? And, BTW for the poster who asked - I'm in the process of copying all my CDs - largely to put the copy into a CD changer, freeing the original to be taken in the car, to work, or somewhere else in the house. Putting the CDRs in the changer allows for inserting all the title / track info which gives total flexibility in moving the discs around without having to use the cryptic UI on the player.