I didn’t know that Did you guys know that?


Looking through old Absolute Sound issues, I found this reply from Robert Harley to a letter:

"...Among those who have actually listened to CDs and CD-Rs copied from those CDs, the debate was settled long ago - CD-Rs sound better."

Is that a fact?
phaelon
National Geographic has documented that the last "fact" to appear in the Absolute Sound was in February of 1978. Neither HP or RH has troubled themselves with nasty little inconveniences like "facts" since.

It's an entertainment magazine, not journalism. Take it seriously at your own risk.
This is pretty much always the case when I have done it. I believe it is still a mystery why this is, but it does indeed seem to be true.
I have found them to be equal or better most of the time. The reason being you can control the burn rate and quality of the CD, assuming you are buying good media. Your homemade copies are actually burned buy a laser moving at a much slower rate and creating the peaks and valleys and not pressed by the thousands or millions at 100x.IME.YMMV:>)
It does seem to me to be technically plausible that many of these reports could be true (and I would certainly expect Learsfool's perceptions to be accurate), although I would expect the magnitude and character of the differences to be highly dependent on the design of the particular player that is being used (and probably also on the particular media, burner, and burn speed that are used).

From this paper by Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio:
3. Jitter from the pits on a CD:
These are the pits in the CD media that represent the recorded data. Variation in the spacing of these pits result in jitter when reading the data. Commercially CD's created from a glass-master generally have more variation in the locations of the pits than a CD-R written at 1X speed on a good CD-R writer. Even though most modern CD players have buffering of the data to create some tolerance to this jitter, there is usually a PLL (Phase-locked-loop) involved, which is still somewhat susceptible to jitter. To determine if your player is susceptible, it is a simple experiment to re-write or "clone" a CD and then listen for playback differences from the commercial version. For newer players that completely buffer the data at high-speed from a CDROM reader to a memory buffer, this jitter is not an issue.
And some excerpts from this thread:
07-19-11: Shadorne
If a disc wobbles while it spins then this may cause cyclical adjustments to the pick up laser servo and these repetitive draws on power may induce variations in the clock through the power supply.
07-20-11: Kirkus
CD players, transports, and DACs are a menagerie of true mixed-signal design problems, and there are a lot of different noises sources living in close proximity with suceptible circuit nodes. One oft-overlooked source is crosstalk from the disc servomechanism into other parts of the machine . . . analog circuitry, S/PDIF transmitters, PLL clock, etc., which can be dependent on the condition of the disc.... One would be suprised at some of the nasty things that sometimes come up out of the noise floor when the focus and tracking servos suddenly have to work really hard to read the disc.
Best regards,
-- Al
Why do folks worry so much about what Robert Harley says?
Consider the source!!
Amazing!!! you can quote a guy like Harley and get responses, but woe be unto anyone that dare mention anyone from stereo review. would be funny, if not so sad.
I think that the last time Tpreaves made any semblance of a positive remark, Neil Armstrong was banging dust off of his boot before he climbed back on the module.
So if I have a CD, rip it to my computer and then make a CDR, then the CDR sounds better than the original CD. Does that mean if I then take the CDR, rip it to the computer and then make another CDR, does the 2nd generation CDR sound even better than the first generation CDR?

All I know is that everything matters, anything is possible and we don't fully understand audio reproduction (at least at relativistic speeds and temperatures).
'All I know is that everything matters, anything is possible and we don't fully understand audio reproduction'

No it does not, No it's not and yes we do. Everything else is geared towards putting money is some guys pocket.
Stereo Review?? I use to read that in the 60s and 70s; didn't it fold up years ago or have I slipped through a hole in the Space/Time continuum?
Rok2id, you're way too serious!
do you live near highway 61? it runs thru my home town.
I think Stereo Review folded, but the truths it proclaimed are still true. The reviewers for that mag are still held in low regard by the zealots on this forum. I often wonder why.
"...have I slipped through a hole in the Space/Time continuum?”

If you have, bring back some tubes, will you? I’m sure you’ll know what to get.:-)
no one has specified what better is.
i have observed that sometimes i prefer the original, other times i prefer a copy.

the copies i usually listen to are not generated from a computer.

better to me means less emphasis upon treble frequencies.
10-24-11: Stanwal
Stereo Review?? I use to read that in the 60s and 70s; didn't it fold up years ago or have I slipped through a hole in the Space/Time continuum?
Hi Stan,

No, it never folded. Some years back it changed its name to "Sound & Vision Magazine," reflecting increased focus on home theatre, video, etc. And many years back it absorbed the subscription bases, and perhaps some of the assets, of "High Fidelity" and "Audio" magazines, when they ceased publication.

Best regards,
-- Al
Okay, if I download a CD using iTunes lossless and then transfer it to a quality CD-R like MAM-A gold archive, the CD-R should be at least as good and probably better?
Capt369..... no one is forcing you to read my posts.
10-24-11: Phaelon
Okay, if I download a CD using iTunes lossless and then transfer it to a quality CD-R like MAM-A gold archive, the CD-R should be at least as good and probably better?
Hi Tom,

I have no directly relevant experience, but from a technical standpoint I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be the case.

You may also want to give the much less expensive Taiyo Yuden CD-R's a try, specifically the ones indicated as being "for professional use." They offer a 100 year data guarantee, and in my experience (in non-audio applications) with both their DVD-R's and CD-R's, and according to many other reported experiences, things like failed burns, incompatibilities with burners and players, etc., virtually never occur. Taiyo Yuden is now part of JVC, and their media are often listed as "JVC/Taiyo Yuden."

Also, fwiw, my practice has been to burn at one-half of the speed rating of the media.

Best regards,
-- Al
Harley is correct on this point.

Onhwy61, you have stumbled upon an interesting curiosity; "So if I have a CD, rip it to my computer and then make a CDR, then the CDR sounds better than the original CD. Does that mean if I then take the CDR, rip it to the computer and then make another CDR, does the 2nd generation CDR sound even better than the first generation CDR?"

The answer, again, is yes, however the second (i.e. first copy CDR) must be treated with pollish. In fact, there will be an easily audible difference between a pollished and unpollished disk which has been used for the source for the CDR. An untreated CDR being copied had no net gain sonically. Pollishing the CDR before copying was necessary to improve the sound yet again. So, there are two clearly defined improvements possible over manufactured Redbook discs - Pollish the Redbook disc and copy it to CDR. Then pollish the CDR and copy it again. Pollish the final (3rd) disc and it will sound radically differently than the original Redbook disc.

An audiophile friend and I stumbled upon this discovery when we were testing the efficacy of CDR sound vs. manufactured Redbook discs. Both the pollishing and creating of a CDR benefited the sound.

Do I follow all these steps myself? No; however, I do pollish all my Redbook discs.

Al, no, the results are independent of the player used. I have had similar results with many different players/DACs.

The only logical explanation for this is the influence of the pollish and copying of the Redbook disc upon the error correction systems of the player. I share this as a point of information from my experiences and I am not interested in arguing over these observations.
MAM-A regular data cd-rs are also very high quality and can be recommended for long life.

The gold archival quality would be audiophile overkill though. If audiophile overkill works for you in general, then get the gold archival MAM-A.

I have generic cheapies that I have left in my truck for over 9 years in Arizona (temperatures often over 100 degrees) as an experiment. They still play just fine.

To me the key is to store them in the dark. Opaque cardboard or plastic boxes you can buy at Bags Unlimited will do the trick. leaving them out where they are exposed to even indoor ambient light will destroy them fairly quickly.
can someone please indicate what better means?

does anyone have the experience of a copy sounding better than the original, when a computer was not used to copy a disk ?
Better means deeper, more clearly defined soundstage, it means cleaner/more distinct overall presentation - more easily heard stereo separation but more solid L/C/R across the soundstage - with greater refinement of top frequencies clear down to the bass. It means improved macrodynamics such that it seems someone turned up the level when it has not been touched. These are the results in every instance. It also gives the sense that you are hearing into the piece more and increases the corporeality of the artist(s).

If you are not seeking those qualities, then you would likely not see it as better; then don't treat your discs and don't make CDR's of them to play in place of Redbook discs.




Al, Tomcy6, Thank you for the advise and CD-R suggestions. Overkill doesn’t work for me. It’s just that my research consisted of a lazy mans Google search - best CD-R.

Douglas, regarding polishing etc., that deserves some comment: Wow! :-)
Phaelon, yup, it is a "wow" experience. Certainly not on the order of new speakers or an entire cable set change, but more than one might expect.

Let us know your impressions after your give it a rip and a polish!
I‘m not sure I want to know, Douglas . Couple that polishing act with obsessive compulsive behavior and... Boom! :-)
If your burner is doing it's job , the copy should be identical . When I first purchased my Marantz burner , I listen long and hard , with headphones and without , racked my brain for weeks , but couldn't detect a difference .
Well, it's not as risky as what Antoine Montant was up to. It's also not as time consuming as what one has to do to play vinyl.

As when transferring the discs to my NAS, I did a few at a time, perhaps six or so. Then it was not nearly the overwhelming chore it appeared when looking at the entire collection. Now I don't even play a disc until it's been treated; why suffer the lesser sound quality when an improvement exists at so minimal cost/effort?