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I second the Mapleshade Mikro-Smooth as a general polish/enhancer. Also like Vivid and have been experimenting with Auric Illuminator as well. For those really badly scuffed/scratched CDs, though, I've had as much luck with toothpaste (not gel) as anything else. Just rub it in on the scratch/ding/scuff with your finger and rinse. No, I haven't done a toothpaste brand-by-brand comparison!
You haven't mentioned buying a better CD instead of the one you have. Maybe it'll be much cheaper.
Living in NYC gives you that possibility greater than in any other city or town. Go to St Mark's Place where you might find a replacement for $2...3 mind piece. I go there almost every weekend and realy wonder how sealed CD-s cost $2...3!
I have approximately the same situation where some discs I scratched using my car-stereo but now I never place valuable CDs in the car and only use burned copies or cassettes.
I have purchased two of their ''standard'' 4'' Finished Maple Platforms and have found a slight improvement in sound. This was accomplished through slightly better bass definition, a little more air around the instruments and yes, added warmth. Was it worth it ????.. Ahhh maybe .... could I have lived without them...Yes. Anyway, the finished platforms are really attractive and could be used in the future as great looking ( but expensive ) cutting boards.
I too have used the Maple shade platforms, iso locks and triple points but to get the full improvement I think, all three devises need to be used and you will get slightly better bass, more detail, and a smother sound, I bought there B stock as the platforms get scratched up from the cones so for $105 including iso blocks this is one of the best tweaks for the money spent! as for the Micro smoth it works very well on scratched CD but be aware of the Optrix as it leaves a haze on the CD and it's not easy to remove, Maple shade says I'm not wipping the CD properly and that's BS so use Optrix at your own risk! Happy Fixen!
I've used Auric and it allowed a machine to play a disc that was previously locking the machine up i.e. total shut-down in terms of audio output. It works but also alters the sonics. My personal advice is to NOT use the marker on the CD's, but others may have differing opinions and experiences. Sean
I have had varying results with products such as Novus and Magners. May be worth checking into but I wouldn't have high hopes. I have a friend who (compared to me) is a whiz with this type of stuff and he "polished" some of my damaged discs with an abrasive compound. It worked ok but as I watched the process I realized there was a lot of room for error. I learned the hard way that taking care of my discs was something I really had to pay attention to cause I was starting to have too many discs that skipped or locked up simply because I was not taking care of them. I was leaving them loose on the jewel case (not locked down which lead to them scraping over the center "wheel" in the jewel case), lending them to friends (which I have just about banned) and worst of all using cd wallets for portable storage (not to point the finger but Case Logic should cut me a check for about $300 for the discs I've damaged in their wallets).
Today I do 2 things to protect my collection. (1) is I make high-speed copies of the discs I am most worried about damaging. From what I can tell I am not losing much (if anything) when burning the discs on my high speed burner (2) About 2 weeks ago I found a storage case that I really am very impressed with and you may want to check it out (it won't help the discs that are already scratched but could save you future headaches). If you go to www.slappa.com you'll see they have a new line of cases that are great for storing and protecting discs. I ordered a couple just to check them out and was very impressed with the quality to the point where I am going to migrate my entire collection over to these cases. They have a couple of nifty features that make them very good for home storage.
fyi--I don't work with these guys or have personal ties with them.
Good luck--this is not an easy problem to fix going "backwards"
Go to a used cd place like CDepot in College Park, MD and they will polish the cd for you on their very expensive polishing machine. It cost $1-2 per cd and it is the best polishing job I have ever seen. Most of the used cd stores that have been around for a while have them but you have to ask. Stores that rent alot of cd games may also have the polishing machines.