Skips with CDR's

I purchased a used Cary 303/200 in great condition. This thing sounds great, but I seem to have problems with skipping when playing CDR's. My CDR's are not kept in jewel cases and are not super clean. They also have some scratches and some skip more than others. I didn't have this issue with other players. Is this normal? I opened it up and wiped the laser with a cotton swab, it made no difference.
I love this thing but this drives me crazy. I almsot posted it for sale, but I thought I would throw this out there very any other advice on what else I can do besides play only store bought cd's.
Thanks in advance for your help
I am not sure who can be of any help, you have a player that works best (as most do) with well cared for disc's and by your own admission your's are not in very good shape. I would suggest you re-burn your disc's and take better care of the new copy, wouldnt that work?
I'd suggest treating all your CDs with Walker Audio's Vivid CD treatment. It's quite amazing.

You also may want to try Walker Audio's Talisman, when combined with the Vivid, it's even better.

I use both with outstanding results.

It may not cure your skipping, but what you hear between the skips will sound much better.
Why isn't this a problem with other players I have used? Is it a matter of being too sensitive or not powerful enough? Is the laser dirty? If so how do I clean it? Is it the nature of Cary or other higher end players? I realize the problem with the cd's and admit to that, but I never had this with other units and am trying to figure out as to what the difference is. I have checked other threads and it sounds like it may not be expensive to purchase anew laser and install it myself. I will look into that too.
Stop touching that laser trying to clean it! You're going to ruin it! From my experience, most high-endish CDP's are picky about (a).CD-r's in general and (b). dirty disks. If the problem continues, sell it and get a Universal player that plays all formats without a hiccup (McCormack, for ex)
If that's normal, I am ok with that. I just want to know if there is something wrong with my unit. If I do sell it I want to know that it is working properly.
No I think it is normal, so I would just re-burn the disc's and keep the new copy pristine.
Skipping is really all about "error correction" done on-the-fly by the units proccessors.
Some high-end units use different ways to do error correction. And even the result of a real glitch in a CD datastream may cause some players to 'mute' and some to squeeze out some noise with the hope you don't notice it isn't the 'right' sound.
Guessing, I would hazard to say the highend players assume the discs will be pristine, and are geared to sonic perfection, and correctness,(in the decoding, as that proccessing has to be done in 'real time' and what the maker of the machine wants to focus on) rather than just spit out 'whatever' to make up for scratched CDs.
A dirty laser caused my CDP to skip.
Cleaned it with a cotton swab and some camera lens cleaner.
Ok now.
Like VHS heads, cleaning the lens when it is not dirty is bad.
One thing I do is use a super soft cosmetic blush brush that I softened the brush tips even moer with emery paper. The brush is used EVERY TIME I insert a CD or DVD or SACD or CD-R etc. EVERY TIME!
The microscopic dust that collects on the discs as they lay around and the bits of skin etc. need to be removed before inserting the disc. Then you will NEVER have to worry about a dirty or dusty lens!!
I am surprised more folks do not do about this?
If the skipping only occurs on CD-Rs, then I would suggest re-burning the cds with a slower speed, something like 1x or 2x. The slower you burn your blank cds, the better the laser burns into the blank cds. This will help cd players pick up the burned information easier. CD-Rs burned at super fast speeds are burned into the disc less intensive, hence the cd playback will have more problems picking up the data. Scratched discs should be replaced with newly burned disc as well, but the key is to burn them slowly. Try this out, it does wonders for me when I experience the same symptons. If that doesn't work, call Cary and send it to them for a check up, it might need replacing or adjusting the lens pick up system. Also, from asking different cd player manufacturers, most of the time they DO NOT recommend you clean the cd player at all. The newer players out there are sophositcated that it doesn't need cleaning. So I personally don't recommend you use those wet or dry CD cleaning systems or cotton swabs either. You might do more damage than help it.