I have been listening to CDs since the 1980s and I have never heard an oscillating sound from any CD players or transports and I have never heard anyone else mention this problem until now.
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Thank you both very much!
I have seen this happen in two different disc players with two different Matsushita/Panasonic transports. I discovered it when I heard the players making a tick-tick-tick, etc., about every half-second. I opened the players and observed the disc clamp wobbling and hitting the edge of its hole. I freely admit that while my analysis may be in error - I know what I saw. How sad that this may be a rare occurance and that I have encountered it twice. By the way, it was not with the same disc and not on the same day.
And now for something completely different: I have also heard the laser mechanism make noise, albeit rarely, if it is straining to track an erroneous disc. This was on Philips and Sony transports. But I consider this normal because said disc would do it on other units also.
I listen exclusively to classical music, which always has soft passages somewhere along the way. This is when I hear the annoying tick-tick-tick. I may not be the luckiest person on earth - but I cannot be the only one that has had a ticking transport now and then.
George (Xti16), the OP's statement about speed variation was correct. From this Philips paper on CD technology:
The pits in a CD are 0.6 micron wide (1 micron is 1/1000th of a mm), 0.12 micron deep and 0.9 to 3.3 micron long. A disc full of these pits, with a track pitch of 1.6 micron, has a capacity of 650 to 700 MByte. Since the information is recorded on a spiral track, and is read out at a constant speed of 1.25 m/s from the inside to the outside of the disc, the rotational speed decreases as the disc is played from 500 to 200 r.p.m.I too have never encountered or heard of the phenomenon the OP has experienced.
I've had it happen on occasion with drives on some older laptops with some CDs, never on a CD player.
I'd attribute it to a combo of drives and disks that are not manufactured within certain common modern quality assurance tolerances, in other words imperfections in drive build, CD product, or both together having particularly bad karma.
Device sitting square on a rigid table or platform always seems to help keep resulting vibration to a minimum.
If the CD and transport are not absolutely level during play there will a tendency for the disc to wobble and this can be audible, but perhaps not as "oscillation," even when the level is off by only a couple degrees. The only fail-proof way to obtain correct level is to place a small bubble level directly on top of the CD spindle or transport surface around the spindle. The level of the top of the chassis is often unreliable.
I thought about this but then dismissed the idea, erroneously thinking that nobody would design a disc player assuming that it would be placed on a perfectly level surface - houses and furniture being what they are. Oh well . . .
I remember turntables with bubble levels built into them.
First track is closest to center (AFAIK) and since CD has constant linear speed, angular speed at first track has to be the highest. I experienced CD vibration few times but it disappeared after I opened and closed tray again. It might have something to do with magnetic clamp. This clamp is lifted and lowered by tray mechanism. Bottom of this clamp has ring of felt to protect CD. My player had this felt worn out causing poor clamping.
Kijanki is on the right track. Careful observation has revealed that the transport itself is NOT oscillating. The spindle and disc clamp are perfectly concentric and plumb. What is happening is that the little upper part of the clamp that goes along for the ride as the CD is spinning does not always land concentrically after the CD loads. Thus, sometimes it will brush the sides of its mounting hole as it spins and produce extraneous noises. Unfortunately, said noises can get annoying at times. This could be considered a design flaw where the engineering was brilliant on paper, but not 100% in the field. Oh well . . .