Why does the copy sound better than the original


Just purchased Alanis Morissette's recent CD "havoc and bright lights", great recording. I decided to back it up to a lightscribe disk and found the copy to sound better in many respects to the original, I'm at a loss to understand why? My CDP is a Cambridge azure 840c that was recently serviced, the repair included Caps, new drive and firmware update to V1.2. Has anyone else experienced this before where the copy sounds better than the original? Thanks - Rpg
rpg
Yes, that phenomenon has been reported by many people, and is readily explainable IMO. See this thread and this one.

Regards,
-- Al
Pretty sure it's a PWB thing. A copy always sounds better, even if the CD-R is not a black CD-R.

Pop quiz - Does a copy of the copy sound even better? The second CD-R doesn't know the bits are from a copy. Answer at 11.

Al, what's your readily explainable explanation? Just curious.
I experience it all the time.

Look up past discussions.

Buy the best media you can and burn at the slowest speed available. Try not to handle the media with your bare hands. (cotton gloves or a micro-fiber cloth are what I use.)
Al, what's your readily explainable explanation? Just curious.
Hi Geoff,

There's lots of discussion of that in the threads I linked to above, but I think that a good summary is contained in the following post I made in one of them, in which I quoted some of our particularly knowlegeable members:
10-24-11: Almarg
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. Commercial 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.
Also, while I would expect it to generally be a less significant factor than the noise and jitter issues described above, in the case of discs that may have significant scratches or other imperfections, real-time playback in a conventional (non-memory type) CD player may result at times in error interpolation that is not bit perfect. While if that same disc is read by a computer for copying purposes the computer will be able to make multiple attempts to read any data in which errors are detected.

Regards,
-- Al
Al, thanks for providing the explanations. However, I think it's worth considering that even for very low jitter players and CDs that are brand new without scratches this phenomenon of the copy being better than the original seems to apply. Obviously read until correct players are in a separate category. I suspect the explanations provided - e.g., black CD-Rs, jitter, noise, wobbly CD, Etc. - are simply Strawman arguments and that noone has actually investigated this phenomenon beyond mere speculation.
the problem with the question is what does "better" mean ?

i have heard copies i prefer to the original and i have originals i prefer to the copy.

if prefer connotes "better", than the question has no answer, because of the subjective nature of the judgment.
Al, I didn't take the time to read the threads you mentioned, but (my understanding is) this was settled a long time ago; and the overwhelming conclusion (at that time anyway ;~) had to do with the fact that a burned CD has (physically) real 'pits' -- which are actually 'burned' into the media with a laser, producing a more easy-to-read surface -- i.e., less digital 'jitter' in the resulting datastream.

Commercial CD's are stamped (ironically, just like an LP!) so their so-called 'pits' are really just depressions (or was it bumps?) that scatter the reflected laser light enough to make it look ("read") like a pit to the playback sensor. Whereas a recorded CD (with 'real' pits, literally burned into the surface,) produces a much cleaner (jitter-free) signal on playback.
Probably ripping software is doing a good job there. :)
Cd-rs have an ink layer that is darkened by a writing laser. My experience with cd-rs is they become unreadable if they are exposed to light over a period of time. You can leave one sitting in the sun to demonstrate this effect in a shorter period of time.
An interesting experiment would be to make a copy of a commercial audio cassette. If the copy sounds better than the original cassette would that automatically eliminate fuzzy pits, jitter, wobbly discs, black CD-Rs, crappy CD players and scratched polycarbonate from the list of candidate explanations why copies of CDs sound better than the originals? No, not really, but it might be an indication, some evidence, that there's something else going on, something much more mysterious, more, uh, disturbing. Anyone STILL not see where I'm going with this?
I do see where you're going with that.
Which is the part that's really disturbing . . . .

Anyway, it's apples to oranges
ooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.............(as the sound was heard eerily around the compact disc by the small nanobot people.). Do you see where I am going?
Uh, no, a bit too cryptic for me, I'm not sure what your eluding to??
Rpg
I'm saying that the CD copy sounds better than the original simply because it is a copy. noit because of any technical problem with the original CD or the original player. I'm saying that you can throw out all the explanations regarding pits, bits, nicks and blips. A copy of a cassette will also sound better than the original. By "better" I mean nmore open, more relaxed yet more dynamic, less distorted, more musical and more natural. By no coincidence the reason why copies sound better than the originals is actually closely related to, dare I say it, the photos in the freezer tweak. An interesting experiment would be to see if this phenomenon carried across various media, say LP to cassette or CD to cassette. Would the cassette copy sound better than the CD original? That would be pretty disturbing, right? Hahahah
12-04-12: Geoffkait
An interesting experiment would be to make a copy of a commercial audio cassette. If the copy sounds better than the original cassette would that automatically eliminate fuzzy pits, jitter, wobbly discs, black CD-Rs, crappy CD players and scratched polycarbonate from the list of candidate explanations why copies of CDs sound better than the originals? No, not really, but it might be an indication, some evidence, that there's something else going on, something much more mysterious, more, uh, disturbing. Anyone STILL not see where I'm going with this?
Geoffkait

My bet is the original, the cassette, sounding better.
Same when I make a CD copy of a good sounding vinyl LP.

From my limited experimentation with CD copies, the original CD sounds better than the copy. Especially in the case of a good sounding CD with female vocal and piano solo. The CD copy has less fullness, body, than the original CD..... A little thin sounding to my ears....
Just my experience, YMMV.
Jim
From my limited experimentation with CD copies, the original CD sounds better than the copy.
Jim, try CD-R's made by Taiyo Yuden (now part of JVC). Also, if you haven't, burn them at a much slower rate than the burn speed they are rated for.

The particular burner you are using could be a factor as well, especially if it is an older generation or has seen a lot of use.

Best regards,
-- Al
Jim, try CD-R's made by Taiyo Yuden (now part of JVC). Also, if you haven't, burn them at a much slower rate than the burn speed they are rated for.
Hi Al,

Yuup that's what I used..... Branded name at the time by Sony, Maxell, ect, made in Japan. (I still have a couple hundred or so of the old blank Maxell factory fresh, made in Japan by Taiyo Yuden, CD-R audio CDs.)

Equipment.
Bought new Sony W222ES as well as a Pioneer PDR 609 Recorder. Speed, real time recording (1 X.

Tried burning CDs on PC computers with Exact copy, liked them even less.....

I suggest you try making a copy of a well recorded CD with a female vocal and or piano music material.
Focus your listening on the female vocal and piano.... Tune out all others..... Post back your results.
Jim
Thanks, Jim. Will do, probably tomorrow.

Best regards,
-- Al
Jim (Jea48), I've done my comparison. Consistent with your suggestions as to what kinds of material should be used I've duplicated the following CD's, and compared the particular selections on them that are indicated below:

1)Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 3, Hyperion Knight, Pianist; on "Music of Chopin," Wilson Audio WCD-9129.

This is the best sounding CD of solo piano music I have ever heard.

2)"O Mio Babbino Caro," from the opera "Gianni Schicchi," Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Lyric Soprano; on "Puccini's Greatest Hits," RCA MLK 45809.

3)"All The Things You Are," Joan Morris, Mezzo Soprano with William Bolcom, Piano; on "Silver Linings: Songs by Jerome Kern," Arabesque Z6515.

From a musical standpoint, this is IMO the best rendition I have ever heard of this widely recorded old standard. Sonics are excellent, as well.

4)Songs by Rebecca Pidgeon, Sara K., and Ana Caram on "The Ultimate Demonstration Disc," Chesky UD95.

The CD's were duplicated on a home-built Windows-based desktop computer using Asus DRW-2014L1T internal DVD/CD drives, and Nero Burning ROM 7 software. The drives are about 3 years old, and have been used moderately. A verification cycle was performed by the software after burning, and its "ignore read errors" option was deselected. I used Taiyo Yuden CD-R's rated for 52x speed. The drives are rated for 48x speed. Burning was done at 8x speed, which was the slowest available option.

I performed the comparison using both my Daedalus Ulysses speakers, with VAC amplification, and my Stax electrostatic headphones. The CDP is a Bryston BCD-1, and the preamp a Classe CP-60. A lot of the circuitry in the preamp is not in the signal path during headphone listening, because the Stax headphone amp connects to its tape outputs.

I went back and forth between the original and the copy multiple times, to confirm my perceptions. Here's what I heard:

The differences were extremely small, and were perceivable just on certain notes, from time to time. In all cases, however, the original was clearly better than the copy, notwithstanding the subjective nature of "better" Mr. T referred to earlier.

The copies at times added a slight harshness to sibilants. There was also a slight loss of definition in the treble region on piano notes, resulting in a slightly more "tinkly" character. On the Joan Morris recording, her voice sounded very slightly more nasal on the copy.

I did not sense any thinness or loss of body at any time, which you described hearing on copies produced with your equipment.

The bottom line, as I see it: Differences can be expected, and as I said earlier:
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).
And per the quotes and links I provided earlier, the existence of those differences is technically plausible, and explainable based on concepts that are well recognized in electronic design.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al wrote,

"The differences were extremely small, and were perceivable just on certain notes, from time to time. In all cases, however, the original was clearly better than the copy, notwithstanding the subjective nature of "better" Mr. T referred to earlier."

I suppose one might ask, how can you say the differences were "extremely small," just barely perceptible on certain notes, yet in the same breath say the original was "clearly better than the copy." The results do not appear to support such a conclusion at all.

Al also wrote,

"And per the quotes and links I provided earlier, the existence of those differences is technically plausible, and explainable based on concepts that are well recognized in electronic design."

I'm not sure I would say Science has come to the rescue, as you apparently wish to do, based on the results you described. I suspect inconclusive results might be a more appropriate conclusion.
Thanks Almarg for the reasoned approach. Also thanks for doing those comparisons. Rpg sorry about my way out there response. But every once and awhile I want to be the alien police when certain ones here make some of their comments. So the reason for mine. Anyway through Almarg and some others you will find they provide reason and logic to our discussions which are priceless in a wacky world.
12-09-12: Geoffkait
I suppose one might ask, how can you say the differences were "extremely small," just barely perceptible on certain notes, yet in the same breath say the original was "clearly better than the copy." The results do not appear to support such a conclusion at all.
There is no inconsistency there, Geoff. What I was trying to say would have come across more clearly if after the words "clearly better than the copy" I had added the words "upon very careful comparison." And I'll add now that while the differences were small, and a lot of the time there was no difference, ALL of the perceivable differences were in the direction of being better on the original.

Marqmike, thanks very much for the kind compliment.

Regards,
-- Al
Al, i hate judge before all the facts are in but it looks to me like "the copy sounds better than the original" will be joining the illustrious ranks of the Mpingo disc, Shakti Stone, Intelligent Chip, Schumann frequency generator, CD demagnetization, PWB Silver Rainbow Foil, Cream Electret, WA Quantum Chips, wire/fuse directionality, tube dampers, crystals, Green pen, destat guns and ionizers for CDs and cables, contact enhancers, ERS paper, you know, insofar as it's apparently impossible to get unanimous agreement not only for how they work but whether the damn things even work at all!
Al,

Thanks for taking the time to do the CD copy to original CD listening test experiment.
Jim
One more thing I should add to the description I provided yesterday of the experiment I performed:

While for several reasons I had high confidence that the copies I created contained bit-perfect replicas of the digital data on the original CD's, to be completely certain of that I put one of the tracks I used in the experiment through some software which computed what are known as MD5 checksums of that data.

As expected, the MD5 checksums of the original and the copy matched perfectly, which confirms that all of the approximately 300,000,000 bits of that track were identical on the original and the copy.

Regards,
-- Al
Al wrote,

"While for several reasons I had high confidence that the copies I created were bit-perfect replicas of the digital data on the original CD's, to be completely certain of that I put one of the tracks I used in the experiment through some software which computed what are known as MD5 checksums of that data.

As expected, the MD5 checksums of the original and the copy matched perfectly, which confirms that all of the approximately 300,000,000 bits of that track were identical on the original and the copy."

Al, I kind of hate to bring this up, and certainly appreciate your due diligence, but doesn't the perfect bit to bit matching of the original and the copy bring into question why you heard differences between the original and the copy? Perhaps you can think of a scientific reason(s) why you heard differences when there were no differences between the data.....
Perhaps you can think of a scientific reason(s) why you heard differences when there were no differences between the data.....
Geoff, I (and also Neil, Nsgarch) already presented exactly those reasons. All of the effects that are discussed in my post in this thread dated 12-2-12, with the exception of the last paragraph, and in the post by Neil dated 12-3-12, have nothing to do with bit errors.

Basically, differences in the physical characteristics of the pits on the disc, and in their spacing, ultimately result in differences in jitter and electrical noise issues. To a greater or lesser extent depending on the design of the particular player, as well as on the particular discs and how they were created.

Regards,
-- Al
Al, but I thought you used one of those fancy CD-Rs for the copy, one with superior jitter characteristics. See, that's what's so puzzling - why you say the copy sounded worse than the original even though a superior low jitter CD-R was used for the copy and the data streams were bit for bit identical. Do you see I mean? Am I missing something?
Al, also wanted to confirm you were using the same player for the comparison, since you just mentioned that the design of the player was a variable. I thought it would be nice if we could eliminate that particular variable.

Geoff
Al, but I thought you used one of those fancy CD-Rs for the copy, one with superior jitter characteristics. See, that's what's so puzzling - why you say the copy sounded worse than the original even though a superior low jitter CD-R was used for the copy and the data streams were bit for bit identical. Do you see I mean? Am I missing something?
12-11-12: Geoffkait

Geoffkait,

Worse? Where did Al use the word worse? You need to brush up on your reading skills.

As for the Taiyo Yuden, made in Japan, CD-R blank disc they are superior to the cheapo CD-R disc with the silver burn side made in the likes of Taiwan.

Al, also wanted to confirm you were using the same player for the comparison, since you just mentioned that the design of the player was a variable.
12-11-12: Geoffkait

Again those reading skills.....


12-09-12: Almarg
I performed the comparison using both my Daedalus Ulysses speakers, with VAC amplification, and my Stax electrostatic headphones. The CDP is a Bryston BCD-1, and the preamp a Classe CP-60. A lot of the circuitry in the preamp is not in the signal path during headphone listening, because the Stax headphone amp connects to its tape outputs.

Geoffkait,

Why the hard-on?

Al took the time to do the experimentation and listen for the differences between the copy and the original.

So what's your problem?
.
12-11-12: Geoffkait
Al, also wanted to confirm you were using the same player for the comparison, since you just mentioned that the design of the player was a variable. I thought it would be nice if we could eliminate that particular variable.
Yes, of course. As I indicated earlier, the CD player was a Bryston BCD-1. No other player was used. Everything else involved in the comparison was absolutely identical throughout the process, also. That includes the rest of the system, as described earlier, the volume setting, and the warmup state of the equipment. Every component in the system that was used had been turned on for upwards of 24 hours, except for the VAC amplifier which was turned on for about 3 hours. I listened to both the originals and the copies several times each, going back and forth between the two. I did that using my Daedalus speakers, and again using my Stax headphones.
Al, but I thought you used one of those fancy CD-Rs for the copy, one with superior jitter characteristics. See, that's what's so puzzling - why you say the copy sounded worse than the original even though a superior low jitter CD-R was used for the copy and the data streams were bit for bit identical. Do you see I mean? Am I missing something?
Yes, I see what you mean, and I too was not anticipating that result. But if the explanations presented or quoted earlier by me, Nsgarch, AudioEngr, Kirkus, and Shadorne are correct, it simply means that this particular player had, putting it in non-technical terms, an "easier" time reading these particular originals than these particular copies, that were produced with my particular drives. The result being less electrical noise coupled into other parts of the player, and less jitter, when the originals were being played.

The Taiyo-Yuden CD-R's are not "fancy," btw. They are conventional CD-R's that seem to be one of the most reliable and highest quality brands. That is based on many anecdotal reports I have seen, and my own experience using them and other brands for non-audio applications.

Jim -- just saw your post, thanks! In fairness, though, while I didn't say that the copies sounded worse, I did say that the originals sounded better, which amounts to the same thing.

Best regards,
-- Al
I used to rewrite CDs for customers and they paid me for this. If one uses a good writer like a Yamaha or Plextor, good media such as Mitsui gold audio master and treats the CDROM disk with a good treatment before writing, the pits will be more uniformly written and better formed, resulting in less jitter when read by a conventional CD transport. The initial rip of the CD must be using a good tool like DBPOWERAMP or XLD on Mac. It is even better if your writer is modified with Superclock etc. and uses battery power. This is what I did.

There are a few transports out there now that are actually computers with CDROM drives reading the disk at high-speed. The SQ of these transports may not be improved when you do all of these thing above.

If you are going to all of this trouble to make CDs sound better, then my advice is just rip the CDs to your hard drive on your computer and play them with the computer. It will be better than any rewritten CDROM disk, assuming you select the right software for ripping and playback and the right hardware for playback.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
As long as we're reviewing the variables involved with the sound of CDs and with maximizing the laser reading operation, it might be the right time to mention the importance of obtaining absolute level of the CD transport.

Now, I know what you're thinking, all I have to do is place a bubble level on top of the CD player or CD transport, right? The problem is that the level of the transport section - thus the level of the CD as it's spinning - is frequently out of level with the top of the chassis, if simply because the tolerances of the unit are not tight enough, but also because some players tilt the CD up a few degrees when it is loaded into the player - for those players the level of the transport is a few degrees different from the level of the top of the chassis.

The best way to obtain absolute level of the transport area - thus the CD while it's spinning - is to remove the top of the chassis and use a small bubble level directly on the transport area or directly on the CD as it sits on the transport. Trying to obtain absolute level of the CD tray when it is in the OUT position is not reliable because the weight of the bubble level can easily change the level of the tray.
There are a lot of other tweaks that work as well, such as:

vibration damping mats or stick-on mats

exposure to flourescent light at close range just before playing the disk

Some colored pens on the edges help

This is just getting silly though. Get a Mac Mini and sell the transport.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
OK, Nespa light treatment, Intelligent Chip, Audio Deske edge beveler, Cream Electret, Red X Pen, if ya wanna get all esoteric Like. I'm also a big fan of scattered laser light absorbers, cryogenics, CD fluids like Liquid Resolution, demagnetizers, ionizers, black pen for inner edge...you know, anything to give me an edge.
CD is a dinosaur. Get a hard drive.
There was an issue in TAS where Peter McGrath, engineer for Wilson recordings, heard a copy of the CD and it sounded better. I believe the word he uttered was "impossible!"

As it turned out (on CD at least), the CD-R/RW pits are wider than the commercial CD pits, and so the copy is cleaner, and sounds better than the original. Robert Harley also commented on this phenomenon in the pages of TAS 3 or 4 years ago when it was discovered that it was the blank discs that were responsible for the better sound.
Gbmcleod wrote,

"As it turned out (on CD at least), the CD-R/RW pits are wider than the commercial CD pits, and so the copy is cleaner, and sounds better than the original'"

That's weird. The pits are narrower on Blu Ray discs and Blu Rays sound better than either CD or CD-R. Wassup with that?
Good question, and I'm no expert on that one!
It would seem the practical course of action is to email either Peter McGrath or Robert Harley, and find out if there's been an exploration of why this happens, along with whatever limitations (exclusions) they've come across.
Gbmcleod, it would be a fairly easy experiment to find out if there was something peculiar to CD-Rs that was responsible for copies sounding better than the original.

The experiment is: copy a CD-R to another CD-R and see if that copy is better than the initial CD-R. If the copy is better then there is a good chance something else is going on, something more mysterious. Did either McGrath or Harley try that, one wonders.
Geoffkait wrote:

That's weird. The pits are narrower on Blu Ray discs and Blu Rays sound better than either CD or CD-R. Wassup with that?

Comparing CD to Blue Ray may be an apples to oranges comparison. Although I can't list any, Blue Rays may sound better for other reasons than pit size. Also consider that the reason the Blue Ray pit size is smaller than CD pit size is that the Blue Ray laser wavelength is also smaller than its CD counterpart. Maybe a CD copy sounds better than the original because the CD laser wavelength remains the same size while the pit size increases (less chance of light wave diffraction?).
Dougmc wrote,

"Comparing CD to Blue Ray may be an apples to oranges comparison. Although I can't list any, Blue Rays may sound better for other reasons than pit size."

The primary reason is bit size, since that determines density of data as well as resolution (for both audio and video). That is why the video quality of Blu Ray is so much better than DVD. That's the whole point of the Blu Ray technology.

"Also consider that the reason the Blue Ray pit size is smaller than CD pit size is that the Blue Ray laser wavelength is also smaller than its CD counterpart. Maybe a CD copy sounds better than the original because the CD laser wavelength remains the same size while the pit size increases (less chance of light wave diffraction?)."

As I already mentioned, copy a CD-R from a CD-R and you'll have your answer.
It sounds as though you know how to do this, Geoff. I do not. How about doing it as you have the knowledge and filling us in on what you heard?
Gbmcleod, as I said, take a commercial CD, make a CD-R copy. Then listen to the CD-R copy to see if it sounds better, the same as, or even perhaps worse than the original commercial CD. If the CD-R copy does sound better than the original, we don't know why, it could be anything.

But to eliminate the possibility that the reason is due to some advantage CD-Rs might have over a standard CD, whether it's differences in the pits or the clear layer or the metal layer, whatever, make a copy of the CD-R using the same brand of CD-R. Listen to the copy of the CD-R. If that sounds better than the first CD-R then there must be something else going on besides differences in pits (or anything else) between the commercial CD and the CD-R. Wouldn't you agree?
Geoffkait

I don’t have any opinion about whether or why a CD copy sounds better than the original. My earlier post was directed solely to your comment that larger pits on a CD copy couldn’t be a reason they sound better than an original CD, because Blue Ray discs, which sound better than CDs, have pits that are smaller than the pits on CDs. On that position, I have a comment and a question.

Comment

In your response to me, you elaborated that a smaller pit size allows more pits (and bits) to be placed on a Blue Ray disc, providing more information, greater detail and better sound. I agree with your observation that a Blue Ray disc can hold more information than a CD, but that explanation relates to how many pits there are, not the way the laser reads the smaller pits.

A CD original and a CD copy contain the same number of pits, even if the pits on the copy are larger, so the amount of information on the original and the copy is the same. The reason the Blue Ray is superior to a CD, namely more information, does not exist when comparing a CD copy to a CD original. Therefore, the smaller pit size of Blue Ray and the superiority of its sound do not together support the conclusion that a smaller CD pit size would improve CD sound or the conclusion that it would be impossible for a larger CD pit size to improve CD sound.

Question

I understand that smaller pits on a Blue Ray disc (and a smaller wavelength laser that can read the smaller pits) allows more digital information to be squeezed onto the disc, but how is the additional information translated into more detailed sound? The Blue Ray article on Wikipedia has a table of audio formats used for Blue Ray. This table shows much higher bitrates for Blue Ray formats (as much as 24.5 MBit/s) compared to CD (1,441.2 Kbit/s), which means much more digital information could be read per second. However, the table also shows the number of bits per sample for Blue Ray audio formats is either 16, 20 and 24, the same numbers as for different flavors of CD. The same table also shows sample rates of 48, 96 and 192 Khz, all of which are also available on CD. Although Blue Ray can read more information per second, it appears that it reads the same size samples at the same rate as CD, so how is the greater amount of information stored on the disc being translated into better sound? Is the superiority of Blue Ray format only a future possibility awaiting a new digital format with larger samples and/or higher sampling rates? If Blue Ray currently sounds better than CD, is it mostly the result of multi-channel versus stereo spatial presentation?
Dougmc, off the top of my head, Red Book CD specifies 16 bit words and 44.1 kHz sample rate. Not sure I can answer where the 20 and 24 bit words enter the picture for CD. If we compare Red Book to Blu Ray for audio, Blu Ray will provide higher resolution than Red Book CD since resolution is determined by bits per word. But I also think that a debate over CD vs Blu Ray or even CD vs CD-R is moot for purposes of the "does the copy sound better than the original?" argument since a CD-R and its CD-R copy can be compared sonically, thus eliminating variables related to physical differences that might exist between CD and CD-R such as pit size, metal layer, etc. or how the laser reads the pits
eoff:
I'm not interested in doing the experiment. You are. Therefore, my suggestion was that YOU do it, not direct me to do it. I'm simply REPORTING what Peter McGrath and Robert Harley posited. It was THEY who posited that the larger pits allowed more information to be recovered more cleanly, much in the way that Classic Records put entire symphonies on 45 rpms, instead of 33, because, they said, they grooves in a 45 were larger and thefore, it improved the sonics.
People offer theories all the time. It's how life advances.
I see no need in trying to prove or disprove someone else's speculation, if they are the experts. That's why I made it clear that this point of view came from others, specifically named them, and where the information could be found (TAS). If you write TAS, or Peter McGrath, I'm sure they'll be happy to open a dialogue about it.
I am not a professional reviewer or listener but I'm not deaf either. I have listened to many copies of cds and they don't sound better to me. Someone else may hear an improvement but there are many possible explanations why.

If you make a copy of a cd and then make a copy of the copy and on and on I think that there will eventually be an obvious degradation of the sound, so I don't know why the first copy would be an improvement.
Gbmcleod wrote,

"I'm simply REPORTING what Peter McGrath and Robert Harley posited. It was THEY who posited that the larger pits allowed more information to be recovered more cleanly, much in the way that Classic Records put entire symphonies on 45 rpms, instead of 33, because, they said, they grooves in a 45 were larger and thefore, it improved the sonics."

If that is what they reported it doesn't make too much sense. The 45 sounds better than a 33 because of greater excursion of the stylus in the groove (dynamic range) and higher rotation speed of the disc. In the case of the CD, the photodetector is simply detecting an ON and OFF conditions that are a function of the pits. The CD laser spot diameter needs to be larger than the width of the pits because the laser reflection off the metal layer cancels the laser reflection off the pit, producing the OFF condition as seen by the photodetector. The ON condition is simply the pure laser spot reflection from the metal layer (land) between the pits. Of course, all of the geometry, the length and width of pits and lands, the diameter of the laser spot, the depth of the pits, etc. has been worked out in advance.
The only thing i think could make the copy sound different (better to some), is if there is some kind of volume leveling or dynamic range expansion done by the recording program....