CDs vs CD-R

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SteveFord
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CDs vs CD-R

Post by SteveFord » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:00 pm

RadioEng2 posted a great link to a Stereophile write up about CDs and their manufacture.
The most surprising thing, to me, was the following:

Another example of how two discs with identical data sound different is the strange case of copying (in the digital domain) a CD to a CD-R (a CD made on a CD recorder); the CD-R sounds better than the disc from which it was made. Although the data are identical, the CD-R's HF signal looks much better than that of the mass-manufactured CD (footnote 5).
Footnote 5: At the 1992 Winter CES, Meridian's Bob Stuart copied a CD to a CD-R of music that engineer and high-end retailer Peter McGrath had recorded. Bob played the original CD, then the CD-R. Seconds into the CD-R, Peter jumped from his chair and exclaimed, "That's impossible!"

I wonder why so many of the CD-Rs are defective, though. I'm going to have to try a CD cleaner on the CD-Rs before I try burning them.
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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by BillD » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:20 pm

Well, I could think of one reason for this. When you copy a disk, you actually put the data in memory, so it's being buffered into real zeros and ones, not the zero crossings of that funny HF format. Then, you are essentially regenerating it, rather than a stamped copy from a master.
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by SteveFord » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:59 am

Another interesting thing from that article was that CDs will sound different depending on which company's plant they're made at.
I guess that I was naive in thinking that they'd all be made the same.
Upstairs:
VTL MB-250 Signature monoblocks, Sonic Frontiers SFL-2 preamp, HHb BurnIt Plus, Well Tempered Labs Classic, Ortofon 2M Black, Jolida JD-9 Phono Preamp, Sherwood S3000-IV tuner, VPI-17, Jolida JD-100, AKG 701, Beyerdynamics 881, NHT SW1-P subwoofer and amp, Magnepan 1.6, APC H15
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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by basspig » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:45 am

Oh boy... my BS Meter just went off the scale when I read this thread.

Room acoustics man. That's what accounts for hearing something differently the second time around. In a normal livingroom without extensive acoustic treatment, a phenomena called "Comb filtering" occurs because sound reflected off walls and furniture arrive at different times an produce cancellation and reinforcement at various intervals of frequencies. Just moving your head 1/2" can produce a change of 20dB in the frequency response you hear.

It has been debunked that "jitter" is an audible artifact at the AES convention last spring (2009). I was there, videotaping the panelists discussing it.

That said, I was able to tell the difference in sonic quality, repeatably, between recordings made on a $2,500 Lavry A/D converter, an M-Audio Delta and a SoundBlaster X-Fi, all in parallel during a challenge to tell them apart. I listened on my reference system and the X-Fi was a no-brainer (hiss), the Delta had too much dynamic compression (lost impact) and the Lavry sounded the cleanest and had the most transient impact. The author of the test informed me that I identified the three mystery WAV audio files correctly.

You can download and listen to the files yourself and see if you can identify which A/D converter made which recording:
http://www.ethanwiner.com/converters.html
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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by OconeeOrange » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:03 pm

BillD wrote:Well, I could think of one reason for this. When you copy a disk, you actually put the data in memory, so it's being buffered into real zeros and ones, not the zero crossings of that funny HF format. Then, you are essentially regenerating it, rather than a stamped copy from a master.

Playback from a PC is better with more memory for the same reason. It is a good reason to upgrade to Windows 7 as it supports more memory - depending on your motherboard of course.

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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by OconeeOrange » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:09 pm

basspig wrote:Oh boy... my BS Meter just went off the scale when I read this thread.
Looked up your site. I like it, so I stole a couple photos for my blog http://I'm a Fucking Asshole.typepad.com/I'm a Fucking Asshole/

I hope you don't sue me :(

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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by BillD » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:51 pm

basspig wrote:Oh boy... my BS Meter just went off the scale when I read this thread.

Room acoustics man. That's what accounts for hearing something differently the second time around.
With headphones?
It should sound like it isn't there!
There is a difference between hearing and listening...
Making life enjoyable through expensive electronics.
_________________
Carver: C-4000 & C-1 preamps, PSC-60 preamp/tuner, TX-11a tuner, M-400 (2), C-500, M-500, M-500t, M-500t Mk.II, A-500x, AL-III loudspeakers (2 pr.)
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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by OconeeOrange » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:03 pm

basspig wrote:Oh boy... my BS Meter just went off the scale when I read this thread.

Room acoustics man. That's what accounts for hearing something differently the second time around.

That said, I was able to tell the difference in sonic quality, repeatably,

You make a lot of sense and seem to have it all worked out. My acoustics change day to day. I can't explain it. Some days there is a wall out here on the deck, and on other days, the lake brings in tiny sounds from miles away.
I can be sitting here playing PHANTOM too loud, and hear a duck behind me that is actually in the lake.

Duck sounds are good music if you don't have a hang up.

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Re: CDs vs CD-R

Post by basspig » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:57 pm

I read one possible explanation for what some might think they are hearing on CD-R media.. this is from a disc authoring forum, Doom9.org:

"I don't know about others, but Philips changes completely the reading modus on recordables and it's not due to lesser reflectance. I discovered this fact when I was surprised to see some old specifications of several players using the well known CDM-series optics. Reading recordables (at that time they were only CDRs) yielded about 3 dB less S/N ratio (I'll invent some numbers for academic purposes, CD-DA 92dB, CDR 88 dB). Newer specifications do not list CDRs anymore. Looking hard into this matter, since it makes no sense (once read, the digits are digits), I discovered that the Bitstream algorithm was changed for whatever reasons by Philips for recordables, to use less oversampling (it's a long explanation). I don't have that info at hand, it's somewhere archived at home.
Maybe it was so just in the past, and nowadays everything looks "identical".
I am absolutely sure (but of course that does not mean that it's also 100% true or valid in all cases) that the standalone drives know "more" a disk than their PC counterparts. It's up to their firmware if they passes this info to the system or not. "
Take care,

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss
http://www.basspig.com The Bass Pig's Lair - 16,500 watts of driving surround sound!

Business sites at:
http://www.ampexperts.com
http://www.mwhdvideo.com
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