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  1. My problem is with audio CDs but the question applies to DVDs as well

    I've noticed lately that some of my CDs don't sound great when I play them. They sound "scratchy" like someone is brushing their teeth in the background. And sometimes they skip too.

    When I find a disk like this, I find sometimes a track or two on there won't play at all. I try a few different drives and some play it better than others but most have similar problems. I try ripping or copying it and have limited success. Sometimes a track or two can't be copied.

    It seems to happen more with my OLDER cds.

    The first few times it happened I thought it was the CD, so I cleaned it as much as possible. I noticed that usually when the problem happens the CD does appear to have some scratches on it, so I figured that was the problem.

    Sometimes I seem to clean it pretty well but it still has the problem, so I bought one of those lens cleaners, with the brush on it that cleans the CD player. Seems to have a little effect but the problem still happens.

    Then I started noticing that it's almost always one of my oldest CDs that it happens to. Like one that I burned when I got my first CD burner, 8 or so years ago. And just yesterday I was playing one of these older CDs and it was sounding all scratchy like that, and I pulled it out to clean it up and it really looked nice and clean. It had virtually no scratches on it, or dust.

    This got me to thinking, I remember reading an article a while ago that said CDs and DVDs don't last more than about 7-10 years because the cosmic radiation affects them over time.

    I'm wondering if this is possibly what is happening. Does anyone know what old CDs sound like when they start to degrade?

    Should I be re-burning all my CDs every 5 years?

    Is there something else that might be causing the "toothbrushing" sound ?

    thanks!!
    gary in vermont
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  2. cdrs are more prone to deterioration then dvdrs as the dye layer is right on top of the plastic stamper, and only covered with some paint or lacquer if you're lucky. the cdr's organic dye does fade over time and can be eaten by mold or fungus. if you hold the clear side up to a bright light and can see through the disc anywhere it's toast. the ink in some markers, or the adhesive of stick on labels can hasten the cdrs demise.

    the sound you may be hearing is the player using the error correction track to try and fix read errors of the audio track. some errors are fixable but at some point the sound becomes way out of spec, or just noise.
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  3. Banned
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    As far I know I don't have any burned CDs that have deteriorated, so I don't know what that sounds like. What you are reporting sounds likely though. Back in the early days of consumer burnable CDs, the original dye that was used didn't have very good longevity properties. They didn't know that at the time. Taiyo Yuden uses a patented dye that has been chemically stabilized to last longer. Verbatim uses a special dye that I suspect (and have no proof for other than a personal hunch) may have superior lasting abilities. Any disc that has a bright purple dye may be suspect from the earlier part of the decade as most likely that uses the Cyanide based dyes that are now known to have poor longevity properties. If you have any CDs that look purple and are old, I'd consider them as my first candidates for re-burning.

    Note that CDs have multiple types of dyes that work but DVDs only have 1 and everybody uses basically the same dye. Verbatim implies that they may add their Azo technology to the dye for DVDs, but as this is implied and I cannot find an outright statement supporting this, that may or may not be true. There are huge differences in manufacturing for DVDs and some discs are bad straight from the factory and this is the real cause in DVDs for poor longevity, not the dye.

    I've had excellent results what I've burned over the years, but I don't subject my discs to sunlight or temperature extremes.
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    CD issues are most common from people who stored their discs in wallets. The affects of warping of media, combined with pressure on the dye-layer of a CD, results in many a dead disc.

    How were these stored?
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  5. According to the US gov. you should reburn your collection every 2-5 years,I think it depends on your media and how it was stored.Adhesive labels also effect playback and shouldn't be used.
    Use Nero CD DVDSpeed to check for errors and IsoBuster to rip them.
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  6. On very old CD-R, circa 2001 or earlier, you also have the issue of a lot of crappy burner mechanisms conflicting with the basic computer OSes of the time during the burn, especially if they were early USB-connected external burners. Nonetheless, I have many eight year old CD-Rs, data and audio, that I burned with the atrocious Sony Spressa hardware, and they all still seem to be fine. The purple dye is more prone to deteriorate in theory but it hasn't happened to me yet, probably because my CD-Rs are the old TDK data-grade with white finish. A lot of my friends have had purple discs go bad that have the typical silver matte laquer on top- that seems less durable. Of course I already made backups last year of anything irreplaceable, common sense dictates rolling backups every few years.

    Here and there I do come across an audio CD-R that gives me the playback clicky-scratchy noises. In almost every single case, changing to a different player solves the problem. The age or type of player seems random: CD-Rs that won't play on a two year old Panasonic portable will play perfectly on a 23-year-old Nakamichi that wasn't even designed to play CD-R at all! Go figure. It could be slight deterioration, or it could be a sketchy original burn. The age of the CD-R is irrelevant: I've gotten clicky-scratchy moments on recently burned CD-R as often as the old stuff.
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    I don't readily recall any purple CD dye -- only pale green or blue (almost silver due to near-transparency to foil layer), dark blue and medium blue, medium and dark green. Most other colors are due to colored plastic platters (polycarbonates).

    I've been burning CD's since about 1995.

    Noises can sometimes be nothing more than a sucky DAC.
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  8. Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    I don't readily recall any purple CD dye --
    I just checked my oldest CD-Rs and you're right (as always): they're actually a dark blue or blue-green, not purple, although I suppose they could look sorta purple depending how the light reflects. Recent media is pale green or silver, actually transparent if you hold them up to a light, the old bluish discs are almost opaque. Newer is supposedly better, but knock wood I haven't experienced any significant CD-R failures so far. I'm kinda shocked by that, actually, considering how many horror stories are floating around. My only problem with CD-R (or DVD-R) is with occasional failure to burn in the first place, any disc I have that seemed to burn successfully without hesitation or hiccups seems to be holding up.
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    lordsmurf may well be right - I posted from memory in talking about "purple" dye. Just to be safe, replace "purple" with "dark blue" in my post above in suggesting which older CD-Rs might be good candidates for reburning.
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  10. When we say wallets I am thinking:-

    http://www.cdwallet.net/

    I used these, :-

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1000-Disc-Aluminium-DJ-CD-DVD-Case-Brand-New_W0QQitemZ4000259851...1%7C240%3A1318

    Stored as they appear, not closed on their sides etc.

    I also saw a view that the material that the holders are made of affects media.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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    Dark blue dyes are usually metallic azo type dyes, and are among the best discs. The green discs, and pale green discs, are the crappy ones. The only discs I have left from circa 1998-2000 are blue discs, the green ones were cheap crap that long ago exhibited problems (some of that was admittedly due to poor wallet storage)

    Taiyo Yuden green-dye media being the one exceptions, because they use a special stabilized dye, if memory serves correctly. (I'm not where I can pull up records at this moment.)
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    The oldest disc I have (burned) is from Jan. 4 1996 (according to the label) and is still fine. CD Identifier cannot tell me what the disc is though. The surface is all gold and was made in Japan. I could probably ID it if I can find some place that tells me the manufacturer based on the ID numbers of the disc. At any rate, this disc plays perfectly and all the data on it is still intact...
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  13. Originally Posted by oldfart13
    The oldest disc I have (burned) is from Jan. 4 1996 (according to the label) and is still fine. CD Identifier cannot tell me what the disc is though. The surface is all gold and was made in Japan. I could probably ID it if I can find some place that tells me the manufacturer based on the ID numbers of the disc. At any rate, this disc plays perfectly and all the data on it is still intact...
    It sounds like a Kodak Gold Ultima CD-R,they and Mitsui CD-R's are regarded as the best media ever made.
    Use Nero CD-DVDSpeed or Media Check to check.
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf

    Taiyo Yuden green-dye media being the one exceptions, because they use a special stabilized dye, if memory serves correctly. (I'm not where I can pull up records at this moment.)
    You are correct. One source for this is here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-R

    Scroll down about half way and read the section 1 entry on Cyanine dye.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    This is the part I find hilarious:

    Phthalocyanine dye CD-Rs are usually silver, gold or light green. The patents on phthalocyanine CD-Rs are held by Mitsui and Ciba Specialty Chemicals. Phthalocyanine is a natively stable dye (has no need for stabilizers) and CD-Rs based on this are often given a rated lifetime of hundreds of years. Unlike cyanine, phthalocyanine is more resistant to UV rays and CD-Rs based on this dye show signs of degradation only after two weeks of direct sunlight exposure. However, phthalocyanine is more sensitive than cyanine to writing laser power calibration, meaning that the power level used by the writing laser has to be more accurately adjusted for the disc in order to get a good recording; this may erode the benefits of dye stability, as marginally written discs (with higher correctable error rates) will lose data (i.e. have uncorrectable errors) after less dye degradation than well written discs (with lower correctable error rates).
    Between inferior dye, and inferior gold reflective surfaces, those "Gold Archival" discs being marketed at insane prices are complete pieces of shit.
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    As to the toothbrushing noise (I call it static), I have had it occur on older discs that were burned too fast, or that had paper labels that you stuck on. At CD Freaks several years ago in their forum, it was noted that anything burned at over 40x will eventually have this problem. A friend and I have had several hundred discs go bad with the static noise. I have a 5 dvd changer hooked to my stereo system and can record audio from that. The static discs usually will play in that, so I just have to re-record them in real time thru my stereo system. I also have some 15 year old discs that still play fine. The paper labels can be removed by holding the disc & label under running water and rubbing some dish soap into all of the label; leave it sit over night in water, in a plate or pan or bowl or whatever, and the next day it will peel off. The longer you leave it soaking and the more soap you rub into the paper, the easier it will be. So now I only burn at 8 or 16X and click verify. No problems in the 3 or 4 years I've been doing that, and printing labels directly onto the disc. The white discs that come from Uline, but buy them from somewhere else, you can get a case of 600 cdrs for around a hundred bucks, and free shipping. Can't find the place now, too many reinstalls since I bookmarked it. I put LPs on CD for customers, and make cds for several recording artists to sell thru their website, I've got a lot to do so I may not be back for awhile. I was just searching for a way to burn two discs at a time, and ended up here.
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