Hi Scott:

Yes, and that "trimming" thing is highly dubious too! Just because there's some psuedo-"science" 
"explaination" for Barnumesque hooey doesn't make it true or have anything to do with sonics. There 
was one of those "deep frozen oxygen-free elevated" cable "manufacturers" briefly on another list, 
which is populated almost entirely by genuine professionals in the audio field. That person and 
their alleged "science" (which was just long strings of $5 words and straw-man arguments) was 
laughed out of the list very quickly. If you feel you have purchased an off-center CD, return it for 
an exchange.  Finally, shaving too much of the edge off a commercial CD can damage the aluminum, 
then you really will get read-errors, some of which might not be correctable -- oh and you can also 
create micro-cracks in the plastic layers which might interfere with some laser/mirror interactions. 
Again, if your CD won't play and your other CD's will, then that one is defective and should be 
returned to the manufacturer for an exchange. If a bunch of CD's won't play, then your equipment is 
broken. BTW, the precursor to "shaving" was the "CD pen" (an overpriced Sharpie). That myth has been 
well-debunked, use Google.

As for the "cleaning and polishing," well I suppose if you bought a scuffed used disc there is more 
than a shred to this. I always clean fingerprints off library discs (with regular 90% isopropynol 
and a lint-free wipe, ie less than a penny per "treatment"). I believe there are some actual 
scientific papers about how horizontal scratches and fingerprints can and do create very high error 
rates and uncorrectable errors in some situations (especially with cheapo players). CD's definitely 
seem more fragile than original music-company claims BUT like I said, less than a penny per cleaning 
and unless they are gouged they play just fine in a decent player. By the way, I recently tested 
this theory with a used CD I bought. The thing wouldn't play well in a cheapo discman portable. I 
was afraid it was gouged but it was just scratched. I had no problem reading it into the computer 
using Exact Audio Copy (which reported 100% quality on all read-ins) and burned a new copy on a CDR. 
That copy plays just fine in any player I have and sounds great (I must certainly not be a golden 
ear because I'm too skeptical, but I can say I do know good sound quality when I hear it and I 
certainly know what digital-playback errors sound like). So, bottom line, I'm not discounting the 
idea of treating a CD surface with much more care than is commonly used based on early advertising 
claims, but I see no need for exotic potions and other pricey products.

Scott, CD's aren't the only things some of the "high-end audio" mags talk about "de-gaussing" (just 
how do you de-magnetize aluminum? and how about CDR dye?). One mag actually advocated purchase of an 
"LP degausser" -- as if there is a SINGLE magnetic property to a vinyl disk! And we won't even get 
in to the idiotic hooey surrounding this sudden "need" to "elevate" your cables! Ha! I think some of 
these golden-eared types wouldn't survive a trip through the recording sessions that produced their 
favorite music -- it would so shatter their universe-view that their heads would explode! Bundles of 
ordinary Belden cable running through a studio, sometimes digital and analog in the same bundle or 
the same conduit, sometimes even video or data in there too and in the old days mains AC and relay 
DC running nearby. Recording consoles full to the brim with ordinary IC's, resistors and capacitors 
and in the old days exposed garden-variety tubes with no exotic "shock mounts" -- all with blaring 
monitors nearby. Studios getting their electrical service from an ordinary power company with, gasp, 
no special "treatments" or "regeneration", and in the old days most power cords made of ordinary 
"lamp cord" or zip-cord (nowadays more typical are the stock-from-the-box Chinese IEC power cords). 
Location recordings in an ordinary concert hall in the middle of a noisy city, with no special 
humidity or static-electricity treatments and ordinary Belden-or-similar microphone cables (running 
hundreds of feet in some cases with no "elevation" or "magnetic wraps"). Oh, the horror of it all, 
to think that so many great-sounding recordings could be made with such ordinary work-horse 
equipment and those "simple" old-school professionals with their "tin-eared" ways! The truth could 
well put a whole "industry" out of business (and I don't mean the recording industry)!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Scott Phillips" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators

WHAT on earth could degaussing have to do with improving a CD..?

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bruce Kinch
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 6:30 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators

Well, I split my college years between physics and psychology, so I may
be more open to the oddities of audio than many. It is often easier to
deny a phenomena than to explain it. Hell, we have presidential
candidates running on that very platform.

De-gaussing involves a strong magnetic field, cleaning/polishing removes
production residue and optimizes the optical interface, precise trimming
at an angle insures centering and minimizes internal reflections, which
may reduce error correction. Physics, optics, mechanics haven't been
hokum for a while.

If person A can hear effects person B can't, it's hardly something to
get one's knickers in a twist over. My dog hears things I can't. Fair
enough, that's why we let her ancestors into the cave. Actually, so can
my wife. Part of our courtship involved demonstrating that a good stereo
allowed her to hear the differences between analog and digital, between
wires, components, speaker positions, etc. Once she decided I was a just
discriminating guy and not a lunatic after all, it became much easier to
justify the occasional upgrade.

It is true that virtually all magazines exist to sell advertising. And
like the man said 97% of just about everything is junk. Some people
would rather read Wine magazines than imbibe based on price and the
picture on the label.


On Jan 22, 2008, at 4:10 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

> More importantly, Bruce, I don't want to throw a big bucket of facts
> on the audiophillic fire here, but "de-gaussing, polishing, trimming,
> etc" is HOOEY, JUNK "SCIENCE", P. T. BARNUMESQUE HOKUM!!! This is why
> I can't take those "high end audio" magazines seriously -- they will
> sell advertising and write articles about this junk!
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andrew Hamilton"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 5:58 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators
>> On 1/22/08 1:42 PM, "Bruce Kinch" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> One problem with the "bits iz bits" argument is that all sorts of
>>> tweaks (not just better players/DACS) change (often subjectively
>>> improving) the sound of CDs - de-gaussing, polishing, trimming, etc.
>>> One of the nice things a good DAC can do is demonstrate how a
>>> "bit-perfect" CD-R copy can sound better than the original CD, and
>>> that is truly weird.
>> This is truly weird.  I thought that Dr. Dunn's/Prism Sound AES paper

>> on bit-identical CDs sounding different stated that the differences
>> all disappeared when using an external DAC.  It's the internal (to
>> the CD
>> player) DAC which he surmised gets its quartz timing futz'd by the
>> servo arm's tracking fluctuations caused by a hard-to-read (less
>> reflective) disc.
>> So a slow burn on compatible media might make a better reference disc

>> than a fast burn on compatible media (which might make for fewer
>> errors but sound worse (on a CD player that is using its built-in
>> DACs) and is, ironically, the better master disc!).
>> _andrew