Hey, this is a fun list , after all!

On Jan 22, 2008, at 7:21 PM, Tom Fine wrote:

> 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.

But if you base your opinions on what genuine professionals on a list 
say rather than testing the hypothesis yourself, you have simply denied 
yourself a legitimate personal (as opposed to professional) opinion. 
Not so long ago genuine professionals thought the world was flat, that 
human flight was impossible, that applying leeches was good for what 
ails ya. Now they are saying cholesterol isn't so bad, after all. 
Columbus, the Wrights, and Dr. Bernard just had open minds where others 
trusted the professionals. Have some more cheesecake, please.

>  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.

How would you know you had a an off center CD? If it didn't sound good? 
Well, as you pointed out earlier, a lot of CDs don't sound good. A trip 
to a machine shop with a precision lathe would be more definitive, no? 
Or try the audiophile version with a money-back guarantee.
> 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.

Again, an opinion about something tried is different than an opinion 
about something not tried, as you concede. Alcohol might not be optimal 
for cleaning whatever is on or attracted to CDs (Duane?), and coated 
optical surfaces do transmit more light than uncoated. Even 
polycarbonate eyeglass lenses are routinely treated to an 
anti-reflection coating; why should a CD's polycarbonate be different? 
Can you further concede that someone might hear a justification for 
something you can see no need for? Or are they wrong simply because you 
can't see what you can't hear?
> 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!

If you lived in the New Mexico desert, you might have a different 
opinion on the effect of static electricity on cable dielectrics.

> 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)!

Hey Tom, you started this discussion with a statement that "the 
majority of CD product on the market is not well-mastered, so the 
garden-variety CD has a bad rap for sounding awful through no fault of 
the technology". The above paragraph simply expands on that to include 
technical concerns that at one time were never given the slightest 
consideration, and again blames the engineering personnel. I doubt that 
you really mean to diminish the insights of the tin-eared professionals 
from Decca, EMI, RCA, Mercury, the BBC and ORTF, Bell Labs et al who 
identified most of these problems for us-and figured out the solutions, 
often by rejecting the conventional wisdom of the day. OK, maybe you 
do, as their greatest success was with analog recording.

And why the snide attitude towards anyone who questions a status quo 
you agree is unsatisfactory, or suggest improvements? The CD was not 
intended to be the Platonic Ideal of music reproduction. The fact is 
the CD design brief simply specified a disc that would fit in a 
Japanese auto dash player and play Beethoven's Ninth on one side. What 
we got was the best they could do at the time with those parameters. 
Anybody you know still thinks the '82 Accord was a perfect ride 
forever? Why then the dogged defense of the format designed to provide 
it with perfect sound forever? Afraid it might flunk inspection, too?

The deeper truth is that the recording industry may well be putting 
itself out of business, at least as far as physical media is concerned. 
Trashing those serious audiophiles, designers, manufacturers and 
tweakers who have striven for 25+ years to actually extract music from 
those pits plays right into the hands of the corporate conglomerates 
for whom quality is a threat to the bottom line.

> ----- 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.
> Bruce
> 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