Well Hi back at you Tom !

I was trying my best to stifle myself there, but the degaussing idea
just so completely had my jaw on the floor. Timing and jitter issues
with digital are real and can make a real audible difference, but they
are a known issues and are handled easily by decent transports and
DAC's, at least on the playback side. There have been some issues with
CD houses that don't deal with jitter well when mastering the CD's...
but then, that is an issue that is best dealt with directly when
mastering any digital format. Not difficult at all, just using proper
care. Every delivery medium has had its problems to be surmounted when
mastering and duplication. Lousy mastering is just that, whatever the
medium. I've gotten lousy vinyl, center hole off center or worse, in the
heyday of the medium. Why would anyone be surprised to find CD's an
exception? Take it back for one correctly made, or something else made
by a company that cares about their product. A dirty or scratched CD is
just that... one could expect less than good results from that.

Even I have said almost word for word the same thing you have written
here more than once... particularly about how if 'regular' audiophiles
understood how 'real world' recordings are actually made (still!!),
there wouldn't be so many heated conversations about silver pickup wires
vs. 2000 strand gold plated pickup wires and which was more accurate.
Not to imply that professionals don't aspire to the highest standards...
just that almost to a one, they don't forget about cost vs. benefits. A
less than perfect recording of a stellar performance beats a perfect
recording of a lousy one every time. Tommy Dowd taught me that one a
very long time ago.

***oops!!! I forgot to stifle !!***   I was determined to keep my mouth
shut. Sorry ... :>)


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators

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
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

-- 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..?