Amazing cheap CD tweak

My audio guru in the 90s told me to rub silicon oil onto the side of the disc that points to the laser. And he wanted to sell me a foil to stick on the labeled side. Of cause I refused to both :grin:

Simple. This boils down to believers and nonbelievers. I suppose cables make no difference either. Yet hundreds of posts here and elsewhere stating they do, I agree, green pen and WD-40 did nothing. This does. It is night and day. Why not try it before you discount it? At the very least it will take out light scratches on skipping CD’s.

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As I said: I don’t want any chemicals on my precious discs. It would worry me, therefore it’s just not an option for me personally. If other people want to take the risk, fine. No problem. To me they sound good enough like they are, especially in a DMP.

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Should work on my vinyl collection too, right? :crazy_face:

I think it should be useful just for that reason. I have some old CDs that I bought as a kid and they are terribly scratched. I can well imagine that cleaning up the surface will help with playback. I found the cloths and have ordered them on Amazon. If they get damaged it is no loss since they are old and pretty damaged anyway.

Clean out those scratches so the laser can find them easier? :thinking:

Presumably a clearer surface should reduce the amount of error correction used and might improve sound quality. I’m not sure if it will but I think for someone who is quite OCD like me, just having a cleaner surface on those old CDs will make me feel better when I take them in and out. Some of those old CDs look horrendous now - I’m surprised they still play.

I think the cleaning of a cd has more merit to it by reducing static buildup more than the actual cleaning process itself.


I use one of these for my vinyl, never thought about using it for CDs :thinking:

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To get out bad scratches use a product called “Scratch-out” with a real Chamois. It is in automotive sections of stores like Walmart. Never in a circular motion though. I am just trying to help people that’s all. I am not trying to talk anyone into anything. Zerostat is great on CD’s!

I would have thought the best tweak for CDs is to buy a ripper/streamer. Only saying.

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Lots of threads on these forums documenting people’s attempts at tweaking and improving their streaming setups, some at great expense. I like the sound of a ten dollar polishing cloth. :thinking:

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I recently tweaked my streaming with a fibre optic bridge just before the server, which then goes direct to the streamer. The switch, cables and media convertor with low noise power supply cost about $200 in total and a very good result. So all for sensible improvements. Apparently Ted has put a fibre optic in the output from his new $20,000 DAC.

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No offense but that is a mess LOL. Probably sound better if you clean it up, route wires well.

I have a TOTL streamer too. Use Rednet. I feel Redbook shiny discs sound better :slight_smile:

Be careful routing wires cleanly, the cleaner the routing the more crosstalk. In general you’d like everything separated as widely as practically possible. But at a minimum only let wires you don’t want talking to each other cross at approx. 90 degrees. Since we care about the analog interconnects the most they are the ones that should take precedence when you have more than three wires in a small area.

My routing may look like a mess, but I spread things in three dimensions carefully:


Things could be worse:


At a hifi shop in the mid 1990’s, I was given a yellow adhesive ring for CDs that was supposed to stabilize them in the player.

Looking back it makes no sense to add something that changes the mass of a disc.

Gullible I was.


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Sure it can work. More mass means less changes in the rotational speed. A more smooth rotation can allow the tracking to be more precise (or at least have less work to do). A lower need to move the read head means less noise on the power supply, less noise on the power supply can both lower the noise on the output and lower the jitter on the output.

We had a session in the local audio club trying a huge number of “CD tweaks” - most all of them worked and with blind voting about improvements the thing that became apparent was that people were pretty consistent, mostly the CD fans voted together, mostly the vinyl fans voted together and those two groups usually voted the opposite of each other. That night I had a little tinnitus who’s level changed with differing tweaks so I just voted on whether the tinnitus got worse or better: I almost always voted with the vinyl heads.

Green pens around the outside edge worked, black radial lines on the label side worked, using a lath to bevel the edges worked, holding a CD up to florescent lights didn’t work for us, putting a CD in the freezer didn’t work for us, using a “demagnetizing gun” (actually a static sprayer) worked, “Shinola” (in this case triple distilled and quadruple deionized (or was it the other way around)) cleaning worked, Armor All polish worked (tho I wouldn’t recommend it.)…

They all make sense in a handwaving sense, but the real lessen it taught me was that jitter matters and that I could hear it reasonably easily in the right circumstances. Both very useful when building the DirectStream DAC.


Ted, can you amplify your comment regarding vinyl fans and CD fans voting together as their respective groups, and usually in opposition to each other? This is intriguing.

Now I’m just speculating, but it seems that vinyl lovers were put off by the effects of jitter in that system. The CD folk seemed to like something that they perceived as being missing without the effects of jitter.

Everyone listened and then raised their hands with their eyes closed then we all looked around to see how people felt. If you simply count the total votes for whether something sounded better then things were more ambiguous, but the fact that you could roughly separate the audience into two camps and that those camps often voted in opposition tells me that there was something going on with most of the tweaks. My assumption was that jitter was causing stress for me and hence the changes in tinnitus. I assumed that a lot of the CD folk liked the extra clues for transitions, etc. E.g. they liked the extra “drive” of the music.

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