Amazing cheap CD tweak

Early in the days of CDs I had a similar product, but they were much wider than the small black ring in that photo. They came in a variety of colors like green, red and blue. I think they may have been manufactured by the Monster Cable company. I could never hear any difference, but then my equipment was only so-so at the time. Even so, I left them on, since I was afraid they’d leave some unremovable residue behind, or that in removing them I’d somehow damage the label side (remember the dire warnings about that?). I finally had no choice when I got my first slot-loading drive, and off they came. No damage or residue after all.

And I would never consider the Discwasher snake oil. At least not the brush. The fluid, maybe. Sure, there were more effective methods, but it wasn’t bad. Before I digitally archived all my old albums, I cleaned them with the manual Orbitrac system, which was a pain, but judging by the grime left on the pad, it was effective.

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I used to race motoX… I armor-alled my seat once… ONCE…
I literally could not ride the bike. Had to borrow a seat off another bike like mine to race my motos.


Lesson learned!


Best CD tweak is to rip it….

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Yep, IME the “ripped” files often outperform spinning the disc they came from.

YMMV, etc., etc.

I do agree with this but for the life of me I can’t understand why!

I am not sure, but I have some theories (related to the playback system differences) that are involved (none of which are really original thoughts):

  • “If the bits are the same then either the transmissions of those bits or the conversion to analog are somehow suspect [different].” – Paul McGowan

  • “So, the question of which medium sounds better is really better asked—which retrieval and playback technology is on the current forefront of digital audio reproduction?” – Paul McGowan

  • “It isn’t the storage medium that matters. Rather it is the means by which we handle and process the data that determines how it sounds.” – Paul McGowan

  • CD/SACD player systems May be different/“noisier” than hard drives when it comes to the physical retrieval and transmission of the bits into the signal path leading to a DAC

  • Hard drive systems May be different/“noisier” than CD/SACD players when it comes to the physical retrieval and transmission of the bits into the signal path leading to a DAC

  • “The thing to learn here is that jitter is the #1 issue with digital and it can be minimized whether you are using a transport or playing ripped or downloaded files. They can both sound world-class with the same jitter when feeding a DAC that has no reclocking on the S/PDIF coax input. There is nothing magical about spooling files or spinning an optical disk. They both deliver the same data in the same way. The way to optimize SQ for digital is to attack the jitter.” – from this thread: CD Ripping: Sound Quality Comparisons Between File Playback & Optical Disc Playback | What's Best Audio and Video Forum. The Best High End Audio Forum on the planet!

This last bullet intrigues me and rings the most true (no pun intended), based on my limited reading.

It is my understanding that @tedsmith has focused on two priorities with his DAC designs and FPGA programing: 1. the virtual elimination of noise on the line, so to speak; and 2. minimization of jitter. In theory, the better the playback system is at minimizing general noise and noisy jitter, the better the result.

I have a hunch that, to date, my system is configured such that file playback is less noisy/jittery than disc playback.

I also found these linked videos referencing Ted Smith talks addressing jitter to be very informative – if not mostly beyond my technical understanding:

Why Jitter Matters

Jitter’s audible effects

Jitter and clocks

I have much more to learn, but I hope the above is at least helpful in prompting some further research and thought on your part.



Very useful. Thank you.

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Great info… thanks