Solved Burning CDs

mich

Member
I am having trouble burning CDs. I down load as flac then convert to wav and burn via “Ashampoo burning studio” I have been doing this for several years with no mishaps but now I am getting crackles on the burned CD and suspect the DVD RW drive I have never cleaned or dusted it. The wav files stored on PC play perfectly so it points to the drive. I am tempted to put a vacuum nozzle in the region of the open CD tray and see if that fixes it. I run a DELL desktop and Vista Home.
 

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Most use a can of clean compressed air. You can get them for a few dollars at a discount computer, electronics, or office store. One thing I did to save money was buy a plastic air pump. It required two hands to operate. But it only cost me $3 or $4 shipping included. It was good enough to blow dust off the keyboard and monitor etc.. For tight spaces though, the can of air with the plastic tube sticking out of the nozzle is tough to beat.
 

mich

Member
I have a bicycle pump that I could use but as you say two hands needed I will try a can of air, what about one of those brush cleaners on a CD disc? Am I on the right track with my diagnosis in that the crackle is due to fluff etc?
 

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I had the brush on CD thing. I used it maybe once a year. More often in my stand-alone stereo system. Just try to determine if there is any way it could get jammed in there before inserting. :)

On these issues it is more often than not a process of elimination. There is no real shortcut to skip actually performing the experiments. Educated guesswork unless one can draw from experience a specific symptom has a specific solution maybe 75% of the time or better.
 

ilikefree

Vista Guru
Gold Member
I use a very little medical alcohol on a tightly rolled cotton bud on the laser. You must be very gentle with it.
I have used the disc with the little brushes and it was never able to play anything again so I don't recommend them at all.
 

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
I use a very little medical alcohol on a tightly rolled cotton bud on the laser. You must be very gentle with it.
I have used the disc with the little brushes and it was never able to play anything again so I don't recommend them at all.

Yeah. The brush disc probably works better on a stand alone stereo CD player. Even then I had to take care when placing it in the tray that it had some room to move to allow it to gain enough momentum to avoid getting frozen in position in the tray. A long swab is a better idea.
 

mich

Member
Years ago on my CD and DVD players I used Isopropyl Alcohol but I now have a vision problem and cannot do fine work so am trying for a quick, easy way out, I did have doubts about a brush disc, not of getting stuck but of picking up fine dust and acting as an abrasive, I am wondering if it could be in the actual software "Ashampoo free" or even the blank discs TDK (country of manufacture not shown) or even a mechanical fault I will try a few experiments and another software suit.
 

Mooly

Member
mich, are you getting the crackling when playing the burned discs on the PC or is it only when you try and play them on other equipment ? PC's are usually very good at working with marginal discs but dedicated audio equipment may not be. Also, are these CDR or CD-RW that you are having problems with ? The crackling is a classic symptom of a low or poor quality of the recovered signal off the disc.

A proper clean of the lens in the PC should really be the first step before anything else... and that's difficult I know if you have vision problems. The brushes and cleaning discs are very much a second best option because the lens will have a coating or bloom of atmospheric pollution on it as well and that typically needs a manual clean to restore clarity.

Isopropanol (Iso) is often mentioned and used but it can be harsh to coated optics. A 30:70 mix of Iso and distilled water with a single (one) drop of detergent works well.
 

mich

Member
Thanks Mooly, Crackle are on both PC and separatecd player which is a new Cambridge Audio 351C and I am sure it is not the culprit.
Last night I burned same tracks onto a Mitsubishi CD-RW via PowerISO ‘just installed’ free version,and this played perfectly will burn onto the TDK CD-R and see what happens. The TDK CD-R are about 2 years old and the last of a (25) pack the others from this pack were OK. From what you say it could be the TDK product as the CD-RW worked fine.
I note that the disc type cleaners come as either wet or dry clean.
 

Mooly

Member
Yes, its possible there could be problem with the discs. Its interesting because you mention CD-RW play OK and yet these are the most likely to show problems. That's because the 'reflectivity' of the RW types is far lower than the record once R type. So at this stage it looks possible it could be a problem with your TDK disc/s.

I'll be honest and say I'm not a fan of cleaning discs (in a past life I was a bench repair tech for audio/TV etc) because they can't fully remove any contamination. The lens is domed (like a magnifying glass) with a protective raised rim to stop the lens getting scratched if it were to mistrack badly and hit the spinning disc surface. So you can imagine that wiping soft bristles over that wont remove contamination. Loose dust gets pushed around and any 'bloom' doesn't get touched at all.

Something else that runs contrary to what you often hear and that is that burning at slower speeds isn't always best. I've looked at the recovered signal from burning discs at slow and fast speeds and sometimes (and this is PC burner specific) burning at faster speeds gives the cleanest signal.
 

mich

Member
I now have two burning suits installed being “Power ISO” and “CD Burner XP”
Using the same files at all times when burned to CD-RW they play perfectly (no crackles) on both PC and CD player, when burned to CD-R they play ok on PC but CD Player does not recognise and ejects disc but my very old CD player plays them ok. NB. I am burning as Audio CD at all times but perhaps I am missing something.
All CDs burned over the last 6-7 years using Ashampoo still play ok on PC, old and new CD player.
If I now use Ashampoo and burn to either CD-RW or CD-R the crackles are present when played on PC or CD player so I am thinking that the actual software drive that Ashampoo is using could be the problem I am going to remove Ashampoo and all it’s files from PC and will re install.
Does this make sense??
Very interesting about burn speeds I do use slowest speed in the hope of getting better audio.
I should have added that the crackle starts at a high volume peak
Installed “Ashampoo full version” free 10 day trial but no improvement still crackles at the same place so that is not the problem so either lens or discs
 
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Mooly

Member
It sounds like you are doing everything correctly and from what you say everything seems to be pointing to the signal on the disc being marginal in 'quality/amplitude'. The causes of that are typically a lens that needs cleaning or a laser diode that has deteriorated. There is no easy diagnosis I'm afraid without actually looking at the recovered signal via test equipment (oscilloscope).
 

MilesAhead

Eclectician
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Something else that runs contrary to what you often hear and that is that burning at slower speeds isn't always best. I've looked at the recovered signal from burning discs at slow and fast speeds and sometimes (and this is PC burner specific) burning at faster speeds gives the cleanest signal.

+1 I have seen that so many times on forums to burn at the slowest speed. It seems to me manufacturers producing higher speed media are going to test more thoroughly at the higher speed since people paying extra for the higher speed are not likely to burn at 4x. Else why not buy the cheap slow surplus media on discount? :)
 

mich

Member
Well it is finally fixed, gave the lens a clean with cleaning disc and not one scrap of difference, then burned via “CD Burner XP” at a speed of x16 onto new 'Verbatim' disc and what do ya know success, I do have quite a few Cd's burned on the TDK disc's and wonder how long before they pack up, luckily I always keep a back up on external HD. Thanks for your input guys a great help.
 
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