Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The CD you can't listen to (a decade later)

They'll last forever, Phillips said, 'forever' in this case actually being 100 years (well below the 500 year life of a book printed on acid-free archive paper).

Well just 10 years on, and some of my CDs are looking decidedly worse for wear.

I'm ripping my CD collection after being seperated from it for about five years (due to moving country). And I'm not liking what I'm seeing.

On several disks I have peripherial (or central) glue deterioration, leaving a 'watermark' where the foil is no longer attached to the platter. In some cases (Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works for example) the deterioration is all but a hair from the end of the music track itself.

Here's a (pretty bad) scan of the problem:

What we're looking at is that off-grey area away from the edge of the disk (not the funny pattern that the end of the disk made when it was scanned). Lets be clear about this - this is not abrasion, or a smudge. This is the glue holding the foil to the platter failing.

Fortunately I have two copies of 'The Downward Spiral', because this one is clearly on the way out:

...but I only have one of 'Fixed', which is failing from the center, so I guess it's time to make a backup:

I'm way less than impressed with all this, especially as I've found 3 cases in 50 and I'm about 1/10th of the way though (that's not even thinking about ripping all the CD singles). By contrast my (few) vinyl records are still as they were 10 years ago.