Download our ZINE #2 Audio CD ripping guide here.
Many of us are spending more time at home as of late having a clear-out or reorganising our media collections. What about those precious mix CDs from the early 2000s? Or what about that band’s self published CD you bought? Did you know these discs could already be reaching the end of their playable lifespan?!
CD’s can easily suffer damage of course from scratches or even from pen or poorly affixed labels. However some poorly manufactured or stored CDs can also suffer from something called ‘Disc rot‘ where chemical deterioration caused oxidising of the reflective layer. Cheap supermarket CD-Rs can sometimes be the worst performing on playback years later with their dyes fading and the discs becoming transparent – although note DVD-Rs are proven to be much worse!
In fact the North West of England has a rather awkward claim to fame in regards to Audio CD longevity. Between the years 1988-1993 the Blackburn based Philips and Dupont Optical (PDO) factory manufactured the majority of Audio CDs that are now suffering from ‘bronzing‘. Many discs created at the factory during this time now have an uneven brown colour developing through the layers, rendering increasing errors on playback. Both The Library of Congress and The British Library’s Sound Archive have researched this phenomenon. The manufacturer claimed this was due to a silver coating being used instead of gold.
If any of the above has spurred you into action to check in on your Audio CD collection, here’s a page-by-page preview of our downloadable PDF zine below:
List of best/worst performing optical drives ( using dBpoweramp data):