Burned Audio CDs Skipping

The computers at my workplace are running Windows 2000.  As the computer I work with is not mine, I am extremely limited in what I can do with it, and aside from running the major work application I only play audio CDs (which I burn at home with Nero) using Windows CD Player.

The problem is, some of my audio CDs are skipping.  Any particular CD seems skips at the same particular places (one CD skips a great deal in the last few tracks), but I cannot duplicate the skipping in any other CD player, including identical CD drives in other identical machines at my workplace.  When the CD skips, the Windows CD Player basically just freezes for a second or two before resuming.

Is there any application I can use on my home computer to at least determine if and where a CD will skip?  Also, is there anything I might be able to do to the workplace computer to make the CDs stop skipping?  I was thinking that enabling digital playback for the CD drive in the Multimedia control panel might do the trick, but of course I am wary about changing such settings lest I adversely affect the computer.  Media Player 6.4 is also installed on the computers, but seems unable to play the CDA tracks.

(Yes, I am aware that there may be dust in the drive, and that the CD media I am using may not be the best for this particular application.)
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JorphoAsked:
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
>I was hoping somebody could tell me more about that digital playback option
It's used to not send the audio directly to the soundcard, but rather trough the software.
with digital audio enabled:
- Better sound quality especially if you have a digital connector between your soundcard and your aplifier
- You can use equalizers
- You can use sound processing units
- Visualisations work
- Little bit more computerpower needed when playing music (most of the time you won't notice this)

LucF
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guynumber5764Commented:
I believe that the problem is (this is going to sound totally wierd) that you have a poor quality recording.  I had the same thing where I burned a bunch of CDs for a road trip but the CD player we brought wouldn't play them.  When I played them in my stereo at home they worked but the sound quality was noticeably worse than the original.

Try recording at a lower speed.
As suggested above, poor sound quality in your regular CD player will help determine if a CD is likely to skip.
I have no suggestions for improving the way the current disks play at work.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
I agree that you should slow down the write speed, but also the read speed and use an image file. So don't make on the fly copies. Check the fastest you can go by using a cd-rw if possible. (cd-rw drives won't be able to burn cdrw as fast as cdr, but it can give you an indication) After you've got the max cdrw speed, you can try using cdr and go a little bit faster until you get the bad sound again. Now you know what the fastest is that you can go.

LucF
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tmj883Commented:
Try a new brand of media...some are simply poor quality, others just disagree with the drive...don't buy media 'cause it's cheap...buy what works well with your burner, some experimentation with various media will give you an idea. T
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xemaCommented:
Another thing; I've noticed that most music CD players have problems with 700MB CDR, specially on the "last tracks" so burn only up to 650 MB also , as LucF said, burn at the lowest posible speed.
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CallandorCommented:
If you want to see how your PC is handling reading the CD, try ripping it to your hard drive using Exact Audio Copy.  It will do retries until it is successful or exceeds the limit, and will report the accuracy of the copy.  That should help you see if it is the CD or the drive.
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rabi9634Commented:
Rip your cds into mp3 format at the highest quality possible, and burn those to the cd.  Should still be a great quality, supported by Win Media Player, and in a digital format (which is a lot less effected by dust than an audio cd simply bc of the way they're read)

You'll be able to take more music w/ you, and have a much better chance of not listening to the skips.
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rabi9634Commented:
also, if the problem is isolated to your drive alone, request that your IT dept clean the drive (usually w/ canned air or something to rid it of the cakes of dust i'm sure have accumulated)

Just tell them the drive seems slow and choppy, and you know it hasn't been cleaned in some time.  They'll help you out.
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PoeticAudioCommented:
I didnt have time to read all these comments but burning is very taxing on your computer, try to not run any other programs while you burn. I notice that if I have multiple programs open my burns are less likely to come out perfect. Create an image file and don't record on the fly, also use simulation and don't burn at the max speed.

sorry if this was already posted but i'm at work and don't have time to read all of these

OH CRAP... BOSS!!! <click>
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
I just did read the full question again, and I think I completely misunderstood the problem and rabi9634 completely understands it. So I suggest you either buy a cleaning cd or you ask your IT department to clean the drive (lens etc)

LucF
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
I will proceed to determine if Exact Audio Copy can find errors on the CDs.  (Why didn't I try that already?)

I was hoping somebody could tell me more about that digital playback option (it's on the CD Music tab of the Multimedia control panel).  Would it make any kind of difference?  Would using it pose any kind of risk?

In the meantime, let's review:
-Yes, of course I would rather burn several hours worth of MP3s on a CD rather than 80 minutes of audio tracks.  Unfortunately, playing MP3s is against the rules.  (Presumably, the reasoning is that it is very difficult to damage a computer with an audio-only CD.)
-I doubt the IT department is going to care about something as trivial as my audio CDs skipping.
-I am already burning these CDs at 8x (I can go up to 16x without any problems normally).  The audio tracks are originating from MP3s that play flawlessly on my home machine.

The CD drives in use at my workplace are Liteon 486S drives, if that makes any difference.
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
By the way, the CD drives are also mounted vertically.  Would that make much of a difference?
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
Okay, Exact Audio Copy does not find any errors on the tracks that skip, and rips to WAV files that play perfectly.  (This happens regardless of whether or not I have "C2 error detection" checked.)
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CallandorCommented:
It seems you have eliminated the CDs as the cause of the problem and are left with the drive as the culprit.  If the IT department doesn't have any spare drives (or are unwilling to replace the troublesome one), you don't have a lot of choices: 1) bring in your private cd player 2) rip to the hard drive temporarily for playback and then erase it (the ripping process should not take too much time with today's drives) - of course, if you're not allowed to install a ripper program, this won't work.
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I was afraid of that.

It still bothers me, though: the CDs that skip always seem to skip in the same places, and these places are not at the same relative positions on the CDs.  If it was the drive, one would at least expect all the CDs that skip to skip at the same relative positions(e.g., 62 minutes from the start of the CD, 70 minutes, etc).

Is there some alternative to Exact Audio Copy that I may not be aware of?
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CallandorCommented:
Maybe the skips happen on high frequency content - did you notice what it was at each spot?  A lot of the rips I do with EAC result in some retries - I almost never get 100% error free, which is why I'm glad it handles retries by itself.

What kind of alternative are you looking for?
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
Curious; 100% error free (for individual tracks) is not so uncommon with me.  Perhaps there is some EAC setting I am not aware of?  Or maybe my CDs just go through less wear and tear.

It's not the content, as I have burned one particular piece on two CDs, and it only skips on one of them.

By "alternative", I mean is there anything else that can be used to gauge the integrity of audio CDs?
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
I'm guessing it would likely not help with the skipping, then?
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Nope, it probably won't, sorry.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
One thing to add, It could help, probably not, but it could.
By using digital audio-playback, your cd will be read at the maximum possible speed, not at 1 speed. So if your cd-rom drive can read audio at 8x then your computer can read each track for 8x if corruptions occur.

LucF
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asurada2002Commented:
hi,

Try to used a better media to record it.
Sometimes is was cause buy the media u using.
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
Well, it turns out that (for one reason or another) I can't enable digital playback anyway.

I guess there's nothing more to be done, then.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
ThanQ for the points, but have you tried cleaning your drive yet?
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JorphoAuthor Commented:
Like I said, "I doubt the IT department is going to care about something as trivial as my audio CDs skipping."  And I'm not going to try it myself, since I do not own such a lens cleaner and would not want to risk damaging the drive even if I did.
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LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Ok, good luck. ;-)
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