It’s not necessarilly high end that’s the problem - in fact I would suggest it’s more likely to be the cheapo decks that have difficulties, or semi-intelligent players that can say be upgraded by software on CD’s, and decks (like DVD players) that can play different formats especially MP3 compatible devices.
From my experience with my original copy of WLI:
Would not play at all on an old Technics CD “walkman”. Disc spun up like hell and the player shut down (with the disc still spinning).
Would not play track one and sounded rubbish through most of the disc on a Clarion in dash car CD player, loathed to eject too, which was worrying. Disc seemed to want to keep spinning. Had to turn the electrics off at the ignition, reapply the power and press the radio button immediately then the eject button in order to get the disc out.
Played OK after several “Disc ERROR” warnings on the same head unit but when the disc was in the boot mounted changer. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Sounded iffy on occasions.
Played OK on a Sony DVD player but the sound seemed a little muted. Maybe I was getting picky as well as annoyed at this stage.
Old Yamaha AST-C10 - Track one played for an apparently infinite amount of time but in silence, closer examination showed a track time of -1 second going to 2 seconds than back to -1. Track 2 OK, track three up to the point I got well upset and needed beer sounded rough as hell.
Philips PCD-048 CD-ROM drive - seemed to play fine, didn’t try ripping it because I was more keen on getting a red book compliant CD out of BMG since I paid good money for it and didn’t like doing unpaid “guinea pig” research for Midbar Tech.
Unprotected version, sweet as a nut on everything. Funny, that. Thanks, BMG !!
My understanding of how the protection works in part is that rogue error codes are put into the disc content in places where there is a lot of duplication or regular bit patterns (a bit like the weak sector amplification tweak on CloneCD) and the player should be able to skip over these and / or guess at what the data should be. My older decks and a couple of CD players I had access to at the time seemed to be the least tolerant of the munged disc than the newer ones. In fact I happen to know that at least one recent CD player has had a modification made to it because it refused to play a David Grey CD (White Ladder ?) widely reported as being copy protected.
Apart from the fact I don’t appreciate someone deliberately introducing errors into a medium that I chose for it’s quality (if I wanted it to sound to naff I’d have bought it on tape and left it in a hot car for a few weeks and saved myself a few quid in the process), it makes me wonder just how good the CD player’s error correction will hold up to light scratches, finger prints and curry stains if the error mechanism is already shot to hell out of the box.
I hope that clears up a few things - my experience is probably far from the norm but my line of work means I have been able to try the CD on a few decks and may well have found more than my fair share of problems. But then if the established format for the CD hadn’t have been tampered with, I shouldn’t have found ANY…