Audio distortion/noise (NOT clipping!) on burned CDRs?! bad batch of media?

I recently bought two 50-disc spindles of Sony high-speed CDRs. Any disc I burn from one of the spindles produces an odd distortion/noise when played on SOME CD players; other CDRs from that spindle produce the distortion on all CD players. Blanks from the other spindle appear to work just fine. I’m assuming the problem is a bad batch of CDR media, but I’m interested in input if anyone’s had similar experiences.

The noise is a regularly repeating scratching or fuzzing sound (best heard – links to samples below) that fades in at some point, continues across a number of tracks and then fades out. There is no pattern as to where on the disc the noise begins or ends other than it never seems to be on the first or last couple of tracks.

Here’s a sample of the distortion at it’s worst (recorded on line-in from an affected CDR):

Here’s the same section of the track as it’s supposed to sound (from source wav file):

The source wav files are clean – I swear. Using the same source to burn blanks from the second batch works fine. My guess is that the media quality of the affected CDRs is bad enough that audio CD playback error correction mechanisms are being overwhelmed on the players where the problem appears. The result is the sound you hear in the sample. I’ve never heard anything like it before.

I burned about 10 discs from the bad batch – from the top, middle, and bottom of the stack. The distortion was less pronounced on some but present nonetheless. I can have no confidence in discs burned from that batch. I’m going to ask Sony to replace the entire spindle of 50 CDRs.

Other than this incident I have had no problems with Sony media. Has anyone else encountered a bad batch of what are otherwise good media? Do you agree with my assesment of the problem?

My specs:
Plextor PW24/10/40A
Dell DimR450 (PII450/256M/80G) Win2K SP2
Sony 80min CDR high-speed media (1-48x)
recorded using Roxio EZCD SP4 at 24X

The kind of noise you describe is almost always created before the audio gets to the CDR. The fact that the source wave file sounds good does not mean it’s not getting corrupted on it’s way to the burner. I would try some different media and keep all other variables the same to see if the problem is still there.
Without seeing some error scans on the guilty discs, it’s impossible to say if they’re good or bad.

Thanks for the response!

I did do a ceteris paribus experiment – remember, I had two spindles (with different batch numbers on them). So I burned blanks alternately from the good batch and suspected bad batch. Those from the good batch did not produce the distortion; those from the bad batch did to varying degrees.

I’ve since obtained Nero’s CDSpeed utility and ran surface scans on the guilty discs. Sure enough, the discs that sounded bad in all or some players showed some degree of “damage”. Here’s a particularly bad one (the one from which I recorded the audible noise above):

Scanning the burned discs from the other batch showed no “damage”. Just goes to show ya, even normally high-quality vendors can produce bad batches at times! Another theory is that something happened to them between the factory and the Staples shelf. Now to see about getting them replaced…

Deffinitely some crappy media. Can you post an ATIP from the discs?
Sony often has media made in different places.

Both the good and the bad batches have the same ATIP info – shown below per CDR ATIP Reader 0.92. Bad batch has GA1018B33B181A80 written on the center area of each disc; good batch has GBS320B31B141A80. Can you tell anything from these? I think they’re just the manufacturing batch numbers.

In general, have you heard anything positive or negative about Sony media? I’ve been using Sony for almost a year and have had no problems until this one bad batch. Believe me, I’ll be testing each new batch I get from now in.

Media : CD-R/RW media
Media : CD-R media
Subtype: Medium Type B, low Beta category (B-)
Disc(Matrix) Manufacturer : SONY Corporation
Recording Characteristics : Short Strategy Type (ex. Phthalocyanine type media)
Indicative Target Writing Power : 5 mW
Use : Restricted
Capacity (nominal) : 702.83 Mb


Indicative Target Writing Power : 1 | 5
Reference Speed : 0
Unrestricted Use Disc : 0
Reserved : 0
Disc Type : 0
Disc Sub-Type : 4
A1 Valid : 0
A2 Valid : 0
A3 Valid : 0
Reserved : 0
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-in(Min) : 97
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-in(Sec) : 24
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-in(Frame) : 15
Reserved : 0
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-out(Min) : 79
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-out(Sec) : 59
ATIP Last Possible Start Time of lead-out(Frame) : 74
Reserved : 0
Lowest Usable CLV Recording Speed : 0
Highest Usable CLV Recording Speed : 0
Power Multiplication Factor p : 0
Target y value of the Modulation/Power function : 0
Reserved : 0
Recommended Erase/Write Power Ratio : 0
Reserved : 0
Reserved : 0
A2 Values: [0] [0] [0]
Reserved : 0
A3 Values: [0] [0] [0]
Reserved : 0

There’s no such thing as media that doesn’t have “bad batches”. I would reduce the burn speed and see if it performs better, or just toss it out.
It’s good to test every new spindle for errors and adjust your burn speed accordingly. With some media, it’s good to test every burn. If your burner likes the Phthalocyanine type CDR, suggest you try RiTEC TG. The current TDK 48x-52x is performing very well for lots of people.