Black magic marker around the edge of a disk

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve read that some audiophiles insist that running a black magic marker around the edge of their disks improves the read quality and reduces mechanical jitter by preventing laser leakage or something like that.

So I tried it! Despite it being a complete urban myth (I was inspired after seeing this: http://www.ultrasystem.com/audiodeskpricesheet.html, would that thing even work? I doubt it. $900 scam! I’m in for two!), I did it on some Son D21 DVDs I had lying around and wasn’t really using.

I burned 4, two at slow speed (6x one with, and one without marker) and two at high speed (16x, again one with and one without marker). I then read back all dvds at slow speed 4x CLV, and then high speed 16x (or as high as they could be read, more on that later). Once the marker ones were read at high/low I removed the marker, and repeated the high/low read speeds. I did the same with the unmarkered ones (except I added marker).

Oh, and I used black. I didn’t have green handy.

Disk 1: No marker (create @6x)

Disk1: scan@4x (no marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 16
 Average: 3.81
 Total: 68269
PI failures
 Maximum: 2
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1144
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum:  9.2 %
 Average: 8.51 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:41
 Number of samples: 126855
 Average scanning interval: 1.13 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk1: Scan@16x (no marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 17
 Average: 3.59
 Total: 64310
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 2111
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 11.9 %
 Average: 9.95 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:07
 Number of samples: 112017
 Average scanning interval: 1.28 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 1: Scan @4x (marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 17
 Average: 3.74
 Total: 66983
PI failures
 Maximum: 2
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1119
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum:  9.1 %
 Average: 8.46 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:42
 Number of samples: 126596
 Average scanning interval: 1.13 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 1: Scan @6x (marker, failed at everything above 6x)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 6 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 22
 Average: 4.11
 Total: 73752
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.02
 Total: 2370
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 10.0 %
 Average: 9.04 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 13:57
 Number of samples: 129818
 Average scanning interval: 1.10 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Summary: No real difference except: with the marker on, the disk was no longer scanable at 16x, 6x was the lowest it would go. Why? No idea. It would fail at different points depending no the speed (the slower it went, the longer it took to fail). Jitter was lower at the same speed… I cannot explain it.

Disk2: Create@6x (marker)

Disk2: Scan@4x (marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 24
 Average: 5.14
 Total: 92054
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.02
 Total: 3065
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum:  9.0 %
 Average: 8.41 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:42
 Number of samples: 126155
 Average scanning interval: 1.14 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk2: Scan@16x (marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 25
 Average: 4.78
 Total: 85748
PI failures
 Maximum: 4
 Average: 0.02
 Total: 3459
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 11.8 %
 Average: 9.73 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:06
 Number of samples: 112316
 Average scanning interval: 1.28 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 2: Scan@4x (marker removed)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 26
 Average: 5.49
 Total: 98451
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.02
 Total: 3321
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum:  9.0 %
 Average: 8.42 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:39
 Number of samples: 131948
 Average scanning interval: 1.09 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 2: Scan@16x (marker removed)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 6 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 25
 Average: 4.73
 Total: 84779
PI failures
 Maximum: 4
 Average: 0.02
 Total: 3451
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 11.6 %
 Average: 9.70 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:07
 Number of samples: 112098
 Average scanning interval: 1.28 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Summary: No difference


Disk 3: Burn@16x (no marker)

Disk 3: Scan@4x (no marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 23
 Average: 5.55
 Total: 99432
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1122
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 10.3 %
 Average: 9.30 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:39
 Number of samples: 131415
 Average scanning interval: 1.09 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 3: Scan@ 16x (no marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 109
 Average: 12.97
 Total: 232533
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1448
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 13.1 %
 Average: 10.67 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:06
 Number of samples: 111331
 Average scanning interval: 1.29 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk3: Scan@8x (marker added, failed at 4x)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 8 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 35
 Average: 6.41
 Total: 114904
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1471
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 10.5 %
 Average: 9.54 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 10:45
 Number of samples: 126829
 Average scanning interval: 1.13 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk3: Scan@16x (marker added)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 77
 Average: 10.11
 Total: 181279
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1413
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 13.0 %
 Average: 10.55 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:06
 Number of samples: 111989
 Average scanning interval: 1.28 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Summary: Lower PIE, PIF, and Jitter at 16x when marker was added to a non-marker burned @16x disk. Marker wrecked 4x reading, had to increase to 8x. I cannot explain this, it should not happen.


Disk 4: Burn @16x (with marker)

Disk4: Scan@4x (marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 22
 Average: 3.96
 Total: 70918
PI failures
 Maximum: 2
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1439
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 10.3 %
 Average: 9.21 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:39
 Number of samples: 131937
 Average scanning interval: 1.09 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk 4: scan @16x (marker)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 78
 Average: 7.37
 Total: 132069
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.01
 Total: 1684
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 13.1 %
 Average: 10.54 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 6:07
 Number of samples: 111925
 Average scanning interval: 1.28 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk4: scan@4x (marker removed)

General Information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
 Selected speed: 4 X
Recorder information
 Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
 Firmware: PS0C
 Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
 Maximum: 22
 Average: 4.21
 Total: 75506
PI failures
 Maximum: 3
 Average: 0.04
 Total: 5402
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
 Maximum: 10.3 %
 Average: 9.22 %
Scanning Statistics
 Elapsed time: 15:40
 Number of samples: 131141
 Average scanning interval: 1.09 ECC
 Glitches removed: 0

Disk4: scan@16x (marker removed)

General Information
Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
Firmware: PS0C
Disc: DVD+R (SONY D21)
Selected speed: Maximum
Recorder information
Drive: LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-160P6S
Firmware: PS0C
Write speed: 16 X
PI errors
Maximum: 71
Average: 6.75
Total: 121018
PI failures
Maximum: 4
Average: 0.04
Total: 6246
PO failures: n/a
Jitter
Maximum: 13.0 %
Average: 10.46 %
Scanning Statistics
Elapsed time: 6:06
Number of samples: 111375
Average scanning interval: 1.29 ECC
Glitches removed: 0

Summary: No real differences, Jitter lower @16x with marker removed, but had 5000 more PIF errors… same with 4x (huge less PIF errors with marker before it was removed)

Since everyone knows that it is an urban legend. Enjoy!

I’m at a loss to explain some of the comparisons. It’s a learning drive so … how would errors go down on some scans, but up significantly on others?

Correlation not causation however. All this proves is that perhaps the disk degraded itself slightly or something. Who knows. These are in no way scientific, and probably completely useless.

(yes, I was really, really bored today)

A couple of observations:

  1. You will always get variations in scan result when scanning the same disc in the same drive multiple times. The extent of the variation depends on such factors as the disc, the drive and temperature of drive. Sometimes such variations can be quite significant.

  2. When you handle a disc such as making ro removing marks, you can easily scuff or get dirt and fingerprints on parts of the disc - espically near the outer edge, and such scuff marks, dirt and fingerprint will significantly increase the reported errors on the disc.

over the past 10 years i have been using a product called audio prism’s cd stop light on my cd’s.
As my hifi is high spec i can tell the difference,the green pen has to be applied to both edges to work as it stops the laser light from going through the disc. Haven’t tried it on my comp discs though,will try at the weekend and post details

Will [b]any[/b] type of green pen work, or is it a special type of pen? I have a set of these and was wondering if it’s worth wasting time (and discs) to test this out.


(Stabilo Write-4-All Permanent Markers)

Well any green pen should do. Just mark the edge with the pen. As long as you are careful enough and dont write where the data is there should be no harm to your CDs. But from my experience using printable discs and print them green or use discs with green top surface from the beginning has a better effect than using green markers.
Well Mitsubishi GreenTune high quality discs all have a green top layer…

Btw Black is not the preferred color to use on discs. Green is the best because its the Complementary color of red.

I really hope you guys are not serious about the green pen thing.

Well Womi try it out…lol
Do some ABX and see for yourself. If you dont hear a difference then its OK (but that doesnt mean that there is no diff.). If you hear one then well welcome to the mysterious world of the audiophiles.

One more thing this green pen stuff will have no influence on the digital data or on comp discs.
If you get a better scan then that is pure coincidence.
The green pen will only influence the analog data if it has an influence at all…
Pls remember that the difference you hear is in the analog and not in the digital part…

[quote=Womi;2143912]I really hope you guys are not serious about the green pen thing.[/quote] Count me among those who think the marker pen claim is silly.

It’s no use arguing against people’s beliefs, however, whether it be audiophile beliefs or some other strong belief, so I have stopped doing so. :cool:

I was told years ago that the green pen works as it stops light travelling through the disc and therefore less errors.
I have done a blind test with friends and they have noticed the difference on my hifi.If the green ink is transparent it will not work,the edge of the disc has to be covered both spindle hole and outside edge.
people who say it doesn’t work cant really pass judgement unless they have used the proper pen can they?

It is, after all, a magic marker we’re talking about here…

[QUOTE=Aramchek;2143984]It is, after all, a magic marker we’re talking about here…[/QUOTE]

there you go :slight_smile:

worth a try…

Ok I’m reading this but I am lost. Wtf is this marker business? Are you guys talking about somehow covering up the recordable side of the disc with a marker?

I wouldn’t mind seeing some pictures.

You mean running a marker on the inner side of the disk, on the plastics around the hole?

The “theory” of marker treating the edge is that any internal scattering of the laser in the CD should be dissipated, rather than reflected.

Flaws in the argument, for any laser energy to reach those edges, it would have to undergo multiple internal reflections to get there, and run the same gauntlet to get back again, then manage to turn and get back into the read optics.

The next problem for the “improves audio CD” argument, is that it would need to be making the difference between an errored read and a clean one, as if it is already reading within C1/C2 correction limits, the data is digitally accurate.

This is the craziest thing I’ve heard since “directional speaker wire”, special audio CD’s that clean out your speaker wiring, or $$$ “Monster Cables” - what a joke. Superstition = huge profit potential.

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2008/03/audiophile_deathmatch_monster_cables_vs_a_coat_hanger-2.html

+1 for the OP though for actually trying to test the theory out systematically