This all started when I did a test on a brand new factory-pressed music CD I just purchased at Newbury Comics (Converge - No Heroes). The CD was literally just taken out of the case (both the top and bottom looked flawless upon inspection under direct light) and placed in my Lite-On CD-RW drive. A Nero CD-DVD Speed ScanDisc test using the C1/C2 - PI/PO test option gave the tracks quality values ranging from 98 down to 91, with some tracks having a 30+ C1 error rate (no C2 errors on any track). This is a flawless, brand new factory pressed CD, and there are tracks with 30+ C1 errors? I tested another CD I had just purchased that day as well (Sparta - Threes), and that one had some tracks go as low as 94 for quality, which was also surprising. Had the entire shipment to Newbury Comics that day gotten jostled around or something?
So I went to Best Buy and repurchased both CDs just in the name of scientific experiments. The new copy of Converge had nearly IDENTICAL C1 error rates - the track that was 91 on the first copy was 91 on this second copy as well. What the hell? At this point I think maybe my CD-RW drive is dirty, so I spray some compressed air on the tray, run one of those CD-Drive cleaning discs with the cleaning strip on the bottom, then try again - same bad results. Is my Lite-On drive dying? I have another boxed Lite-On in the closet so I break that out and set it up and run the tests again. Same thing! I then try KProbe thinking maybe Nero CD-DVD Speed is being messed up and still the same results!
Then the real confusion beings - I open the second copy of the Sparta CD (the one that got as low as a 94 on the first copy). This one looks like it got damaged in shipping a little as there are a few weird marks on the bottom of the disc. Nothing major, but that weird speckling of marks that you sometimes see on discs. This one has no track below 98 quality. A disc that looks physically worse than the other has less than half the C1 errors?!? Nero and KProbe both agree. I’m completely confused at this point.
Today I took both sets of discs to work to test on my work computer - an aging Dell with a generic DVD-ROM drive. The Converge CDs that scored as low as 91’s and the like here all score 98’s on every track. That still doesn’t explain why they scored low on my computer, but I’m now thinking maybe it’s because I don’t have the ASPI drivers installed on my computer and that’s messing up the C1 data the software thinks it’s receiving. I try the first Sparta disc and it also gets 98’s. Good, good. Then I try the semi-damaged looking Sparta CD and it gets almost all 100’s, and two 99’s. The disc that appears to be damaged is still scoring better! How is that possible! I mean I’m sure there are cases of more severe damage where looks can be deceiving, but this is a visibly marked disc vs. an absolutely pristine disc.
So I’m left with a whole bunch of mysteries. Why do both copies of the Converge CD have low quality tracks in the exact same place (or rather, why does my computer think so)? Why does one Sparta disc score better than the other when it appears to have marks while the other appears flawless? Etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve tried to provide as much information as I can, but if you need more information to attempt to help, I’ll gladly answer any questions. Thanks for your time!