Why is there no way to play a cracked audio cd?

Everyone, I became a member of this site so that I could ask the elite of optical media experts about a problem that I’ve sought the answer to EVERYWHERE on the internet that no one seems to have an answer to…


One of my favorite audio cd’s (Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, Disc 1) is cracked from the center hole to the outer edge. I popped it into my boom box to see what would happen, and it played just as I had expected - it skipped every rotation, but all the data was still there.

I figured that, since all of the data on the cd was still there except for the minute little sliver of data destroyed by the crack, there must be an application somewhere out there that grabs all of the recoverable data from a ruined cd, ESPECIALLY a cd containing audio files which are not largely affected by data loss. I thought to myself that I’d even be happy with a rip that popped every half a second just as long as all the songs played sequentially without repetitions. So I got on the Internet and was immediately pointed to some hopeful solutions:

EAC - Exact Audio Copy: This program is supposed to give you a perfectly clean rip of any audio cd, compensating for any data loss.

ISOBuster: This program does the same thing except it gives you an ISO instead of audio files. Also, I believe that it can’t interpolate audio data as EAC can.

I tried both of these programs without success, because neither of them will work if your OS does not recognize that a CD is in the drive.

What confuses me about this is that my boom box from 1981 recognized that it was an audio cd, and played it, albeit poorly, despite the crack.

I therefore conclude that there MUST be a way to recover the data on the cd which was not destroyed - and I suggest that the solution will not be a windows application (because a solution of this nature would depend on windows recognizing the cd in the drive, which it cannot). I see three possible alternatives:

  1. Some sort of improved windows cd-rom driver which can tell the cd-rom drive to read cd’s that don’t register as “official” cd’s because of some sort of defect.

  2. An application that copies cd’s but does not run in windows (i.e. it comes on a bootable disk) and comes with its own improved cd-rom driver that can do the same thing.

  3. An improved cd-rom drive which includes the necessary modifications for reading cracked cd’s such as mine.

So, I ask all of you: Do any of these solutions exist? If not, are there any other ways for me to rip the data off my cd? Help is very much appreciated.

P.S. - I don’t need you to tell me that I should just buy a new cd, download it again from somewhere, or that I should’ve backed up my cd collection. These points are irrelevant. Thanks again.

Your boom box was probably playing the CD at ~1x, so not fast enough for anything to happen to the disc - but I would be hesitant to try and read the disc in a PC based drive as read speeds are much higher, and the likelihood of a disc that’s as damaged as you say would probably shatter in the drive.

You’re lucky the drive/OS didn’t appear to recognise the disc IMO.

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

Haha thanks for the quick response. True, it doesn’t really answer my question, but you’re definitely right. And thanks for the warm welcome. :slight_smile:

Even so, I still think there has to be a way to rescue this cd. Any ideas?

I think Arachne is right about this. You risk damaging your drive when this thing goes to pieces.

I’ve tried copying a dvd with a small physical flaw. I could get all the other files, but the one that had the physical flaw obstructing the laser wouldn’t copy at all. The digital copying process for that file was all or nothing. Don’t know if it works that way for an audio cd, but I suspect that it is the same.

I recommend finding an alternate way to do this…I destroyed a new (at the time) LG DVD burner doing this - it happened to be a backup cd of Windows. :doh:

I believe Alan1476 could tell you a thing or two about discs exploding in drives too.

Thanks for all the responses everyone. I really appreciate your time.

I realize the danger in putting a cracked cd into a cd-rom drive. Regardless of the danger, there STILL has to be a way to get the 99.9% of the data that DID survive onto my hard drive.

Let’s say I use a slower cd-rom drive, say, 4 or 8X, just so there’d be no risk in shattering the disk. Then what would I do? Thanks!

What brand/model drive do you have? Some drive mfgrs have a utility that you can adjust read speeds for the drive with CD’s and/or DVD’s.

I had the exact same problem as yourself, single crack in a disc from center to edge.

I managed to get back a good copy of the disc using my Plextor 716A by slowing the read speed right down and using EAC in its slowest mode to rip the data from the disc. Lots of errors were reported by the unit but EAC managed to get the best out of the disc and gave a flawless playback of the wav file.

Putting the cracked disc into a normal drive may cause the disc to explode as it has no strength to withstand spinning at high speed so you need a drive you can force to be slow before putting a disc in it (most spin up to max speed before slowing down). I also used a piece of selotape on the lable side to hold both sections level and provide a stable base for the crack, I also filled the gap with CD scratch repair fluid (not the abrasive one, this one masks scratches so that data can be read off a damaged discbut does not last long).

Some software will allow you to set the read speed. You can
use the --force-read-speed option in cdparanoia (Linux) to
do this.

From the cdparanoia man page:
-S --force-read-speed number
Use this option explicitly to set the read rate of the CD drive
(where supported). This can reduce underruns on machines which
have slow disks, or are low on memory.

This is not supported by either of the drives in my PC. They
read at 4x even when I use --force-read-speed 1

Awesome answer, quakrz! Finally, a solution to my problem!

Just a couple more questions:

Did your computer “recognize” the audio cd (my copy of eac says “no audio cd in drive” and windows explorer says “please insert disk” when I try to open D: ) or did you somehow force eac to rip even though windows did not recognize that the cd was there?

If your OS recognized the cd, what is special about your system that is different from mine? Do you think it’s the plextor 716A that did it for you? Should I get one?

If your OS did not recognize the cd, how do i get eac to rip the cd anyway?

Thanks, everyone!

Can anyone provide some info as to how quakrz’s solution worked, or provide another alternative? Thanks.

If you’re prepared to risk damage to your drive, I suggest reading the disc with discdump in standard mode. This will take quite a long time as it will have to deal with the inevitable errors, but it will extract whatever is readable on the disc.

I managed to read a chipped disk and extract info using EAC as well.
However, there was just a chip from the outside edge of the disk, not a crack, so don’t know if it will work for you or not.

http://www.isobuster.com/ and http://www.videohelp.com/tools/IsoPuzzle are two programs that may help you.