Are CD copies as good as the original?

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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I have has a question rattling round for a while so I thought I would ask it here. If you take a CD and make a copy (purely for back-up purposes you understand), is the copy the same quality as the original? In other words if you played the original and the copy on some high end kit would it sound the same? I am asking because in my mind a CD is just made up of 1s and 0s so a copy should of course be exactly the same - but is it?
 

professorhat

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Dec 28, 2007
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If you believe that because it's 0s and 1s and can't sound different as a result, then no, because any variance in anything you hear is all in your head. So the best bet in this case is to sell your hifi and listen to a man banging some tin cans together.

If however you trust your ears, then I'd say the quality of the device you're using to copy the CD and the quality of the blank CD you're using will mean it will always sound different. Personally, I've found copied CDs can never rival their original equivalents, but then I don't buy particularly good blank CDs as they're mostly used for data.
 

Audioholic

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Feb 6, 2009
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Sorry, what's a good blank cd?! They're just data storage and think there's a difference in the way they store music of the same quality rip. You don't buy budget, mid-range and high quality blank cds - as long as they're unscratched the results will be the same!
 

Alec

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Oct 8, 2007
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professorhat:

If you believe that because it's 0s and 1s and can't sound different as a result, then no, because any variance in anything you hear is all in your head. So the best bet in this case is to sell your hifi and listen to a man banging some tin cans together.

Wha'?

professorhat: If however you trust your ears, then I'd say the quality of the device you're using to copy the CD and the quality of the blank CD you're using will mean it will always sound different.

This presupposes you have used your ears and tested with many different devices and discs.

I'm not disagreeing as such, its just not all the above sems to follow.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Prof Hat - that is exactly my point. You say that the copied CDs never sound as good but I can't think of a logical reason why. A copy is exactly the same 1s and 0s in the same order so there shouldn't be any audible difference.

As Audioholic says there shouldn't be any difference in blank CD quality. As I understand it the judgement of quality of a blank CD is it's ability to be written on to in the first instance and it's ability to not succumb to disc rot. There isn't such thing as a lower quality 1 or 0.

Also please note I am not talking about inferior quality RIPs - this is a straight CD copy.
 

Alec

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Oct 8, 2007
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Audioholic:You don't buy budget, mid-range and high quality blank cds

You havent done many recent price checks then?

I should stop now, im in one of those moods.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
groberton:A copy is exactly the same 1s and 0s in the same order so there shouldn't be any audible difference.
A copy will rarely be the same as the original. There is error correction going on etc.

The software used can be very influential on the quality of a copied CD.

Exact Audio Copy
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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never noticed a difference myself, but i've only compared a few times, but i think making a bit-perfect copy of a cd is easily doable. maybe some cdp's have a harder time reading a copied cd and have to use error correction more, might explain why some hear differences.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
groberton:

Prof Hat - that is exactly my point. You say that the copied CDs never sound as good but I can't think of a logical reason why. A copy is exactly the same 1s and 0s in the same order so there shouldn't be any audible difference.

As Audioholic says there shouldn't be any difference in blank CD quality. As I understand it the judgement of quality of a blank CD is it's ability to be written on to in the first instance and it's ability to not succumb to disc rot. There isn't such thing as a lower quality 1 or 0.

Also please note I am not talking about inferior quality RIPs - this is a straight CD copy.

The answer is really in the question: If you are copying the original then the end product will be slightly inferior. Another example is photographs. If you ask a high camera shop, or anywhere where they process pictures, they generally say that quality will not be quite the same as the original.

I've always found, in particular, a cd copy isn't as 3D sounding as the original...
 

jaxwired

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Feb 7, 2009
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plastic penguin:The answer is really in the question: If you are copying the original then the end product will be slightly inferior. Another example is photographs. If you ask a high camera shop, or anywhere where they process pictures, they generally say that quality will not be quite the same as the original.

I've always found, in particular, a cd copy isn't as 3D sounding as the original...

You can't compare print copies to CD copies.

CDs contain digital information. It's discreet information, meaning that there is a fixed number of values. Those values if read correctly and writtten correctly will be the same on both discs. If the values are the same on both discs, then they will sound identical UNLESS, there is something about the properties of the discs themselves that make one harder to read than the other when being played. In which case the CD player may read more erroneous data during playback on one than than the other,

I would not worry about copies sounding inferior.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I am not worrying about one sounding inferior to the other. Logically, there should be no difference. A copy of something as black and white as a 1 and a 0 should be faithful to the original, especially with verification of the copy. Therefore if the CD reads 11110100101010101001010101 1 1001010101010101010101010101 10100101010101010 and the copy reads 11110100101010101001010101 1 1001010101010101010101010101 10100101010101010 and it has been verified as the same then there should be no difference.

I find it funny that the photo/picture analogy came up. If you scan a photo, print it, then scan it again, and print it again you will see a loss in quality each time because each time it is put into the analogue domain (on paper).

If you copied a digital photo file 1000 times and then printed it out - it wouldn't be any different to the original file as the file is still the same - it has always remained in the digital domain. And there lies my logic, a copy of a CD remains in the digital domain, so it should be indistinguishable from the original. I can see this argument running for a while - the interesting part is that those who think there is no loss in quality will invariably have a computer/PC/Mac source in their signature...
 

nads

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Nov 29, 2007
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the process of making a CD original and "burning" a CD are very different. and will give different results. Error correction will cover this but....

A copy of a CD on a Hard disc or a flash drive is a different matter though.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
As an experiment, many years ago, I did a DAE (digital audio extraction) of a music CD.

Then a repeated, via PC hard disk drive, write/DAE/erase/write to a CD-RW disc 50 times. Took about a week, 4x was the re-write speed then!

A direct bit by bit comparison proved that the 50th generation copy was identical, bit wise, to the original.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
jaxwired:plastic penguin:The answer is really in the question: If you are copying the original then the end product will be slightly inferior. Another example is photographs. If you ask a high camera shop, or anywhere where they process pictures, they generally say that quality will not be quite the same as the original.

I've always found, in particular, a cd copy isn't as 3D sounding as the original...

You can't compare print copies to CD copies.

CDs contain digital information. It's discreet information, meaning that there is a fixed number of values. Those values if read correctly and writtten correctly will be the same on both discs. If the values are the same on both discs, then they will sound identical UNLESS, there is something about the properties of the discs themselves that make one harder to read than the other when being played. In which case the CD player may read more erroneous data during playback on one than than the other,

I would not worry about copies sounding inferior.

If you're streaming onto a CD, I agree totally. Copying CD to CD, the copied version is noticably inferior. I have several discs a friend of mine recorded 3 years ago and played on face value they sound fine - compare it to a shop bought (proper recorded version) and there's a very noticable difference.

Edit - friend has an expensive Yamaha CD recorder.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If you copy a data disk there will be no difference at all unless there are irrecoverable errors on the disk.

But, and it's a big but, the Redbook standard for Audio CDs is very different to Data CDs. The various levels error checking and data redundancy etc. are far inferior. A CD player will (usually) logically interpolate gaps in data (read: errors) with 0's and 1's as it sees fit. If you are copying on a computer and make sure that it is a bit-for-bit copy of the disc, i.e. rip it slowly and multiple times to confirm the data is the same and compare against AccurateRip, you can be sure it is a perfect copy of the disc. In fact, it is possible that it may be even better than the actual disc copy because you have unlimited to rip/re-scan/re-rip the disc etc. but when playing it in a CD Player it must read the disc at 1x speed and do everything on-the-fly. (If you need an example, read the WHF review of Naim's HDX. They thought it sounded better tham being played in a CDP on some occasions.)

Ultimately, though, it depends how you play these ripped files. That is often the bigger problem rather than the rip actually being better or worse than the CD.

If you reburn them to another CD a whole swathe of issues become apparent. Remember, the blank CDs (CD-Rs) we buy are FAR inferior to what the record labels spit out (CD-ROMs). With the convenience of having a writable disc comes a loss of quality. This is really because we use a laser to write pits in the discs for 0s and 1s. Production plants do it a completely different way which involves creating a glass (or something similar) master copy and literally pressing that directly into the discs.

Hope this helps?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
plastic penguin:

If you're streaming onto a CD, I agree totally. Copying CD to CD, the copied version is noticably inferior. I have several discs a friend of mine recorded 3 years ago and played on face value they sound fine - compare it to a shop bought (proper recorded version) and there's a very noticable difference.

Edit - friend has an expensive Yamaha CD recorder.

But was this done digitally? Or via a player connected to a recorder by a phono lead - analogue audio?

That would definately be inferior, as per the photo copy example.
 

eternaloptimist

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Mar 29, 2009
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I think there is a big difference between:

a) Getting an accurate rip using Exact Audio Copy and playing the digital file with a well thought out PC / Mac solution encompassing good playback software that can output "bit perfect" e.g. J River MC into a quality DAC... and...

b) The result after burning that information back onto a CD, even if the rip was perfect. I think this is often inferior due to the process of consumer CD burning. As has been mentioned, commercial CDs are not "burnt disks".

I think that the (a) can sound just as good as the original CD and potentially better! Depends on the setup...

Cheers,

D
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
groberton:

I find it funny that the photo/picture analogy came up. If you scan a photo, print it, then scan it again, and print it again you will see a loss in quality each time because each time it is put into the analogue domain (on paper).

If you copied a digital photo file 1000 times and then printed it out - it wouldn't be any different to the original file as the file is still the same - it has always remained in the digital domain. And there lies my logic, a copy of a CD remains in the digital domain, so it should be indistinguishable from the original. I can see this argument running for a while - the interesting part is that those who think there is no loss in quality will invariably have a computer/PC/Mac source in their signature...

Not quite true... a .jpg file will reduce in quality if opened and saved multiple times, whereas a .tiff wont!
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
992
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al7478:professorhat:

If you believe that because it's 0s and 1s and can't sound different as a result, then no, because any variance in anything you hear is all in your head. So the best bet in this case is to sell your hifi and listen to a man banging some tin cans together.

Wha'?



groberton:There isn't such thing as a lower quality 1 or 0.

Clearly.
 

Greenwich_Man

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2008
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How about Music CDR's - I have a stack of them and found that my Yamaha CD recorder doesn't want the data ones (just wont recognise them) - I also use them on the laptop when recording from the USB turntable - and to my ears they sound better than using data CD's

Why should this be the case?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Assuming quality parts are part of the process, the copy should be identical to the Original. It is after all, how the original was made in the first place.
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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Greenwich_Man:

How about Music CDR's - I have a stack of them and found that my Yamaha CD recorder doesn't want the data ones (just wont recognise them) - I also use them on the laptop when recording from the USB turntable - and to my ears they sound better than using data CD's

Why should this be the case?

this is because consumer audio (as opposed to computer-based) cd recorders only record on audio/music (as opposed to data) CD-Rs. audio CDRs are a bit more expensive than data CDR, I understand to cover for 'loss' of revenue to record companies due to home copying.

professional audio cd recorders can use data CDRs for music recording.
 

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