I'll tell my experience with CD-R's failing. A couple of years ago,
my son gave me a spindle of 100 CD-R's for Christmas. These were very
cheap disks, but they appeared to record fine initially. After rebate,
they were free! Definitely a bad sign.
Some of these started failing after about 3 months in audio duty. The
failure mode was a noise modulation that showed up as a rushing sound
that got louder and quieter at the disk rotation rate. Amazingly,
I was able to recover the music off them by ripping them with one of
the extraction programs. I used cdda2wav that is available on Linux.
It seems that most audio players don't use the error recovery information
that is recorded along with the music. This was one of the DRM schemes
that was used on some disks. The error detection and recovery bytes
were explicitly scrambled so that the disk would play on most audio
machines, but would be mangled when ripped as data to a wav file. I
remember hearing that Philips was extremely upset about this DRM scheme
since it violates the audio format required to call a disk CD audio.
So, it seems that this crop of disks I had would fail slowly in audio
duty with the amount of noise getting larger with each passing week.
As data disks, they appear to keep working longer, but then suddenly
fail when the error density exceeds the ability of the error correction
recorded on the disk.
This batch of cheap CDs had the brand name of 'Optimum' which is quite
an ironic name for them.
I have recorded on some older Memorex disks and some of those also failed
in audio duty. Since that experience I've switched to Sony disks and
I haven't had one of those fail in several years now. I play them
regularly so failure will show up.
Storage environment is also important. One of the failed Memorex disks
was left in the car for a couple of months and was quite unplayable after
that. The rest are kept indoors in a uniformly heated room (no extremes
of temperature). That one CD-R that I left in the car was the only one
that I've left there for any length of time.
I'm quite curious to hear any other experiences with failures in CD-Rs.
> Hmmm, interesting story; I'm not quite sure what to say, except that
> different people have different experiences. I've never had a CD-R go bad
> on me, but then again, I haven't been using them all that long. But I sure
> have had a lot of hard disks fail - and yeah, sometimes they fail quickly
> (usually they last a very short time or a very long time, rarely something
> in between). Maybe the web articles you mentioned about CD-R longevity have
> better statistics than I do.
> For whatever it's worth, AUDIO CDs can APPEAR to last longer than data CDs,
> but physically, they're identical. The difference may be in the redundancy
> and 'looseness' of audio reproduction. On playback, if a CD player cannot
> read a sample or two, it will interpolate the missing value and that loss is
> essentially inaudible. Audio CDs also store the same information 2 or 3
> times, for redundancy and scratch-resistance, because the designers of the
> audio CD expected it to be used in a harsh environment (and they're right).
> Data CDs have none of these redundancies, and interpolating missing DATA is
> never done, although occasionally I wish my bank would do that with my
> checking account balance.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Phatjbp@...
> To: audacity-users@...
> Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 3:42 AM
> Subject: Re: [Audacity-users] Audacity-users Digest, Vol 6, Issue 39
> In a message dated 10/22/2006 11:02:36 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> audacity-users-request@... writes:
> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 15:25:43 -0700
> From: "Steven Taylor" <steven.taylor56@...>
> Subject: Re: [Audacity-users] Saving Audacity recordings into small
> To: "Discussion list for Audacity users"
> Message-ID: <op.thugk5lxct6eu9@...>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; delsp=yes;
> Actually, I would have to disagree here. Recordable CDs and DVDs vastly
> vary in quality from brand and type to another. Those that you pay only
> $0.20 would be lucky to last 20 years let alone a lifetime. There is a lot
> written about storage longevity with gold CDs being the longest life. No
> DVDs are rated for life (ie. 100 yrs) at all. There is a lot of discussion
> of backup on photography sites, if you do some google searches you should
> be able to find a wealth of information.
> I don't believe that most hard drives fail in 4-6 years but that may be
> when a lot start to fail. What is certain is they will eventually fail so
> you don't want to rely on just one drive for backup. Backing up on
> several drives or on several computers, preferably at different locations,
> is what will give you greater security. It just depends on how important
> the backups are to you. I have a Buffalo TerraStation which contains four
> 250G drives. I have them set for Raid 5 so I end up with 750G of redundant
> storage. If (when) one of the drives fail, it can be replaced with no loss
> of data. I think I paid about $700 for it and it attaches to my network so
> that any on my data on any of my computers can be backed up to it. It also
> means that you have very quick access to it when you need to retrieve
> something. There are other storage solutions, but it takes some research,
> money, and dedication to really make for safe and secure backup storage.
> well, my experience is home burned cd's can fail COMPLETELY in 6 months or
> less, and that those burned on another platform are often useless....i have
> THOUSANDS of cd's of data, and periodically need to fire up a win 98 machine
> top access data on discs deemed "corrupt" by XP....
> a real pain.
> so every now and again, i go in, salvage the more important data to the 98
> harddrive, then use a USB thumb drive to import it back to xp.....but have
> lost THOUSANDS of files still...
> music files i am far more careful about, but even those i've had some loses
> a properly cared for and properl;y stored/burned AUDIO cd may indeed last a
> few decades, but data disks sure don't!
> so back that stuff up ALL THE TIME is my suggestion, and save song files not
> only as WAV files or AUP's, but as audio cd's of the various tracks as
> well...they have, from my research, the longest lifespan (audio cd's)..
> as for harddrives??
> i've had 'em fail brand new, right outta the box!!
> yah, that sure was nice of phillips to stick it to us with this high tech
> dreck, no???
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