Resurfacing a Music CD?

Hey All,

I have over 600 CD’s in my collection and I’m slowly ripping them to mp3’s. Unfortunately I’m finding a few CD’s that are having major problems in the computer’s CD ROM drive. They play fine in an audio CD player, but the computer can’t seem to track them correctly and a few of the songs are all garbled up.

I looked carefully at the CD and notice that there are lots of tiny scracthes on the ones that don’t rip correctly. Is there any way I can ‘fix’ the surface? Or would it be easier to ‘play’ the CD into the audio in port and then rip the resulting wave file?

I was thinking of using tooth paste and my electric tooth brush to polish the surface.

I was also thinking of using a buffing wheel and/or 2000 grit sandpaper.

Has anyone tried any of the above techniques with any success?


You should be able to find products actually designed to fix problems on CDs. Office supply stores, Radio Shack, even some grocery stores (if they sell things like blank tapes and the like) should have them. Best Buy sells a whole kit, but I believe it runs something like $50.

I would recommend against using anything that isn’t designed for the purpose. You could damage your CDs beyond repair. (I’ve done it. :frowning: )

Not sandpaper and a wheel–the heat may kill the CD. Toothpaste is a first cheap and easy starting place–use a soft cloth, the electric toothbrush will only make a mess. Then consider using the various grades of automotive rubbing compounds. Meguiers markets several liquid forms of them. I haven’t had to go beyond a “1.”

Always use a very soft cloth and wipe the discs down with a dab of alcohol afterward.

One last thing, before repairwork, are you sure those CDs don’t have the latest in copy protection that prohibit playing on computers?

You’re on the right track, and what you’ve suggested should work, but the plastic layer is pretty thin, so you need to be careful. I think they sell some purpose built machines that lightly buff out scratches, but I think you could do it with your equipment if you’re careful. Practice on a few you’ve already burned.

There’s a (UK) company that specialises in repairing scratched CDs; more details here:

They have machines to do it, but I suspect that something like automotive cutting compound might do the trick (try it on a scratched AOL disk first).

First the easy way. There is a device you can find at most electronics stores called the “Disk Doctor”… I have one and it works exactly as advertised. Fantastic product!

The not so easy way. Before I found the disk doctor, I did them by hand. The problem is finding rubbing compound that is fine enough. What you want is called “jewelers rouge”… you get it at (surprise) the jewelery store. They use to polish jewelry. Also, pretty much the same thing is used to polish mirrors for telescopes. This works well too, but the disk doctor makes the job much faster.

Hope that helps.

Geoduck, These are not the new ‘copy protected’ CD’s.

Everyone else, thanks for the ideas, I’m going to stop by the autoparts store on my way home and I’ll let you know how it goes.

off topic, those ‘copy protected’ CD’s must be a lawyer’s idea vis-a-vie DIVX. If I ever end up owning a ‘copy protected’ CD, the first thing I’ll do is ‘play’ it into my computer via the analog to digital converter from a personal CD player and burn a non-copy protected version. I admit that it will be slow, 1:1 conversion time, but I think it will be worth it. Besides, it will give me a chance to listen to the CD. That is such a short sighted solution. The real solution is to set the price for the CD such that it’s cheaper to buy the CD than it is to download it from the net. Or you could even price the individual song for legal downloading.

What has been killing me for years is that a cassette tape of the same album, containing more moving parts, is cheaper than the equivalent album on a CD. Both require the same amount of packaging and art, so why is the cheaper media, the CD, more expensive? GRRRRRRR Then there’s the cost of ‘used’ CD’s. Now the artist and record company have already been paid from the first time the CD was sold, so why would a ‘used’ CD cost 3/4 the price of a ‘new’ CD?!?!?

Anyway, thanks for all you input,

One reason that CDs might be slightly more expensive than tape is that a royalty to philips and perhaps a few other companies has to be paid for every one. Don’t know how much that is though.

The only reason CDs cost more is because people are willing to pay more for them. The same goes with Starbucks coffee and SUVs.

Basically because people who sell used CDs are in the business to make money. A used CD is substantially cheaper than a new one, so people pay the price willingly.

Why should they cut into their profit margins when they’re already providing you with a discount?

>Why should they cut into their profit margins…

It has been reported that the record companies gross sales are down over the last two years. I think that is a sign that other people are fed up.

They should cut into their profit margins to maintain good customer relations, otherwise people are going to figure out how to work around them (gnutella, etc.) and then they won’t have any profit margins to speak of.

You misunderstood me. I was referring to the sellers of used CDs.

Sorry for the confusion.

I have had damaged cds as well, and I fixed them- although it didnt involve resurfacing. My method involves extracting the tracks to my hard drive with a cd extraction program, I use CDRWIN, but other programs work too.

Amazingly the damaged tracks are repaired in the new .WAV files on my hard drive (I don’t lose any quality). I Then burn a new CD with all the .WAV files I extracted from the damaged CD. This essentially makes an exact copy of the damaged CD, but in brand new condition! I have yet to find a CD that is I cannot fix using this method. I suppose you can skip the burning and make MP3s out of the .WAV files. I don’t know why this works, my guess is that it has something to do with error correction that is done with extraction.

This works so well for me that I have been able to repair CDs that I have checked out from the Chicago Public Library. If youve seen a public library CD (some look like they were scraped on cement) then you should know that this method is no joke.