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Sunset Vette

28 Aug

What to do with scratched compact discs?

One of my hobbies is going around to various discount book / music stores and picking up music discs. Sometimes I know what I am getting (the other day I was able to pick up six different discs from the Eagles for $2 each) and sometimes I have no idea. When I only spend a dollar or two per disc, I figure if three out of four discs sound good then I don’t mind passing the music that I don’t like on to someone else. How do I decide to buy something or not? Normally I check the cover, look the artist up on Amazon to see what the reviews are like, and if it seems really unusual I might check eBay to see what the resale market looks like. Sometimes I get lucky and find something really unusual.

Sometimes those unusual discs are fairly scratched up. If the scratches are from the inside of the disc out (center to edge) then they normally won’t impact the play much, if at all. But if the scratches are radial (around the center circle) then the odds of having problems go way up. For example, I had one disc that played fine except for two songs in the middle of the disc; they would skip and I was not able to rip them to mp3 format either.

So about a month ago I decided to see what I could do about some of these discs. In some cases I just wanted to polish the disc up a bit to remove surface smudges that I could not wash off normally. In a couple of cases I had more severe defects to work with. I decided to purchase a disc repair device. I looked at some of the manual ones and decided not to go with any of those due to the variety of bad reviews I read. Seems that with a manual process it’s hard to get consistent results. I looked at several of the automatic devices (some of which are $500 or more) too. They seemed to be more reliable, but of course they were quite a bit more expensive. I ended up buying the JFJ Easy Pro from Amazon.com.

I’ll talk more about the device in my next post. For now, I can say that the machine works, and does exactly what I want it to do. For discs with marred surfaces I can polish them in about sixty seconds and they are as good as new. For discs with light scratches I use a mild abrasive on a buffing pad to buff out the marks, then polish the disc. Again, good as new. The disc that I mentioned earlier that would skip on a couple of songs? After two minutes of buffing and one minute of polishing the disc played (and looked) perfect.

The real test was when a friend brought over a disc that had been rattling around on the dashboard of her car. Wow, was it a mess! I started with the buffing and polishing, and that didn’t fix it. Ultimately I used all four features of the Easy Pro, including two different grits of sandpaper (yes, I sanded her music! 😯 ), the buffing, and the polish. When we were done the disc still had some very slight marks but it played perfectly.

I considered that a victory. 😎

I’ll write more about the device in a future post, and try to get some “before” and “after” pictures to show how it works. But now when I go discount compact disc shopping to don’t have to worry quite so much about buying items from the $1 bucket that might be a bit scratched up. I know I can fix ’em myself.

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