CD-Rot: In the News
Recently, newspapers published articles about the lesser known problem with CDs- their being subject to possible rust - naming releases of well known artists like Kate Bush, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and many more whose CDs were affected.
The reason is that data on CDs and DVDs is held within an aluminium layer and protected by a thin layer of lacquer. However, if this layer is not properly applied (as was the case with some early CDs) or if discs are not handled correctly, the air and moisture can penetrate and cause the aluminium to oxidise and subsequently make them unplayable. Bending the disc when taking it out of its case, puts a strain on the protective layers and manufacturers now suggest that for a maximum lifespan, discs should be stored vertically and handled by the edges.
How to spot if your CDs are affected ?
For those who don't know how to spot if their CD is "rotting," here's a quick list of symptoms:
1. The silver color on the "label" side of the CD has started to change to a color variously described as bronze, copper, golden-brown or rusty-orange color. On the "black label" CDs, such as YOU MEAN SO MUCH TO ME, all that can be checked is the 2mm area of aluminum just beyond the black area on the outer portion of the disc. The discoloration doesn't necessarily show up on the "playing" side of the CDs. This symptom happens on 100% of "rotting" discs, the worse the "rot" - the more pronounced the discoloration will be.
2. The ink used from the label side appears to be "bleeding" through to the playing side. This symptom only happens sporadically.
3. On playing the disc, there seems to be an inordinate amount of "static-like" background noise. The level of noise that can be heard rises and falls with the volume (i.e.. soft passages vs. loud passages) of the music on the disc (not your volume knob). The louder the actual music, the more apparent the background noise will be. This symptom is not apparent at the outset, but eventually creeps in and gets worse and worse over time. This also seems to show up earliest on tracks towards the end of a disc rather than at the beginning.
4. Your CD player exhibits tracking problems while playing the discs. This symptom is not apparent at the outset - or it could be due to other factors like the CD player itself. All that is known is that the affected discs will exhibit this problem at some point.
Note: If your CD is suffering from 2 or more of the above symptoms, especially problem #1, then your CD is probably suffering from CD rot. There seems to be no correlation between how many times you've played a CD and when CD rot sets in.
How to protect and prevent your CDs rotting ?
We have compiled useful tips and suggestions how to handle, protect and store your CD. Please click here to read the article.