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  #1  
Old May 3, 2011, 05:22 PM
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ebduhamel ebduhamel is offline
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Default Do bootleg CDs have less longevity?

When I started collecting VGM I assumed that if I took good care of my CDs, I could avoid getting the minor scratches that can cause skipping. I eventually found that my CDs started skipping anyway. However, I recently learned that most of the albums I've bought turned out to be bootlegs! So I was wondering, are bootlegs produced in a sub-par quality that could cause them to deteriorate over time even if they are taken good care of, and result in skipping even without getting visibly scratched or harmed?
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  #2  
Old May 4, 2011, 01:08 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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The print quality of bootlegs is already sub-par to begin with. At least that's my experience with the few bootlegs I purchased in the past. For starters you could just compare a C1/C2 scan from a Miya bootleg vs. a SQEX print -- pretty big difference, especially at the edge of the disc.
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Old May 4, 2011, 06:43 AM
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ebduhamel ebduhamel is offline
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I believe it. As I understand it, legit CDs are made by impressing or imprinting a blank disc with a master. I don't know how they make bootlegs, but I'm assuming its with an actual copy of the disc --not a master-- and with an inferior technique, perhaps even just "burning" the ISO onto a CD-R.

I'm looking forward to replacing some of my bootlegs and hearing the up in quality. I've never done a C1/C2 scan... looks like it can be done with some software called "Kprobe".
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Old May 4, 2011, 06:54 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
I don't know how they make bootlegs, but I'm assuming its with an actual copy of the disc --not a master-- and with an inferior technique, perhaps even just "burning" the ISO onto a CD-R.
Either it's really just using a recordable as media or they manufacture the media with poor equipment and poor material (impure polycarbonat, etc.)

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Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
I'm looking forward to replacing some of my bootlegs and hearing the up in quality.
Keep in mind that digital media don't work the same as analogue media, so you might not hear a difference (simply because the data can still be extracted without problems).

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Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
I've never done a C1/C2 scan... looks like it can be done with some software called "Kprobe".
Essentially it extracts the sectors of the disc and records the C1/C2 error rate level reported by the drives's firmware. Later this data is plotted and you can see how the error rate is spread throughout the disc. A high initial error rate is a clear indicator for poor manufacturing. Again keep in mind that one might not "notice" the high error rate, as long as it is kept below a certain treshold where the EDC/ECC still works properly.

Last edited by LiquidAcid; May 4, 2011 at 07:15 AM.
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  #5  
Old May 6, 2011, 04:19 PM
CaptainCommando CaptainCommando is offline
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The quality of the album should be determined in large part by the type of disc that was used as well as the manufacturing process. If the disc was printed at higher quality, then it would last longer. However, my guess would be Taiwan manufacturers have lower standards than Japanese and American manufacturers, and so the quality of the discs will on average be inferior.

That said, it all comes down to the quality of the disc used, and a lot of that has to do with the dye. I've got indie albums printed on CD-Rs, which I don't expect will last for another 10 years, and I've heard reports of CDs printed by certain manufacturers in the 80s and 90s that went bad because they used silver-based dyes that oxidized rapidly. At any rate, even the best-manufactured disc will not last forever, and how long the lifespan will be is an estimate at best.

I'd wondered if the data on the discs was accurate too. If the disc was copied correctly, the data should match up. I've got several Sonmay discs and have used Cuetools to double-check the CRCs. The data is correct, just the discs are offset different from every legitimate printing because they used a different press. So if the disc was printed properly, the data on it would be the same as if you had bought an official one. Anyway, I figure if the CRC checks matched up in EAC as well as in Cuetools, then the data was ok.

At any rate, the official copies are better because a) they're known to be accurate copies of the disc, b) the manufacturing process was probably done at higher quality, and c) the money spent on the disc when it was brand new went to the publisher and composer rather than a pirate.
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Old May 7, 2011, 06:11 AM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainCommando View Post
Anyway, I figure if the CRC checks matched up in EAC as well as in Cuetools, then the data was ok.
What always holds is:
CRC mismatch => data mismatch

The other direction is not true in general, but for a well choosen CRC polynomial (see Wikipedia for details) and under the assumption that burst errors prevail it holds with a high probability.
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Old May 8, 2011, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainCommando View Post
the money spent on the disc when it was brand new went to the publisher and composer rather than a pirate.
Always a good feature!

From what LiquidAcid said, I will never hear an increase in the quality of the music in any way similar to the differences in mp3 encoding, because the actual data encoded on the CD is the same no matter how well or how poorly it was recorded. What I can still hope for is less skipping or audio dropout. What happens to me the most is a CD that is not visibly damaged will, on some players, skip at the same points during certain songs. On one of my players, instead of skipping I get moments where the sound completely stops for a gap. This must be happen when an error in the data is not corrected in time to play the sound?

As for dyes, CaptainCommando, I had heard about that in the printing process of certain CDs, but is this how both CD-Rs AND original manufactured CDs are made? I thought the process for making each type was fundamentally different.
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Old May 8, 2011, 12:00 PM
LiquidAcid LiquidAcid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
From what LiquidAcid said, I will never hear an increase in the quality of the music in any way similar to the differences in mp3 encoding, because the actual data encoded on the CD is the same no matter how well or how poorly it was recorded.
Well that also depends on the source of data the bootleggers used.

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Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
What I can still hope for is less skipping or audio dropout.
Basically, but you could also have the situation where the bootlegger just used a available rip from the net (e.g. a MP3 rip) to master their discs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
What happens to me the most is a CD that is not visibly damaged will, on some players, skip at the same points during certain songs. On one of my players, instead of skipping I get moments where the sound completely stops for a gap. This must be happen when an error in the data is not corrected in time to play the sound?
Standalone audio disc players do interpolation when they can't recover from an errorneous sector. Interpolation is usually that good that you don't notice the "dropout", even when multiple sectors after another are affected. As long as the amount of missing audio samples isn't that high this interpolation "works", however above a certain treshold you gonna hear clicks, etc.

Some copy protection techniques for the CDDA use this behaviour of standalone devices: Audio is analyzed and long parts are identified that don't suffer that much from interpolation. During mastering the corresponding sectors are filled with garbage data, making them "bad" sectors.
Extracting something like this on a standard PC drive is going to yield horrible results, since most (if not all) optical drives for the PC don't implement the interpolation techniques.
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  #9  
Old May 8, 2011, 12:31 PM
Xenofan 29A Xenofan 29A is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebduhamel View Post
Always a good feature!
To the best of my knowledge, CD sales generally do not go to artists directly, but this may be different when the rights to the music are owned by the artist rather than a game company. On the other hand, if the distributor/publisher makes money on a release, they're more likely to publish more in the future, so in that way, money does (indirectly) end up in the artists' hands.
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  #10  
Old May 8, 2011, 12:40 PM
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I used to own a few bootleg Castlevania CD's and when I found out they were bootlegs I replaced with Konami as fast as I was able. When I had both the bootleg and officials in my hands I gave a good listen to both. Oh boy, is there a big difference in quality! The bootlegs had muted, almost washed out sound with a static grain background that I thought was normal at the time. Get originals!
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  #11  
Old May 9, 2011, 06:13 AM
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ebduhamel ebduhamel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghaleon64 View Post
Get originals!
I hear ya. Here I thought I was buying legit CDs. Suffice to say, I'll never trust a local comic book store again when buying imported music. Online only from now on at trusted places like play-asia.
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  #12  
Old May 9, 2011, 03:43 PM
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I think that wraps things up. I learned a bit about how CDs and players technically work thanks to you knowledgeable people, and my question about the longevity of bootlegs and CDs in general was answered, so thank you!
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Old May 10, 2011, 08:01 AM
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TerraEpon TerraEpon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenofan 29A View Post
To the best of my knowledge, CD sales generally do not go to artists directly,
They still get royalties. It's usually not too much if it's a 'major' label, though.
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  #14  
Old May 10, 2011, 10:59 AM
Cedille Cedille is offline
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I even don't think they receive royalties. In-house composers can only get an extra bonus as a reward for selling CDs at best, and freelance composers usually sell rights on their creations to game companies at fixed prices and after that, the music becomes the company's property. They're sometimes even not informed about a soundtrack release until they read on the third sources, let alone being able to supervise the soundtrack production (recording, mastering, naming, ordering, etc.). I'm not an insider of course, and the situation may be different in East and West, but it's my general impression.
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Old Jun 25, 2011, 08:17 AM
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TheBanditking TheBanditking is offline
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Interesting read for sure thanks for the info never truly knew what some of the major differences were. Thankfully the only bootlegs I have ever bought (by mistake, stupid ebay) are the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time OST's (Hyrule symphony, original ost, and remasters) Which I can definetly tell you are not manufactured very well at all there are a few tracks on each that have always skipped even when the disc were new. looking forward to replacing the 98 OoT knockoff with the 3D release from club Nintendo.
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