Handling a CD or DVD

We take CDs and DVDs for granted these days, throwing them on the desk, stuffing them 3 at a time into paper envelopes. But if we truly want these repositories of precious music and data to last, we need to handle them carefully. Here are a few points you may or may not know.

  • The data side (bottom) of the disc must remain free from scratches, fingerprints, dust, etc.
  • Cleaning the disc can actually damage it.
  • NEVER touch either surface.
  • Handle by the edges (or center hole).
  • NEVER set a disc down on a hard surface.
  • Return disc to its jewelcase to when done.
  • NEVER write on the data side of the disc. If you must write on a disc, write ONLY on the label side (top) and ONLY with an approved marking device such as felt-tip, non-toxic permanent ink — NEVER USE A BALLPOINT PEN!
  • Don’t let the bottom of the disc touch anything other than the player or the case it came in. I’m amazed at the scratched-up, greasy-fingerprinted premasters that I’ve seen.
  • Use quality media. Taiyo Yuden are considered the best in the industry.
  • NEVER leave an unprotected disc in direct sunlight – it will deteriorate the data. DO NOT expose to excessively hot and/or humid environments
  • Never clean in a rotary fashion. If it becomes necessary to clean the disc, use a soft, dry cloth, rubbing gently, always from the middle towards the outside. This will minimize errors if you accidentally scratch the surface (the data starts from the center in). We recommend a micro-fine cloth available from most optometrists for eye glasses.
  • Even slight bending of a disc can cause stress fractures. The aluminum then becomes deformed, causing some ridges to be blocked. As a consequence, error correction always has to be applied in that area, affecting the final sound.

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