Monday, April 03, 2017

CD Cleaning Discs I Have Known

            In the Olden Days of cassette players, the play/record heads would get dirty over time.  You would buy a Tape Head Cleaner.

            If you were really uptown, you would buy a Tape Head Demagnetizer.

            Of course, if you were a post-teen newlywed without a lot of bucks -- the way I was around 1980 --  you cleaned your cassette heads with a Q-Tip.  An illo from WikiHow:

            Beginning in the 1980s, we had the CD revolution.  A laser which reads music from a little silver disc?  What a concept!

            Turns out, dirty human hands tend to touch the PLAY side of CDs.  Eventually, some of that grime gets onto the lens.  This leads to bad reproduction and other problems.

            Enter the CD Cleaning Disc!

             This is my “original” one, bought from Staples.  This item has no CD front inser

            Yes, it’s more than five years old.  I kept it my car, because the factory CD player in my beautiful car needs it every eight months to a year.  CDs would skip, or alternately the CD-Text would be missing, on discs that I knew DID contain that info.  Evidently you can wear out a CD disc cleaner!

            After six or more years, I became very familiar with the format of this tool.  After a few seconds of cheesy soft-jazz music, a woman’s voice announces:

    “Thank you for selecting the CD Cleaning Disc to clean your CD player.  You can enjoy music while cleaning your CD player at the same time.  When you hear the high-tone beep sound, please forward the cleaning CD to Track Five.”

            If you check out Tracks One-Three, you hear the same gal talking in other languages.  If you are a good (English-speaking) camper, and forward the disc to Track Five, you hear a repeat of the cheesy music, then:

    “The cleaning process is now completed.  Please enjoy the following music.  Your CD player will work much better if you use the CD lens cleaner regularly.”

            Just for fun, I ripped this disc using EZ-CD Extractor (a great product, by the way).  These are the tracks and their factory labels:

STAPLES Lens Cleaner
01 - Intro - English language
02 - Intro -  French language
03 - Intro -  Spanish language
04 - Blank Track
05 - Outro - English language
06 - Outro -  French language
07 - Outro -  Spanish language

            I don’t know what’s in the blank Track Four, but it’s about 20 minutes long, according to the CD extractor program.  Also, Track Four was full of “errors,” according to the CD extractor.  It’s probably some sort of data track, not audio:

You can still buy a “STAPLES CD/DVD drive cleaner” that appears identical to my old one, at:

            Well, after lo these many years, I had to buy a new one.  I went to Best Buy this time.

             This item has a CD case front insert, but no rear insert.

            When I opened it and popped it into my car CD player, I found that Track One opened with cheesy music.  This time, instead of cheesy soft jazz, I heard cheesy soft synth.  Then a voice asked me to FF to Track Two for English instructions.  Keep playing Track One, and you’ll hear the voice tell you (I guess) the same thing in different languages, directing you to various tracks.

            Fast-Forward to Track Two, and guess what you hear?


            Yep.  Different label, different music, different voice; IDENTICAL SCRIPT.  Of course, I can only vouch for the English version, but every word is the same, except that the INSIGNIA disc from Best Buy directs you to Track Nine.

            But the best thing about this item (besides its fine performance) is the humor used in creating the track names.  Yes, MusicBrainz has a listing for the INSIGNIA disc.  Check out the track title for Track Eight!

Silver Line - INSIGNIA CD Lens Cleaner
01. Introduction (0:36)
02. English Information (0:27)
03. German Information (0:34)
04. French Information (0:30)
05. Spanish Information (0:30)
06. Japanese Information (0:37)
07. Chinese Information (0:27)
08. Empty Track - Come on you're playing a CD-Cleaner! (40:05)
09. English Music (2:05)
10. German Music (1:54)
11. French Music (2:00)
12. Spanish Music (1:59)
13. Japanese Music (1:53)
14. Chinese Music (2:01)

            Like the Staples disc, the empty track was read as containing “errors.”  EZ-CD said the track was forty minutes long as I ripped it, but the resulting mp3 is only a couple of seconds long.

You could buy one here:

            So, even when your CD player skips, keep smiling while you’re playing your “CD-Cleaner”!

            If you want to hear the audio yourself for some April Foolish reason, w\here is a link to the audio tracks and photos:

 See you next Monday!
All original content
© by Mark Alfred