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Distortion when track played on one cd player only

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Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:53 pm

Hi, I am very new to home recording and have been doing some very simple digital recordings guitar/vocal. The exported tracks [MP3 and wave] sound great on my laptop, headphones, car stereo, but one cd player sounds awful. The track is heavily distorted. Can anyone help me understand what's going on...

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:37 pm

Without knowing the mix and the CD set up it's impossible to say.

If you're peaking at or very close to 0dBFS (max digital) then it could be a problem with intersample peaks --something that's particularly problematic when converting to MP3s.

But if it sounds good everywhere else -- and you're comparing the same formats -- then that implies a problem with the specific CD player and/or the system it's being played through. Excessive bass energy can cause distortion in some systems, for example.

If you can post a link to the problematic audio file we could check that out, at least.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:44 pm

Thank you for the response, the tracks are quite bassy so that could be the problem, here is a link to it.

https://soundcloud.com/user-99212991/te ... 2dbTXDPxSx

Regards

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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:15 pm

Nothing obviously drastically wrong in terms of levels (although there are some odd stereo imaging issues).

However, there is quite a lot of energy kicking around below 40Hz. Given the nature of the mix, I'd suggest using a steep high-pass filter (18dB/oct) with a turnover of 60Hz or so and see if that helps your CD player/speakers have an easier time of it. There's no real musical content going on below 60Hz, so there's nothing to lose and a lot, potentially, to gain.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:33 pm

Thank you so much, I'll try what you suggest and let you know...

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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby The Elf » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:22 pm

I think we need to know more about that CD player, and how it is set up. The MP3 sounds fine here for what it is.

And hopefully you are not creating your CD from an MP3 file? This could potentially cause audible (though fairly subtle, at least on first generation) distortion.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby CS70 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:46 pm

Hard to say without thorough testing, but unless it's a really really basic product, the most likely explanation is that either the cd player or the speaker system it is connected to have problems, or maybe the physical CD itself.

There's always exceptions, but hardware CD players can handle full range data better than mp3s and similar, and if it was an issue with the sample data you most likely would encounter also with other formats..

A little high pass is almost always a good idea, unless you're interested in reproducing the rumble of the subway a block away... :)
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:13 am

Hi everyone, thank you for your replies. The problem I have been having is on the acoustic guitar track, https://soundcloud.com/user-99212991/ba ... d1LJq7aktC, I have tried reducing the low end but I either keep the distortion or the guitar sounds too tinny. Could it be the way I am recording the guitar? I am using a Zoom H2 about 20cm infront of the neck/body joint...
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby James Perrett » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:33 pm

It sounds like there is quite a bit of compression on the guitar which can also increase distortion if the attack and release times are too fast. I couldn't really hear any distortion here but it could be that your CD player is magnifying artefacts that aren't so noticeable on other systems.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:13 pm

It's good to hear your original track but even more important to hear what the CD player is apparently doing to it. Can you give us a recording of the problem as you hear it on this player? Maybe stick your H2 recorder in front of the speakers of your player with the problem.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:19 pm

Thank you, here is a recording of the cd player. The cd player is not the best, a fairly old Bush, but it plays other cds fine. All these files have been .wav.

https://soundcloud.com/user-99212991/fr ... Px96ZIH0nb
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:08 pm

That sounds like a distorting power amplifier to me.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby James Perrett » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:29 pm

Could it be the case vibrating? Can you plug headphones into the player and, if so, do you hear the distortion through the headphones?
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:00 pm

When the track is faded up it sounds a lot like cross-over distortion or possibly very broken converter D-A distortion.
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Re: Distortion when track played on one cd player only

Postby colinbright1970@gmail.com » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:16 pm

OK, so I plugged headphones into the cd player and the sound is fine. Unplug the headphones and still distorted, but holding on to the speakers stops it, so I guess that is where the problem lies...
Thank you all for your help!
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