CD Disc Rot

Started by drone on, February 28, 2016, 01:26:51 PM

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drone on

If you Google disc rot there's a Wikipedia page about it.  Anyone here have experiences with this?  Just to clarify, this only applies to silver/glass mastered discs, not CDR.

This has happened to me twice now.  It's amazing how the tiniest speck of the black rot on the edge of the CD can cause it to sound like a CDR gone bad. 

One of the two was made by PDO in UK in early 90s.  Apparently the company's faulty manufacturing created a huge wave of disc rot.  The other one was the Legend soundtrack CD by Tangerine Dream, issued in 1995, by a different manufacturer.  I almost needed a microscope to locate the telltale rot.

I have a CD bought on Discogs recently where I can see the rot starting but it plays fine.  Wonder how long before it goes south.

Related to rot is bronzing, where the disc turns a bronze gold color.  A few of my original Tangerine Dream CD pressings from UK have this but playback isn't affected.  Well at least not yet...


I have a Coil CD (Horse Rotovator) that suffered from disc rot. When I attempt to play it, it sounds like digital screechy static. It is most unfortunate because the CD would cost a lot to replace via Discogs and I wouldn't be sure, without a trustworthy seller, that the replacement hasn't suffered the same fate.

I'm not sure how many others in my collection are messed up. I'm a bit scared to check on things I haven't listened to in a while.


I had a PDO disk go bad; Skullflower's "Xaman".  Google it; almost every copy went bad; I sold my copy, along with a CD-R rip I managed to get before it failed, on eBay for stupid money. 

I've had a few others go bad too (for some reason, stuff on Crowd Control Activities had a higher rate of failure than other labels.). I've gone all digital now; now it's just catastrophic disk failure I need to worry about.  Lol
I wish I was a Glowworm; a Glowworm's never glum. 'Cause how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?


Aside from CDrs I've never had a CD go bad.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell


CD rot is real, but it mostly affected those discs made by PDO in the UK AFAIK. I have only had it happen to me a few times, mostly purchasing OOP discs on eBay or Discogs, and I was able to get a refund from the seller the handful of times it happened. There are many people out there that are unaware of this still, and others that know about it but try to get over on buyers that may not know.

One problem I have had with certain CDs, that is not CD rot but something else, is where a tiny bit of the plastic layer along with the aluminum layer flakes off, causing read errors. I've had it happen to a few discs that were stored in those Case Logic type CD cases/binders and I tend to minimize my use of those as a result. I've also had it happen to CDs that were stored in jewel cases, as well as on used discs I bought. I think temperature and storage conditions can affect this as well. Changes in temperature may not be good for the health of your CDs.

Basically what I am saying here is that CDs can go bad or deteriorate. It won't happen with every disc as there is quite a bit of variability in CD manufacturing quality out there (I have over 4000 CDs). I have discs from the 80s that are perfect and discs that are only a few years old that are starting to deteriorate. It can be hard to tell that something is going wrong until you attempt to rip a CD using a program like EAC that meticulously checks for read errors and spits out a log. Most programs don't do that.

Speaking of changes in temperature, awhile back I had a CD arrive in the mail from across the country and it was completely ruined when I took off the shrinkwrap. Somehow it had been exposed to a sudden temperature change in a warehouse or on the way through the mail and the plastic layer had thousands of tiny cracks of in it. The disc was straight up unreadable. Luckily I was able to get a refund.