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Could someone tell me why my CD sounds good on everything but a discman??


TRIBE Member
So, this problem has been driving me crazy for about a week or so, and I have no idea what to make of it or do about it.

When I make an audio mix down in Cubase, (whether it's .wav, .aif, .mp3) and then burn it to CD, the track will sound fine in everything but a disc man. In the discman it becomes very distorted like it's mad clipping.
I've normalized it, limited it, turned the master down..changed sample rates, the works...but it all yeilds the same result. It seems to only be with the audio mixdowns from Cubase too, because I burnt other mp3s (amateur and pro) and they sound fine in my player.
I'm sending these CDs out to a bunch of labels so I'd like to make sure they work in any kind of device before sending em away.
Does anyone have any idea what this could be about? Or should I even be concerned with it, if it works in 9/10 devices?

Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Oh, the CD player is new Sony.....if that makes any difference. :)
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Mike Richards

TRIBE Member
What headphones are you using to reference & are you using the same headphones on numerous CD Players. As well Headphone amps on those discmans aren't the best quality. Also it could be a crappy converter in that player.

Lots of possibilities


TRIBE Promoter
Open the soundfiles and look for clips. As long as there aren't any, the files are fine and the problem is in the player. I suspect this is most likely the case... HTH


TRIBE Member
Thanks for the replies, guys.

I did use the same headphones on both discmans I tried - Sony V500s.

Isosceles cat: I ran the tracks through a normalizer set at .-1 db, so no clips in the track as far as I can tell.

I would think the problem is with the discmans, but because I tried it in two different ones, and other converted mp3s files work fine, I thought it was something else.

Thanks again.


TRIBE Member
If its to quiet then prob you have to compress a bit or get a better headphone amp.

If its distortion sometimes its easier to hear in headphones, but it could also be the way you hear in headphones. Frequencies arive at the ears in a different manner than in speakers. Almost no headphone is time aligned. Very few speakers are not time aligned but thats another debate.

One other thing that ISO might have had an idea on is that when he normalised that track he did it at -1db. Many older DACS distort at 0 db so this is good to keep in mind.

But with out hearing it I would say most the time its compression or lack of. Not that I am saying squash it or anything either, jsut that good comp and EQ work can make most music sound better. With in reason.
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TRIBE Member
sounds like something is wrong with your cd player. to be sure, i think you could test it by ripping the files from the cd and looking at the waveform to see if it's clipped. then record it out of your headphone jack while it's playing and check the waveform then.

however, you'll be looking for the peaks getting cut off which means it might be hard to tell if you've already mastered it with heavy compression or limiting.
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TRIBE Member
i had a batch of CDs that I thought were music CDs
but apparently were data CDs. They even worked in
my bathroom CD player and my computer CD player.

Put it in my car or give it out to others.... distortion.

Could it be the batch of CDs you got?


TRIBE Member
Yes, sometimes the CDs can cause distortion even when the waveform is fine and plays fine on the computer. It happened to me with Best Buy CDs, but when I switched to a more popular name brand the problem went away. Try different CDRs see if the problem still persists.


TRIBE Member
Thanks guys.

Beaker, I tried the ripping and recording thing - rip sounded fine, and the strange thing is, when I recorded out of the headphone jack, the track wasn't clipping (it never went over 0 db) but it was still completely distorted.

I did think it was the CDs at first too - cuz they are shit, but I tried a Verbatim CD (which I guess are good?) and the exact same problem happened.

What I'm wondering is why other mp3s are transferring fine. That's probably the thing that's giving me the most confusion. I burnt a couple James Holden tracks onto the same CD, and they sound fine. :confused:

This is a rather strange problem I think..but I'll go get some better CDs and see what else I can do :)

Thanks for your help, everyone.

bob stone

TRIBE Member
what kida distortion is it?

is it the kind you get when your latency buffers are set too low,


is it more of a crushing type?
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TRIBE Member
Originally posted by -blake-
Thanks guys.

Beaker, I tried the ripping and recording thing - rip sounded fine, and the strange thing is, when I recorded out of the headphone jack, the track wasn't clipping (it never went over 0 db) but it was still completely distorted.

even if you don't go over 0 dbfs, you can still see if a waveform is clipped by looking at it. for instance, you could record a clipped signal and then reduce it's gain with a plugin. at this point, the level won't be over 0 db but it will still sound distorted, just quieter. if all the peaks are getting cut off, giving the waveform a square-ish shape, then it often means it's been distorted. but like i said, if you run it through an ultramaximizer or some other hard limiter, it squashes the waveform as well.

anyways sorry i can't be of more help. if you figure out the problem, let us know. maybe try calling sony or try some cubase user forums.