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Play audio CDs without excessive noise Other Hardware
I often want to use my iBook G4 to play audio CDs using iTunes, but the noise from the CD drive makes it a horrible experience, especially with my wooden desk amplifying the iBook's vibrations. I don't know why the drive thinks it must spin so fast just for a plain audio CD.

Solution: Before you insert the disc, stick a small square of Scotch Magic Tape (or other quality well-sticking but easy-to-remove sticky tape) on the non-playing surface of the CD, closer to the perimeter than the centre. Make sure the tape is well stuck (no part of the tape sticking up or off the edge) otherwise it might come off while inside the drive and then we'll have real trouble. Best to cut the tape with scissors so all the edges are flat rather than tearing it using the dispenser because that will leave a zig-zag edge which may not stick down completely flat.

How it works: When the drive starts playing the CD, it will try to speed up like normal, but because it feels the CD is off-balanced (because of the tape) it will automatically slow down again and play perfectly, without excessive drive noise.

[robg adds: If you're going to try this (I haven't, and don't plan to), please be extraordinarily careful -- if that piece of tape comes off inside your drive, it will not be a fun repair project. An alternative might be to simply copy the AIFF files from the CD to the Mac and then play them using QuickTime Player or other audio player (this is all assuming you don't want to import the songs to iTunes for some reason).]
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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: mindsnare1349 on Nov 30, '06 07:48:26AM

i'd rather use headphones lol



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: alarj on Nov 30, '06 07:57:29AM

And if CD is off balance it may harm the drive mechanism. It will probably do nothing if you use it rarely. But if you do it often...



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: Typhoon14 on Nov 30, '06 08:39:54AM

Yeah, this is a really bad idea. One way or another, it's liable to inflict harm on your drive and/or CDs . . .



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: inspired_tmu on Nov 30, '06 09:17:47AM

So... if the CD plays fine at a low spin rate, why does it need to spin at a higher rate?

Anti-skip protection? I hardly think that would be an issue for a desktop computer. Laptop, maybe. Perhaps there should be a preference setting for this....?



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: pcook on Dec 04, '06 02:59:15PM

OK I don't think we need to hurl any more abuse at this post or those responsible. It's been well established that we shouldn't folllow the advice.

But the post does point to a very silly problem for which I would love to see a good solution.

Drives will sometimes spin unnecessarily fast when playing a simple audio CD. Sometimes reinserting the disc will cure the problem, sometimes it takes many tries, and sometimes I just give up.

I'm sure there are those of you who are happy to rip a CD to iTunes just because you would like to listen to it once, or maybe only to sample a couple of tunes. I'm not among them. Apparently many people are happy to put up with the very loud whirring noise while listening to music. I'm not in that camp either.

Can some of the collective brain power of this readership come up with a good solution instead of wasting their time insulting people?

---
-Peter



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: lionel77 on Nov 30, '06 10:12:35AM

Wow, this sounds like an extraordinary bad idea. I'm really surprised this hint has published.



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Please Delete this Hint
Authored by: bedouin on Nov 30, '06 10:35:30AM

Really bad idea. I remember I was lazy once years ago and instead of finding a permanent marker to write on a CD, I used a mailing label and wrote on the label with ink. While in the drive it presumably heated up, came off of the disc slightly, and then got jammed into the drive. Luckily this was with a standard 5.25" CD-ROM drive, not a slot loading one like in modern Macs. If a somewhat large adhesive label can come off, with the slight heat of a late 90s CD-ROM drive, I can't imagine how easily scotch tape would come off a CD in a scorching hot portable. Don't do this. There are a number of better solutions, like streaming from a home server, ripping it and taking it out, or buying an iPod -- which would be cheaper than a $300 repair by Apple.



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: Mikey-San on Nov 30, '06 01:20:50PM

This is absolutely the worst post I've ever seen on Hints. It pretty much encourages users to get pieces of tape stuck in their optical drives when the disc heats up and the adhesive fails.

First: What the heck was the submitter thinking?

Second: What were the editors thinking?



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: Yaldaboath on Nov 30, '06 01:24:16PM

I agree with the others who believe this is a really bad idea. The obvious thing to do to avoid the sound of the drive is to just copy the tracks to the HD and play them from there, whether you use iTunes or any other audio player. Do not insert a disc with any label stuck to it into a slot loading drive of a Mac. Big problems can result.



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: zpjet on Nov 30, '06 02:10:20PM

i happen to be a mac engineer. if the cd gets stuck in the drive of your ibook, because you've been too cool to just import the music into itunes and then play it, be ready for very challenging repair, especially if you have ibook 14" - disassembling practically the whole computer.



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: gidds on Nov 30, '06 02:26:12PM

Here's another reason why this is a bad idea:

Other people have pointed out the danger of the tape coming loose. But even if it sticks tightly, you should be aware that the metal layer is much closer to the top (label side) than the bottom (playing side). So much so that the top layer of plastic is often very thin; and if it gets damaged, so does the metal layer, rendering the CD unplayable. (That's why you should never use hard pens such as ballpoints to write on the label.)

So if the tape is stuck too tight, it risks pulling the thin plastic layer away...

---
Andy/



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: mag on Dec 01, '06 12:40:00PM

I second that, and to be more precise, there isn't even a layer of plastic on top, it is just lacquer. If you want to test it, apply some strong adhesive tape and remove it quickly, and you will most likely have effectively destroyed your CD. Or if you have burnt a coaster, break it (obviously be careful with the shards). If you do it right, the plastic and metal layers will not brake along the same lines, and you will understand why it a bad idea to stick anything on top of a CD. You might even be able to peel off the metal layer.



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: Kar98 on Dec 03, '06 06:29:20PM

Rip CD to iTunes. Play music with iTunes. Done.

Sticking anything to your CDs, even printed CD labels, is plain stupid.



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: apveenstra on Dec 13, '06 01:21:00AM

Instead of sticking a label or some tape to the CD to get it off-balanced, why not use a file or drill to make a little hole at the edge of the CD. This would have the same effect, but without the risk of the tape coming off and damaging the player ;)



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Play audio CDs without excessive noise
Authored by: ryancu on Mar 20, '10 12:00:17AM
Thanks everyone for the comments...

This poster suggests a couple of software solutions which are now available for getting the drive to run at a slower (quieter) speed: