Psychological effect of packaging?

martin H

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From the odd things department:

Earlier this year I mixed and mastered a project for some friends. After the "final" session, I burned 8 copies in CD audio, and gave one to each involved person for approval

After general approval, they sent one of these Cda copies to Diskmakers, with institutions to burn the thing as an image of the disk. They specifically declined any further mastering.

When the product came back, all nicely packaged an labeled, two of the people who got burned copies insist that the Diskmakers version sounds audibly better than the final copy I gave them for approval.

Curious, I ripped a track from the Diskmakers version and the last burned copy I had sent out. I put each version, samples aligned, into Sonar, and reversed phase on one of them. They cancel completely when both gains are set to 0dB. To my mind, this is clear proof that the two tracks are identical. However, two people are insisting there is a clear audible difference

Is it just that they look nicer (therefore must sound nicer) or can anyone think of another explanation? Do they just have crappy CD players that don't read the burned disk well?
 

yeti

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From the odd things department:

Earlier this year I mixed and mastered a project for some friends. After the "final" session, I burned 8 copies in CD audio, and gave one to each involved person for approval

After general approval, they sent one of these Cda copies to Diskmakers, with institutions to burn the thing as an image of the disk. They specifically declined any further mastering.

When the product came back, all nicely packaged an labeled, two of the people who got burned copies insist that the Diskmakers version sounds audibly better than the final copy I gave them for approval.

Curious, I ripped a track from the Diskmakers version and the last burned copy I had sent out. I put each version, samples aligned, into Sonar, and reversed phase on one of them. They cancel completely when both gains are set to 0dB. To my mind, this is clear proof that the two tracks are identical. However, two people are insisting there is a clear audible difference

Is it just that they look nicer (therefore must sound nicer) or can anyone think of another explanation? Do they just have crappy CD players that don't read the burned disk well?

Yeah, could be . You have proven that the files are identical when imported into a DAW, but you should compare the re-digitized audio from the CD players analog output. Ingest, don't rip.
Let us know what you find out.
 

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