Recovering corrupted .wav files

:confused: I have a CD-RW disc with 70 minute-long .wav files that I recorded (but never verified) about 4 years ago. When I try to open the files in question, I consistently get error messages and files won’t open. I’ve tried running IsoBuster software several times with different strategies (Little Endian, Big Endian, etc.) but I still have 10 or so files that vary from 70% down to 0% (6) with unreadable info because of bad sectors. I’ve extracted the data (it’s all there) for each track, which amounts to about 1.1M. Is there any way Audacity can “dummy” the bad sectors so the remaining ones can be read by a media player? :confused:

You could try the “File menu > Import > Raw Data”
If you are able to import meaningful audio into Audacity then you can export it as a WAV file which will open in Media Player and other programs.
If the CD-RW was recorded as a normal audio CD the data will be “16-bit 44100 Hz stereo”.

I have a dozen target tracks (that won’t read) and 59 all or partially readable tracks. When I import one of the readable tracks directly, the default setting is 16-bit signed, little endian, which works fine, so I guess that’s the baseline.

When I import problem tracks with above settings, nothing.

I’ve also made a raw data copy of the tracks. When I import that into Audacity, even on the good tracks I get the audio buried but slightly audible in 120/240 Hz buzz. Other tracks come up the same way, but in choppy intermittent bursts that sound like the audio may be collapsed a bit in time sequence (giving the sound as if you had taken some audiotape and randomly cut it up and respliced it in quarter or half-inch segments, so the voices sound present but garbled). A few of the tracks (6) still just come up empty, no matter what import settings I choose.

HOWEVER, the raw data for these otherwise blank tracks still reads out as containing full 1.1M data, just as they playable ones do. That makes me think that there’s data there – the question is how to get at it.

Bottom line, I can try and salvage the program material from the partial tracks that have that “garbled” sound. The question is how to retrieve those few (6) minute-long tracks that read as having data but show nothing for audio playback. :unamused:

That makes me think that there’s data there – the question is how to get at it.

Just because the file header information insists there’s a show is no guarantee.

This is where I win big. I work in a large production company and I start on the ground floor offices and work up until I find somebody who can play it. It almost always works. I almost never make it to the sixth floor.


If the data is “0000000000000000000000000000000000…” then it will still show the same size as if it were valid data. Just because there is data does not mean that there is meaningful data, it could be complete garbage. Recovery programs will often pad out missing data with zeros so as to keep the file size right, but the lost data is still lost.

I don’t think that the file will be all zeros as that would probably produce silence when using “Import Raw”, but if you are unable to get meaningful data then perhaps there is none.

Do you know what format the data was that was on the disk? Was it recorded as an audio CD or as a data CD? If recorded as a data CD, do you know what format the files were? Anything other than PCM data is not likely to be recoverable.

Everything is .wav

Unless you can try it on another machine, you’re not likely to get any further. The closest you can get to the physics of the machine that made the disk, or the newer the player, the better chance you have to recover the work. Start down the list of friends and relatives. I’m not kidding. I’ve pulled shows from disks that looked almost clear from dye layer damage. In one case it took us seven different machines before we found a hero machine that would play the client’s work. Split Windows and Mac, too. That can make a big difference.

The tracks were recorded on a digital recorder (Marantz 310) that records to hard disk & then offloads to a CD for storage, etc. I tried playing back the tracks a while back on the 310 without any different effect from attempts on other machines. If I could figure out a way to link up the IsoBuster software (which is what’s gotten me any recovery I’ve managed so far) with the original recorder I would do that, but the 310 only has “digital out” (i.e. realtime playback), and no USB ports, etc. for data out. Any suggestions in that direction?
Can you describe an “ideal” profile for a playback device that would be more likely to work, or is it purely hit or miss & clean your lasers, etc.? :ugeek:

Any ideas for coupling the Marantz deck into the process?

This one?
That’s a serious machine. I’m going to have to sit down for a minute.

I don’t suppose the work is still on the hard drives?

Is the disk physically damaged? Cat hairs? Peanut butter? Fingerprints? We had a temporary worker in the shop that never got the hang of handling disks by the edge.

If the disk has abrasions or other physical deformities, you could try the toohthpaste trick. If you absolutely can’t get any more of the work off, gently rub a layer of toothpaste and water over the optical surface. Tight circles or straight inside out. Never 'round the center.

Then rinse in distilled water. Dry with a soft cotton cloth and try it again.

Are there any deformities on the label side? The music is right underneath the label and if you scratch that at all, that’s the end of the show. There were early reports of people labeling with a particularly abrasive pen and wiping out the music.

I wasn’t kidding about finding a Mac with an optical drive. We’ve been known to rescue each others work. Different error corrections, etc.