Copyright 2001 CD-RW.ORG
CD-R media quality
This article is based on my own experiences and people's comments at the CD-R Media Forum
'What CD-R media to use" has always been a real FAQ around the internet. I personally had high hopes that faster writing speeds would solve the quality issues of CD-R media that influenced the industry in the early <4x speed age. Unfortunately this has not totally been the case. There still exists two kinds of CD-R media in the market: Bad and good. What to buy?
First of all one must understand that the label on the CD-R disc represents only the distribution brand, usually not the manufacturer. For an example, BASF CD-Rs have been manufactured by various companies, including Taiyo Yuden and CMC Magnetics. However, one can dig out some more information about the CD-R disc by using a program called CD-R Indentifier
. This little utility reads the so called ATIP information of the disc, including the supposed manufacturer. Also programs like Feurio or CDRDao are able to give information on the media. There are concerns about the reliability of this information, but so far it's the best and only info we can get and I have found the manufacturer information to match the quality very well.
At the CD-R Media Forum you can read many user comments about various CD-R media, so there is no point listing them all here. However it is safe to say that at least two manufacturers seem to always offer outstanding quality: Taiyo Yuden Corporation (sold under many brands) and Kodak.
There are also few very high quality manufacturers, but I haven't personally been able to verify them since not all are locally available. I can mention at least few supposed to be very high quality: Mitsui Chemicals, Mitsubishi Chemicals, RICOH and RITEK.
) is an interesting issue. In the early <4x age RITEK was known for extremely low quality products. They have improved since and I have used myself thousands of 8x-16x RITEKs with 100% good results. One of the better known RITEK distributing brands in Traxdata and at least on the area where I live they seem to offer the best price/quality ratio. Test methods
One can try to test the quality of CD-R media in many different ways:
This is a simple application that verifys data discs. Use it and watch the reported read speed: If the read speed is lower than supposed in your CD-ROM (it's better to use a CD-ROM drive in these tests, rather than more accurate & tolerant CD-R drive), it indicates that drive has performed read-retries on errors, which means that the burned disc is not perfect.
The EAC has a 'Test selected tracks"-feature. One can use this on audio discs and see if it shows read errors or read-retries (decreased speed). A CD-ROM with reliable audio extraction is needed for this and the secure ripping mode of EAC must be used.
This outstanding audio CD buring app has a 'Test device" feature that performs various tests about the drive's ability to read audio correctly. First use a clean original CD to check that you drive gives 100% results, the use a known high quality CD-R to see that results still are at 100% and the use the media you wish test and see if there are differences. Drive vs. media issues?
There still are some user experiences that indicate special issues with certain drives with certain media. I personally DO NOT AGREE that such drive vs. media issues exists, since I have used CD-R discs in many drives and always found that good media is good and bad is bad, no matter what drive used. Still at the CD-R Media Forum and around the net some unexplained comments about media issues indicate that some media/drive combinations just don't match. In such cases I tend to blame the drive for a poor performance rather than the supposed high quality media. Low quality manufacturers?
At the forum you can find many reports about low quality CD-R media manufacturers. I haven't recently collected much personal experiences in these, since I (naturally) tend to buy my favourite high quality brands only. However, there is one manufacturer that I never have had good luck with in the last 3 years: CMC Magnetics (Imation, some BASF products, many others too). No matter what drive or what write speed, CD-R drive or CD-R media product, the CMC Magnetics always gives me bad results and this really has been the case for years. I would definitely stay away from their producs. Copyright 2001 CD-RW.ORG