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PICTURE CD-Rs, MUSIC CD-Rs, DATA CD-Rs... What's different?

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PICTURE CD-Rs, MUSIC CD-Rs, DATA CD-Rs... What's different?

Postby Milo on Mon Jan 20, 2003 3:11 pm

What is the difference between the various types of CD-Rs that are being sold? Some are labeled as PICTURE CD-Rs or MUSIC CD-Rs or DATA CD-Rs... yet nobody I've met can tell me how they differ from each other.

Thanks!
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Postby BuddhaTB on Mon Jan 20, 2003 3:28 pm

There is no real difference between data CD's and ones labeled music or picture CD's. I would just stick with the data CD's since they are much cheaper and are of the same quality. Manufacturers just call them different as part of their marketing strategy.
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http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=8342
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Postby glock20rocks on Mon Jan 20, 2003 3:56 pm

Yup, they're the same. I've got a bunch of "music" cd-r's that I've only put data onto.
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Postby cfitz on Mon Jan 20, 2003 3:57 pm

Actually, there is a real difference between the CD-Rs labeled data and music, but it isn't what you might think. "Music" CD-Rs aren't optimized for best audio playback as you might suspect. Instead, they contain a stamped code that allows them to be burned in stand-alone audio system CD burners. Regular data CDs don't contain that code and will be rejected by stand-alone auido burners. Other than that they are physically the same.

The reason for the code is to keep the RIAA happy and their wallets full. It amounts to a kickback to the music conglomerates that the RIAA strong-armed the disc and burner manufacturers into providing. Every music CD-R produced costs the disc manufacturer extra licencensing fees that they return to the RIAA for distribution to the board-rooms of the music conglomerates (you can bet the artists themselves get none of it) as compensation for the implied piracy (in the eyes of the RIAA) of home CD recording equipment.

Fortunately, the computer industry already was using CD-R for data backup, and the RIAA wasn't able to force this private tax onto the computer industry also. So data CD-Rs don't contain the code and don't have the extra licensing fee attached. But you can still burn music onto data CD-Rs just fine in your computer's CD burner.

What does this mean to you, the CD-R user? If you have a stand-alone audio CD burner, you have to pay extra for the music CD-Rs. Nothing else will work in your burner. So sad...

If you own a computer CD burner, just stick with the data CD-Rs. As noted above, they cost less (without the evil RIAA kickback) and work just as well as "music" CD-Rs for music.

The "picture" CD-Rs are more of a simple marketing gimmick, although I've seen some that supposedly are built to a higher archival grade so that they will last longer. I guess the thinking is that people want to be able to look at their family photos on their "picture" CD-Rs decades from now, but won't care much to retrieve a 20-year old resume backup on a "data" CD-R.

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Postby BuddhaTB on Mon Jan 20, 2003 4:02 pm

cfitz wrote:What does this mean to you, the CD-R user? If you have a stand-alone audio CD burner, you have to pay extra for the music CD-Rs. Nothing else will work in your burner. So sad...

That is sad. The RIAA is just evil in my opinion and this further adds to why consumers hate the RIAA even more. :evil:
cfitz, Thanks for the detailed explaination. :D
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Postby glock20rocks on Mon Jan 20, 2003 4:06 pm

I got lucky on those "music" cd-rs then...they were $4.99 for a 50-pack.
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Postby cfitz on Mon Jan 20, 2003 4:08 pm

BuddhaTB wrote:The RIAA is just evil in my opinion

Greed = Evil. Personally, I give them at least five evil smileys:

:evil: R :evil: I :evil: A :evil: A :evil:

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Postby cfitz on Mon Jan 20, 2003 4:11 pm

glock20rocks wrote:I got lucky on those "music" cd-rs then...they were $4.99 for a 50-pack.

Yeah, you were fortunate. Somewhere along the line whoever sold those to you took a loss. You weren't packing your new avatar when you purchased those at such a bargain price, were you? :wink: :)

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Postby glock20rocks on Mon Jan 20, 2003 4:15 pm

Nope :)
Had something a bit smaller :)
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Postby YrbkMgr on Sun Feb 22, 2004 5:32 am

If you buy unbranded (say, TY or Mitsui - MAM) stacks, how can you tell if they are data CDRs or Music - or does one assume that that're data unless specifically labeled as such?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:00 pm

does TY even make music CD-Rs?
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Postby YrbkMgr on Sun Feb 22, 2004 4:34 pm

I have no idea, which goes to my question, is there a way to tell?

I use Mitsui (MAM-A) routinely, and buy them in bulk. I don't know if they make music CDR's. So the question is, if there are Data CDR's and Music CDR's, is there a way to tell either by MFR part number, or even after you buy them?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Sun Feb 22, 2004 6:19 pm

YrbkMgr wrote:I have no idea, which goes to my question, is there a way to tell?

I use Mitsui (MAM-A) routinely, and buy them in bulk. I don't know if they make music CDR's. So the question is, if there are Data CDR's and Music CDR's, is there a way to tell either by MFR part number, or even after you buy them?


You use a lot of Mitsui/MAM-A CD-Rs??? where do you live? I don't know a lot of places that sell them, so I'd be very interested in hearing about it :D

You can generally tell by using SmartBurn or any other ATIP reader. Generally you can only burn Music CD-Rs at 16x also (at least from my experience).

I think Mitsui/MAM-A's Music CD-R media says "MAM-A Digital Audio CD-R" or something like that in the plastic hub.
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Postby YrbkMgr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:02 am

I live in Chicago. You can get them just about anywhere - well I guess that's not true, you can't get them in your retail "Computer City" or whatever.

I have two local sources, and there are boatloads of places that sell them over the net. For one of the local sources, since I buy around 5,000 - 10,000 per year, we have a pricing arrangement. I use the other local source in a pinch because they're only a few miles from me.

If your in the States, check out Polyline Corp or CDW:

http://www.polylinecorp.com
http://www.cdw.com

Polyline has TY that are far less expensive than MAM-A, but I've had great luck with them and they're rated very highly, so I use them.

Thanks for the info on MAM Digital Audio. Good to know.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:38 am

YrbkMgr wrote:I live in Chicago. You can get them just about anywhere - well I guess that's not true, you can't get them in your retail "Computer City" or whatever.

I have two local sources, and there are boatloads of places that sell them over the net. For one of the local sources, since I buy around 5,000 - 10,000 per year, we have a pricing arrangement. I use the other local source in a pinch because they're only a few miles from me.

If your in the States, check out Polyline Corp or CDW:

http://www.polylinecorp.com
http://www.cdw.com

Polyline has TY that are far less expensive than MAM-A, but I've had great luck with them and they're rated very highly, so I use them.

Thanks for the info on MAM Digital Audio. Good to know.


Wow! You're right up there with the Workers Compensation Board of Canada, who I sell 5,000-10,000 Mitsui CD-Rs to every couple months. These are obviously not for personal use right?

Between you and me, I suggest sticking with the Taiyo Yuden. A lot of vendors push Mitsui because they used to be really good quality, but I've had a lot of big customers switch to T.Y. because of an increasing failure rate in Mitsui media. Actually, most people where I work still push Mitsui because we all make much bigger commission on it! :roll:
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Postby YrbkMgr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:50 am

OMG. It is SO odd that you would say that about MAM quality.

I just had an incident where the drive speed was dropping from 20x to 8x and I wasn't sure if it was the burner going (it's old, circa June 2001) or if it was the media. Further testing confirmed that it was both.

Right now I'm only getting 16x from the MAMs, but it's tolerable until I run another lot number.

Ever since Mitsui was spun into MAM-A, and the media went from 24x to 52x, I've been leery. I only have two spindles left, so after they're gone, I'm going to try another lot of Mitsui and if they can't live up to the speed rating, or close to it, I'm going T-Y.

I've never used T-Y but know their reputation. Are the bottoms silver or are they colored? I really like the characteristics (not color) of Pthalocyanine, so moving to TY which is cyanine, makes me a little uncomfortable. I know it shouldn't, but it does.

To Forum Mods, I'm sorry to have dragged a FAQ off-topic. I will do my best to prevent it from happening in the future.
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:20 am

It just so happens that I have a nice spindle of 25pcs of the newer MAM-A Mitsui media, and I'm going to be reviewing it in the near future (probably right after a review I'm doing on some other media first). I will follow the Mitsui Silver review most likely with a review on Mitsui's gold media... which I am REALLY looking forward to seeing... yes, I look forward to my own reviews :wink:

Yes, the Taiyo Yuden discs have a blue-ish colour to their bottom, but not as dark as the Azo dye used by Mitsubishi. The quality you get is worth the colour difference though (at least in my opinion!).

What I *REALLY* want to see is some of those Mitsui "medical grade" CD-Rs!!
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Postby YrbkMgr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 4:09 am

newer MAM-A Mitsui media


What do you mean newer? Do you mean MAM-A labeled on the hub?

I use the silver, and the blue color of the TY makes it aversive for my use. That said, an interesting thing is that when you use CD Speed or anything to check the Disc Info, all of my discs say "Mitsui" - that is, when read by software. But there's a MAM-A brand on the hub.

I have been curious if the spin off of MAM from Mitsui resulted in any production differences, and thus may be the cause of some of the recent problems. I currently cannot burn the 52x media, reliably, faster than 16x, on a new 52x drive.

So I'm supremely curious what discs you have and why you're calling them newer. I am using 100 packs of unbranded laquer finish. And for whatever it may be worth, it seems like there's a boatload of part numbers for the same media. I'm not sure if that's packaging related or something else.

The medical grade CDRs are of no interest to me personally. I've had great luck, until recently with the Silver, although the drive I'm using is new, and I now know I have a media quality issue, so I've never actually burned at anything approximating 52x. The older burner was a 20x drive so even with 24x media, 20 worked fine.

In any event, I'll be interested in your review... I'm working on an SOP to QC media when they come in our door. When it's finished, and I can rely on it, I'll post it here for folks to tear apart or add to it.

Peace,
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:41 pm

By newer MAM-A Mitsui Media, I meant the media manufactured after Mitsui became MAM-A. Which coincides perfectly with the time when they were all but bought out by Computer Support Italcard (C.S.I.) last year. Ever since then, their quality has been much lower according to various sources around the world.

If you absolutely need silver bottomed discs, then you will need to look elsewhere then Taiyo Yuden. You may want to consider Prodisc or Ritek? (I'd suggest Ritek, but Prodisc has a line of "tru-Silver" discs you might like).

The review will probably be about 2 weeks. I'm still working on the one before the Mitsui one, so it'll be a little while yet.

I look forward to seeing your work too! :D
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Postby YrbkMgr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 3:46 pm

Thanks a ton dolphinius.

As I said, I'm not done with MAM-A yet. I want to try a couple of more lot numbers, before I decide that they will or won't work. Thanks for the suggestions on Ritek. I'm not sure if I can get them in the quantities/packaging/price I need, but I'm having someone look into it.

I have a hard time imagining that it would go too long before MAM-A makes some kind of change. Their task, whether they like it or not, is to continue the reputation set forth by the parent company. They have a good strategy in Pthalocyanine, and by not being aware and performing more vigorous process control in manufacture just throws all those R&D dollars for Pthalo development out the window. Since profits are king, their quality has commanded a higher price in the market so surely they will want to maintain that quality leader status.

But the question is: "Do they know they have a problem?"

I am hoping that the issues I've seen since the transition to C.S.I., are simply technology transfer issues that are soon to be resolved, but again, if they don't know, they won't fix it.

In any event, I'll post back when I have an acceptable incoming QC process. What I'm hoping will happen is that someone will say "Your process is fundamentally flawwed because....". That way I can be sure I've implemented a process that takes into account Drive technology variables as well as media variables. For example, I have noticed a significant difference in how different drives handle variations in media quality, and how various software controls or does not control burn speed and error rate. So it's not going to be an easy process to document. We're going to start with one MFR of drive and go from there. Once we understand the results, we can vary the drive MFRs for the sake of comparison.

I'm babbling again. Sorry.

Thanks for all the info!

Peace,
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Mon Feb 23, 2004 6:31 pm

Well, if you are in the U.S. you can expect that unless the people you are purchasing from are *not* purchasing directly from Ritek, they are paying about $0.19 USD per CD-R. You can negotiate your own price based off of this knowledge :wink:

Ritek also uses the Phthalocyanine dye type by the way, and so does Prodisc. Ritek's quality is usually higher then Prodisc (at least from my own personaly experience), but Prodisc has been known to do some pretty impressive stuff from time to time too, and they even had previous contracts with Mitsui, to help manufacture CD-Rs under Mitsui's name when Mitsui could not make enough for their customers.
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Postby YrbkMgr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:51 pm

Great information Dolph.

Problem is, the drives we use do not state Ritek or Prodisc as being compatible. Second problem is my suppliers don't carry them.

We'll check into purchasing direct, but the compatability (Plextor and Yamaha) has me a bit worried. I don't want to buy bulk and have a problem. One of my suppliers would take them back and exchange them for me, but if the only way I can get them is mail order, that's a bit of a problem.

All in all, you're a great resource. You have confirmed that there certainly are issues with Mitsui. Until I can noodle out alternatives, I'm going to err on the side of conservatisim and see what happens with MAM-A. I'll be buying another lot next month, so... we'll see.

But thanks for the great information. Sounds like you work for a VAR or reseller, there in B.C. Nice to have insider input (wink).

Peace,
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Feb 26, 2004 4:41 am

Just wanted to say that I've now finished my first series of tests on Mitsui's silver 74min CD-Rs. I have burned 5 full discs on my LiteON 48125W.

The disc burned at 40x averaged 27.331, they performed alright... but the Ritek CD-Rs perform a *LOT* better, and cost about one third the price.

The disc burned at 24x averaged about 1.57 C1 errors, and performed about the same as what I would expect from Ritek

The disc burned at 16x averaged about 2.328 C1 errors, and again performed about the same as what I would expect from Ritek

The disc burned at 8x averaged about 8.406 C1 errors, and had a very scary spike of C2 errors in two spots!!!

The disc burned at 4x averaged about 59.425 C1 errors, but at least had not C2 errors this time.

All and all, I'm *VERY* dissapointed. But keep in mind that these discs were all burned on the LiteON 48125W, and four other drives will be used in the whole testing process. In theory, Mitsui discs should not degrade nearly as fast as other discs... but if they start off with such low quality to begin with, I don't think it's worth it!!

I guess what I'm really saying is, if you use Mitsui on the LiteON 48125W burner, burn at 16x or 24x!!

This is very sad actually, since Mitsui discs are SUPPOSED to be the best for slow burning speeds!
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Postby YrbkMgr on Thu Feb 26, 2004 1:44 pm

Interesting results indeed.

When I used Mitsui 24x media, the 20x Yamaha burner burned at 20x. That Yamaha has an 8mb internal buffer, if that makes a difference.

When Mitsui went to MAM-A and 52x media, for a few lots I was still getting 20x burns. Then a couple of lots ago it dropped to 8x. I wasn't sure if it was the burner or the media.

I ran the same MAM-A on a 52x Plextor, and they will not reliably burn faster than 16x.

This is partially a function of how the drive works in as much as it's PowerRec technology dynamically adjusts speed based on media quality at three locations on the disc. So... if I set it to burn at 52x, it drops to about 20, and you can see in write transfer tests that the graph is all over the map - up and down, up and down.

The only way to get a smooth curve for write transfer tests is to burn these media at 16x. When I talk about smooth curve, I'm talking about using either the PlexTools write transfer tests or CD Speed, since I don't have any LiteOn drives.

So the point is, while we are using two differnt methods, and measuring different things, we see the same net effect. To wit, it doesn't appear to be realistic to think that one can burn at 52x reliably with MAM-A.

My testing has stopped temporarily due to some issues here, but when it resumes, I'll be testing not only for write transfer speed, but errors as well.

Great info Dolph. I wish I could find some Ritek discs as a back up.

I'll post again when testing resumes, and hopefully it will be with more complete and controlled data.
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Postby grouch on Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:07 pm

Ritek (packaged as Ridata shrinkwrapped) discs are selling in Canada for $36 CAD for a wrapped 100 stack. So far, they've burned flawlessly at 32x, and although it is capable of 52x on my LG 8525B, I haven't burned them extensively at that speed. But for the few that were written at 52x, they worked out fine as well. The discs also have a white writable surface.
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