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c't test of CD and DVD labels

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c't test of CD and DVD labels

Postby MediumRare on Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:12 pm

The newest issue of the German computer magazine c't (No. 9/2004) has a test of CD and DVD labels, with quantitative results.

They performed the tests under "optimal" conditions, i.e. well placed labels (centered, no bubbles) and short term storage under office conditions for 6 label types from 3 vendors (Avery-Zweckform, Herma and Sigel) on both CDs and DVDs. The physical properties (unbalance, jitter and planarity or "angular deviation") and error rates (BLER or PI Sum 8 ) were measured with a CATS scanner and other devices by Audiodev before and after the labels were applied.

Here a short summary:
  • Thinner labels affect the media less than thicker ones
  • CD's are not noticeably affected by well placed labels (N.B. this is for scans @1x).
    - BLER, 3T-jitter and unbalance weren't significantly affected.
    - Angular deviation more than doubled though (typical: 0.8° -> 1.8°), and exceeded the specs (max. 1.6°). This may cause problems at high reading speeds.
  • DVD's are essentially destroyed by most labels- PI Sum 8 > 1000 (from 10) and DC-jitter > 13% (from 8%) are typical. :o The high information density leads to strong reactions to the increased angular deviation, particularly in the outer parts of the discs. Only one make (Herma 8994, a silver plastic foil) was "OK".
I won't comment on the printing and longevity properties of the labels.

These results (for the most part) are probably not surprising to forum-dwellers, who have a general suspicion of anything more massive than a Sharpie-line on their discs, but it's interesting to see concrete numbers. Personally, I do use labels for audio CDs and some video CDs and will continue to do so for home use. CDs "stored" under sub-optimal conditions, e.g. in a car, shouldn't have labels applied.

G
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Postby Vanderlow on Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:56 pm

Out of curiosity, how much (in the ballpark) is a CATS scanner? I'm not asking because I'm thinking of buying one, but to get a sense of how sophisticated this machine is.
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Postby MediumRare on Sat Apr 17, 2004 5:29 pm

Vanderlow wrote:Out of curiosity, how much (in the ballpark) is a CATS scanner?

I don't know. Maybe halc can answer that- I think he had some made for an article he's doing for a Finnish magazine. I think the scanners themselves go for a 6 digit sum in Euros (that's what the guys from PC-Magazin said). You may have a look at their website too: http://www.audiodev.com

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