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Are CD-Rs as good as factory, "glass master"-produced CD's these days?
Old 9th July 2005
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Are CD-Rs as good as factory, "glass master"-produced CD's these days?

Are CD-Rs as good as factory, "glass master"-produced CD's nowadays?

It does seem like all the murmur concerning cd-r's and such has dissipated. Like a lot of guys around here I used to bulk-order my taiyo-somethings every couple of months and I burned them at the suggested speed etc. It made good sense back then. It was cheaper than buying retail blanks and I knew I could depend on the results. Specs, info, and suggested protocols where widely available and it was a much discussed issue on the internet forums. In those days I felt that I knew what there was to know and was following a sort of common-sense orthodoxy in buying better blanks, burning at a certain speed, and not once did I consider suggesting to my client that he forgo the more expensive factory-produced cd for the cheaper burning-them-at-home route.

I had a client recently do exactly that, though, against my advice. I soon learned that lots of bands are doing it. Typically, it seems, the guys out there humping it night after night and going at it without label dollars behind them are usually in the tour van burning their own cd's on their laptops right before the shows. I've asked guys who do this if anyone ever complains that the cd's don't play in their car stereos, jambox, etc and they all say no.

Speaking of, I personally can't even remember the last time I played a cd-r of mixes in a car or home stereo and it skipped or refused to play. Has the cd-r or our burners/players improved?

I've also noticed that cd-r's can be bought cheaper in bulk at office supply stores than what I can get through my media wholesaler. I'm not sure what the brand/manufacturer is but I bought them when I was in a bind in March and they worked absolutely fine. I've been using them since and saving money (and time because i've been burning at the highest speed)!

So, what gives. Am I heading down the crooked path of professional irresponsibility or does this make sense to some of you guys too?
Old 9th July 2005
  #2
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbox
Are CD-Rs as good as factory, "glass master"-produced CD's nowadays?
No. But it doesn't matter anyway.
Old 9th July 2005
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbox
Typically, it seems, the guys out there humping it night after night and going at it without label dollars behind them are usually in the tour van burning their own cd's on their laptops right before the shows. I've asked guys who do this if anyone ever complains that the cd's don't play in their car stereos, jambox, etc and they all say no.
maybe no one complains because the band is already on their way to the next town by the time the fans try to play the CD! heh

I don't know what improvements have or have not been made on the burner/media side of things, but I believe in recent years, the manufacturers of the _players have made adjustments so that their products will play CD-Rs more readily. You see a label on the box that boasts: "CD-R/RW compatible" etc.
Old 9th July 2005
  #4
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drundall's Avatar
 

They're selling burned CD's to kids with mostly burned CD's in their collection.

I've gotten a burned CD before that was blank, never got burned. Luckily some gave it to me as their demo and I didn't have to pay $8 for it.
Old 10th July 2005
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Burned CDRs skip all the time for me on a player purchased just last Christmas. I thought it was one particular brand, but it's not, unfortunately. This makes burning off test Cds a pain. I'd never take a CDR version of an album seriously.
Old 10th July 2005
  #6
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spacecaptain's Avatar
hmm, that's strange...

i've burned at least several thousand cdrs in the last few years, as have several of my good friends, and i have yet to find any errors on any of them, nor do any of my many players have any problems playing them without skipping. i think it has a lot to do with the burning speed (never more than 16X, preferrably 8X) as well as the country of manufacture (don't go anywhere near the indian ones, go with the japanese if you can). of course the correct extraction and burning programs are essential; i find nearly every problem i've ever had with burning discs is in the extraction process, not the actual burning. and never go direct from drive to drive; always extract to the hard drive first. and make sure everything is configured properly of course.

but what the hell do i know?

cheers,

david
Old 10th July 2005
  #7
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Synth80s's Avatar
I don't know the answer to the primary question concerning the quality of CD-Rs as a mastering tool, but I can offer a good explanation as to why there are less CD-R/CD-RW incompatibilities these days:

When the CD format first came out, it was audio only (CD-Audio or "redbook" as I'm sure most people on these boards well know) with a few data formats on the horizon. As such, all the consumer electronics manufacturers had to worry about was redbook playback capability. At that time, the CD equipment market was completely driven by music.

As the CD fomat branched out to include CD-ROM (and to lesser extents, CD-i and CD-XA), it started to become a data format. Over time, the driving force behind the growth of the formats became the computer vendors like Dell, Gateway, IBM, Apple, HP, etc.

These days, a great majority of CD (and DVD) recording and playback devices are sold by computer manufacturers. As laptop sales continud to rise, the slim form factor for optical drives became even more important. As such, most of the playback mechanisms found in the mainstream CD/DVD players you find at Best Buy or Circuit City are based on the same electronics found in a laptop CD/DVD drive. This explains why playback imcompatiblity is much less of a problem today and it also explains why the prices and form factors of consumer electronics CD/DVD players are so cheap and small, respectively. Basically, economies of scale have dictated that 95% of all mainstream optical units sold are compatibile, if not identical!

-Synth80s
Old 10th July 2005
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Synth80's post elaborates much of what I've sorta suspected.

Another point that could be made is that all of our masters are CD-Rs nowadays. That's supposed to be a pretty high standard. If it's good enough for the master, and it's good enough to send to a factory to be replicated, then why can't we just burn a ton of them ourselves?

Any thoughts on CD-R type? Does it still make a difference?
Old 10th July 2005
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

space captain,

how did you arrive at some of your methods concerning burn speed, cd-type etc. i.e. Do you have any data or manufacturing specs?
What are the correct extraction and burning programs in your opinion?

I'm curious b/c the point i'm sorta wondering about here is "has the playing field been leveled?" so to speak. Do these things still make a difference?
Old 10th July 2005
  #10
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spacecaptain's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbox
space captain,

how did you arrive at some of your methods concerning burn speed, cd-type etc. i.e. Do you have any data or manufacturing specs?
What are the correct extraction and burning programs in your opinion?

I'm curious b/c the point i'm sorta wondering about here is "has the playing field been leveled?" so to speak. Do these things still make a difference?

i used to read up on such things as the technology evolved over the last 7 years or so, but at this point i mainly rely on personal experience, which i can honestly claim to have a bit of in this regard. for an engineer, i'm not much of a spec-type guy so i can't help you there, but i can tell you what i've found, for what it's worth.

back in '97 when i started burning there wasn't much to choose from, but now the various media is so damn cheap my close friends and i have managed to try just about every available brand out there, and some of the results are interesting. first off, unlike in the past, it is hard to come across branded discs from any manufacturer that are made in japan, but supposedly the ones you can find are all manufactured by taiyo-yuden, who has always been considered one of the best along with mitsui. until very recently all of the fujis were these japanese t-ys, but now they are made in taiwan like most of the other brands. lots of people online complain about taiwanese discs, but honestly i find most of them work quite flawlessly. some of the brands are more sketchy, such as maxell, memorex and especially imation - sketchy in this case being (a) either some picky players will have a hard time recognizing them, or take longer to advance to a different track or whatever (maxell, hp), (b) when performing an accuracy verification after burning the test fails (memorex - though these usually play just fine anyway, but that's not good enough, is it?), (c) the discs seem to handle heat and handling less well than others, or (d) the disc won't even burn properly in the first place and 'coasters' (imation). ironically the japanese t-ys which are supposedly the best seem to scratch easier than some of the taiwanese, and there seems to be a few different manufaturers in taiwan, since they are not all created equal. personally i love the tdk (who have their own plant in taiwan), sony and high-end verbatim (beware the lower ones though); they have served me well throughout all their incarnations, and seem to hold up well to use (some of the old tdks didn't hold up so well, but that was years and formulations ago). hp, philips and the memorex that do work well all seem to handle wear a little less than these three, or at least so it appears. the one universal truth here is to steer clear of anything indian-made at this point, as the few batches my friend and i dared to try were absolutely abismal. not one would verify, and most coastered as well.

it is universally agreed that plextor makes the best burner, though i have never used one. (a few of my friends have them though, and i believe all the good things i hear about them at this point.) i have had two hp burners in the past, and they were amazing. hardly any coasters, no errors after thousands and thousands of discs... but my last computer came with a generic burner built in, and after a little while it started to fail. i now have a tdk velocd and it has so far performed flawlessly. i think the software is more critical than the burner at this point, at least in the short run.

basically you want an extraction program that checks against itself to make sure it is accurately extracting the audio. the most hyper-anal of them all (and definitely the most time-consuming) is exact audio copy (eac), which actually gives you a checksum log after it is through. honestly, i have never had a problem with audiograbber, which is much faster and is also very highly regarded. i have used many others, most of which were not without their faults, but these two seem to be the most respected and i have to say they have always worked perfectly for me. the burning programs vary, but the new nero allows you to run the accuracy verification, which is comforting. until i got that several months ago i had been using feurio! exclusively for the last few years, and i have to say i still like it better for some intangible reason (it seems more optimized to me), so i continue to use it even though it doesn't verify per se. it has never let a single one of my friends down either (nor has the new nero), and we all burn like fiends.

but has the playing field been leveled? probably. with all the internal buffering, high processing speeds and loads of ram most of us enjoy today, i would think we could all get away with a hell of lot more than we could have a couple years ago. but whatever you do, be sure to have both the extraction and burning programs optimized to your burners/readers (all the ones i mentioned have this option). i think if you do this, you really shouldn't have much to worry about.

but, of course, you mileage may vary, and finally i have been able to use that. thanks!

hope some of this helps in some way; sorry for my longwindedness. take care,

david
Old 10th July 2005
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
Burned CDRs skip all the time for me on a player purchased just last Christmas. I thought it was one particular brand, but it's not, unfortunately. This makes burning off test Cds a pain. I'd never take a CDR version of an album seriously.
[bold added]

Other people are not having the same experience as you.

Think about that before you draw a broad conclusion from your own experience.

I'm not saying there can't be problems with CD-R's, particularly when premastered with consumer mp3 player software (although many of them are pretty solid on basic burns at this point, when properly set up.)

But basing your broad conclusion on your own experience -- when many others do not share that experience -- is not a particularly sensible thing.


Burning CD-Rs since 1996. Preferred burn software: CD-Architect.
Old 10th July 2005
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
[bold added]

Other people are not having the same experience as you.

Think about that before you draw a broad conclusion from your own experience.

I'm not saying there can't be problems with CD-R's, particularly when premastered with consumer mp3 player software (although many of them are pretty solid on basic burns at this point, when properly set up.)

But basing your broad conclusion on your own experience -- when many others do not share that experience -- is not a particularly sensible thing.


Burning CD-Rs since 1996. Preferred burn software: CD-Architect.
That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, and I think anyone who is the least bit logical would agree. What else can a sensible person base their own decisions on other than their own personal experience?! I said I would not take them seriously, and that stands. Now why would I go out and buy a CDR album if every CDR I have skips and no pressed CDs do? Tell me how that is more logical.

I had experience related to the initial poster's question and I felt the need to post it. Also, if this happens to me, surely it happens to others - most notably those who purchased the same player. If it doesn't happen to you consider yourself lucky, but it doesn't make my experience any less valid.

If you look back over the thread, you will see that I was not the only one who thinks that CDRs are inferior to pressed CDs, and you misspoke on that account.

I wish CDRs were as good or even better, but until my experience confirms this, I will continue thinking as I do.

Do we want to learn the truth here in this thread or just what certain people might like the truth to be?

Thanks.
Old 10th July 2005
  #13
Lives for gear
 

One year ago I bought a fully automated CD-R / DVD-R replication system with a TEAC P-55 Thermoretransferprinter.

With it I have replicated several thousand CD-R´s .

I´m using exclusively high quality Tayo Yuden Thermo CD-R´s and never write faster than 8x speed.

My Master CD-R´s get written at 1x speed.

Until now I didn´t have ONE SINGLE complaint because of playback problems. heh

I think the cases where CD-R´s dont´playback have to do with:

* Cheap media
* Too high recording speeds
* No red book compatible Masters (with too many OVERS per ms)
* Wrong printing methods (like paper labels...)
Old 10th July 2005
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaman

My Master CD-R´s get written at 1x speed.




* Too high recording speeds
This is mostly a thing of the past.

The newer CD burners are designed to burn better at their higher speeds.

A lot of them do not burn at 1X anymore.
Old 10th July 2005
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

thrill,
So cd-r's work better now at higher speeds. I believe that and do that but I'm not sure how I arrived at that conclusion....

I think as I upgraded/replaced cd burners every couple of years, I thought, "wow, 4x!" and then "wow, 16x!" and now "wow, 52x!!!" Burned a cd, it worked, no complaints. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

And are blanks really "optimized" for certain speeds? The marketing fluff they print on cd-r's at the average consumer retail store is really amazing. "52x!!!", "64!!!!" Or the CD-RM (M is for music). These sound better I guess? Better than the ones beside it that are supposedly optimized for data like photos, documents, etc?

If there's no difference, and this is a thing of the past, I would like to save some dough and buy the generic spindles of 100 for $19.99 at Office Max. Burn them at top speed on my generic LaCie burner ( the older plextor I use for masters only does 16x) and move on.

I remember years back there being a consensus on what was better/safer. I think the boundaries have moved. I wonder if the big manufacturers have data on their websites?....

Any opinions from the mastering guys out there?
Old 10th July 2005
  #16
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyesore
What else can a sensible person base their own decisions on other than their own personal experience?!

the magic 8-ball has yet to let me down.

gregoire
del ubik
Old 10th July 2005
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbox
thrill,
So cd-r's work better now at higher speeds. I believe that and do that but I'm not sure how I arrived at that conclusion....
Thrill's right. We cut everything at 8X at Euphonic as the error rates we get at that speed are the lowest, typically BLER <0.8, no C2, no CU.

Quote:
And are blanks really "optimized" for certain speeds?
Yes. Well, more correctly, the dyes are made so they react better to the laser for certain lengths of time.

Quote:
The marketing fluff they print on cd-r's at the average consumer retail store is really amazing. "52x!!!", "64!!!!"
My 'rule of thumb' for people is to burn at whatever the middle speed your burner is capable - if it can burn at 48X, I'd burn at around 24X.

Quote:
Or the CD-RM (M is for music). These sound better I guess? Better than the ones beside it that are supposedly optimized for data like photos, documents, etc?
No, there's a small area in the header area of the blank that allows people use these discs in home CD-recorders (and supposedly pays a small portion to artists, though I don't think one penny has ever been paid) - otherwise zero difference.

Quote:
If there's no difference, and this is a thing of the past, I would like to save some dough and buy the generic spindles of 100 for $19.99 at Office Max. Burn them at top speed on my generic LaCie burner ( the older plextor I use for masters only does 16x) and move on.
Well, I wouldn't go that extreme - there are differences in quality among different manufacturers of both disc and burner. The real deal (though not expensive) is still a Plextor burner with Taiyo Yuden media - I've cut discs as fast as 32x before with incredibly low error rates...

Good burner/media at medium cutting speeds will yield error rates as low or lower than what comes back from the plant!

The issue with CDRs vs manufactured discs is more than error rates - it's about reliability. CDRs are still more easily damaged than manufactured discs and that isn't likely to change anytime soon...
Old 10th July 2005
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbox
thrill,
So cd-r's work better now at higher speeds. I believe that and do that but I'm not sure how I arrived at that conclusion....


Any opinions from the mastering guys out there?
Some of the newer burners do.


You can check the amount of errors if you have a Plextor burner(it comes with software).
Old 11th July 2005
  #19
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lucey's Avatar
Yea, PlexTools


I test the various burn speeds with inverse phase of the burned data ripped back into the computer vs. the file


and with A/B listening tests of the file and the CD using the same converter
Old 11th July 2005
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Burned CD-Rs

I know that CD-Rs skipping on car players can be an issue, but it seems to have lessened. The main concern I have is with durability. It's very easy to damage a CD-R (although manufactured CDs will also get damaged more easily than they should). My band has been burning and selling 14 song CD-Rs with color art at shows and over the web for $10. I warn customers to take extra care with them, and don't misrepresent them to anyone. Noone seems to mind and I have had no complaints.
Old 11th July 2005
  #21
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spacecaptain's Avatar
don't buy the office max! they're worse than the imations!
Old 11th July 2005
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the 411, Brad.

Moral of the story: Use plain-old empirical testing, ie plextools etc, to arrive at best methods for chosen media and burner.....right?

Nothing to be found on T-Y's website. Plenty to be found on dvd-r on various sites. Reminds me of all the cd-r brooha stuff we went thru.
Old 11th July 2005
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
the magic 8-ball has yet to let me down.

gregoire
del ubik
Silly me. How could I forget the magic eight ball? My sincere apologies. heh
Old 4th March 2011
  #24
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I registered just to respond to this.

Blackbox I am an IT Specialist in Nashville for over 10 years and the answer is yes. They are just as good. The data is the same exact data. However they are just good as providing several factors.

You must have a good burner.

Is your burner prone to shake the disc a lot when burning at your desired speed?
Thats why people choose lower speeds. The data is the same exact data being put at the same exact sector and location on the disc as a manufacturing companies would place it. If your rails have looseness then then your burn can have skips from the spindle rotation activity.

Does this mean I can burn at higher speeds?

Of course! just make sure your burner is a reliable model that does not wobble at your desired burn speeds.


Most burning programs have a verify checkbox to check for errors.

Just check verify, no additional software needed in most cases.

You must have good media

If you have bought bad discs in the past put them on your "do not buy" list.
Only buy discs that are good dye batches. This will ensure all your data is written correctly to your media by the laser eye.

Take care of your precious burner

If theres a firmware update for it, install it,
if you have used it a few years have the gears oiled and the belts replaced (by a service technician I don't recommend opening up optical drives yourself.)

Have a good buffer on the burner

Having a good amount buffer room allows the burning process extra room and at its processing time (in its own effect extra time) to correctly layout and digitize code to binary for laser burning. Buy a good solid burner with a large buffer.

With a good burner and good media and proper maintenance you can enjoy the same quality discs that manufacturing companies have at audible levels.

In my experience I used to have errors when i first started out with cheapo barebone computer kits with cheapy burners in them a decade ago. But since Ive become a IT professional I pick out all my hardware now and never have any problems or any errors.

Quote:
I know that CD-Rs skipping on car players can be an issue, but it seems to have lessened. The main concern I have is with durability. It's very easy to damage a CD-R (although manufactured CDs will also get damaged more easily than they should). My band has been burning and selling 14 song CD-Rs with color art at shows and over the web for $10. I warn customers to take extra care with them, and don't misrepresent them to anyone. Noone seems to mind and I have had no complaints.
What customers do to damage there discs after they bought there product is not what Blackbox is asking about it. Quite frankly its irrelevant and manufacturing discs will tear up to when customers do anything to damage those as well.

I hope this help, If you need anything else just scan my Avatar
Old 4th March 2011
  #25
Gear Addict
 

What about short-run orders that are CD-R made by a professional pressing plant?
Old 4th March 2011
  #26
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Its same exact binary data being lasered in the same exact fashion to a sector location.

The quality of the lasering is on all your burner as it is from the manufacturer burner and it is notable that they too sometimes do not have well maintained burners and have skips as well from time to time.

The quality of your burns is all on your burner and how well you maintain it.

You want the laser eye to move smoothly with a fluid like motion and you want the disc to remain as firm as possible spinning in a perfect circle with no wobble as your spindle rotates the disc.
Old 4th March 2011
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Another useful tidbit of information.

When a burner starts to have problems and burn problematic discs a lot of times its the onboard buffer memory (flashnand and sdram) thats going bad. you will want to replace the burner at this time.

When burning lots of discs durability will be number one on your check list.
Here is a list of things to check to determine your durable burner.

Onboard buffer memory chips keeping cool (Heat is bad)

Having a good solid internal construction that prevents wobble at your desired burn speed.

Having a durable laser eye. This will determine if your burner will last a couple years or a decade. It is significant to mention that if your laser eye goes bad it can be replaced but you don't really want to if you have too. Googling laser eye information should give you a consumers compass of viewpoints on what they feel is the best from mainly tech-oriented sites.

Support availibility to download new drivers and firmware for your OS wether it be linux, mac (well mac is just a stripped out version of linux called darwin) and windows.
Old 4th March 2011
  #28
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Marshall Oliver's Avatar
 

Good stuff, Haxer!! This info is very valuable!!
Old 5th March 2011
  #29
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jchadstopherhuez's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haxer View Post
I registered just to respond to this.....
I hope this help, If you need anything else just scan my Avatar

fyi. you registered to respond to a nearly 5 and 1/2 year old inquiry.

not meant as incendiary at all....i am just often bewildered at how random, relatively old threads are revived around these parts.

just interesting to me.

best,

jch

ps...what are cd's ?
heh
Old 5th March 2011
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jchadstopherhuez View Post
i am just often bewildered at how random, relatively old threads are revived around these parts.
I agree. Especially when we are now at a point in recording
where CDR vs factory quality is nothing more than
marketing spin (no pun intended).
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