Media Quality

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In choosing quality media a simple rule of thumb is to NOT purchase the cheapest no-name brands you find, but DO stick with names you know and have heard of.

The quality of burning media is an important factor often left to the wayside in the sight of large spindles of super cheap low quality media. Buying in bulk is not the issue, it is just good to be careful of the quality of the media bought, which can be a major factor in burning or in the longevity of the media itself.

First off burned media is very different from official stamped media. Burned media is covered with a dye that is effectively altered by a laser. This dye can be much more affected by factors than stamped media.

NOTE: One thing you can do to ensure the reliability of your 'burn' is to check with your device manufacturer for media types (DVD+R vs DVD–R etc.) and brands they recommend. You can usually find this information on the manufacturer's website.

Links to manufacturer websites are available on the Firmware Knowledgebase Article.

Factors including:

  • Light – Keep Burned CDs or DVDs out of direct sunlight exposure.
  • Heat – Higher temperatures can damage the dye or sustained high temperature can decrease the life expectancy of the dye immensely
  • Humidity – Very humid climates in the storage area of the CDs or DVDs can also greatly decrease the longevity of the media.
  • Position – Leaving CDs stacked flat or laying out can be warp or damage them over time from things laid on top of them, to things that they themselves sit on top of. It is best to leave CD’s stacked vertically in a proper case.
  • Handling – CDs are made from a polycarbonate material and therefore water or the oil from or hands can absorb and degrade the media overtime, therefore when handling a CD make sure to grip it on the sides, or hold it from the center away from the dye.
  • Labeling – Avoid using adhesive labels, some adhesives actually corrosively eat through the layers of the disk and over time will destroy data on the CD or DVD. It is best to use a soft felt tip pen, or some sort of light scribe software to label CD or DVDs.

Also factors while recording can come into play such as:

  • Speed - The ability of the media at certain speeds to record, can limit your recording device. You must check the speeds capable of the media itself. IE. Media that can only burn at 4x cannot being used at 24x speeds as they do not support Ultra Speed writing capabilities.
  • CPU - While burning to a CD or DVD media, do not use any other programs or run anything on your PC until the burning is finished. Many Coasters are made simply by the fact that a buffer underun error was created when the CPU got overloaded with processes at the wrong second during a burn.

So as I stated stick with the higher quality names you know when choosing media.

There is controversy over the color of CD or DVDs and the dyes that are used, however the real truth is in the Grade of the CD or DVD manufactured. CD or DVD media errors are actually often seen by the naked eye. You can see swirls where the dye is stronger in some areas and unevenly distributed, and you can sometimes see blemishes like little dots. These are errors that should have had that particular CD or DVD thrown to the wayside at the manufacturers, and there are limits to standardization of Grade quality that certain companies allow, which is why it is better to pay the extra money to get a better quality CD or DVD.

If you have further interest in the different dyes please see the appropriate corresponding articles:

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