Defective Sony CD-Rs

vbimport

#1

G’day all,

I know that it may have been many years since some of you have used a CD-R, but for collectors, this is a big deal. It seems that some batches of Sony CD-Rs from the late-1990s had some form of manufacturing defect that caused what appears to be fungal growth on the recording side of the discs.

So far, I have been on the receiving side of at least four batches of such CD-Rs. The only thing common with every single one of these batches is that they were distributed in North America. I have experienced no such issues with similar media distributed in Europe, Japan or Australia.

The manufacturers of the discs involved are Taiyo Yuden (Japan) and TDK (USA). The discs from both manufacturers were shipped in individually-sealed WHITE jewel cases.

Has anybody else experienced similar problems with these or other CD-Rs?


#2

Thank you for sharing this information. I’ve never seen anything like it. Very sad - that aside, those discs are a work of art. What’s the ATIP of the one with the blue dye? (The TDK I presume.)

I have a spindle of 2002/2003 vintage early Moser Baer Verbatim AZO 40x printable CD-R where the reflective layer looks mottled - like an old tarnished mirror. But in this case appearances are deceptive, it is actually some sort of residue on the surface, probably from the printable coating on the disc below. If cleaned off carefully the discs scan beautifully - Taiyo Yuden good. (If not the BLER/C1 is stratospheric!)


#3

Sony CDQ-74CN 2-449-105-13 (1x-6x)
Made in USA by TDK Corporation
ATIP = 97m 32s 00f

I should mention that the defects existed on the discs prior to the original plastic seal being opened.


#4

This is really strange. If it was a manufacturing defect, why would it affect two CDs made in completely different factories to two completely different specifications?

If the discs were the same ATIP then it could be explained as a design defect. And two different ATIPs from the same factory could be a manufacturing defect. But this… :confused:

Two things the discs might have in common are materials from an outside supplier and the distribution channel. Both have white trays and the paper inserts may have come from the same printer. Once imported into the country of sale they may have passed through the same handling and storage conditions. There is also the storage conditions after purchase to consider.

Has a problem been observed with any similar discs with a black tray?

Can you tell if the growth is on the surface of the disc or inside? (You can try cleaning part of the surface with isopropyl alcohol.) And do the paper inserts, disc or case interior smell musty/mouldy at all?

If the growth is on the surface then I would suspect that there isn’t a inherent problem with the discs. Most likely either the fungal contamination was carried by the inserts or the cases, although it could have penetrated the cellophane wrap if it wasn’t completely sealed (as is frequently the case). But if there is a fungus attacking the layers inside the disc structure, that would be far more worrying - it may have spread from outside, or the original source may have been seeded inside the disc.

I hope that it isn’t the early signs of a more general problem which may afflict all early CD-R. :frowning:

When it comes to the natural world, Aussies don’t do anything by halves. :flower:


#5

My thought is that it may have something to do with the white plastic jewel case trays, but I’m only guessing here.

If the discs were the same ATIP then it could be explained as a design defect. And two different ATIPs from the same factory could be a manufacturing defect. But this… :confused:

Up until a few weeks ago, the only problematic discs that I had come across were made by TY in 1998. Only recently have I come across problematic TDK discs also made in 1998.

Has a problem been observed with any similar discs with a black tray?

I don’t think these products ever shipped with black jewel case trays. All batches that I have seen shipped with white trays.

Can you tell if the growth is on the surface of the disc or inside? (You can try cleaning part of the surface with isopropyl alcohol.) And do the paper inserts, disc or case interior smell musty/mouldy at all?

The ‘growth’ is on the surface of the disc and only exists on the recording side. It can be cleaned off with isopropyl alcohol but a thorough clean requires at least three passes using separate clean microfibre cloths. When opened, each case smells ‘as new’ with no undue bad odours.

If the growth is on the surface then I would suspect that there isn’t a inherent problem with the discs. Most likely either the fungal contamination was carried by the inserts or the cases, although it could have penetrated the cellophane wrap if it wasn’t completely sealed (as is frequently the case). But if there is a fungus attacking the layers inside the disc structure, that would be far more worrying - it may have spread from outside, or the original source may have been seeded inside the disc.

I hope that it isn’t the early signs of a more general problem which may afflict all early CD-R. :frowning:

What’s really interesting is that the Sony CDQ-74BN/CDQ-74CN products are the only ones that I have come across that suffer from this issue. I have other products that date back to the same production year that were made by the same manufacturers and even distributed in the same countries (i.e. in North America) that show no signs of this defect.

I wouldn’t worry about older CD-Rs unless they are Sony-branded and from 1998.


#6

[QUOTE=Ibex;2786219]Has a problem been observed with any similar discs with a black tray?[/QUOTE]
Yes, I have CDQ-74CN discs with black trays with the same problem. Individually sealed until opened very recently. Discs made by TY.

[QUOTE=Ibex;2786219]Can you tell if the growth is on the surface of the disc or inside? (You can try cleaning part of the surface with isopropyl alcohol.) And do the paper inserts, disc or case interior smell musty/mouldy at all?[/QUOTE]
My experience is that the severity of the problem varies a lot. Using samples from several sources (all in the US) some of the discs clean up nicely, but others are mildly, moderately, or heavily damaged beneath the surface. No odors here. The “stuff” on the surface of the discs looks more like tons of tiny crystals than any mold growth I’ve seen before, but who knows.

I haven’t tried to burn any of the cleaned discs yet, but I will at some point in the future.


#7

Received today…





#8

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2786406]Received today…[/QUOTE]
That’s discouraging, but all too familiar. Where was this batch from?


#9

[QUOTE=opieant;2786415]That’s discouraging, but all too familiar. Where was this batch from?[/QUOTE]

Ohio, US. I have already received a full refund for these.

Interestingly, They are 2-449-034-51 from 1998. They were the very last of the TY gold/green CD-Rs produced.

I have several batches of 2-449-034-01 from 1997 from various parts of the US and none of them exhibit this issue. Looks like the problem is exclusive to 1998 production batches only. I also have significant quantities of 1999 production CDQ-74CN and CDQ-74CNZ from various sources and again, none of these exhibit this issue.


#10

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2786423]Ohio, US. I have already received a full refund for these.[/QUOTE]
Ahh, those. Forgive me if I fail to be tempted to give a chance to any of the others that seller still has for sale.

It’s probably worth including in this discussion a CDQ-74CN owner’s reports from almost 15 years ago of what sounds like the same problem. The linked photos seem to be long gone, but from the description it really does sound like whatever happened to that person’s discs is the same issue. It’s strange but entirely possible that all of this deterioration happened a long time ago.