The performance of old CD-R media on newer drives

vbimport

#1

As many of you would know, I have had an interest in CD-R media for a very long time. Today, my interest mainly rests with older, pre-21st century-made CD-Rs but naturally, this older media has been out of production for many years (at least 15 years for mainstream gold reflective layered media) so I thought it would be of interest to test some older, unsupported media on a newer DVD or BD drive known for good CD burn quality.

Today, we will take a brief look at one of my favourite varieties of older media - the Sony CDQ-74BN - made in Japan by Taiyo Yuden. This media has a gold reflective layer, a cyanine dye layer and carries the ATIP code 97m24s00f. This type of media represents Taiyo Yuden’s first generation of 74-minute CD-R media. According to the jewel case inserts, this media is certified for writing at 1X, 2X, 4X, and 6X. Media in this configuration was last produced in 1997 - the year that today’s disc was produced.

This quick test involved writing to one piece of this (rather valuable) media at 4X on a Pioneer DVR-215L running firmware 1.22. Once the writing process completed, a Plextor PX-716UFL running firmware 1.02 was used to scan the disc in PlexTools Professional XL 3.16.

The writing process completely with no trouble in about 20 minutes. The longer than expected writing time was due to the fact that this media is unsupported in the Pioneer DVR-215L’s firmware and therefore extensive power calibration prior to writing of the main session took place.

According to the Plextor drive, the writing quality can be best summarised in one word - marginal. While the total number of C1 errors is quite low, the errors tended to ‘peak’ in clumps. Additionally, a number of C2 errors can be found throughout the disc. On the resultant chart, it can be seen that there are regions of the disc that exhibit very low levels of C1 errors indeed, pointing to good quality media. Overall, this level of performance is typical of that of unsupported media on the Pioneer DVR-215L drive.

More alarmingly, the Plextor drive refused to commence a Beta / Jitter test on the completed disc despite multiple attempts. More importantly however, the same drive was able to read back the entire disc without any undue slowdowns.

Upon physical examination, the recording side of the disc exhibited ‘rings’ in the dye layer that possibly indicate that the writer had difficulty with power calibration during the burning process.

So what can we take away from this experience? Firstly, we can say that with proper storage and care, an unwritten CD-R disc can last many years with little to no degradation. And secondly, modern optical drive may not be able to fully take advantage of the potential of older, high quality media due to lack of firmware support. It is interesting to note that slightly newer media - Sony CDQ-74CN from 1998 - wrote with much higher quality on the same Pioneer DVR-215L drive due to the existence of firmware support for media bearing the ATIP code of 97m24s01f. It would be interesting to test more pieces of the older media on various drives, but due to limited supply, this may not be possible, at least not in the short term.

I hope readers have found this post informative. I would love to read the experiences of others with older media. If you have experiences to share, please post them here!

Thanks for reading.


#2

If any of the drives left available in later years had the ability to learn CD-R media, I’d be curious about that. But to my knowledge, “learning” was limited to DVD ( & BD) media in most popular drives – though I’ve never actually tried to verify that. It would have been interesting to see if, say, successive burns with the same media had shorter lead-in times (short pre-burn power calibration).

That said, I’d guess that using these discs in an LG (if unsupported) would be a disaster, due to their nearly nonexistent intelligence when it comes to power calibration. I’m not sure what a Samsung of the same vintage would do. Maybe an Optiarc could pull it off, since the WOPC/ROPC happens less frequently throughout the burn, so there’d be fewer rings? And a LiteOn…well, given that they don’t do any WOPC on CD-R (select models excluded), if the initial power calibration was good, and it was one of the LiteOn models that didn’t butcher CDs (high jitter and/or C2s out of nowhere), it might do well. I’d count Matshita out (frequent WOPC & finicky burns even with supported media at times).

Going with older DVDRW devices, I don’t think BenQ’s SolidBurn would do much in the event of an unknown CD, and I’m genuinely unsure how a Plextor drive would handle it if PowerRec on DVDs was any indication (speed jumping all over the place, select portions of some discs burned with HORRIBLE calibration choices).


#3

I have a feeling that the Pioneer would do better with TDK’s 74min gold/cyanine CD-Rs, because they bear the same ATIP code (97m32s00f) as their silver/blue CD-Rs. Only one way to find out and that shall come in the next test!


#4

Interesting thread.

I might have to look at sourcing an older CD-RW drive to at least have the capability of writing to this sort of media. Any recommendations for particular drives?


#5

Pioneer and NEC/Optiarc DVD/BD drives are good at writing some older CD-R media types, but not others. For others, maybe a Plextor Premium or Yamaha CRW-F1 dedicated CD-RW drive would be good.


#6

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2757188]Pioneer and NEC/Optiarc DVD/BD drives are good at writing some older CD-R media types, but not others. For others, maybe a Plextor Premium or Yamaha CRW-F1 dedicated CD-RW drive would be good.[/QUOTE]

Any thoughts on the following drives?

Plextor PX-W1210TA
Ricoh MP7320A
Liteon LTR-48246S

Or, in terms of current drives, a Pioneer BDR-209EBK or a Liteon iHBS312.

:slight_smile:


#7

Interesting.

I was thinking about getting hold of a bunch of gold CD-Rs and burning them with important data. Like photos and other things I want to save (or have multiple options) to safeguard the data.

Is it wise to burn these with say, a bit older tech, like pioneer DVD burner than more modern bluray burner. I have seen “falcon” gold media, so there is still some production today of high quality media, but gold discs are rare indeed. Even though they should be the best at keeping important data safe.

It seems that the falcon media might be a safe option, all the other gold stuff is from the 90s I guess, that media might be problematic burning, what do you think ?


#8

[QUOTE=BuuBox;2758191]Any thoughts on the following drives?

Plextor PX-W1210TA
Ricoh MP7320A
Liteon LTR-48246S
:)[/QUOTE]
Do you know if any of those were known to be good CDRW drives for their time? The Plextor is probably good, and I think LiteOn’s CDRW drives were okay at that time, but I’ve no idea about the Ricoh – although many manufacturers chose to rebrand their drives, so that probably weren’t bad.


#9

[QUOTE=dennisolof;2758192]Interesting.

I was thinking about getting hold of a bunch of gold CD-Rs and burning them with important data. Like photos and other things I want to save (or have multiple options) to safeguard the data.

Is it wise to burn these with say, a bit older tech, like pioneer DVD burner than more modern bluray burner. I have seen “falcon” gold media, so there is still some production today of high quality media, but gold discs are rare indeed. Even though they should be the best at keeping important data safe.

It seems that the falcon media might be a safe option, all the other gold stuff is from the 90s I guess, that media might be problematic burning, what do you think ?[/QUOTE]
The older Pioneer DVDRW drive, assuming it’s not TOO old & is a genuine Pioneer, might be a decent option (just an educated guess). They were a generally all around good drive.


#10

[QUOTE=dennisolof;2758192]
I was thinking about getting hold of a bunch of gold CD-Rs and burning them with important data. Like photos and other things I want to save (or have multiple options) to safeguard the data.
[/QUOTE]
Remember that gold is significantly less reflective than silver (thus adversely affecting readability), so it isn’t necessarily better. Also most modern gold discs are not of the highest quality. In the last 10-12 years it has generally used as a gimmick.

If you wish to go down that route, the Verbatim/Falcon silver+gold hybrid archival discs are probably the best option. The principal reflective layer is silver, with gold used as chemically inert material to protect it.

Taiyo Yuden’s gold CD-R should be of good quality, but check the description carefully as there are also standard TY with gold-coloured tops. Other recent gold-reflective layer discs are most likely made by CMC (at best) and not of particularly good quality.

There were some outstanding gold CD-R in the old days (Kodak Ultima springs to mind :bow:). But even if you managed to find some old stock, bare in mind that even unused discs can degrade - the clock doesn’t start when they are written - so I would be cautious about trusting vintage discs.


#11

One advantage of Pioneer is that they still publish media compatibility lists. Glancing at a couple I can see a few vintage CD-R types listed, but not many and none of the really old stuff.

Sanyo-based Plextors were probably the last drives to have good support for old CD-R types. Media compatibility lists were published for the DVD writers, but I can’t find my saved copies at the moment.

If you can acquire one, you might like to try the Benq 5232X (c.2005-6, rebadged as the Plextor PX-230A). I don’t have any vintage blank discs left to try in mine, nor a media compatibility list. But it springs to mind partly because it can write modern high-speed 48/52x CD-R as low as 4x speed (with good writing quality).

(There is also the slightly older 5224W & 5232W models, which also use an ALI chipset but an older drive mechanism.)

[EDIT]
Plextor’s recommended media for the PX-230A:

CD-R: 4X-52X media Maxell, TDK, Fujifilm
CD-R: 4X-48X media Taiyo Yuden, Mitsui, Mitsubishi/Verbatim
CD-RW: 4-32X media Mitsubishi/Verbatim


#12

Personally, I don’t see the problem with older media if it has been in storage. My extensive testing over the years has led me to conclude that as long as the media is of high quality, has been carefully stored and the hardware is compatible with the media, you won’t have any issues with initial burn quality or longevity.

Hardware compatibility is the biggest issue as far as I’m concerned. If you can get your hands on a genuine Plextor writer with Sanyo chipset, you should have very little problems burning old media. Failing that, an older Pioneer DVR (up to series 17, excluding 13 & 14) or NEC/Sony Optiarc are also not bad propositions.


#13

Ibex.

Ah, I see, sounds like the best option is gold and silver combo, as you described. I would say you do not need CD-R and can stick with DVD-R if you go for quality discs. Archival grade etc. But I do not know if CD-R have a better tolerance for errors than DVD-R

The reason for that is to maximize storage time without the worry that the media will degrade over time. Nothing last forever but if you use quality media, you should have some sort or quality assurance that it will be safe and in working order, at lest for 10-20 years. Of course you should make a new copy at least every 10years to be safe. Regardless how many years they state the media will be safe (stored properly) you need to maintain the stuff you have, there is no way around that.

So i addition I store stuff on standard harddrive. Optical media will not go away anytime soon, just like USB2 will be around for a long time.

But the over all problem is if hardware will be around. The old floppys are gone. And tape storage is no option. The sad part is if everything moves into the cloud. It would be nice if there was some sort of service where you could upload the stuff you want to save, and get a professional gold DVD sent home by mail. Just like you can do with pictures you want printed out, you do not need to print it out any more, just do all of it online.


What hardware to use for for the media.

I take it DVD-R works in all modern drives, even bluray, but how about CD-R ?

I have always used pioneer hardware only. As they where best or very good back in the day, and still have high quality. So I trust that.

I think I could use a pioneer dvr-106, my current computer has dvr-219 and I also have a bluray burner 6x speed or something like that, not used it. Planned to but then I moved over to harddrive storage, and BD-R prices are to high, plus quality problems are worse than on DVDs.


So I need help then. For archival propose.

What are the best gold (or with silver) CD-Rs you can get.

What are the best (same as above) DVD-Rs you can get.


Verbatim Ultralife Golf Archival seems like a great option.

And I take it you should not buy “old” gold (or with silver) CD-Rs and that it need to be a more current production from the factory regardless of media ?


#14

@[B]dennisolof[/B]

It may be best to start a new thread, or ask a moderator to split this one. We have deviated from the original topic and it would be impolite & unproductive to hijack [B]Terminalvelocd’s[/B] thread further.


#15

I’ll split it, if you tell me where to start the split. :slight_smile:


#16

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2758252]Personally, I don’t see the problem with older media if it has been in storage. My extensive testing over the years has led me to conclude that as long as the media is of high quality, has been carefully stored and the hardware is compatible with the media, you won’t have any issues with initial burn quality or longevity.[/QUOTE]
I would certainly use vintage discs - it would be a shame to waste them on something trivial or leave them all unused. But I would not rely on them as my primary storage, but as a supplement to other copies made on more recent stock.

The greatest degradation problems certainly occur after writing, and the writing process substantially changes the chemistry of the dye. But I have seen early signs of reflective layer oxidation, and reasons to question the integrity of the layer bonding, on unused discs. But it can be very hard to spot the early signs visually and it does not always show up on initial scans (even with a drive which can report E22 errors).

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2758252]
Hardware compatibility is the biggest issue as far as I’m concerned.[/QUOTE]
:iagree: It is heartbreaking to see irreplaceable vintage discs mangled by a modern drive (but also very interesting to see what they can do).

Have you tried Samsung or LG DVD writers?

The Samsung 18x & 20x drives are superb CD writers with modern discs.

And the LG GSA-H10/12 (last of the Z-CLV Renesas models) are even better (a typical result :D). The later P-CAV Renesas drives are also superb at low speeds, but frequently produce E22 errors at moderate & high speeds.


#17

[QUOTE=Albert;2758271]I’ll split it, if you tell me where to start the split. :)[/QUOTE]
Probably best to let [B]Terminalvelocd[/B] decide.


#18

Ok. Perhaps I should have posted a new thread then. Perhaps I will.

I could just copy most of the stuff and start a new one, as I would like to know about that stuff.

Anyway I will do that later, not now, so ignore my post. Sorry that I got off topic.


#19

And today, we test a 15-year old Sony CDQ-74CNZ made by Taiyo Yuden. The disc was written on a Plextor PX-716UFL with GigaRec set to 0.8, and VariRec set to Cyanine +2.0. Ignoring the false C2 spike at the 10min mark (this is seen on ALL GigaRec 0.8 discs), we can see that the level of errors is extremely low. This disc has withstood the test of time extremely well.




#20

[QUOTE=terminalvelocd;2758732]And today, we test a 15-year old Sony CDQ-74CNZ made by Taiyo Yuden. The disc was written on a Plextor PX-716UFL with GigaRec set to 0.8, and VariRec set to Cyanine +2.0.[/QUOTE]
:clap:

A very nice result, especially for a disc scanned with a 716. Of all the reliable CD scanning drives, they seem to be the most ‘sensitive’.

Any chance of another scan? Preferably Benq ADQ, but if not with Opti Drive Control BLER using the Plextor? It would be interesting to see how few E31 errors there are (and if a Benq is available, absolute jitter). Shame about the spike. Without that it might have been a contender for the zero E31 club.

Does fiddling with VariRec make a noticeable difference?

People used to complain a lot about the CD-R performance of Plextor those DVD writers. But my 716s have always been excellent, especially at moderate speeds.