Hi Jesterrace, thanks for sharing your experiences.
Regarding spots, fingerprints, etc:
I own 4 spindles of Ridiscs G04, and I have found very fine spotting in the plastic that looks like fog, and a few discs had fingerprints and "blemishes" ("big centrifugal drops of dye") in the dye. At first, I was very angry, but later I noticed that the discs were perfectly readable, although Quality Scans indeed revealed the defect (PIF errors increase in that area). As the price was good, I think they are worthy.
But finding that kind of defects in a Maxell or Fuji is indeed unacceptable.
I have only purchased a spindle of Maxells. They are Taiyo Yuden, +R, 4X.
They costed me very expensive.
The looks are impeccable, no visual defects at all. The only problem with them is that
when I scan them at 16X, I get high errors at the end, and the drive has to slow down.
I am glad to see that you are happy with your unbranded Taiyo Yudens. This is
not the first time that I see happy customers with this media.
It is true that branded media suffers more manipulation, due to the labeling process, and sometimes humans handle the discs. Thus, the discs end up with dust and fingerprints.
Furthermore, unbranded media has a big advantage: you can write on them with the typical marker, and later, if you want to make corrections, you can easily delete it with alcohol and toilet paper. Its very easy. In contrast, if you write on a labeled disc, the ink of the pen somehow is absorbed by the label and you won't be able to remove it completely. Furthermore, the alcohol can damage the label, and it will look ugly.
Furthermore, labels are very distracting, if you have a collection of discs, and you have a diversity of labels.
The price difference between Pastels and Unbranded TY:
the Pastels were more expensive, at 3,69â‚¬ /5discs. They are packaged in slim jewel boxes,
The 100 TY are 57,80â‚¬.