When shopping for blank discs, how can you determine the media code?

vbimport

#1

Hello, Lads,

I just joined this site today and this is my first post. To those of you in Europe (and elsewhere), greetings from across the pond. :cool: Looking forward to e-chatting with you all.

My question: Do any of you know if there’s an online vendor (preferably in the U.S.) that lists the media code for the blank media they sell? I’m new to disc burning, and I’d like to buy the exact media that performed well in CDFreaks’ tests of the Asus DRW-1612BL burner I just bought (mostly Maxell, Verbatim and TY). Lots of Websites list the brands they sell, of course, but I don’t see any mention of specific media codes. I’ve also looked at the boxes and/or packaging of various blank discs from Verbatim, Maxell and Fuji, at a couple retail stores, and there’s no mention of media codes on the packaging either.

I checked out RIMA.com, but they don’t show the media codes either. I can buy some discs that have the same packaging as those used in the review, but I just wonder if the mfgrs ever change dyes or other chemicals in their discs from time to time. If they do, that could potentially change the performance dramatically.

So how do the reviewers on this site know what the media codes of the discs they test are, and how can a person determine the codes when shopping for discs?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Ken


#2

When shopping online, most of us only purchase media from brands or manufacturers where we know for sure what kind of disks we’re getting. Unbranded Taiyo Yuden (TY) is always the same media code, so there’s nothing to think about there (except whether you want the Premium or Value line). The same with Verbatim-brand media (the media codes are always the same, although there’s an additional indicator of manufacturer that can only be determined in-store). Whatever the speed, we already know the code. It doesn’t change. Outside of those, it’s pretty much a crapshoot.

Here is a list of media where the codes are stable, and you know what you’re going to get, all the time, no matter what:

Unbranded Taiyo Yuden (always TYGxx in -R and YUDEN000xxx in +R)
Verbatim (always MCC xxxxxx in -R and MCC xxx in +R for Made in Taiwan media)
Hewlett-Packard (always CMC MAG xxx)
Plextor (see TY above)

Can anyone think of others?

Now, that was mail-order. At the retail level, here are the brands where you can easily identify what you’re going to get, based on additional visual cues on the packaging:

Sony (Sony/Daxon-made have round spacers and TY-made have octagonal spacers)
Verbatim (CMC-made have serif fonts and Prodisc-made have sans-serif fonts)

There are a couple of extra issues regarding the above two, but that’s just the basics. The point is, we know how to identify based on visual cues that we’ve picked up on for certain media.

One other thing, in regards to distinguishing between Premium and Value line TY media, the best rule of thumb is to only buy from Rima.com (they only sell Premium TY) and/or only buy TY from SuperMediaStore or Meritline that comes in cakeboxes. TY value media usually comes wrapped in plastic or tape packaging, whereas the premium media is usually only to be found in cakeboxes. Someone correct me if I’m wrong about that.

And of course, in case it’s not self-evident, I’m in North America, where you are, but the rules may be different in other parts of the world.


#3

TY hub printable premium media is tape-wrapped.


#4

videohelp.com has a list of media codes by brand.


#5

Thanks a mil, guys (particularly Negritude for taking the time to type all that out). I really appreciate your help.

And that chart at Videohelp.com is a nice reference. :cool:

Now I’m wondering this:

So do media codes reflect the “composition” (for lack of a better term) of a disc? In other words, the type of coating, dye, etc., of a particular brand or batch? I’m under the impression that that’s what media codes are for, but I just wanna be sure. And are MIDs (media codes) determined by the actual [I]mfgr [/I] of the disc or by the company that ultimately puts their brand name on the packaging? In other words, could two different brands of discs have the same media code as a result of the mfgr selling the discs to those two different companies to sell under their brand names? Or does the company selling the discs decide what MID to use?

Also: Once I buy some discs, is there a way to check/verify the media code if it’s not on the packaging or stamped on the disc itself (which I assume it won’t be)? Does Nero or Roxio show it, or ??? (Go easy on me – I’m new at this. :o )

Thanks again in advance.


#6

The MID is decided by the mfgr of the disc. The Mid will tell you who manufactured the disc.
The MID can be found out by using software like DVD identifier or NERO CD-DVD speed and others.


#7

So do media codes reflect the “composition” (for lack of a better term) of a disc? In other words, the type of coating, dye, etc., of a particular brand or batch?

Yes, exactly. The media code reflects the dye, reflectivity, and so on for a particular type of disc; drive manufacturers generally include many different strategies for burning, each one tailored to a certain media code (and thus a certain type of disc).

And are MIDs (media codes) determined by the actual mfgr of the disc or by the company that ultimately puts their brand name on the packaging?

By the manufacturer. Brand is irrelevant, though there are often correlations. Any disc made by Taiyo Yuden (the manufacturer), will have a TY media code, regardless of the brand printed on the disc.

In other words, could two different brands of discs have the same media code as a result of the mfgr selling the discs to those two different companies to sell under their brand names?

Yes, of course. If you look for Made In Japan discs, for example, both Sony and Fujifilm discs could be the same exact YUDEN000T02 discs under the branding. They will be different batches, of course, but will both be the same genuine Taiyo Yuden discs. Sometimes certain branders impose their own quality control on top of what the manufacturer imposes, but generally the media code is what’s important, not the brand.

Also: Once I buy some discs, is there a way to check/verify the media code if it’s not on the packaging or stamped on the disc itself (which I assume it won’t be)?

Nero should show this info in the disc information screen. Alternately, you can try:

DVD Identifier
Nero CD-DVD Speed

both of which come highly recommended by CDFreaks :slight_smile:


#8

Thanks, guys, for the feedback and for taking the time to educate me. I appreciate it.

Reptile – I have one more question:

You said, “Yes, exactly. The media code reflects the dye, reflectivity, and so on for a particular type of disc; drive manufacturers generally include many different strategies for burning, each one tailored to a certain media code (and thus a certain type of disc).”

Now I’m a little confused. Are you saying that drives typically ‘scan’ (or otherwise ‘check out’) a blank disc before burning, checking for its characteristics (dye, reflectivity or whatever) and then tailor the burn according to that disc’s characteristics? If so, is this done automatically by drives or does the person perform this process with software before the burn?

I realize that’s prolly a dumb question, but I’m not clear on what you meant by “different strategies … tailored to a certain media code.” I was under the impression that a drive’s burning mechanism/method is what it is and that the trick to getting good burns is to find the right media that’s a good match for the drive. Am I offbase here?

Ken


#9

The firmware for your drive contains burning strategies for various types of media, and selects the strategy it is going to use according to the mid on the disk you have inserted. This process happens automatically.

Most dvd drives will be set up to recognize commonly found media, like CMC disks or MCC (Mitsubishi), but occasionally you might find a disk with no matching burning strategy in your drive’s firmware. The drive will then use a generic approach, and you’ll probably get a mediocre burn as a result.

Firmware can be updated, and really should be, as newer media is coming onto the market all the time and older, slower disks are phased out. But manufacturers only update the firmware for their drives for a limited time. Which is why some older 4x and 8x top speed drives are hard to match up with newer media.


#10

Ahhh … okay, now I understand this a lot better. Thanks, Kerry.

If you had to guess then, why would you think that there are such notable differences in burn quality, even among the common media like CMC, MCC and TY, with a given drive? Based on what you’ve explained above, I’d think that the burns on, say, a CMC disc and an MCC disc would be pretty comparable in the same drive 'cuz the drive’s firmware should recognize the MID and choose an optimal burning strategy accordingly. But when I read the reviews & tests on this site, the performance measures sometimes vary widely depending on the media used – even among “common” media.

Whaddya think? Inadequate firmware or ???

Thanks again. I’m learning a lot here. :cool:

Ken


#11

Hi learned friends,
Maybe one of you can shed light on a problem that has confuse me for quite a while.
For example, I make a DVD from my Hi8 tapes or copy a DVD. I play these DVDs on my commercial DVD Players and watch them on my TV. For sme strange and unknown reason, at times they play OK, at other times, they pixillate or cease playing altogether, usually half way thru. Another DVD Player may play this DVD perfectly well. I am using a Toshiba Satellite M30 (with its own built in DVD drive) and an external USB2 DVD Samsung (latest model) drive, and my recording media is mostly TDK x8 or x16 -R. Can anyone explain this irrational behaviour of my DVD Players and/or DVD disks??
I would appreciate any opinion.
Best wishes and Good Luck,
S Frank


#12

I would recommend trying some other media (Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim). :slight_smile:


#13

Ken in California> The Drive will automatically detect the MID and will then burn the disc according to the strategy in the firmware. The different results you see with different MIDs is because of the quality of each disc. Not all discs are produced at a high quality level. Another factor could be dust and finger prints or scratches on the data side. It could also be because the firmware has problems with the writing because of some troubles with the writing strategy it uses for each MID. The drive will use the best available strategy to write but thats all it can do.

sfrank3818> This can be because of bad quality media or dust, scratches and finger prints on the disc. Also some players are better at reading DVD+/-Rs than others. Some older players can even refuse to read DVD+/-R at all. Best thing to do is to use high quality media like Made In Japan discs (TY) or Verbatim and to check the disc for dust, finger prints and scratches before burning.


#14

Media caodes are a minefield, as there are also a lot of fake codes, such as media with a TY code that has no connection with TY at all. Also legitimately coded media made in factories that are not up to the standards of the best examples of the media code.

Some name brands also switch or use multple codes…

TDK is one example… everyone loves the Taiyo Yuden coded media version of TDK, but TDKs own codes (TTH02 etc.) are a disappointment - not “bad”, but in many drives, nothing like as good as the TY version of it.


#15

Thanks, Koba and Matth,

Koba: This is prolly a stupid question, but I need to ask: From what you expalined to me in your post, I’m wondering what criteria these drive mfgrs use to decide which media codes to set their firmware up for. In other words, you’d think a drive mfgr would want to produce the best drive they could and, accordingly, ‘optimize’ their firmware for, say, at least the top 5 most popular brands of discs. I mean if I were making a drive, I’d prolly wanna make sure that media from Verbatim, Maxell, TDK, Fuji and Sony (for example) all performed great in my drive. (Noting, of course, that these brands will be putting their name on media acutally made by TY, CMC, Ritek and others.)

So again, stupid question, since these mfgrs can issue firmware updates seemingly whenever they want, it would seem like they could make sure just about any media they want will burn well. So is there a limit to how many different MIDs a given drive’s firmware can be ‘calibrated’ for? Or is the limit simply whatever the mfgr decides?

Matth: As far as navigating the MID minefield goes (good analogy, BTW), would you say that as long as we buy media from the big names like Maxell, Fuji, TDK, Verbatim and the like, we can be pretty sure we’re not gonna get discs with fake codes? I’d think that these big companies would be wary of risking their reputations by selling ‘fake’ media and that discs with fake MIDs would more likely be found with off-brands. Yes? No?

Also, when you talk about some brands switching or using multiple codes (like with your TDK example), how’s a buyer supposed to know what they’re getting before they buy? I’m guessing you’re gonna say, “You can’t,” and that we basically have to keep our eyes on this forum and hope for packaging clues or some other tips? To use your example, how’s a TDK buyer supposed to know whether he/she is getting the TY or TTH MID before buying the discs?


#16

Well… don’t forget that development is expensive. So it is cheaper for the manufacturers to optimize only for a few, select, popular media codes and leave the rest to the customer with Autostrategy, SolidBurn, or HT/OHT. :wink:

Genuine Maxell, Fuji, TDK, Verbatim and the like does not have fake codes.
But the packaging itself may be faked too (together with the discs), this happened with some Verbatim 8x DVD-R in Eastern Europe - but that’s extremely rare.

There are hints on the packaging (minor details, “LOCK/OPEN” font on the top, country of origin, color of the bottom, sometimes you can even see the hub code from the top…) which can be used to detect the disc type.


#17

Many Disc manufacturers supply test discs to the drive manufacturer. The drive manufacturer will then tune the drive according to the test discs they got. The other discs will be burned using the standard strategy or as kg_evilboy says the drive uses its own algorithm to improve writing to discs.
Taiyo Yuden for exapmle has a special line only producing test disc for drive manufacturers (sometimes such discs leak to the market).


#18

Thanks, KG & Koba,

So are the amount of firmware optimizations/calibrations for popular discs pretty much dependent on how many the drive mfgr [I]chooses [/I] to implement? Or could they do as many as they want, simply based on how much time & money they wanna spend on development?

One more question: What’s the best software to use to check burn quality of discs I’m going to burn? One of my drives has PlexTools and one has Nero (the latest version). Will PlexTools & Nero be able to analyze burn quality, readability, C1 & C2 errors, tell me what average speed was used, etc., or will I need a program like K Probe and have to use a Lite-On drive with it?

Forgive me for the dumb questions. I’m still on the steep side of the learning curve with all this. :o


#19

If your Plextor drive is a DVD writer, it is a very good drive for scanning both CD/DVD media (some users would probably say it’s the best choice, though the primary negative of Plextor drives is the slow scanning speed officially supported which may become an issue depending on how many discs you burn).


#20

Agreed. :iagree:
Please note that Plextor drives are very slow for scanning DVD media (2x scanning and you can’t scan for PIE and PIF at the same time), but they’re fine for scanning CD media (24x scanning with C1/C2/CU in a single scan).