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CD-R/CD-RW Media | Tech Info Home Page |

General Information

If you need to buy media select one of the following two links, CD-R Media, CD-RW Media.

CD Media is a specially coated round disk, typically 5.25 inches in diameter. The recording surface is activated by the laser of the recording drive making the recorded information permanent. The recording can last up to 30 years. 

In the past, recordable drives were used. These drives were also known as CD-R drives. In the last few years the CD-R drives have been replaced by re-writable drives (CD-RW). CD-R drives are still available for bulk recording applications but are not sold in retail channels for typical home computer applications.

CD-RW drives are capable of recording to both CD-R and CD-RW disks.

There are two types of CD media which can be recorded. Recordable and Re-writable. A rewritable drive can write to either of these two types.

Recordable Media (CD-R)

They come in sizes of 650MB which can hold 74 minutes of data or 700MB which can hold 80 minutes of data. 

The recordable disks (CD-R) can only be recorded once.

There are two physically size products. The normal CD-R Media is 5-1/4" in diameter. 

There is also a smaller version, the Pocket CD-R disk, which is 3 inches in diameter (8 cm). Each disk can hold 21 minutes of data (music, graphics etc) or about 3 hours of compressed MP3 audio files.

The Pocket CD-R can be used with CD-R cameras, CD/MP3 personal recorder/players and CD-RW computer writers, offers 185MB of storage and can fit into a standard CD tray.

Re-Writable Media (CD-RW)

The rewritable disks (CD-RW) can be recorded more then once. 

The CD-RW disks, like the CD-R disks, also come in two sizes, 5.25 inches and 3 inches which is also known as Pocket CD-RW. The pocket CD-RW can also be used with CD-R cameras or any CD-RW computer writer, and can fit into a standard CD tray

Recording Method (software)

Normally you have to use a CD Mastering program to record to these disks. A special program is additionally available (DirectCD or PacketCD) which allows the user to write to the disk using the Windows Explorer program in the same manner as copying from one hard disk folder to another.

Physical Characteristics

The disks have one side that is shiny, this is the side where the data is recorded. The top side either has a logo of the manufacturer or is blank. You can write to this top side with a felt tip pen or a permanent marker. 

Some disks are specially formulated so the top surface can by written to with either an inkjet printer or a special CD Label Printer which allows you to place the CD disk in a special slot in the printer and the writing is done directly on to the disk.

There are also CD Label Kits available that allow you to make labels for recordable disks. These kits use a program to allow you to create a round image with data on the computer monitor and then print that design on to a special peel-off label with either a laser or an inkjet printer. After printing the design you can peel-off the label and stick it on the top surface of a CD you created. Most of these kits also have an applicator which helps you align the label so it is centered on top of the disk.

The bottom of the disks has a colored hue like silver, blue, gold or green.

According to "Maxell"...


What actually makes a Maxell CD-R appear green, gold or blue?

The color of a specific type of CD-R disc depends on the dye material in the recording layer used by the manufacturer. This dye color can alter in appearance when different reflector coatings are applied (gold or silver).

Three types of dyes utilized in today's CD-R's are:

Cyanine: This dye is actually blue in color. When combined with a gold reflective layer Cyanine discs appear green in color. If a silver reflector is applied, the discs appear light blue in color. A major advantage of Cyanine based discs is that they work with a wider range of laser powers, making them more compatible among several different brands of writers. This is due to the fact that Cyanine has a greater sensitivity to light than other dyes. This characteristic also affects their longevity. These discs have a life span of 50 plus years. The majority of Maxell CD-R media sold in the U.S. is Cyanine based.

Pthalocyanine: This dye is actually yellow-green in color. When combined with a gold reflector the discs appear gold or greenish gold in color. Pthalocyanine dye is a newer dye that has less sensitivity to light. Resulting in a life span of up to 100 years. However, less light sensitivity can sometimes be an issue when it comes to working with certain manufacturer's writers. Maxell CD-R media manufactured in Mexico is Pthalocyanine based.

Azo: Mitsubishi Chemical Company manufactures this dye. Azo discs usually use a silver reflective layer that give the data side of the disc a deep blue color. This dye has been used in other optical recording products in the past. Some early formulations of Azo dyes had difficulty writing at higher speeds. Longevity for Azo based discs should be in the 100-year range. Maxell has never produced an Azo based CD-R.





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