CD Burning Hints
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Updated 30 Dec 2023

In the course of developing AC over the past months, we have done a lot of research into CD technology and we have burned a lot (I mean a lot) of CDs. There is a lot of information available on CD Drives, and CDR media, but I have found that there is no definitive source for this information, and the more you read, the more you realize that there are many answers to the obvious questions that arise...not specific "this is best" or "that is best answers". So with this in mind I will present some obvious questions and answers based on my personal experience of testing and research. This was current as of the date at the top...things can change.

Why Should I Believe Your Answers?
You shouldn't. What I suggest that you do, is read what I have learned and use it as guidelines when you make your decisions about CD and CD-R issues.

What is the best CDR media?
I don't know. But I can tell you the following. With rare exception, you are buying blind when you buy CD-R media. There are a limited number of factories and plants and they sell to and through a very large number of brand labels and distribution channels. So when you buy a Memorex disk today (I only use them as an example), you can buy the very same Memorex part number tomorrow and not get the same disk. Marketing companies buy their disks from various suppliers (who buy from various factories) and there is little guarantee that you will getting the same disk twice.

I have found that there are some exceptions. For example, all Mitsui disks are made by Mitsui (Mitsui Advanced Media, Inc). And all Verbatim disks are made by their parent company Mitsubishi. These 2 disks use different dye technologies and depending on your drive one might perform better than the other. There are also different factories that makes these disks, so the disks can still vary from batch to batch.

There is information written into each blank CD-R which tells the manufacturer of the disk and the type of dye that is used, but even this information is not accurate because the information is embedded in the stamper than makes the CD-R and these stampers can move from factory to factory, and really not indicate the true manufacturer of the disk.

So what CD-R media should I use?
In my tests on my several drives, I have found that the Mitsui disks give me the best and most consistent results. They are also the most expensive disks. Are these the best for you? I would suggest that you test them and others and decide for yourself. Read on to find out how.

What is the best CD-R drive?
I don't know. But I do know that I have gotten great results from very inexpensive drives as well as very expensive drives. What are great results? See below. The things to look for when buying a drive (in terms of features) are the write and read speeds, and the under-run prevention technology that is used to prevent Buffer Under-run Errors. To find out how to best prevent the chance of getting under-run errors, click here.

The best drive would have the following combination of attributes..
·Low price  
·Fast Read and Write Speeds  
·Burn-Proof Technology  
·Have a great tolerance for all types of media  
·Burn disks that are readable in all other CDR and CD drives after a long period of time  

Some of these factors you can easily confirm, but the last and most important one you can't. You have no way of knowing how well the CD-Rs that you burn will be read in some unknown drive 2, 5, 10, or 20 years from now. My recommendation is to pick a drive in your price range that has Burn-Proof Technology. Read and Write speeds are not that important because in reality the effective speeds that you can achieve are rarely those of the drive unless your computer is very optimized. So a drive that is 24X-40X should be more than enough in most situations. If you want the bleeding edge, than go for the 48X or 52X drive, but there is no guarantee that the drives will meet these numbers (meaning that your computer can keep up with the drive), and there is also no guarantee that a fast drive will work as well as a slower rated drive at realistic burn speeds (24X to 40X).

What is Burn-Proof Technology ?
Burn-Proof is a technology by Sanyo that allows the disk to run out of data, stop writing, and then when the data buffer is full again, begin writing again, thereby saving the disk from being a coaster. There are several versions of this type of technology made and/or marketed by a variety of manufacturers. I have personally used Burn-Proof, Quick-Link (Ricoh), Burn-Safe (Sony) and have found them, to work equally well. There are a number of others, and I have not read of any that do not seem to do the job. There are some similar sounding technologies, that sound like these, but in fact are just better buffering scheme, and on those drives the data can still run out and the disk will become a coaster. So be careful that the drive that you use, has a real "data-linking" technology that prevents under-run errors from rendering a disk as useless. And realize that the brand name that a disk drive is marketed under, is no guarantee that the drive mechanism was made by that brand. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, but just a note, that like CD media, the brand is not necessarily an indication of a manufacturer.

For more CD Burning hints and information check out this thread on our Message Board: CD Burning Hints