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The Great CD-R Media Mystery

Recordable CDs (CD-Rs) have been in use for many years now. Initially they were used for Computer Data Storage, but now they are the most common media for recording and duplicating Audio. There were a few (very few) Consumer CD Recorders on the market for a while, but they seem to be even harder to find now. This is no great tragedy, because the consumer machines have a built in protection which requires you to use "Audio CD-Rs" which are much more expensive. They are not necessarily a better quality media, they are just much more expensive because you are paying a royalty surcharge which supposedly goes back to the music industry.

Professional CD Recorders like the Marantz and Denon machines we sell have no copy protection because it is assumed that they are being used to record original material, as is the case with our customers. They are also higher quality machines with better features. So much for the Recorders, now how about the media.

At Alectro Systems we have been recording and duplicating CD-Rs for several years, and therefore we have learned a bit about the problems associated. Although the earlier CD Recorders would record on conventional (Data) CD-Rs they were a bit picky about which ones they liked and didn't like. This could only be determined by trial and error to find the ones which would work. To be fair however, most CD-Rs worked. Only a few types didn't. The new Professional CD Recorders don't seem to exhibit this problem. They seem to record on any CD-R.

The same cannot be said about CD Players though. Although the new CD Players are able to play back most CD-Rs, the older ones are not so forgiving. As with the early CD Recorders, this too was determined by trial and error. Once you found a CD-R which worked well, it was a good idea to stock up while they were available. As time goes on, and the old CD Players are being replaced with new ones, this is becoming less of an issue.

If you do have people using your CD-Rs with old, picky CD Players, I have found that the best media is a Blue surface CD made by Fuji but I am not sure if they are still available. Another one which seems to be quite universal and is available is a Black CD-R made by Memorex.

Even with the Newer CD Players, it is still a good idea to pick a CD-R which works well for you, and stick with it. The one which we like, use and sell is made by RiData. It is quite inexpensive and comes with a white, Ink Jet Printable surface. They are great for Audio as well as Computer Data. You can find them on our web store.

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