CDRs - Sonic Difference?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by JPH, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. JPH

    JPH Guest

    Sorry if this has been discussed before but I wanted some opinoins on the different brand CDRs out there.

    I always assumed that CDRs just print data, error rate aside, that they more or less sound the same.
    But I read an interesting thread about the "big" differences between the different brands. For example, the Sonys sounding "dark" ect.

    The consenses was that the HHBs were the best, along with tyuden and apogee.

    Is there reallty a difference between brands sonicly? I've never been able to do a side by side test because I don't have 2 exact CD players I can compare to. or is it a difference that you can only "see" with test equipment?
  2. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > Sonys sounding "dark" ect. <

    Nonsense. Trust your gut on this one. Bits is bits. What matters is that the CD playback sounds like the original source. And you don't need two identical players to compare CD brands. Just alternate between the Wave file source and the CD playback. If it's the same, then it's the same!

  3. Doug Milton

    Doug Milton Active Member

    Sep 23, 2002
    A few years a go I did a little test for my own peace of mind. I digitally transferred a song from a commercial CD into my SADiE workstation. Then burning at 1x on a plextor 820 (scsi), I burned a TDK, Sony, Verbatim, Taiyo Uden, Mitsui, Memorex, Maxell and a Best Buy generic.

    Running out the spdif of a Marantz CD player into an Apogee 8000 for D/A, and running the SADiE out to the Apogee to compare the before and after. There were definitely sonic differences from disc to disc.

    It’s not hard to believe that different die configurations would give different results. A few years back Stephen St. Croix wrote in Mix magazine about how bad he thought the TDK sounded. But ultimately let YOUR ears be the judge….
  4. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    I can't imagine this is anything but pit jitter. Play 'em through a jitter-immune DAC and I bet the differences go away. This is actually a good reason to have a crappy DAC around, IMO.

    I think it's all about finding the brand that works best with your burner- Plextor/Taiyo Yuden seems to be a pretty standard combo. A colleague has a Sony drive, and he reports the least problems with Verbatim blanks.
  5. i dont know abot the sound difference between different brands of cd-rs.
    but what i do know is that there is a differnce between the sound of a "real cd" (pressed cd) then a cd-r
    i have masters (mastered stuff) that i have done on cd-r before they were sent to the pressing plant (for the making of a glass master and duplicated) the cds that were pressed later had a difference in there sound.
    the cd sounded better to me (smooth highs and more rounded-like it wass compressed a bit) it happind to me sevral times also my friends also told me they did an a/b test and that what happend
  6. lowdbrent

    lowdbrent Guest

    What a bunch of hooie. A storage method doesn't dictate what the sound will be, rather the way it was converted and put there.

    A glass master-pressed disc will sound better. There is no wobble causing errors from being burned at high speeds.
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Distinguished Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    There are sonic differences in CDR's. The burner used with different CDR's and the player with different CDR's. It has to do with error correction, not with the actual bit stream. Burners are usually calibrated to work with a dye type. A good pressed CD has better pit definition and hense less error correction. To think that the medium does not play a roll is wrong.
  8. JPH

    JPH Guest

    Well the differences might be subtle, but if there are some who have tested and heard differences, I would opt to believe that.

    Apparntly there have been articals in mix and others about the sonic differences between the different brands. All I am after is the best possible reccomended CD for a master.
    I've ordered some HHBs to check out and well try to test them aginst the "Best Buy" Sony.
  9. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > if there are some who have tested and heard differences, I would opt to believe that. <

    There are some who will say there's a difference in an A/A test, where nothing has changed.

    Human hearing is fleeting, and the only way to know for sure if something changes is with a double blind test. There's a reason that such tests are used by scientists when they need to separate fact from fiction. Anything less is just guessing. Or wishful thinking.

  10. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:
    There are differences in media. What I look for and we have tested all the different CD's for is blur rate or the amount of errors that are on the CD. And we have found that with our CD burners the Taiyo Y. give us less errors. You can see it on the read out. So I know its legit.
    This doesn't mean that it sounds better. But it does mean it's more accurate.

    As for sound, when I've noticed a difference it was because of jitter not the media itself.
  11. JPH

    JPH Guest

    Well after getting the HHBs in here and testing to the best of my ability, I can't hear any difference. I'm inclined to believe that there are most likely lower error rates on some CDs but not any sonic coloration.
  12. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Last time I hit the local chain computer store for some CDR's I was hit with the decision to buy CDR's that were labeled "music" and CDR's that were labeled "data", etc. Is this just a marketing ploy for the masses? I thought a blank CDR was just like the next blank, and that bits are bits are bits are bits. Is there a significant difference between these designations? Seems to me a blank CDR is/should be a clean slate to put whatever bits you need/want to on it.
  13. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    Jan 14, 2001
    Seattle WA, USA
    The CDRs labelled "music" were originally designed for use in various consumer stand-alone recorders such as the Philips 765 and others, circa 1998-99.

    The chemical dye formulations are identical to those used in the "data" discs, and there should be no difference in sound quality.

    However, the "music" discs have part of their TOC header pre-written, so that they can be identified by the recording software in the consumer decks.

    The "data" discs, without this pre-written code, are not recognized by the consumer machines, and cannot be used for recording in them.

    The "music" discs tend to be quite a bit more expensive than the data discs. Part of the extra cost is a royalty payment to the big-five record labels, to offset losses caused by home-copying of major-label material.

    In conclusion, the "music" discs offer no advantage unless you are using a consumer machine such as a Philips or Marantz, etc. for mixdown. Computer-based burners can use the "data" discs, as can professional stand-alone decks such as the Masterlink and others.

    hope this helps,
  14. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > after getting the HHBs in here and testing to the best of my ability, I can't hear any difference. <

    Which was my original point. :)

    > there are most likely lower error rates on some CDs but not any sonic coloration. <

    Right, and this is because of all the built-in error correction and redundancy. For every 16 bits of audio data there are 14 more bits just hanging around waiting to be used if needed. Data CDs use 16 redundant bits for each 16 data bits. But this does not mean that audio errors can be corrected only partially! In all but the most severe cases the data can be restored fully.

  15. RidgeCrest

    RidgeCrest Guest

    Sorry, guys... Ethan's right. Assuming all the discs contain the same data, and the bits going to the D/A are the same, (and arrive at the same time) then there will be no sonic difference (other than possible wishful thinking). The points regarding discs not being read properly are also good points, but that seems like a rare instance - they tend to either play or not play.

    I suppose if I spent extra on higher cost cdrs, I'd want them to sound better, but wishing doesn't make it so...
  16. Prolab

    Prolab Guest

    I disagree.

    Some blank CD's are not as "balanced" as others and at the RPM's they must turn, some of this imbalance causes the error correction circuitry, to work harder, and this causes audible artifacts.

    When you are looking at the signal path from the reader to the error corection, more error corection, more anomilies. It may be good enough for accounting but when the engineers here tell you they hear a difference, perhaps they have the experience to know what they are talking about.

    Studies in using devices such as the CD stop light also have passed the double blind testing or ABX testing with a 90% or greater reaction.

    It is not about the data on the CD, it is about how the platform can read the data and transpose all of it from error correction, kick, azimuth and laser output to the D/A converter for processing.

    Some CD's are out of balance and vibrate on the spindle. The error correction circuitry is doing big duty just to make these read at all.
  17. 303

    303 Guest

    great, next we'll be playing the "which hard drive sounds better" game. :p

  18. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    But when burning a CD for archiving purposes, you'd want as accurate a copy as possible, down to the last byte. Granted, error-correction and jitter are practically nonexistant when properly ripped in a controlled environment as opposed to being jostled around in a car stereo, but meh.

    I'd burn all the stuff I want archived as .wavs on a data CD, in any case. Why be shackled to 16-bit/44.1kHz?
  19. Prolab

    Prolab Guest

    303, We happen to CARE about sonics on this site. Anything to advance the recording arts are the goals.

    Since this is a mastering forum, to get your product the best it can be for mastering and the best it can be after mastering is something that this forum strives to teach. Otherwise, the folks here will get no real world benefit if they did not care to go the extra miles it takes to extract even slightly better results.

    Why be average when their are whole different levels of quality that can be taught and exercised?

    My above mentions the medium which you record on to send your mix off for best possable mastering. Any weaknesses in the chain will add up and show themselves in the final product.
  20. 303

    303 Guest

    oh i do care about audio quality, i'm just saying that the media brand won't make the difference. if you want pro quality, use a pro writer! if you dont have one, rent one. if you're worried too much about cdr media types, use an adat! they're fairly standard. :)

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