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Old 4th November 2011, 08:46 AM   #11
rsdio is offline rsdio  United States
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Originally Posted by Mooly View Post
If the CDP is a real oldie then technically it only conforms to the red book standard of 74 minutes max playing time and most CDR's are 80 minutes with a resulting narrow track width.
The 74-minute limit is a myth that has been repeated so many times that it is believed. I have actually read the Red Book standard, cover to cover, many times, and it never mentions a 74-minute limit. The actual limit is 79.8 minutes, and I have a few CDs from the nineties that are over 74:00, the longest being 79:30.

I believe that the reason this started is that the first CD-R blanks were limited to 74 minutes because they had to crank the gap spacing to the absolute widest that would fit within the range given by the Red Book specifications, and that reduced the total playing time. Once the 74-minute CD-R came out, all the youngsters who were born into a world where CD-R is common thought that 74 minutes was the limit for Red Book, too, even though that's not actually true.

However, there are many CD Players in the wild, even before CD-R, that had trouble reading Red Book compliant CDs. The longer the CD, the more likely there would be tracking errors at the end. These were all quality issues, not specification violations by the media. But do not confuse the original CD-R limits with the actual Red Book limits - they're different.

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Remember burned CD's are totally different in that while a red book or "pressed" CD uses a reflective layer, a burned CDR uses a dye that is changed by the burning process. The resulting "reflection/no reflection" boundaries are no where near as well defined as on a pressed disc.
Here is where you hit the nail on the head. Before CD-R, there was a specification for the color of the plastic, the laser type, the pickup, the reflectivity, and various other details of a Red Book CD. Many CD Players were designed to work with a narrow margin, but so long as they would play all pressed CD on the market, they were fine. CD-R was invented after many of these CD Players were designed, and thus the expectations of the media changed.

To an old CD Player, their laser may not even reflect properly from a CD-R, or if it does reflect, then the color change due to the different media may make it invisible to the pickup. Basically, old CD Players can't "see" CD-R, so they can't play them.

You can get lucky though by trying different brands. You have to learn your CD Player. It might even be as easy as looking at the color of your CD-R. If you find a CD-R that fits within the margins of your old CD Player, then stick to that brand. There is at least one site that rates CD-R and DVD-R blanks based on their quality, First Class, Second Class, Third Class, and worse. You might do best by trying First Class CD-R blanks until you find one that works, then buy as many as you can. The trouble is that the brand on the box or label does not always reflect the actual company who manufactured the CD-R. DVD-R is a little easier, because your burner can read the manufacturing plant name off the disc, but some counterfeiters are using this to lie, and that makes it difficult. CD-R has no such information that the burner can read, so you have to do your homework. The rating sites help out as much as possible so you can tell what you're buying.
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Old 4th November 2011, 10:35 AM   #12
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74 minutes is not a myth, it's just misunderstand. Playing times beyond 74 minutes are achieved by decreasing track pitch beyond the original red book standard. Most new players can accommodate the more closely spaced data. Some old ones can't.

Compact Disc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In 1979, Philips owned PolyGram, one of the world's largest distributors of music. PolyGram had set up a large experimental CD plant in Hannover, Germany, which could produce huge numbers of CDs having, of course, a diameter of 115 mm. Sony did not yet have such a facility. If Sony had agreed on the 115-mm disc, Philips would have had a significant competitive edge in the market. Sony decided that something had to be done. Sony vice-president Norio Ohga suggested extending the capacity to 74 minutes to accommodate Wilhelm Furtwängler's recording of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 from the 1951 Bayreuth Festival. The additional 14-minute playing time subsequently required changing to a 120 mm disc.
The long playing time of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony imposed by Ohga was used to push Philips to accept 120 mm, so that Philips' PolyGram lost its edge on disc fabrication.

Last edited by SoNic_real_one; 4th November 2011 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:18 AM   #13
rsdio is offline rsdio  United States
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Originally Posted by SoNic_real_one View Post
74 minutes is not a myth, it's just misunderstand. Playing times beyond 74 minutes are achieved by decreasing track pitch beyond the original red book standard. Most new players can accommodate the more closely spaced data. Some old ones can't.
Sorry, but I have the original red book standard in my hands. If you want to refute my statements above, then please refer to the page number in the actual specification where it states a 74 minute limit. Don't point me to Wikipedia, that's just a citation of other publications that are incorrectly repeating hearsay about what is in the actual Red Book standard.

The only reason this is a pet peeve of mine is that I was around before the CD-R, and worked with some of the first burners. That's why I have a copy of the actual Red Book specification. At the time, the 74 minute CD-R was a reduction in capacity compared to what CD had offered for years. CD-R increased the track pitch to the maximum limit in the Red Book, because the laser burners needed as much room as possible.
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rabbitz View Post
I've had no problem using CD-Rs on any early 1990s Sony CD players.

I think as long as you use decent quality blanks it should work fine. Burn speed made no difference in the Sony player's ability to read the CD-R.

You might have a laser that might need cleaning or reaching end of life.
I agree i had a sony cpd from 1994 always read cd´r fine but when laser got older it stoped reading the some cd´r , untill one day only accepted original cd´s. i only use memorex

the laser of your cd player is probably falling.try align it , but it will fail eventualy in a year or so.
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by rsdio View Post
The trouble is that the brand on the box or label does not always reflect the actual company who manufactured the CD-R. DVD-R is a little easier, because your burner can read the manufacturing plant name off the disc, but some counterfeiters are using this to lie, and that makes it difficult. CD-R has no such information that the burner can read, so you have to do your homework. The rating sites help out as much as possible so you can tell what you're buying.
I read somewhere that some CD burner software reads the blank type and sets the laser power accordingly. My conclusion (might be wrong) is that since there are many counterfeits, the burner reads false information and adjusts the laser power incorrectly, so the audio CD-R will not play on ordinary old players.
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:51 AM   #16
rsdio is offline rsdio  United States
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Originally Posted by oshifis View Post
I read somewhere that some CD burner software reads the blank type and sets the laser power accordingly. My conclusion (might be wrong) is that since there are many counterfeits, the burner reads false information and adjusts the laser power incorrectly, so the audio CD-R will not play on ordinary old players.
It's most likely that the firmware inside the burner set the laser power, but it could work that way. Now that I think about it, there must be some information on the CD-R because my Apple software knows how long the blank is. Some of my masters fit on a CD-R when I created them, but later when I try to burn on a different brand they're a few seconds too long to fit (yes, I actually timed one CD "mix tape" so that it faded to silence at the exact frame at the end of the CD-R, but then I had to rework the fade to work with a different brand of CD-R).

Perhaps the only data missing from the CD-R is the manufacturing plant, which is one of the things they added for DVD-R.

There are probably many reasons why a CD-R won't play on a pre-CD-R player. CD-R is covered in the Orange Book, so older CD Players were only designed for Red Book.

P.S. There's also the mini CD single, 8 cm disc, but I don't know if that one had a color.
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:51 AM   #17
SY is offline SY  United States
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Maybe a silly question, but was the 96k data converted to 44.1 before burning?
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Old 4th November 2011, 12:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rsdio View Post
Here is where you hit the nail on the head. Before CD-R, there was a specification for the color of the plastic, the laser type, the pickup, the reflectivity, and various other details of a Red Book CD. Many CD Players were designed to work with a narrow margin, but so long as they would play all pressed CD on the market, they were fine. CD-R was invented after many of these CD Players were designed, and thus the expectations of the media changed.

To an old CD Player, their laser may not even reflect properly from a CD-R, or if it does reflect, then the color change due to the different media may make it invisible to the pickup. Basically, old CD Players can't "see" CD-R, so they can't play them.
You're mostly right here but not entirely.

The fundamental problem with CD-R on old CD-Audio players (even some post CD-R era audio players) is not that they "can't see" the disc or that the colour of the dye is incompatible with the colour of the laser, its simply that the total reflectivity of dye based CD-R media is significantly less than normal commercially manufactured discs.

This can be measured by looking at the eye signal from the pickup while playing various discs. I don't remember the exact figures as its more than a decade since I last did this, but I remember measuring it for a variety of then current CD-R's and the reduction in EYE signal was on the order of 30 - 50% or so compared to a standard CD, depending on the dye colour and metallic coating type of the disc.

The problem comes about because as you say, a lot of original CD players were designed to operate within a fairly narrow margin due to the limitations of the laser and optics - and could not cope with largely different reflectivity ratios. (They simply didn't have enough laser output for low reflectivity discs)

Almost every single CD player had a different range that it could cope with - so every different player had differing degrees of "compatibility" with CD-R recordings. Some CD-R's are more reflective than others, thus are "more compatible" with older players, although compatibility is never guaranteed.

From memory the blue coloured discs with the aluminium reflective layer were best for older players, (maximum eye signal) but years later I found they also deteriorated the worst of all my CD-R's, with oxidation of the reflective layer around the edges.

One further complication is that as the laser ages in a CD player it's output gradually reduces over a period of years, depending on the amount of use. After 10+ years of regular use the output can drop 30% or more, so a player which may just marginally be able to play CD-R discs will eventually be unable to play them after a few years of use, even though it can still play regular CD's with their higher reflectivity.

This is probably the biggest reason why many older CD players struggle to play CD-R's today - many of them could have played them when new, (if CD-R's had existed at the time) but by the time CD-R's came out (and certainly by now) aging of the laser unit combined with an initial narrow tolerance for reflectivity results in them being unable to play them.

Accumulation of dust on the lens has a similar effect - if you were right at the margin where it could only just play a CD-R dust build up could be enough to prevent it playing a CD-R, but still allow regular CD's to play.

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You can get lucky though by trying different brands. You have to learn your CD Player. It might even be as easy as looking at the color of your CD-R. If you find a CD-R that fits within the margins of your old CD Player, then stick to that brand. There is at least one site that rates CD-R and DVD-R blanks based on their quality, First Class, Second Class, Third Class, and worse. You might do best by trying First Class CD-R blanks until you find one that works, then buy as many as you can. The trouble is that the brand on the box or label does not always reflect the actual company who manufactured the CD-R. DVD-R is a little easier, because your burner can read the manufacturing plant name off the disc, but some counterfeiters are using this to lie, and that makes it difficult. CD-R has no such information that the burner can read, so you have to do your homework. The rating sites help out as much as possible so you can tell what you're buying.
CD-R quality seems to vary greatly, not just brand to brand, but even batch to batch.

In the early days of CD burning the burners themselves were a bit hit and miss but the discs were good quality. (and expensive) Today it seems to be reversed - the burners are generally very good and reliable, but because the discs are so cheap they are mass produced with very little quality control. (Presumably on the assumption that people won't bother to return individual faulty discs)

It's not unusual to get a pack of 10-20 and have 2-3 fail to burn properly through no fault of the drive, simply because the discs are defective or marginal - one reason I always verify after burning.

One other tip for compatibility with old CD Audio drives is don't even bother using CD-RW discs. They have a completely different dye and reflectivity structure than CD-R, and with a standard CD laser they will not read as the reflectivity is far too low.

As far as I know reading CD-RW discs requires a special laser design, (whether different colour or simply much higher intensity I'm not sure) and I'm not aware of any dedicated CD Audio players, even current models that will read them.
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Last edited by DBMandrake; 4th November 2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 4th November 2011, 01:58 PM   #19
rsdio is offline rsdio  United States
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Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
You're mostly right here but not entirely.

The fundamental problem with CD-R on old CD-Audio players (even some post CD-R era audio players) is not that they "can't see" the disc or that the colour of the dye is incompatible with the colour of the laser, its simply that the total reflectivity of dye based CD-R media is significantly less than normal commercially manufactured discs.
So, it sounds like it's basically that the CD has an aluminum reflector that's like a mirror, and the CD-R is barely reflective at all.

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In the early days of CD burning the burners themselves were a bit hit and miss but the discs were good quality. (and expensive) Today it seems to be reversed - the burners are generally very good and reliable, but because the discs are so cheap they are mass produced with very little quality control. (Presumably on the assumption that people won't bother to return individual faulty discs)
I guess this explains why I did not produce a single "coaster" for my first decade of burning discs (all Apple burners), but now I get more and more failures despite buying 1st class and a few 2nd class blanks.

Quote:
One other tip for compatibility with old CD Audio drives is don't even bother using CD-RW discs. They have a completely different dye and reflectivity structure than CD-R, and with a standard CD laser they will not read as the reflectivity is far too low.

As far as I know reading CD-RW discs requires a special laser design, (whether different colour or simply much higher intensity I'm not sure) and I'm not aware of any dedicated CD Audio players, even current models that will read them.
From memory (I don't have these specs), CD-RW is completely incompatible with CDDA. The formatting is completely different, or so I was led to believe. Where CD-R is literally a clone of Red Book formatting on physically different media, I was told that CD-RW was a totally new design. Then again, maybe I'm thinking of CD-RAM or some other mysteriously similar acronym.
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Old 4th November 2011, 02:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rsdio View Post
From memory (I don't have these specs), CD-RW is completely incompatible with CDDA. The formatting is completely different, or so I was led to believe. Where CD-R is literally a clone of Red Book formatting on physically different media, I was told that CD-RW was a totally new design. Then again, maybe I'm thinking of CD-RAM or some other mysteriously similar acronym.
I've burnt Audio format CD-RW discs before and they play normally as Redbook Audio discs in a drive that can read them - such as a CD-ROM drive in a computer, however they usually won't play in standalone CD players.

I've just been doing a bit of reading and apparently some modern stand-alone players will play them now, including DVD players, however I've not personally encountered one, and I think its still safer to assume in general a CD-RW disc will not play in a standalone CD player.

I don't think the data is formatted any differently on a CD-RW vs CD-R, its purely an inability of the older drive to optically read the even less reflective surface of the CD-RW.

According to Wikipedia (take it with a grain of salt):

"The CD-RW technology is based on the phase change technology, so the degree of reflection reached is only 15 - 25%,[1] compared to the 40-70% reflection from CD-R discs."

CD-RW - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I couldn't find a reflectivity figure for normal CD's but based on my past measurements of CD vs CD-R and the above figures a normal CD must have a reflectivity between 90-100% - eg almost mirror like.

I'm pretty sure I tried measuring a CD-RW as well and the eye output was extremely low (during the few seconds the drive attempted to read it before giving up on it) so that 15-25% figure does seem reasonable to me. A drive with a fixed laser output level would never be able to read a disc with such low reflectivity.

Any drive that can read all 3 disc formats reliably (such as a modern CD/DVD-ROM drives) does so basically by having a much more powerful laser, together with the ability to vary the laser output power on the fly as needed for the type of disc - eg for less reflective discs it just turns up the laser until the reflected light is at the optimal level.

Another advantage of this is the drive has an ability to compensate somewhat for aging of the laser, dust on the lens, smudged discs etc, meaning much greater read reliability. By contrast early CD Audio only players usually had a fixed laser output and therefore a fairly narrow acceptable operation window - thus were fussy about the type and quality of discs, and started to experience difficulty reading discs as the drive aged. (Laser pickup units often needed replacing in well under 10 years on a well used player from the 80's and early 90's due to the fall-off in output and sometimes eventual complete failure of the laser diode)
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