I must be lucky because I just haven't had more than less than a handful of discs fail over time, so
far. And we're talking generic green-dye cheapos written on with a Sharpie. I just last week had to
recover some WAV files from one of those. I had a very careful listen to them in the workstation
because I was curious, especially about the effect of the Sharpie ink 5 years later. They were fine,
except I didn't have as good a DAW or analog playback gear back then! Hopefully, I can report back
in 15 more years. I store my data CDR's and DVDR's in paper envelopes in shoebox-type cardboard
boxes, so they don't get direct sunlight or dust.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2006 10:41 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The ways CD's and DVD's can fail.
> Charles Lawson wrote:
>> Ronald Frazier writes:
>>> I honestly think the MAM-A Gold discs are the best in the world at this time
>> I, too, still have the best general results with these discs. However,
>> quality control on MAM-A gold discs continues to be an issue for me and
>> the problem is growing worse. I am now averaging five discs per pack of
>> 25 that arrive with debris, fingerprints or oily smears on them when they
>> come out of the shrink wrap. I have begun a collection of bad discs to
>> return to the factory. The fingerprints should make tracking the careless
>> party pretty simple...
>> Visually inspect all discs before you plop 'em in your drives...
>> Caveat emptor,
> My experience with faulty discs is almost exclusively due to attempts to rescue those sent or
> discussed by others. It appears that the most common reasons for disc failure are mishandling and
> poor original recording. In time, the instability of the dyes will come into play, but a
> well-recorded CD-R treated with reasonable care will surely last a decade and presumably many
> decades. I know that error rates do not increase noticeably over a decade because I have
> recordings I made in the early and mid 1990s which test today as they did when freshly burned: no
> recognizable increase in C2 errors.
> Mishandling takes many forms. Solvent-based markers are known to leech through the acrylic lacquer
> atop the disc; the data lost cannot be recovered and often enough the disc will not stabilize in a
> drive to permit sector-level recovery. Some dyes - notably the cyanine and phthalocyanine which
> are otherwise desirable - are more sensitive to light and possibly to heat than others; exposing
> discs with them to sunlight for a few hours bleaches out the information. Scratches can also be
> significant, but if severe are easily buffed out.
> Poorly recorded discs are vastly more sensitive to failure over time than those recorded with low
> error rate. In an attempt to get 'better' recordings, many are writing at speeds below the optimum
> for a given medium and drive with results as unsatisfying as writing above the 'sweet spot'. For
> archiving, it seems to me essential that each batch of blanks be tested to determine optimum
> recording conditions and quality to be expected when they are used.
> It is my advice to those seeking personal archives to consider practical issues such as those
> above before choosing to invest in high-price blanks. MAM-A gold may have better life under ideal
> conditions than a high-quality silver disc, but if it is not as well written in your drive, the
> advantage will be lost. At best, the improvement is not enough to take shortcuts in other aspects
> of good practice; one should still make two masters on different media to be stored separately. In
> the real world of finite resources, the choice of medium is only one factor in the expected life
> of an archived disc.
> [log in to unmask]