A Lifetime Of 50 Years
"The Compact Disc Digital Audio System offers the best possible sound reproduction - on a small, convenient sound-carrier unit... the Compact Disc will provide a lifetime of pure listening enjoyment."
That was then. Now with fresh information from new research, the best a Compact Disc can offer by way of a "lifetime" is about 50 years "if". And that's a big if of dos and don'ts. For a start, do a search on the net for "Byers CD care guide" and read the 50-page official document of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology which was written by Fred Byers, a technical staff at the institute, who is currently pushing for a standards test that will certify CDs and DVDs with a warranty that promises "tested to last for 50 years."
The idea is gathering support as more and more computer buffs store everything from data, family photos, music to home videos on CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. Consumers now want to know how reliable are these discs for long term storage. Currently, there is no longer any guarantee except for the marketing hype each manufacturer issues to entice you to buy their brand of blank discs.
The current opinion however, favors discs manufactured in Japan while discs that are unbranded are generally avoided. The manufacturer of That's, Taiyo Yuden, is the fan favorite. Based in Japan, it used to manufacture the bulk of the popular Japanese brands Sony, TDK, etc. But most Japanese manufacturers have migrated their blank disc production to Taiwan as it is cheaper there.
As all recordable discs work by imprinting information on the dye coated on the blank CD, the quality comes with the type of dye used and how the recorded CD is stored for optimum longevity. The best dye is also the most expensive. A thin-layer of 24-karat gold over the blank CD is best for archival purposes. Gold is not tarnished by contact with air or water.
Music fans should also be aware that while CD-recorders are promising greater copying speeds up to 52-times, the recommended speed by a disc-testing company, Media Sciences INC, is four-speed for music. The faster speeds are best for data copying.
Netizens without time to spare can read the gist of Mr Byers' report from pages 16-26. - Michael Cheah
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