PRODUCT RELATED FAQ - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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POLICY RELATED
Q:  Which media are the best? A:  While we believe that the media we sell is the highest quality, the best way to determine this is to use the highest quality name brands, such as JVC/Taiyo Yuden, MAM-A and Verbatim.  No media can claim 100% recorder/player compatibility.  Unfortunately, there are some incompatibilities with various devices, though this is becoming increasingly rare. Q:  The recording surface of most silver/silver cd-r's have a light-green hue, why is that? A:  This is a misnomer in the cd-r industry.  All silver/silver cd-r's actually have a recording surface that has a light green hue.  To differentiate between silver/silver cd-r's and true-silver cd-r's (where the recording surface is colorless - no green hue), the manufacturers call the true-silver cd-r's, diamondsilver cd-r's. Q:  DiamondSilver cd-r's - what are they?  Are they better quality than silver/silver cd-r's? DiamondSilver cd-r's have a record surface which, before recording, is practically indistinguishable from the standard silver lacquer label surface.  This is achieved by using a 'neutral' or 'colorless' dye, as compared to the light-green hue or other colors/variations of many other cd-r's.  When a disc is fully burned, DiamondSilver cd-r's will look as close as possible to pressed cd's (already with content).  Although some people may tell you that DiamondSilver cd-r's are higher quality than silver/silver, this is simply not true, as both type utilize the same dye (advanced pthalocyanine), with the difference being only a cosmetic issue. Q:  48X and 52X speed is used in many product descriptions.  What does this mean? A:  Where any media product description uses 48X or 52X (or other speeds) in the item name or description, this means that the cd-r/dvdr/bdr can be recorded at speeds anywhere between 1X through the speed listed in the given description, depending on hardware capability.  Note that this is the certified recording speed.  It's possible that actual recording speeds may be higher or lower.  Also, note that if you're unable to attain the listed speed rating, be sure to disable the 'buffer under-run' or 'just-link' (or similar) protection in your software, to allow for highest speed recording. Q:  Inkjet printable media - how do I print on them? A:  Inkjet printable media have a top surface which is specifically designed for high-resolution color inkjet printing.  Please note that you cannot print on inkjet printable media with just any inkjet printer.  You'll need a specially designed inkjet printer (such as Epson, Primera, Rimage, Microboards, etc.) which enables printing directly onto the inkjet printable surface. Q:  Do you have inkjet printable media that has a glossy or semi-glossy finish, instead of a matte finish? A:  Yes.  If the media has a glossy inkjet printable top, it will be specified in the product title and description.  You can also go to here to find our entire selection. Q:  Thermal printable media - how do I print on them? A:  For most thermal printers, media that has a shiny-silver top or a specifically designed white thermal top, will work with your single-color printer.  You'll need a specially designed printer (such as Teac, Rimage, etc.), which enables printing directly onto the thermal printable surface.  For some high-end color thermal printers (such as Everest/Teac), media that has a specifically designed silver thermal or white thermal top is required to work with your full-color printer. Q:  Hub Printable media - what does this mean? What does 'stacking ring' mean? A:  The 'hub' is the center part of every disc, that encompasses the center hole of the disc.  The 'stacking ring' separates the 'hub' from the 'face' of the disc.  Most media used to be made where the 'stacking ring' was identified as a small gap/indent that was used to enable discs stacked together to be separated by this slightly raised gap/indent.  With the advent of printing on media becoming ever more popular, the desire to print on a disc's complete surface, from edge-to-edge, was hampered by the fact that most printer's print heads couldn't properly print in the 'hub' due to the 'stacking ring' creating a problem of getting in the way or causing the print from the 'hub' to the 'face' to not be smooth.  Now, most media being made by manufacturers no longer has a 'stacking ring' gap/indent on the printable side, and the entire face of the disc is level and smooth, allowing the entire face of the disc, from edge-to-edge, to be printed.  The only minor disadvantage to discs without a 'stacking ring' is that the discs may need to be 'fanned-out', prior to printing in an autoloader. Q:  Digital Audio cd-r's (media for consumer digital audio-only cd-to-cd recorders) - what are they? A:  There are basically two types of cd-r media - 'computer media' and 'consumer audio-only media'.  Computer media are designed for computer recorders (and professional audio-only recorders).  This is the vast majority of cd-r's being sold. Consumer audio-only media are required if you have a stand alone (stereo component) audio-only cd recorder (like Philips, Teac, Harmon/Kardon, Pioneer, etc.).  These are known as 'Digital Audio' cd-r's.  Media for these recorders is available for purchase from the 'Digital Audio CD-R's & CD-RW's' category.  These consumer audio-only stand alone (stereo component) recorders require these special cd-r's that conform to the SCMS (Serial Copy Management System), which is designed to stop a cd-r copy being made from anything other than the original cd.  These media are generally slightly more expensive than computer media, with the main reason being that the manufacturer pays a royalty on consumer audio-only cd-r's to the RIAA, whereas with computer cd-r's, no royalty is paid. Other than Verbatim Digital Audio CD-R's, most other manufacturers no longer use the Digital Audio CD-R logo on their product or product packaging.  Consumer audio-only media can be recorded to with a computer recorder, but computer media cannot be recorded to with a consumer audio-only recorder.  Other than a special code that is manufactured into consumer audio-only media (that stand alone cd recorders must identify upon insertion in order to use the media) there is no difference between a consumer audio-only disc and a computer disc. Q:  Where can I find templates for the labels? A:  Templates for all labels are available in the product description. Q:  What does Gold Archival mean? A:  When it comes time to migrate your archived data to new media, it is devastating to find out that some of your discs are unreadable.  Gold Archival discs use a non- corroding 24 karat gold layer in the manufacturing process.  This helps achieve a much higher longevity than standard, non-gold, media.  Therefore, when you need to protect your most valuable data, start by using Gold Archival discs for the longest expected lifetime. Q:  Do you have DVDR with a recordable surface in gold or another color? A:  No, all recordable DVDR, regardless of manufacturer, or whether they are Gold Archival, have a purple recording surface.  DVDRW and M-Disc DVD have a dark gray recording surface. Q:  Why does my DVD-R only show 4.38 Gigabytes available and not 4.7 Gigabytes? A:  There's an unfortunate confusion in the units of measurement in the DVD world.  The problem is that the prefixes kilo, mega, and giga normally represent multiples of 1000 in the base 10 number system, (10^3, 10^6, and 10^9), but when used in the computer world (binary number system), they generally represent multiples of 1024 (2^10, 2^20, and 2^30).  Both Windows and Mac OS list volume capacities in 'true' megabytes and gigabytes, not millions and billions of bytes.   Most DVD figures are based on multiples of 1000, in spite of using notation such as GB and MB that traditionally have been based on 1024.  The 'G bytes' notation does seem to consistently refer to 10^9.  The closest you will be able to get to an unambiguous notation is to use kilobytes for 1024 bytes, megabytes for 1,048,576 bytes (1024 x 1024), gigabytes for 1,073,741,824 bytes (1024 x 1024 x 1024), and BB (billion bytes) for 1,000,000,000 bytes.  Therefore, it follows that 1,073,741,824 (1 GB) x 4.38 = 4,702,989,189.12 = 4.7 GB. Q:  What is firmware?  How do I find out the firmware version of my recorder?  Where do I go to update my drive's firmware? A:  All cd/dvd/bd recorders have firmware that contains basic operating instructions enabling them to write to the wide range of disc types in the marketplace.  When you insert a disc, the writer looks for the name of the manufacturer and the speed capability.  By referring to a look-up table, it finds specific writing instructions, which then determines the optimum laser power level needed to get the best recording quality for your disc. Drive manufacturers test recordable media from all of the major disc makers.  These sample discs are used to find a "writing strategy" that is best suited for each media type.  The writing strategy governs laser power and the on/off speed needed to optimize writing quality.  In addition to using the lookup table, the optimal writing power is determined for that disc when the drive does a "test write" to a non-user area of the disc.  After this information is found, the drive can finally "burn" the marks on the disc that ultimately are transformed into the 1's and 0's of your digital information.  Typically, if the disc is unknown to the recorder, the recorder will apply a generic "writing strategy", which often will lead to sub-optimal burn quality and/or less than maximum recording speeds.  If the firmware in the drive is incomplete or outdated, even the best media may not produce acceptable recording quality. It is quite important to regularly update the firmware of your recorder.  Firmware updates can significantly improve the recording quality of your recorder and add compatibility for more/newer media.  Here's instructions on how to find your drive's model number and firmware version:  http://www.mam-a.com/drive_model_firmware Q:  90-Min cd-r's only show as 80-Min cd-r.  What's wrong? A:  All cd-r contain tracks formed from a single spiral, starting at the inner diameter up to the outer diameter, along which data is recorded using a laser beam.  In a standard 80- Min (700 MB) cd-r, the distance between successive tracks is 1.5μm.  For 90-Min cd-r's, this distance, called track pitch, has been reduced to 1.33μm, allowing an increase in capacity of approximately 100 MB.  90-Min cd-r's have a capacity of 800 MB or more, depending on recorder specifications.  However, since a 90-Min cd-r's capacity is beyond the standard cd-r specifications, any software will only show the disc as being 80-Min (before recording) and Windows Explorer will only show the disc as being 96.6MB - this is normal! In order to be sure that you received the correct Spin-X 90-Min cd-r media, check the clear hub, center of the disc, and you'll see "90MIN" is printed there in black text. In order to use 90-Min cd-r's, compatible software, like Nero Essentials, and a compatible burner are needed.  To record to 90-Min cd-r's, your burner needs to support overburning - this is the term used to identify the process in which your recorder and software can exceed the standard cd-r recording length specifications.  In your recording software, there will be an options section where you will need to enable disc-at-once cd overburning (disc-at-once recording is required for recording using 90-Min cd-r).  For example, check in the options->expert features section of Nero Essentials.  Additionally, you can perform an overburning test with Nero CD-DVD Speed, which is part of the Nero Toolkit, and available for free trial here.  By trial-and-error testing, this software will help determine the exact length and maximum recording speed to which your recorder can burn a 90-Min cd-r.  Additionally, for further instructions, check the MediaRange burning instructions. Your recorder's firmware controls the maximum allowed speed.  90-Min cd-r media is rated at either 24X or 48X record speed.  However, since the track pitch has been reduced, and the margin for error is greatly reduced, it is strongly recommended to record at slower speeds.
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