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MFSL "ULTRADISC CD-R", ... any thoughts?
M
post Aug 15 2004, 06:43
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Has anyone here tried Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's 24 KT Gold ULTRADISC CD-R? At $3 US per disc (which includes a lift-lock case for each disc) they are expensive, but not prohibitive. Supposedly they are using a different dye structure from the norm, and recommend single-speed burning whenever possible - which fits in well with much audiophile "lore" - but has anyone here actually tested these discs?

Admittedly I think they are neat, and would possibly shell out the additional cash for some of my special transfers (for example, a slew of MFSL titles have been released on vinyl but not CD), and I like the lift-lock cases enough that I would consider purchasing them by themselves for such a purpose. (A box of 25 lift-locks runs $25, so that brings the discs themselves down to an effective $2 each. You could save a few dollars buying the cases separately and a spindle of 50 ULTRADISC blanks for $95, but the figures are still close enough to $3 a disc/case for easy reckoning.) Having actual MFSL blanks just adds to the "neatness factor"... but would anyone here even consider going this route, or would you write it off as pseudo-audiophile nuttiness on an unprecedented scale?

Any thoughts are welcome, as long as they offer some constructive commentary. I'd be particularly interested in hearing from David (2Bdecided), since I suspect he might at least be familiar with these discs.

- M.
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Andavari
post Aug 15 2004, 07:21
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Sounds either like placebo, or some great breakthrough. If these things are "more scratch resistant" this would be a step forward.

In either case pay extra close attention to what is explained under:"Extremely Accurate and Precise Burning"

They are saying the discs are "1-12x," but they recommend using "1x" (real-time burning). The problem I see with this is there aren't any modern drives that I currently know of that write as slow as 1x anymore, 4x is the minimum I've seen in drive specifications.

To insure burning is at a "golden-set-speed," and is "professional" MFSL probably needs their very own CD authoring software that strictly prohibits higher than 12x burning, and I'd say they need to recommend particular drive models that produce the "best" burns.


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dreamliner77
post Aug 15 2004, 08:06
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1) I'd love to see ATIP info from one of these discs and then some kprobe tests

2) I wonder if any drive manufactures have added write strategies for these discs into drive firmware? If not, I'd think any theoretical gains could be lost.


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Sebastian Mares
post Aug 15 2004, 09:48
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QUOTE (Andavari @ Aug 15 2004, 08:21 AM)
The problem I see with this is there aren't any modern drives that I currently know of that write as slow as 1x anymore, 4x is the minimum I've seen in drive specifications.
*


Who wants my MITSUMI CR-4802TE? laugh.gif


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M
post Aug 15 2004, 10:15
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QUOTE (Andavari @ Aug 15 2004, 01:21 AM)
They are saying the discs are "1-12x," but they recommend using "1x" (real-time burning). The problem I see with this is there aren't any modern drives that I currently know of that write as slow as 1x anymore, 4x is the minimum I've seen in drive specifications.
*

Not many drives advertise the fact, but I am finding that many (if not most) drives still support single-speed burning. I learned this after someone in the burnatonce forums requested a method to do direct line-in to audio CD transfers - a process that would require single-speed writing by its very nature - and being curious, I wrote out a script to do just that. My NEC ND-2500A handles single-speed recording just fine, as do several other drives I've tested. In fact, I have not yet found a drive that isn't able to write at 1x, although my statistical sampling is still admittedly rather small!

I am more intrigued by the claims of scratch-resistance (reminiscent of TDK's "bullet-proof" DVD-Rs) "instantaneous" dye-change and "exceptional longevity." And I'd love to see C1/C2 counts from a typical burn. Better yet, from a typical high-speed burn, as well as from a single-speed test....

- M.
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The Irish Man
post Aug 16 2004, 19:07
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Just to add a small note about Mobile Fidelity

Back in 1987/88 Mobile Fidelity were claiming Gold CD's sounded better than Aluminium CD's and their CD's lasted longer than Aluminium CD's.
They were charging $35 for a Music CD. They sold over 10 Million Copies of a Gold version of 'Dark Side of the Moon'
I Remember reading a article in A Magazine at the time (I Still have the magazine somewhere) than they were using dynamic compression on all their CD's in 87/88.
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Gabriel
post Aug 17 2004, 08:22
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MOFI was doing remastering from original sources for the Ultradisc series.
It was a lot more than just a "gold" layer.

Honestly I liked their masterings, and of course the sound quality was the same when copied to a cdr. I think that the gold layer was mainly there to add a "nice looking" factor, in the same way that some CD have unusal packaging.
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Never_Again
post Aug 17 2004, 12:26
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Carefully worded semi-technical marketing bulls*t designed to rid you of that extra cash that is burning your pocket.

QUOTE (MFSL site)
Higher burning rates cause errors and do not allow for proper pit formation

No kidding! So, they found a way to eliminate C1 errors altogether? I'll believe it when I see the scans.

Oh yeah, the OP said "constructive". So I decided to put my money where my mouth is and ordered a 5-pack. Let's see the results in a week.

edit: <sarcasm> tags throughout the post deleted out of space-saving considerations

This post has been edited by Never_Again: Aug 17 2004, 12:28
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JeanLuc
post Aug 17 2004, 14:05
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I will lmfao if these discs turn out to be Mitsui Gold Ultra II ... laugh.gif


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mithrandir
post Aug 17 2004, 14:07
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I'm sure I read some analysis (that was linked from HA) that demonstrated that CD-Rs have less errors when written at either the disc's speed rating or the burner's...and burning at 1x increased errors and/or jitter. This goes against common logic but I'd rather have the results come out this way!
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Sebastian Mares
post Aug 17 2004, 14:49
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QUOTE (mithrandir @ Aug 17 2004, 03:07 PM)
I'm sure I read some analysis (that was linked from HA) that demonstrated that CD-Rs have less errors when written at either the disc's speed rating or the burner's...and burning at 1x increased errors and/or jitter. This goes against common logic but I'd rather have the results come out this way!
*


Yes, I recall reading on HA that high speed CD-R(W)s produce more C1 errors when burnt at lower speeds.


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M
post Aug 17 2004, 15:57
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ Aug 17 2004, 08:05 AM)
I will lmfao if these discs turn out to be Mitsui Gold Ultra II ... laugh.gif
*

So will a lot of us... although if that's the case, at least Mobile Fidelity has done something to differentiate their discs: "Additionally, a specially formulated, black ink is used to coat one side of the disc in order to reduce stray reflections which could alter readings."

But your speculation raises a new set of questions, since the old Mitsui site has been thoroughly revised as MAM-E (Manufacturing Advanced Media Europe), and the product line renamed.

Their MAM-E Golden Dye CD-R Range claims to be 4x-52x certified, but uses a silver reflective layer (with "gold" dye); their MAM-E Gold ProStudio & Medical CD-R uses gold as a reflective layer and claims to be "low speed optimized" (1x-12x). Both claim "added protection from the reinforced Diamond Coat protection layer." So I am guessing the Gold ProStudio is the current equivalent of Gold Ultra II?

On that note, where would one currently buy Gold Ultra II/ProStudio discs, in the US? American-Digital offers inkjet printable Mitsui discs, but these seem to be 1x-52x rated (although the description claims that these discs use a true gold layer for reflectivity).
QUOTE (Never_Again @ Aug 17 2004, 06:26 AM)
Oh yeah, the OP said "constructive". So I decided to put my money where my mouth is and ordered a 5-pack. Let's see the results in a week.
*

biggrin.gif Yes, I'd call that "constructive." We're all looking forward to seeing your results. Any chance you could do a full C1/C2 probe, as well as retrieving the ATIP?

- M.
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JeanLuc
post Aug 18 2004, 21:05
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By the way ... my best burn ever (in terms of lowest BLER) was achieved using Mitsui Gold Ultra II (rated 24x back then - bought them at the Feurio online shop) in a Yamaha 3200E at 12x CLV ... the BLER was unbelievably low (roughly 50% of the best TY's I have burned).

Too sad that MAM-E does not seem to offer the same quality any more ... additionally, I really liked the deep golden colour of these discs (which made them a perfect present for girlfriends, too) ... biggrin.gif


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JeanLuc
post Aug 18 2004, 21:13
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Quote from MFSL website

Unlike commonly used CD-Rs containing Cyanine (blue/green dye) or Metal Azo (deep blue dye), which lose their characteristics quickly from exposure to light and heat, the 24KT Gold ULTRADISC CD-R utilizes a patented photosensitive dye which ensures accurate burning and stability, plus exceptional longevity and durability. Whereas the two other types of dye are formed with linear molecular structures, which break down easily when exposed to the elements, the unique photosensitive dye utilized in the ULTRADISC CD-R has an annular structure which forms a strong and extremely stable chemical bond. On top of this, MFSL has added a patented, reinforcing coating for extra protection from scratching.

Now ... with Azo and Cyanine being out of the race (TY uses Cyanine BTW), there is one Dye left ... I would call that "patented dye" Phtalocyanine ... commonly used by Ritek, Sony, Moser Baer, CMC, TDK and others ... laugh.gif

Another quote from MFSL website

Instead, MFSL utilizes an unprecedented 4-level quality control process. First, a sample out of every 3,000 discs is tested, critically examined and evaluated for over 2 hours until given the approval for MFSL specifications. Second, every single ULTRADISC CD-R is tested as it comes off the replication line. High tech, extremely sophisticated computer analysis is used to test jitter, thickness tolerances, gold uniformity and disc eccentricity. Third, an inspector (wearing medical gloves) picks up and visually examines the ULTRADISC CD-Rs for pinholes, gold consistency, oyster shelling, or any other anomalies. Fourth, another inspector repeats this very time-consuming, manual/visual examination just before the specialized, stray-reflection-reducing black coating is applied. ULTRADISC CD-Rs have to pass all levels of QC before they can be shipped.

I highly appreciate that level of QC which, if properly carried out, really guarantees constant media quality and, to some extend, justifies the high media price.

This post has been edited by JeanLuc: Aug 18 2004, 21:19


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Pio2001
post Aug 19 2004, 12:14
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ Aug 18 2004, 10:13 PM)
Now ... with Azo and Cyanine being out of the race (TY uses Cyanine BTW), there is one Dye left ... I would call that "patented dye" Phtalocyanine ... commonly used by Ritek, Sony, Moser Baer, CMC, TDK...
*

...and Mitsui Gold Ultra II !

However, I wouldn't trust the ATIP. In order to produce small amounts of CDRs, a given amnufacturer can very well buy ATIP stampers from another manufacturer.
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JeanLuc
post Aug 19 2004, 15:55
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QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Aug 19 2004, 11:14 AM)
QUOTE (JeanLuc @ Aug 18 2004, 10:13 PM)
Now ... with Azo and Cyanine being out of the race (TY uses Cyanine BTW), there is one Dye left ... I would call that "patented dye" Phtalocyanine ... commonly used by Ritek, Sony, Moser Baer, CMC, TDK...
*

...and Mitsui Gold Ultra II !

However, I wouldn't trust the ATIP. In order to produce small amounts of CDRs, a given amnufacturer can very well buy ATIP stampers from another manufacturer.
*



You are absolutely right ... Mitsui and MPO use Phtalocyanine on their gold discs, too ... And ATIP information (as well as its DVD counterpart) can be stolen or "hijacked" ... this happened quite often in the past with CDR and still happens with DVD+/-R.


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Zardoz33
post Aug 21 2004, 00:41
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Hi everyone, I'm new to the board. I ordered a 5-pack. Got them in the mail today.

I knew this would happen. I don't even know why I bothered buying these.......

They ARE Mitsui's.

The only good thing is, they come in MFSL's cool jewel case.

This post has been edited by Zardoz33: Aug 21 2004, 02:24
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M
post Aug 21 2004, 03:27
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QUOTE (Zardoz33 @ Aug 20 2004, 06:41 PM)
Hi everyone, I'm new to the board.  I ordered a 5-pack.  Got them in the mail today.

I knew this would happen.  I don't even know why I bothered buying these.......

They ARE Mitsui's.

The only good thing is, they come in MFSL's cool jewel case.
*

Well, I'd say that's two good things - unless you have something against Mitsui. Of course, it would have been interesting for there to be another player on the CD-R manufacturing block.

Just to double check though, what method did you use to determine this? Something other than simple appearance/feel/general impression of the discs, I hope? (I'm not trying to discredit your report, Zardoz33; it's just that, seeing as this was your first post, and we don't really know anything about you, it would be polite to explain how you identified the discs as Mitsuis.)

- M.
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Zardoz33
post Aug 21 2004, 04:10
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Hi M,

I used Nero's Info Tool to determine what brand the disc was.

I usually used Plextor PlexTools Professional to identify discs, but I uninstalled it after not being satisfied with the program.
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M
post Aug 21 2004, 05:15
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Thank you Zardoz33, for clearing that up. smile.gif

- M.

Edit: Still looking for a good place to actually buy Mitsui Gold Ultra II discs in the USA. Anyone have a reliable, reasonably-priced source to share?

This post has been edited by M: Aug 21 2004, 05:16
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Zardoz33
post Aug 21 2004, 07:33
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Actually, I loathe Mitsui's. I forgot to add that before.

I have a Plextor Premium cd-rw drive. I used PlexTools Professional recording software to perform a number of tests, with Mitsui & Taiyo Yuden cd-r discs.

I tried recording at all different speeds, buffer on, buffer of, power record on, power record off, all sorts of combinations.......yet Mitsui discs still had thousands more C1 errors than Taiyo Yuden discs did.

I never got 1 single coaster out of the tests, but I was just a stickler for having the least amount of C1 errors possible.
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Pio2001
post Aug 21 2004, 11:41
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Can you scan them for C1 errors ? After all, they might be manufactured by Mitsui for MFSL, but with different specifications, for example low speed optimized dye.
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Never_Again
post Aug 21 2004, 19:45
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I am a bit miffed at Zardos for spoiling the surprise I was preparing =).

The five-pack arrived sooner than I thought, but I prefer working slowly but thoroughly so I won't say anything on the subject until all the tests are complete. I will only confirm that indeed, these are Mitsuis.

The results should be up by Monday. Until then, everyone enjoy their weekend!
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Zardoz33
post Aug 21 2004, 20:23
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Never_Again,

MFSL is located in Chicago and I'm in a Chi-town suburb, so UPS Ground Shipping came the next day. Sorry about that wink.gif

I'm getting a couple older Plextor cd-rw drives (8x & 24x), so I'll have to wait to do any testing.
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Never_Again
post Aug 23 2004, 19:33
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The tests.

Scroll down for the ATIP info and the link to C1/C2 scans.

It was not without certain excitement that I started the test. Not every day you get to burn $3 CD-Rs! ^_^

The first burn (at 8x) somewhat damped my enthusiasm: a coaster. The audio CD the image I tried burning of first was 15 seconds (!) longer than the Ultradisc's rated capacity. Even though PTP reported no errors during the burn itself, scans revealed a monstrous C2/CU surge at the very end. So the only finding the first round provided was that overburning (however slight) is not recommended with this CD-R. Stay under 74 min/650 MB to be safe.

Subsequent burns were done with another, a bit shorter CD-DA image. Another puzzling annoyance popped up: sporadic C2 errors. I couldn't believe that such expensive media would burn with C2s at 8x with a Plextor Premium. Into the DVD burner (PX-712A) it went then - and no C2s!

Upon a closer examination I noticed that the Premium was setting max read speed 10-24x CAV, while the PX-712A limited it to 8x which is apparently more appropriate for this media. When reloaded into the Premium and scanned at 8x, the C2s were gone.

And the C1 levels looked very nice as well. Burning at 4x lowered them some more, but they still remained a couple times higher than with Maxell CD-R Pro (rebranded Taiyo Yuden with extra scratch protection), my favorite.

Since neither of my burners offers 12x that MFSL sez is Ultradisc's max recording speed, I gambled with 16x. This time, the burn aborted near the end with a write error 052C00 (ILLEGAL REQUEST: COMMAND SEQUENCE ERROR, according to PTP's help file).

The conclusion.

Pros:
-low error levels
-secure disc locking hub
-spiffy looking disc and packaging
<- see the Uploads section


Cons:
-C1 counts higher than with Taiyo Yuden
-extravagant price
-low burning speed limit
-zero overburnability




ATIP courtesy of Nero CD/DVD Speed v3.16:
CODE
Manufacturer        : Mitsui
Code                : 97m27s55f
Disc Type           : CD-R
Usage               : Audio
Recording Layer     : Dye Type 5: Short Strategy (Phthalocyanine)
Recording Speed     : n/a
Capacity            : 74:05.10
                     651 MB
Additional Capacity : n/a
Overburn Capacity   : not tested


ATIP courtesy of SmartBurn v3.1.8:
CODE
       Drive Type = CD-RW    
        Disc Type = CDR
         Material = Phthalocyanine
          Lead In = 97:27:55
         Lead Out = 74:05:10
 Nominal Capacity = 650.85MB
Manufacturer Maybe = Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.
SMART-BURN Speed Limit = 52X (Write)


Q-Check C1/C2 Test scans (audio CD image/PlexTools Pro v2.12).
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