TDK Announces 80-Minute Extended-Capacity CD-R Discs

Last week, TDK announced that it is introducing extended-capacity, 80-minute/700MB multimedia and music CD-R discs this July. The new discs add 50MB, or 6 minutes of stereo music capacity, to the conventional 74-minute/650MB CD-R disc. TDK says it is the first manufacturer to offer extended-capacity CD-Rs, and points out that it has been supplying recording studios with 80-minute CD-Rs for music-mastering applications since 1996.(Stereophile's new 77+ minute Bravo! CD, featuring chamber music by Elgar and Mozart, for example, was mastered on a 700MB TDK CD-R.)

The company says its decision to bring extended-capacity technology to consumer markets follows the publication earlier this spring of updated industry standards (Orange Book, Part II) for 80-minute discs. The new CDR-80 (multimedia) and CD-TWIN-R80 (home music) discs differ chiefly from 74-minute discs in the pitch (fineness) of the data track inscribed on the disc. Since data recorded on a CD-R follow a single, spiral track from the disc's center to its perimeter, a finer track pitch allows more data to be written on the disc.

TDK does caution that the finer track pitch could make the 80-minute discs incompatible with some recorders and players. In addition, because some computer recording software does not support 80-minute/700MB CD-Rs, TDK claims that users might have to update their software accordingly, or contact the software manufacturer to establish compatibility. TDK says that both 80- and 74-minute Certified Plus CD-Rs use TDK's IsoPure metal-stabilized cyanine recording dye, as well as a HardHat protective coating.

An optimistic Chris Corteen, TDK Marketing Communications Manager, stated that "the extra flexibility of an 80-minute CD-R disc is exactly what consumers have been demanding. With a substantial proportion of music CDs now exceeding 74 minutes, and with the growing use of CD-R as an exchange and archival medium for large multimedia and graphics files, every megabyte counts. We at TDK see the availability of 80-minute media as an important next step in the continuing growth of the CD-R format."

TDK says that the suggested retail prices for TDK Certified Plus CD-R discs will be $7.99 for the CDR-80 multimedia computer recording version, and $7.99 for the CD-TWIN-R80 version, which can record on standalone consumer digital audio recorders.