Breaking News – River Media Professional Launch New Pro CD-R Prism Disc

Our new blog post brings a rarity in today’s day and age, the launch of a new CD-R.

The culmination of over 21 years of research and development, the River Media Pro CD-R Silver Prism is the pinnacle of optical CD achievement and has been developed from the ground up for the highest run print systems; the Everest Prism and Screen/Litho printers.

Crucial in the development of this product has been not only our own expertise, but also our customers feedback, trials and comments – the River Media Pro CD-R Silver Prism is absolutely packed full of features that ensure smooth operation, unparalleled quality & consistency and best aesthetics.

With all of our new improvements, optimisation and our unrivaled development process, we’re able to produce one of the highest quality discs available today in the world and, additionally, one of the highest quality discs that has ever been produced.

The River Media Pro CD-R Silver Prism also incorporates the much lauded unique developments of other discs we’ve developed and manufactured, as well as new ones, such as:

    Anti-Sticky Surface:

    A common place on the majority of our manufactured media now (River-Media / ACU-Media), this specialist coating process ensures that discs remain separated from each other in storage and use, to eliminate problems with them ‘sticking’ together. It enables the discs to work smoothly with auto-loading machinery and ensures that runs are able to complete automatically, with no manual user intervention.

    Due to the easier handling and being less prone to errors, it also drastically increases the life of robotic machinery by up to 80%, reduces operator costs significantly and increases throughput!

    Reflectivity+:

    Reflectivity of optical media is crucial; it is how data is read back from the disc. Often discs with a clear coated surface, often referred to as uncoated, can show this easily as the disc can be show to be semi-transparent. It is harder to show with coated media, such as inkjet or thermal due to the extra layer, although the problem still exists.
    Not only is this aesthetically displeasing for an end user; but it also affects the accuracy of the playback of the disc and can additionally reduce the total working life of the disc by a considerable amount.

    With our Reflectivity+ technology, the reflective layer has been thickened and undergoes more stringent quality checks, even in raw material form, to ensure that the discs have exceptionally high reflectivity and will play back more accurately, as well as ensure a much longer life.

    EdgeReflect:

    A common problem automated duplication equipment has, especially in aging duplication machines or low-light environments, is difficulty reading internal sensors for locating and positioning media within them. This creates problems with double-loading and, essentially, machines falling over and being unable to continue production unless there is some manual intervention.
    It is quite common for the outer edge of some discs to thin slightly, due to the production process involved, which can cause a loss of reflectivity at the edges – which leads to sensor issues, as well as potentially some inner/outer-edge reading problems.

    With the EdgeReflect technology, we’re able to ensure a consistent reflective layer thickness, especially at the edge of the disc, aiding both playback and correct sensor tripping.

    Anti-Pit:

    It is easy to think that imperfections in a discs print surface aren’t common at all; however the majority of lower-grade media contains them, they’re just too small for the eye to see! While it is too small to aesthetically ruin the quality, these variations in the surface depth can wreak havoc with printing machinery and cause lower life for print heads, especially with direct-to-disc methods like the Everest Prism printer.

    By tightening the quality control checks on the disc surface and introducing a more accurate surface application, we’re able to reduce these minute problems significantly, giving you a considerably increased life on printing machinery.

The River Media Pro Silver Prism CD-R also only uses the highest quality, purest materials. Finest optical grade polycarbonate along with the strictest quality controls, even at raw-material level, ensures that these discs have the lowest error rates of any disc examined in the industry today.

With Taiyo Yuden’s exit from the market and stocks on core lines no longer available, it is certainly the time to seriously consider a high-quality alternative. With special introductory offers available, UK Warehousing for next day delivery and an unparalleled quality disc, get in touch today!

Breaking News – Coral Cease Manufacturing

Long time CD & DVD case manufacturer Coral Products, has ceased producing casing for optical media.

While Coral never quite produced to the high quality standards of our own River casing, they were still a valued source of good quality cases and produced well priced casing for the mid-range market.

It is now even more imperative that we are never out of stock and can support the customers that have been let down. We are now the only source in Europe for all high quality optical media cases, both with our own manufactured River range and, as the official distributor for Amaray casing.

We are increasing our efforts and showing our commitment to the industry by doubling our warehouse space allocation to these cases. As the largest stockist of discs, casing and professional duplication equipment in Europe already, this change represents a significant investment and will allow us to continue to serve, without interruption, the duplication and replication market.
We are encouraging customers, as always, to forecast their demands to ensure that you have stock allocated for your needs – please get in touch and speak to your account manager regarding this.

If you are a new customer, the process is the same, we’ll make the handover as easy as possible for you. With over 22 years in the industry under our belt, we’ll be able to offer any advice that you need.

It is a big loss to the industry to see Coral go, and, it’s a big loss of warehouse space for us – but an advantage for anyone moving to the higher-quality, better value casing that is River and Amaray.

Contact us today if you require any assistance, we’re always happy to help.

Optical Media and Modern Archives

With increasingly growing demand for digital data storage and the rapid advancement in storage technology, it is easy to think that the humble disc is being left behind. However, we are increasingly seeing optical disc technology being drawn upon time and time again; simply because of how much more effective it is compared to any existing alternative.

Many large players in the data storage world, and even large storage architects, are designing systems and practices which work with optical storage at the forefront – bringing all the benefits of more modern storage, such as cloud-access, distributed storage and automated redundancy, to the humble disc.

It is easy to see why. Storage of data is very expensive, even if you discount the setup costs of a large or local data center, the costs of powering them, cooling them and keeping them secure is huge. Data centers based solely around modern hard drive storage are fantastic for rapid access, but, compared to the optical disc, they can’t compete with pricing or archival length.

Simply put, an optical disc will hold data once burnt without any energy costs. They do not require cooling and the physical cost is comparatively low. The disadvantages of using these discs, since they are ‘offline’, have been largely eliminated through the novel platforms developed primarily by Google’s and Facebook’s growing data needs and a requirement to cut costs.

In conjunction with Facebook, Panasonic have developed an archive system known as Freeze-Ray, an optical disc based data archive system, for use primarily for long term storage needs. This both reduces costs through cold storage and allows for strong data integrity – two things vitally important in the world of data storage.

Everspan, a product developed by Sony, has further refined the concept and is even able to read optical discs at a speed of 18gb/s which rivals the speed of conventional hard drive archival platforms. These systems are of particular interest to government archival institutions and defense contractors due to the resilience of optical media; as they have a life of 100+ years unpowered, and, are the only digital storage method which can withstand an EMP attack!

Of course, the technology these systems rely on is, at its core, the humble optical disc. With proper storage and handling, ACU-Disc, River-Media and Falcon Media products have life in excess of 100 years.

For any data storage, software development and solutions architecture needs you might have, feel free to contact the experts at River eSolutions, they will be happy to assist and advise on any problems your growing business might be experiencing in the digital world.

For any optical media information needed, or if you’d like us to cover something else in the optical media industry, do let us know!

A Guide to Best Burning

It’s the holiday season and, being the only source for consistent, high-quality A-Grade media in Europe, we’re rushed off our feet here at River Pro Audio. To add to the general hustle and bustle, we’re also continuing with our investigation into “Taiyo Yuden”. With the aid of Taiyo Yuden themselves we’re helping to remove imitation products from the market and prevent people purchasing under performing stock – we’ll bring updates on our progress shortly. It is worth being extra careful, however, as there’s still a large amount of misinformation regarding it. Again, contact us if you’re unsure of anything or are aware of anyone selling a disc as, or associated with, Taiyo Yuden – we’ll be able to check validity of claims for you.

As a bit of a change of pace we’re introducing a quick guide to burning that even the most hardened veterans might pick up some tips from – or perhaps even suggest some that we haven’t got here!

We’re often asked for advice in achieving the best burn, of course the main thing that we recommend is using a high-quality, consistent, professional A-Grade product like ACU-Disc, River Media and Falcon Media.

For the average user, using an A-Grade product will suffice, but for the professional user to achieve the absolute best results there are, of course, various other factors to consider.

Write Speed

Perhaps the next biggest thing is to ensure you’re utilising the correct speed during recording. There’s a very well-known myth in the industry that burning more slowly will allow you to achieve lower error rates. While this may have been true when devices struggled to output the required data to record a disc at higher speeds in a consistent manner, technology has advanced to the point that we no longer have this problem.

Burning at higher speeds doesn’t introduce problems, but, burning at incorrect or lower speeds does.

While it may sound odd, slow and steady doesn’t win the race, it’s easily explained. Most modern drives do not support burning at lower speeds, even though mastering software and firmware might allow you to force them to.

CD, DVD and BDR are also engineered to perform the best at their highest rated speeds – any differentiation of that will introduce problems. They are always rated at the speed they’re intended to be burnt at – while a 4x CD will achieve best results at 4x, a 52x CD will achieve best results at 52x. A multi-speed disc is still, always intended to burn at its upper speed limit.

We, firstly, recommend leaving duplication equipment and master burning speed to ‘maximum’ or ‘automatic’ settings. Not to force a higher speed or a lower speed. This ensures that both the media and the burning drive are using their most optimal levels and ensures the best quality burn.

However, if you are not getting the results you’d expect, we recommend fixing speeds, starting at the higher end. Some older drives that don’t contain the write procedures for newer discs on their firmware will default to burning them slowly, by fixing them to a higher speed you can negate the problems that it will introduce. Though, for best practice, we’d ultimately recommend modernising your write drives, such as with an M-Tech duplicator.

Disc Master Checking – Bad master? Worse duplicates.

At every stage of the duplication process, there are errors introduced. This is absolutely normal and is why disc readers contain error correction technology, however we do want to keep this as low as possible as explained in the A-Grade guide. To ensure that duplicates are going to be as error-free as possible, it’s critical to ensure that the source you’re copying from is as good as it can be.

If you only test one disc when you’re duplicating, make sure it’s the master. While the master disc may play correctly, it may still contain a high number of error rates – especially if you’ve received it from a customer in a physical form and on a consumer-quality media.

If you utilise this bad master in say, a tower duplicator, you’ll be adding yet more errors into the mix and the duplicates may be pushed over the limit. They may have compatibility issues, artifact issues, hang issues or simply not play at all.

Professional Hardware

It doesn’t often happen outside of the duplication industry, but optical disc drives aren’t immune to degradation over use. The more that they are used, the more likely it is they’ll fail.
If you are receiving a high number of rejects, or high error rates from a drive, it may be best to look to replace it.

It’s worth noting that professional duplication systems, such as those from M-Tech, R-Quest or Rimage, will often be much more durable and accurate than standard off the shelf consumer drives.

To surmise, for the best burns, you’ll want to:

From everyone here at River Pro Audio, I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Thanks for all your custom this year and we look forward to working with you long into the future.

Taiyo Yuden; Mediastar?

Following on from the Taiyo Yuden news and with many of our client base assisting with identifying fakes and imitation products, we’ve come a long way in our knowledge of the Taiyo-Yuden market. Being nearly a year on from Taiyo Yuden’s departure from the optical disc industry, stocks of the discs are very hard to come by and the majority of lines are now unavailable.

The brand, Mediastar, has come up several times while helping customers move away from TY and on to other high quality discs, as a potential replacement. Mediastar is often associated with Taiyo Yuden as they have a similar coloured dye and are generally sold as a Taiyo Yuden media brand.

Reaching out to Taiyo Yuden for comment we were shocked to discover that they had no association with this brand, or even the retail codes. Having never heard of it and that they “have never manufactured the products”.

On popular industry stores and even Ebay, it’s becoming even more common place to see “Taiyo Yuden Mediastar” in Mediastar descriptions; but with no association to Taiyo Yuden, we urge caution.

As such we recommend double-checking MID’s, packaging and codes if you do intend to purchase any ‘Taiyo Yuden’ stock. Any change in their supply or appearance is highly-likely because they are no longer Taiyo Yuden.

It’s also worth noting that media that alludes to being Taiyo Yuden, abbreviates Taiyo Yuden (E.G. “Made By TY”, “Powered By TY”), has no references to Taiyo Yuden on the packaging, or just references Taiyo Yuden in the description of the item, etc. are also highly-likely not to be Taiyo Yuden discs.

If you are in doubt of whether any Taiyo Yuden optical product is real, we are more than happy to help and advise.

We are also best placed to help in your transition away from Taiyo Yuden media. As an optical media manufacturer of over 20 years, we can ensure that you have access to the absolute best pricing on our professional, high quality media and are able to take advantage of all our unique optical disc developments; such as our anti-bleed and high-saturation inkjet surfaces for exceptional print fidelity, anti-sticky technology to ensure uninterrupted production with auto-loading robotic equipment and our our strict quality controls which ensure exceptionally low error rates, all backed up by our unique satisfaction guarantee.

There’s every reason to get in touch today.

Taiyo Yuden / Powered By TY; A Quality Comparison

In the wake of Taiyo Yuden stopping manufacture (December 2015) and confirming that the “Powered by TY” product, among others, was unknown to them, we received yet more requests for information.

In followup to the fake media and quality concerns, we decided to have a look at the “Powered By TY” discs. They’re readily available in the Europe and at the same price point as Taiyo Yuden.

They’re often directly compared to Taiyo Yuden discs, with claims that they’re made to the same specification with identical processes.

We were ready to grab our scanners and get to work, though it seems the eagle-eyed enthusiasts over at Club Myce were one step ahead of us.

While the media is certainly within red book specifications (For the most part) they don’t scan quite as well as the original Taiyo Yuden.

Original Taiyo Yuden has between 0 and 3 PIE (BLER). Exceptionally low as you’d expect from Taiyo Yuden media! (Source)

The “Powered By TY” scans, excluding the outright failed burn, have between 4.5 and 233 PIE.

Purely from the wild variance of the results we can assume that the tolerance for a ‘good’ disc is a lot broader than Taiyo Yuden. (They’re between 50% to ~7776% worse than the back-end of the Taiyo Yuden scans average that we’ve seen)

While the claims that the production method, materials and machinery is unchanged could be true, though we have no evidence of this, we can clearly see from these results that the tolerance of the scanning equipment used to decide whether these discs enter the market, or are disposed of, is considerably more lenient than we would expect from Taiyo Yuden media.

The tolerance of the scanning equipment that will pass or reject discs is perhaps the most critical part of any disc production method because it will judge whether a disc is suitable for resale. A higher tolerance will cause discs with a higher amount of defects to make it to market, but of course this lowers the quality of the product.

Why this happens is very simple. As with anything manufactured that is complex and small, there is a certain level of failure that occurs – due to the inability to control every single factor in the production process. This is most commonly known as a yield rate and expressed in percentages (Normally utilised in micro-processing electronics where yield rates can be very significant).

E.G. A 60% yield rate would mean 6/10 things produced were suitable for resale.

Of course the higher the yield rate the lower the production cost of the product, as you’re selling more and throwing less away. Therefore with a higher tolerance, you increase the yield rate and lower the cost of manufacture – but also lower the quality of the product produced.

We always recommend using media with the lowest error rates possible to give you the most success in all areas, as outlined here.

While Powered By TY media certainly isn’t awful, in our opinion it doesn’t justify the price point. There are better discs at lower costs readily available. Anything from ACU-Disc, River Media or Falcon Media would be worth trialing, contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to advise on what would be best for you.

Taiyo Yuden Update

After a number of readers emailed us with with concerns regarding their “Taiyo Yuden” media, we reached out to Taiyo Yuden themselves to comment.

They reiterated that they have “completely stop [sic] manufacture and sale of its products since January 2016”.

They also made it very clear that the “Taiyo Yuden brand’s owndership still belongs to Taiyo Yuden Co. Ltd and has never been transferred to a third party”

Regarding our inquiry after the influx of new “TY” media (Powered By TY, TY, TY Technology etc.) they clearly state that the product is “unknown to us”. These brands formed the bulk of emails regarding quality concerns and while we aren’t saying that they’re bad media (without testing, at least!), they’re certainly not “Taiyo Yuden” media.

It would be safe to say that anything associating itself with Taiyo Yuden media, or alluding to Taiyo Yuden manufacture (Such as using common industry abbreviations e.g; TY), that isn’t branded specifically “Taiyo Yuden”, will not be Taiyo Yuden manufactured media.

If you require any advice, assistance or further information, or you wish to add anything to this story, you are more than welcome to contact us.

Please find Taiyo Yuden’s response in full here.

The Optical Industry – Powered By TY

Taiyo Yuden is a huge name in our industry; when you think CD-R, you think Taiyo Yuden. It’s an amazing example of an effective brand; but more than that, a stunning example of what a universal push for quality and technological advancement can achieve. This is something we here, at River Pro Audio, hold in exceptionally high regard as it is something we mirror with all our production and development.

Alongside Sony and Phillips, Taiyo Yuden pioneered the first CD-R, and associated technology, back in 1988 and their recordable discs were, and still are, considered to be amongst the very best in the industry; alongside our world-renowned ACU-Media and River Media brands (although they came much after!).

Unfortunately Taiyo Yuden no longer manufactures optical media, but they still exist as a highly respected manufacturer of high-quality electronic components and, to this day, continue their exemplary push for development and rigorous attention to detail.

With stocks of these impeccable discs running out, we here at River Pro Audio would like to extend our thanks to Taiyo Yuden’s remarkable technological achievements which made all things optical media related possible: from affordable, high quality music, to archival data storage and to the development of recordable DVD’s and Blu Rays.

One thing’s for certain, Taiyo Yuden discs may no longer be available, but their technology powers even the most humble of discs, and will forever.

Optical Media – Powered By TY

Taiyo Yuden CD, DVD and BDR

Taiyo Yuden products are no longer in manufacture as of December 2015, please be aware of imitation Taiyo Yuden products.

With our large stock supplies we have continued to serve the quality driven Taiyo Yuden market, however we have increasingly seen a rise in Taiyo Yuden-like discs that are not performing to expected standards. Upon investigation of the media they, while using Taiyo Yuden MID’s in some cases, are discs manufactured post Taiyo Yuden closure and are not Taiyo Yuden media.

Taiyo Yuden are “working on eliminating imitation products”, but this is a difficult process, it’s recommended to be extra vigilant in your purchasing to avoid these products that can cause “quality failure”.

We will be marking Taiyo Yuden products that are no longer available with the above notice on our web store when they are no longer available from official distributors and recommending suitable, high quality alternatives to ensure your media production is not hindered.

Please contact us on 0208 311 7077 or sales@riverproaudio.co.uk if you would like to speak to one of our technical staff regarding your requirements, we will be happy to advise.

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River Media, True A-Grade

Here at River Pro Audio, we’ve been manufacturing blank CD-R and blank DVD, optical media, for over 20 years. Optical media, although a mature technology, is still a complex method of storage and requires a high degree of technical skill, accuracy and experience to manufacture.

Here at River, we create all our optical media (blank CD-R, blank DVD and blank BDR) with the bottom line being quality, unlike other manufacturers who focus on price.

For the average consumer, so long as an optical disc burns it is generally considered good – however that could not be further from the truth.

Red Book Specification and Grading

The Red Book Specification governs the physical parameters and properties of a blank CD-R. Unfortunately, this specification is very broad, which enables factories to manufacture very poor quality blank CD-R and sell them alongside other, superior products with no legal distinction.

To combat this and highlight superior products several grading systems have been introduced, the most popular of which is a system from Clover Systems. You will often notice discs being sold as “A-Grade” or “AAA-Grade”, with reference to this system.

While well intentioned, this has only caused manufacturers to sell all their optical media as A-Grade; as there is no official, legal and enforced terminology of “A-Grade” media the majority of media making these claims are not “A-Grade”, by Clover Systems standard. This goes unnoticed by many consumers and professionals as they do not have the facilities to scan blank CD-R for defects.

River Media is true A-Grade. It has unparalleled reliability, consistency and archival length. It does this by offering:

No un-correctable errors

  • Un-correctable errors will cause audio artefacts, loss of quality, lower archival life and reduced playback compatibility

No E22, E32 errors (C2 / CU)

  • While it is possible in some modern players to correct these errors, earlier playback devices will be unable to. We consider E22 and E32 errors to be un-correctable in order to ensure the highest compatibility of our media with playback devices.

Exceptionally low BLER

  • Block Error Rate is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors.
  • Red Book Specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second (Average Over 10 seconds), which is a maximum of 2200 errors in a 10 second period.
  • River Media has an average BLER of 2.7, or 27 in a 10 second period; which is approximately 87 times higher quality than the Red Book Specification.

Why does this matter?

To an average consumer, so long as an optical disc works, it’s fine. However, to a supplier or producer of media, a disc that burns, or even plays is not the bottom line. Using lower quality media will result in returns and unhappy customers, costing time and money, as:

  • Higher error rates leave considerably less room for degradation, which negatively affects the resilience and archival life of the optical media. An optical disc with higher error rates may only be suitably read / played once or twice before they become unusable.
  • High error rates will reduce audio quality and produce audio artefacts, even if an optical disc plays fine when created, one with high error rates will see these problem manifest on different players and at an accelerated rate over time.
  • High error rates will severely reduce playback compatibility. While an optical disc may work with one reader, it doesn’t ensure it will work at all with another.

To prevent these problems occurring, we recommend using River Media products. Having the most consistent, low error rates of any media examined, you put yourself in the best position to serve your customers.

We’re so confident in the quality of our optical media and of our commitment to excellence that it is reinforced by our Unique, No Quibble, Satisfaction Guarantee.

We are proud to be the only optical media manufacturer in the world with this level of confidence in our products.

Satisfaction Guarantee