Tech Flashback: Retail Blank Recordable Disc Collection (Part 3)

This is the third part of my blank recordable disc art collection. The collection is really in no particular order, but this part focuses on “off brand” or store brand discs which were available in variety stores and supermarkets in Australia, and the transition between 74 minutes and 80 minutes.

Early in the CD-R/RW era, the 74 minute time was considered the standard length. But a more “tighter” track pitch within the standard requirements allowed for squeezing in 80 minutes into a disc which was generally “as compatible” as the 74 minute varieties. Some CD-RW drives had problems using the full capacity – some due to firmware issues, others due to the head movement limitations, but longer 90-minute and 99-minute CD-Rs almost universally had more problems than the 80 minute ones. And thus, the 80-minute capacity became the norm.

Canopower CD-R 1-8x 74 min

canopower-frontinsert-front canopower-frontinsert-rear

Canopower was an importer label which is almost universally associated with ‘cheap’. I bought this from a variety store when I was young, as I liked to test different media just to see if they would work, and if they would last, and how long they could overburn for in simulation mode. I think the front of this shows typical generic stock images used – note the Australian icons and the Australia icon itself, but none of this is Australian Made. Also interesting was the use of the phrases “High sensitivity and Durability” as desirable qualities for recordable discs.


The rear is very simple, with precautions for the use of the disc. It claims optimal performance up to 8x, and “also be used with higher speed drives”, as a statement that despite the disc really only being made for 8x, higher speed drives can write (sometimes at a lower speed) to such discs. These ones were made in Hong Kong, almost universally known for counterfeit and poor quality media.

canopower-topside canopower-underside

The top side of the disc is screen printed with a matte gold colour. It was almost universal at that time for most discs to have gold tops because they thought that by colouring the top gold, people will not understand the difference between expensive gold-reflective-layer discs and “gold” dye discs using a silver/aluminium reflective layer (which oxidises more easily and is more shortlived). Hmm. The wording of “high speed drivers” deserves a little chuckle too.

Despite my yabbering that the disc itself is probably quite crappy, it proves to be completely readable as it was stored in optimal conditions. The ATIP is 97m28s00f Optl.Me.S. S.p.A – I have no idea who these guys are.

Sony CD-R 1-48x 80 min


I know what you’re thinking – this isn’t cheap off-brand media. No, it isn’t. But this was bought from a parallel importer from China (likely), hence the addition of the Chinese “Genuine Product” seal at the front. Local editions did not have this. This was from the middle-late career of CD-R’s, noting the high speed and the 80 minute capacity.


As usual, the inside of the folded card allows for annotations.


The rear of all Sony disks had a very crammed design, strong on verbiage. Some of the nice things include a full byte-count capacity which is “guaranteed”. Unusually, this quality disc is Made in Hong Kong, so maybe Hong Kong wasn’t always populated with cheap junk manufacturers. This one also features a “late” Sony feature named “Supremas”. It’s another one of those marketing features which we really don’t have much knowledge about – it’s claimed to stand for “Superior Precise Mastering and Stamping”. The funny thing is the mastering is at the whim of your software, and stamping is more associated with manufactured discs rather than CD-R’s. That being said, I suppose the pre-groove quality might be what they were ensuring, to ensure a good high-speed burn.

sony-topside sony-underside

The disc itself also has the “Supremas” logo on it, with a matte white finish for marking. The bottom is the “regular” phtylocyanine colour. The disc is good too – perfectly readable. The ATIP is 97m24s16f Sony Corp.

Datastream CD-RW 1-4x 74 min

datastream-cdrw-frontinsert This is another imported brand disc that I bought from a local retailer – Big W. I never saw them anywhere else, and my recollection was of mixed reliability. As usual, when you go cheap, you really don’t know what you’re getting.

The front inlay is red coloured, there was also a CD-R which was green coloured (normally other brands reserve green for CD-RWs).

There is no print on the rear.


The rear of the card appears interesting, because the text seems to have just “replaced” all references to CD-R with CD-RW, and Recordable with Rewritable. CD-RW doesn’t suit Audio uses really, and CD-RWs don’t use Cyanine Dyes, they use metal oxides typically. CD-RWs are not governed by the Orange Book standards either, so there. You probably shouldn’t believe everything they say.

datastream-cdrw-topside datastream-cdrw-underside

The top of the disc is quite generically light-gold matte coloured, with space for markings. Nothing special to report, but the ATIP itself is 97m27s00f Digital Storage Technology Co., another name which I don’t know of.

Go Tech Computerware CD-RW 1-4x 74 min


This just so happens to be another in-house brand of Big W. It was relatively competitively priced, but it doesn’t really care much for the graphics of the inlays.


It’s got lots of space for annotations, and no warranty statements whatsoever. What do you expect? At least it has a fold-out inlay card!


Another very anonymous generic list of statements on the rear, Made in Taiwan where a large majority of blank discs are made.

gotech-cdrw-74-topside gotech-cdrw-74-underside

Another generic matte-gold topped disc, with the logo just “slapped on”. It’s as if they didn’t even bother to master centering the disc or logo transparency. The ATIP is 97m26s65f CMC Magnetics Corp., a major ‘value’ media manufacturer which persists into today which started by making floppy disks.

Go Tech Computerware CD-RW 1-4x 80 min


What happens when they change their imported stuff to the new 80 minute blanks? Well, just change the text and make it red!


The blue on the inside seems to be lighter for no known reason. Some of these may have faded over time, I suppose.


Not even the text in the back seems to have changed.

gotech-cdrw-80-topside gotech-cdrw-80-underside

Not even its top has changed much. The ATIP is 97m26s65f CMC Magnetics Corp., so even the ATIP and OEM is the same.

Verbatim DataLifePlus CD-RW 2-4x 74 min


This is the newer, circa 2000 art for the Verbatim DataLifePlus CD-RW.


Just like before, there’s space for your notes.


But no more NTI Backup offer, and no more bland rear, instead now it has the disc cut-away graphics instead.

verbatim-dlp-cdrw-topside verbatim-dlp-cdrw-underside

The top has lost its sticky white coating, opting for matte translucent coating instead which is much nicer for ink-markers to use. The ATIP is 97m34s22f Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. so it’s all the same stuff :).

Now you know that they were behind virtually all of the good CD-RWs in that era, it didn’t matter Verbatim, Kodak or Imation!

Of course, there’s plenty more media to come – but maybe no more for tonight. I’ve done enough, given my current torn-ligament and tenosynovitis status, so I better rest-up.

But do look out for more to come!

About lui_gough

I'm a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!
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3 Responses to Tech Flashback: Retail Blank Recordable Disc Collection (Part 3)

  1. Good stuff, man. I have tons of old media in spindles and jewel cases as I was a bit of a “CD Freak” myself. I even have some Made-in-Japan TDK 16x DVD-R with TDK’s own MID.

  2. Excuse my annotation:

    Orange Book Part III: CD-RW


    • lui_gough says:

      Well caught, thanks for that. It was likely because Datastream just decided to copy and paste it from their CD-R media packaging and do a find and replace, which is why I didn’t realize a Part III existed. But certainly, Part II doesn’t govern CD-RW, and only governs CD-R.

      – Gough

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