Cynanine vs Phthalocyanine CD-R Media

© 1995 by Dana Parker
Used with permission


Q: Can someone tell me what the pros and cons are of cyanine vs. pthalocyanine dyes [used in CD-Recordable media]? Aside from shelf life and cost, are there any other differentiating factors?

A: There are lots of them. So many, in fact, that it would take a chapter or even a whole book to go into specific detail.

In general, cyanine dye is the de facto standard; the Orange Book was written based on the original cyanine dye discs from Taiyo Yuden. Most CD-recorders are optimized for cyanine dye. Cyanine discs are compatible with a wider range of laser powers.

Phthalocyanine dye has performed better than cyanine dye in accelerated age testing, and may work better in higher speed recording (which requires higher laser powers).

However, all of these differences aside, it appears that IN MOST CASES, the two types of discs perform in essentially the same ways - it's at the extremes and in the worst-case scenarios where these differences appear most marked. There are many factors besides the dye composition that determine the quality of a CD-R disc.

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