Masters for duplication from an AES/EBU CD Recorder?

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

I’m keeping this FAQ in for historical reasons, at least until I’m sure absolutely no one is attempting to do what this person was doing at the time he wrote!
Hi Bob. I’m one of your original customers who purchased the FCN-1 (serial #39) to solve the PCM to DAT copy prohibit problem. Since then, I’ve come a long ways. I have a Marantz CDR-610 CD-Recorder coupled with an HHB Indexer fed by a Panasonic SV-3700. A couple of days ago, I cut a CD-R master for purposes of having 500 CD’s stamped out. There are a total of 47 tracks on it (the most I’ve ever>encountered). I used a BASF 74 minute CD-R and it plays fine on any CD /CD-Rom player just fine with one exception.

When you go above a certain track number, the remain time for the track is blank (non-existent). The absolute time, ascending time and total remaining time all appear normal on all machines. The bizarre thing is that different brands of CD players start to display this symptom above different track numbers such as 33 tracks, 20 tracks, etc., depending on the brand of CD player that it is played back on. Also, on my MarantzCDR-610, everything looks totally normal, including the remaining time for each track. I re-inserted the ID markers on the DAT master using a DAT to DAT coaxial transfer in the automated mode and got the same results when I cut another CD-R.

I’m beginning to think it may be my CD-R recorder. Or could it be that I recently switched brands of CD-R’s (I was previously using TDK on a regular basis) ?? Or is this something that I don’t need to worry about? If you have any ideas on this, please feel free to share them.

On a different note, another time I encountered a different sort of a problem. You may wish to share this idea with your customers. I remember one time I had a strange problem with one of the track increments on the CD-R kicking in 2 or 3 seconds later after the ID marker appeared on the DAT. I took the ID marker, erased it, and re-inserted it and after that, it worked fine. I believe the problem in this instance was caused by my heads on the DAT machine which were starting to get dirty and there was an error burst of about 100 or so immediately after the ID marker (which is where I paused the machine in the record mode).



Russ Campbell

And I replied:

Hi, Russ. I would never use an AES/EBU or S/PDIF CD recorder to make CDRs for pressing. I don’t want to belittle the Marantz, but it is meant to make references, not valid CD masters. The Marantz is probably not fixing a complete TOC and/or not writing the proper time codes in the track while writing them. With a missing TOC, the CD player has to depend on the information in the main part of the CD to determine track length, and since your CD Recorder did not know the length of the track while recording it, it could not put down that information.

You can make masters for duplication from these recorders, but the more tracks you make, the more the chance for error, due to the inexact method you’re using to create the track starts. And track ends are impossible to program, because you must write an entire disc at once, to avoid fatal errors caused by the laser turning on and off, which can cause glitches and clicks, and the CDR will be rejected by the pressing plant.

Sometimes the CD player can do remaining time by inference or from the TOC, rather than from the information on the CDR at the moment of playing, but not all players are that smart, as evidenced by various players conking out at different times when they read your disc. If you want accurate remaining time count down, a mastering studio will have to make your CDR master from a properly equipped DAW.

I only have faith in a professional level DAW’s methods of generating correctly made CDR masters from computer generated sources, directly interfaced with the CD recorder through the SCSI buss. These DAW’s calculate and write the entire TOC in advance, and then begin to write the audio data. BTW, I am amazed at your patience in setting 47 tracks with an indexer. The amount of work it takes to make sure your start IDs are in the right place is mind-boggling. Your problem is simply related to the fact the CDR Indexer is an attempt to master technology that was never meant to have that degree of precision in the first place. DAT machines are not that precise. The START ID is a repeating signal that occurs (if I recall) three times each DAT frame, and therefore is quite inaccurate. Your problem with the head cleaning is not a surprise, and the indexer is therefore getting late signal. In addition, pausing the DAT machine in the record mode puts digital glitches on the tape that may or may not translate to noises (little clicks, etc.) that will make it to the CDR. In short, it’s not a good way to make masters for CD Replication.

Best wishes,


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