We wish to track CD-R entries in the database, to help distinguish them from glass-mastered production CD RoIOs. That is why we add that information to our entries. We have a number of reasons for doing this, but quality control is probably the main concern.

One reason the RoIO database is so popular is because it gives everybody a chance to collect notes and provide editorial commentary on quality and source material. Prices in the commercial RoIO market are somewhat inflated due to the underground nature and rarity of the source material. When you're plunking down US$20-25 per RoIO disc, it is very nice to know which are must-haves, and which are rotten.

In order for any of these database entries to mean anything useful, they must be referring to the same thing. There isn't much point in adding a database entry for my cassette of "The Best Of Floyd Party Tape Compilations," since there isn't any guarantee that the other cassettes have the same source material, and almost no chance that the sonic quality is identical. Since CD-R technology is now firmly in the home tapers' price range, the same concerns apply to CD-R RoIOs as well.

The glass master process for producing "real" RoIOs ensures consistent, identical output. It is reasonable to assume that all mass-produced copies of "Obscurity" are identical for all intents and purposes, and that the database information will be consistent. So if the database entry describes this one as a must-have, I'll feel pretty good about buying it. Basically, mass-produced RoIOs ensure some built-in quality control.

Even in cases where we can confirm that different CD-Rs contain identical source material, there are absolutely no guarantees about sonic quality. If the person were playing Minesweeper while burning, or even moved the mouse at some inopportune moment, audible degradation can occur.

It may sound like I'm opposed to CD-R, but nothing could be further from the truth. CD-R is a fantastic technology for the trading community. Now we can swap RoIO material in a virtually lossless format! No worries about generational loss or destroying the sonic quality after only a few listens.

However, it also opens the door for greedy charlatans to rip people off. It's very arguable whether ANY commercial RoIO is worth the typical US$20-25, but source rarity and difficulty in finding a commercial house to master and duplicate, then distribute underground somewhat justified the cost. Now that anybody with a CD-R drive in their computer can copy a RoIO, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to pay the inflated prices for CD-R RoIOs!

Mostly my opinion only, but this is the reason we ask people to distinguish CD-R database entries.

Thanks for your input,


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Last update: 01 Aug 1998