CD-r Warning: How Not To Get Burned!

CD-r Warning:  How Not To Get Burned!

I was recently reminded of a sad trend in this hobby, and it is the sale of homemade cd-r copies of original Silver CDs for high dollar on internet auction sites.  These auctions give no indication that it is a copy and for the prices they charge you would expect it is an  original.  I have had good luck on auction sites before, and actually met fellow collectors and dealers who I still do business with and respect. On the other hand I have also been burned! I have bought cd-rs which look and sound very good until later compared with an original Silver. It is not until it is too late and you feel let down and conned.

I have since learned many ways to tell a cd-r imitation from an original. Here are a few tips to help new collectors not get burned.


  1. Inside of tray art may be dull, sometimes glossy on only one side.

  2. Front insert is single sided, or if it is a folded booklet it may be dull on the inside with no images, but glossy on the outside. (This is probably the result of copying the front and back of a single double sided insert onto one sheet and folding it over.) Most original CDs will always print something on both sides of a single insert and the inside of a folded insert.

  3. The edges of all the artwork are perforated.

  4. All images are slightly fuzzy.

  5. All these artwork issues come from using perforated one sided glossy cd inserts that anyone can buy at any office supply store.  Genuine silver pressed original CD artwork is glossy on both sides, with much higher quality crisp images.


1.      When held up to the light you can see through the discs, and discs have a distinct green tone to them. DVD-rs will have a purple tone to them.

2.      Printing on the discs is not crisp, edges are fuzzy, and you may see the faint outline of the printing machine around each block of lettering.

3.      Label identification, if used, will not be accurate.

4.      Discs may not have anything printed on them at all.

5.      This is the most surefire way to tell.  The disc coding on a silver disc is actually burned into the silver of the disc according to the content that is actually being pressed onto the CD.  For example: The Polar Bear ABB release “Jamming at Midnight” would have “PB-099” actually burned into the silver inner ring of the disc, for Polar Bear #099.  All CD-r coding is printed in black on the center ring, which indicates the brand or type of cd-r, sort of like a UPC code.  It has nothing to do with the content. All original silver pressed CDs will NEVER have the black printing on the inner ring.

What difference does this make?  Silver pressed CDs are more durable, look better, and are the result of professional mastering and hard work.  Someone has to hunt down the master tapes, and many times pay for them.  Then re-master the tapes, create artwork, and professionally burn and print the CDs all under radar.  This is what makes them highly valuable collectors items.  These cd-r copies can be made in someone’s home for about $3.00.  This is not uncommon, and I see more and more people selling imitations with 100% positive response from their customers.  Many people don’t know or care, they just want the music, and E-bay is the ir only source. Unethical people are taking advantage of their ignorance. It is one thing to sell a homemade imitation for a few dollars, and let people know what they are getting.  It is something else to charge $50-$60 for cd-rs, and pass them off as originals. As John Lennon said “How do you sleep at night?” 

As older and more experienced collectors we should do whatever we can to educate people about this. 

Thanks for taking time to read this,


Reply:  A Caveat should be added to this editorial that at least one CDR manufacturers  press  matrices into their discs ,  and that many semi pro release are available with photo quality discs and commercially printed artwork., using this brand of discs.   I would also suggest the necessity of showing disc images with details of ALL releases , this reduces the ability of CDR fakers to peddle their CDR’s. I was recently sent images of commercially made Yellow Dog Fake CDR’s that were bought less than a month of the releases. Because the originals were a new format of disc art the buyer bought these fakes  as he had seen the layout before, and thought that the diamond silver discs were genuine.   I have created matrices guides for numerous labels and add in depth details on my web site.   If I can help or if you have any queries please feel free to drop me a line.  I will answer ASAP I am in the middle of a major update prior to  a move to a new ISP and web server.  

All The Best Moptop

Longtime Music Lover/Collector/Traveller Favorite music: R&R, Jazz, Pre War Blues/Folk I believe in the power of music. It has been my friend through good times and bad.

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  1. Unfortunately with the number of silver labels dwindling and the number of CDR only labels increasing exponentially, sometimes you just have to pull the trigger. How many instances have we all said to ourselves (when a new release drops) “Oh, this is brand new…I’ll grab it next time” only to end up glued to eBay or sending out desperate emails because the item you passed on sold out/slipped out-of-print instantly? While I certainly hope we’ll see a resurgence in silver activity, in the meantime I’m not going to lollygag browsing the new release lists…besides, I figure if the option to upgrade to silver comes up, I’ll just pass on the CDR version to a mate or some other collector. That being said, all you purveyors of factory silver out there reading this site every day like the rest of us: let’s see some more action! Speaking of Floyd alone, there’s literally hundreds of shows that have never surfaced on a silver pressing, and undoubtedly the same can be said of the Stones, Zeppelin, Queen, Rush, Dylan – you name it! While it’s great to see pro CDR releases with beautiful packaging, it most certainly encourages more downloading in the end as you can’t scratch a flac file right? I rather spend a pretty penny on a quality silver CD anyday, and I imagine everyone here feels the same (as opposed to being left with only CDR’s as options)!

  2. One label that comes to mind is Doberman. Beautiful packaging and usually great sound quality, plus they release carefully selected exciting shows, but on CD-R!!! I believe it has to be the production cost and maybe even the available resources that force some labels to use cd-rs. At least Doberman does not misrepresent themselves as a silver pressed label, but their prices are sometimes as much as many high quality silvers. The patient collector can usually wait and find these same titles on silver.

  3. It is true that many labels are switching to pro-CDRs and there are many titles that are interesting. The problem though it they are often priced like silvers and sometimes are even more expensive.

  4. Slowhander, one other distinction about many “proCDR” releases also has to do with the quality of the packaging as well; for example, many of the Sirene CDR releases have glossy, high-quality full-colour inserts with printing on both sides. This is also true of CDR-only labels such as Windmill, Amity, Beat Shot and Ayanami for some examples. There are some exceptions such as Blue Cafe, whose inserts are one-sided, but the images/printing are still high quality. There seems to be more and more CDR only labels coming up, which sucks for those of us who prefer silver…but I imagine they’re significantly cheaper and more discreet to produce.

  5. Slowhander,
    I believe all CD-Rs, (even pro cd-rs) have some coding or print in black on the center ring. Real silver discs NEVER have any black type in the center. Sometimes that is the only way to tell. Also sometimes the word CR-R is pressed in silver on the center ring of a cd-r. Some cd-rs are even gold and silver on the bottoms. It can be very tricky to tell. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

  6. Can anyone please help me here?
    What’s the difference between the so called proCDR and real silver discs? Is there an easy way to tell? i.e. Do proCDR media have the disc coding printed in black on the center ring or they have it in the silver part of the inner ring?
    Thanks for all these great posts.

  7. For some reason, this article doesn’t make a distinction between silver pressed R049 CD fakes and orginal factory pressed CDs. While I haven’t got burned at all on the easy to spot green CD-Rs, silver “replicas” are a different story.

  8. What is frustrating is that ebay doesn’t care, especially when the seller is a high seller. I tried once to sell two original silver pressed Vigotone CDs, and I got warned by ebay admins and the offer was retracted. Would the same have happened had I offered for sale hundreds of titles ? I know of people who informed ebay of the scams going on, but ebay didn’t care. …

  9. Should we start a name and shame system on the site?
    I am so sick of people selling CD-R rubbish on eBay. There is one seller with over 300 feedback selling CD-R of all new titles.
    People pay over $30 per disc as they do not know the difference between silver and silver CD-R.


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