CD-R media is so cheap now days, most companies don't even put an effort into quality. I think it takes too much effort to hunt down a place that sells good reliable CD-R media. It is easier to buy random stuff from big name media companies such as TDK, Fuji, or Memorex from your local computer store. I say random stuff because those companies actually purchase the media from a different compnay that specializes in manufacturing the CD-R media. In my experience, most CD-R's are more or less the same. If price is a big concern, buying something next to the cheapest might be just as good as buying the ones that are much more expensive.
If you want something reliable, I think Taiyo Yuden and Ritek are good. However, they do not directly sell their CD-R media to the public, but to wholesalers and blank media deistributors such as TDK and Fuji. There are some small online stores that specializes in selling the media directly from the manufacturer to the end user in bulk quantities.
Unfortunately, even Ritek-manufactured CD-Rs, let alone Taiyo Yuden-manufactured ones, are relatively difficult to find nowadays. In fact, almost all CD-Rs sold under the major brand names these days are manufactured by CMC Magnetics, a company that's considered "CRAP".
I have heard rumors that TDK tries to get the getter yields from CMC Magnetics. CMC Magnetic quality fluctuates a lot. Sometimes their quality is superior than Taiyo Yuden. Other times they build crap that should be directly dumped into the land fill. Taiyo Yuden is very consistent when it comes to quality.
There were some rumors for the past year that not all Fuji CD-R's are made in Japan anymore. I also have read postings that Ritek has tarnished their reputation by cutting corners at certain factories. Some people go through the touble of scanning the blank CD for factory origin and serial number.
I think the debate about white vs silver vs gold vs blue vs green dye is kinda moot. In the end, Taiyo-Yuden who also holds the patent for green dye technology, seems to work the best. The big irony involved in all of this is that the green dye is one of the oldest CD-R dyes in the industry. Supposedly the real gold dye stuff from Ricoh or kodak is suppose to be just as good or better.
Originally posted by Chinchy Weren't the Verbatim black vinyl-look cd-r's supposed to be good? Darnit they'd better be because I bought 2 50pk spindles.. Hm, mine say Made in Taiwan on the label...
I have a few of those - but I purchased them in a 10-pack with jewel cases. My particular vinyl-look CD-R's were manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical, the only maker of the media with dark blue azo dye. (The green dye used by Taiyo Yuden is not azo dye - but cyanine.) These "vinyl" CD-R's are not meant to be used at high recording speeds (e.g. 32x) at all - they're only rated up to 16x. And in my experience, the "vinyl" CD-R's work best at 4x or 8x burning speed.
I have not used the spindle-pack version of the "vinyl" CD-R's. But I looked at the spindle packs of those CD-R's recently, and they appear to have switched to a "crappy" manufacturer, CMC Magnetics.
I'm beginning to think that your CDR burner matters more than the media. This new Lite-on I have now produces good, easily read burns even on the media I put aside as unusable with my old dying Philips burner. Even on it's last legs, the Philips could still burn to Imations without problem, so for a long time I thought it was bad media, but when the drive also stopped reading many discs I replaced it and those half used spindles were suddenly all good again.
If you're doing archival backups that need to last for 10 or 20 years then I'd search out the best media, otherwise, just use whatever name-brand is on sale this week. IMO