Blue, Green, Gold, Silver.

CD-R What Color Are You?

BizNet takes the confusion out of how to select which blank CD Media to use.  

Or we’re just going to confuse you even more????

But in the end does it really matter which CD-R you use?


First off lets talk about the Reflective surface used on CD-R’s.  You have two choices.  Gold or Silver.

Gold last longer then Silver.  Now if you’re thinking… should I use gold or silver for long term storage?  You tell me.  Gold is rated at 100 years.  Silver at 50. 

So Gold is better… Maybe, maybe not.

Gold was used for the reflective surface in the first generation of CD-R discs. Gold had good reflective characteristics and was stable. However, new advances in technology led to using silver because, in conjunction with cyanine-based recording dye, it greatly enhances reflectivity (the measurable amount of light bounced back to the laser). This means better compatibility with CD-ROM drives, even older drives whose laser sensitivity has diminished with age.


Gold and Silver, I see Blue and Green colors to?

O.K. are you ready to be confused, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Here goes:

CD-R recording dyes (formulations) come in the 3 basic colors:

Colorless (Pthalocyanine), which may appear as gold or silver depending on the reflective surface. Green or Blue-Green are dyed with Cyanine.

Blue uses Azo.

Each has its attributes. Cyanine has a wide power margin.

This means the recorder's laser power can vary to a greater extent from optimum and still produce a disc with good signal characteristics.


If you are still confused, here is a chart for you.



Recording Dye Color




  • Compatibility with wide range of writing speeds

  • Over 50 year shelf life



  • Low sensitivity to light

  • Over 100 year shelf life



  • Limited availability


If you’re looking for more information, then check out TDK’s site or Maxell’s.  Most of the information above came from their sites.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002