Laser adds label as you burn CDs

Simultaneous: New Yamahas allow you to put a label in a ring around the underside-edge of CDs as you record information onto them.

July 18, 2002|By Craig Crossman | Craig Crossman,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Burning a CD has become commonplace for most computer users. You can burn CDs to reliably store your computer data, burn a CD to hold your favorite music in the order you want to hear it, store still and moving images - the list goes on and on. And after you've burned your disc, there are ways to create nice-looking labels that add a professional touch.

But Yamaha has just introduced a novel approach to their line of CD burners that might give it an edge over the competition. And I mean that literally, because now you can burn a label along the edge of a CD.

Yamaha's DiscT@2TM Laser Labeling System, which is being offered with their latest line of CD recorders, is an innovation that lets you burn a CD and its label directly into the CD itself without having to remove the CD from the drive.

Consumer labeling systems typically require you to print to a special round label in a printer, peel off the adhesive backing and then physically press the label to the disc.

But applying such a label can be a little tricky and sometimes, because of improper application, may not be perfectly aligned to the disc itself. If that happens, part of the label could lap over the edge of the CD while the other side remains exposed, causing it to appear lopsided. Other application mishaps include wrinkling or capturing an air bubble beneath the label.

If improperly applied, stick-on labels can make a CD spin unevenly and can cause a tracking problem.

But Yamaha's DiscT@2 literally etches a label into the surface of the CD itself. The result is a highly professional-looking disc that bears a distinct and indelible identification. There's also no cost of disposables.

Same laser for all tasks

The only downside to this is that it literally is on the downside of the disc. The technology uses the same laser that reads and writes the data on the downside of the disc and therefore can etch only the playing surface instead of the top, on which labels are usually affixed. And because the etched label would interfere with any playable areas, you can print only on the part that won't be played.

But that's not too much of a problem, according to Yamaha. First of all, many don't realize that CDs store and play their data in the exact opposite manner of traditional records. Records play from their outer to the inner edge. CDs record and then play from the inner to the outer edge.

And since Yamaha says that most CDs we burn typically hold only about 350 megabytes, or 60 minutes, of audio, there's plenty of room remaining along the outer edge for a label to be printed. Even if you leave only about 50 megabytes blank, that still gives you about a quarter-inch around the CD on which to print text or images.

Add data anywhere

The included software lets you compose and place text and graphics anywhere on the CD.

How cool will your CDs look with your signature burned around the entire circumference of the CD? Very cool.

The first model to incorporate the DiscT@2 technology will be the CRW-F1, which will range in price from $180 to $350 depending on which interface is used to connect the drive to your computer.

Versions include internal and external models for Windows and Macintosh systems using USB 2.0, Firewire and SCSI.

Information: www.yamaha multimedia.com.

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