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D'Lynn Waldron, Industry Insider - Don't Ruin Your CD-R 
with a Solvent Marker

"CD Media can be harmed by solvent markers"

Don't Ruin Your CD-R
with a Solvent Marker

by D'Lynn Waldron, PhD.


The really vulnerable surface of a writable CD is the top, where the reflective and dye layers are. This is why you should never write on a CD-R with a hard instrument such as a ball point pen, or peel off a stick-on label.

Now we know that the CD-R media can also be harmed by solvent based permanent markers, like the Sharpie. (If you can smell it, it has solvent.) The solvent sets off a chemical reaction that can, over time, can destroy the media layers.

The very best quality CD-Rs have one or more protective layers on top of the media layers. However, research by Apogee Electronics has shown that all this protection is still not enough to insure that solvent based markers will not reduce the life of a CD-R.

To overcome this solvent problem, Apogee has a pen with permanent, water-based ink that will not affect a CD-R.

The Apogee CD-R Pen has a fine and durable, but safely soft point, and a large ink supply. I was surprised to find that the ink in the Apogee CD-R pen makes a much darker mark on the disc than solvent-based markers, and that is an additional advantage.

The Apogee CD-R Pen sells at a competitive price of around $3.

Like all Apogee products, the Apogee CD-R Pen cannot be purchased direct, but is sold only through dealers.


Recordable CDs have a dye layer on top of which is a thin reflective layer. The most permanent materials are gold Phthalocyanine dye and a pure gold reflective layer.

High quality discs have a protective lacquer coating on top of the media layers, while cheap generic discs have nothing to protect the media layers. Apogee discs have an additional resin coating on top of the lacquer, for even greater protection.

Apogee's DataSaver II resin coating is shiny, and optimized for thermal transfer (Rimage etc) printing and other approved labeling techniques.

Apogee has two types of discs, both of which have the protection of both lacquer coating and DataSaver II resin coating. Both have been tested on writers up to 12 X, meaning they can be used on the new high-speed writers, which most other discs cannot be. The gold discs are better for high speed writers.

Apogee's Reference Archive CD-R discs have a gold Phthalocyanine dye and a pure gold reflective layer. Around $3 street

Apogee's Silver Reference Master CD-R discs have a pure silver
reflective layer and gold phthalocyanine dye, for maximum reflectivity and output. Under $3 street.

Both Gold and Silver Apogee CD-R discs are available branded or
unbranded in jewel cases, and unbranded in bulk. The silver discs are also available with a white surface for inkjet printers.

A consumer CD-R Audio disc is available for the new Phillips, etc., computer-less music CD writers, but these discs have a royalty fee included in the price. They have a special SCMS (Serial Copy Management System) header burnt into the disc, which allows it to be written to by these writers and also prevents a duplicate of the duplicate.

Apogee products are available only through dealers. Some of these dealers sell on-line. The dealers set their own prices so check several. You can find a list of the many dealers nationwide at:

D'Lynn D'Lynn Waldron THE IMAGE PERFECTED copyright 1999

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