Can anyone possibly review/list what are the best brands of various blank media types to buy for longevity and quality? I'd love to see CDR, DVDR and BRR but at the very least CDR is definitely on point.

I need the answer to be facts-based with data to prove it, and not just "Oh, I use Joe's brand CDRs and never had a problem!". Any info with test results to back up your statements would be great, even if it came from another site (as long as the site is attributed). Also, if you can say where you get them, that would help too.

  • Why not keep it encrypted and in the cloud? It's free or cheap and you can keep full quality audio/video and never worry about media dying, scratching, burning in a house fire. Jun 30, 2016 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


These days, HDD; with SSD coming a strong second, or even first but for price - though that could change in a few years.

I can only really back this up anecdotally, though Backblaze have some large data sets of which HDDs are surviving best. They provide a report & links to the data every quarter. Most recent is One Billion Drive Hours and Counting: Q1 2016 Hard Drive Stats
One additional factor to bear in mind is that the Backblaze stats are for drives which are constantly in service, not simply stored in a cool room.

Every music project I ever made is on an HDD in a box, some going back to the 90s. Haven't lost one yet. The transition from SCSI, through PATA to SATA meant copying to newer & usually larger drives periodically - which is always going to be an issue as standards change.

Two copies of every drive is sensible. A third off-site is belt & braces.

I do the same for movies, though in a less-fastidious fashion - I don't actually take the drives out of my media machine until I can get no more in, nor do I back up movies drives. Currently I've about 16 TB of movies.
As that system gets older, I would probably transition to NAS next.

HDDs have had the best price per MB for quite some time now, with 4TB coming in at around 100 quid/bucks/shekels.

Cataloguing is done through a file database/catalogue app - NeoFinder in my case - though there are many out there to choose from.

Further background
I have some projects going back to the 80s that I had to transfer from reel-to-reel. I only had facilities to transfer the ¼" tapes, so I lost a lot of material that was on ½" & 2" - not a scenario I would ever like to repeat.
I nearly lost the ¼" too - the tapes were early-mid 80's Ampex 456; which turned out to have a disastrous shelf-life.
After months of research, I eventually built my own tape-baking rig, which was very successful - I did azimuth & EQ correction afterwards, so each tape only needed a single pass & I successfully saved the entire collection.

In the 90s I worked on a lot of sampling projects - those went straight to SCSI HDDs & get copied [with data checksumming] as technical standards change... having learned the lesson once, it's not going to happen again.

  • This is a good answer, but perhaps my question wasn't clear enough. I was asking for media by name. For instance, are Sony blank CDs reliable? If not, what about Memorex? What are the most reliable in terms of longevity? Same with DVDR and BR. THAT type of question. Yes, I usually use external HDs and I have 2 sets that I rotate; one set stays disconnected and boxed at all times. But I want to know about recordable media, because sometimes you see stuff at Walmart or Staples and I don't want to buy it if it's junk. Jun 27, 2016 at 16:59
  • Look for stuff with the Archival label. No label, no want ;) See zdnet.com/article/the-1000-year-dvd-is-here
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 27, 2016 at 17:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.