compact disc (CD)

Digital audio (CD-DA), data (CD-ROM), audio and data write-once (CD-R) and rewritable media (CD-RW) discs
2 discs, one printed: TDK CDR74, the other showing shiny purple surface with rainbow-coloured reflections

Recordable Compact Discs, showing printed side and recordable side

introduction to CD transfer

The compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format, which was hugely popular between the late 1980s to the mid 2000s. Despite the huge confidence placed in it at the time, the discs have proved fragile. Audio and other data held solely on CDs is not safe.

At Greatbear we have a wide selection of high-quality optical disc drives and software to rescue and preserve the content of CDs, which might otherwise be lost.

As a born-digital format, CD recordings are best transferred at their native sample rate and bit depth.

We offer a range of delivery formats for our audio transfers. Following International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives TC-04 guidelines, we deliver high resolution Broadcast WAV files, together with MP3 audio file or audio CD listening versions. We're happy to create any other digital audio files, according to your needs.

We can provide the appropriately-sized USB delivery media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system - MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

We assess CDs for physical degradation before confirming the price of a transfer.

We offer free assessments please contact us to discuss your project.


CD machines

CD format variation

segment of disc reflecting flares of rainbow-coloured light

Compact Disc close-up

Top: professional compact disc player, labelled 'Custom File'. Bottom: 3 large silver-coloured computers with CD-Rs loaded in their open disc drive trays

Sony CDP-2700 Pro CD player & 3 Mac Pro machines

2 compact discs with rulers indicating diameter (each) of 4 ¾ inch / 120 mm

Compact Disc dimensions: 4 ¾ inch / 120 mm diameter

CD risks & vulnerabilities

CD recording history