CDs Longer than 80 Minutes Are Becoming More Common

The “Redbook” CD specifications state that CDs contain a maximum of 74 or 80 minutes of music. But over the years, record producers have tried to push that limit. There have been some CDs released that approach the 90-minute mark, but I suspect that these are CD-Rs – individual burned CDs – because this is possible using “overburning.”

But I’ve been seeing a lot of CDs recently that are longer than 80 minutes. In the Mozart 225 box set, many of the CDs exceed this duration, and some are even longer than 85 minutes. The longest CD in this set clocks in at 86:30.

Longest cd

This isn’t a problem if you’re playing back the CDs on recent devices, or trying to rip them to a computer, but older CD players may not support these discs because the track that spirals around the disc are too close together for older players to read.

6 thoughts on “CDs Longer than 80 Minutes Are Becoming More Common

  1. I believe the Red Book standards allow a track-pitch tolerance of +/- 10%, permitting a play time of over 81 minutes. Push this even further depends on the record company’s confidence that such CDs can be scanned without “skipping”. (Yes, I wrote that deliberately.)

    CDs running 81+ minutes go back at least 25 years. They appeared mostly on classical recordings where the record company didn’t want to master another disk.

  2. Are the listed durations of songs on CDs accurate? When track lengths pop up in iTunes or on a playback device, are the figures being read from a table, which might include typos, as track names sometimes do, or are they measuring the data? Are the silent spaces between tracks (when they exist) reflected in any of the duration numbers that we see listed?

    • The track lengths are calculated from the CD catalog info. And the total CD length includes silence; for the example above, the booklet lists the disc as 86:15, which is presumably the sum of the track times.

  3. It really makes albums cheaper. For example, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 of Deutsche Grammophon conducted by Karajan were originally released as GH2 (high-price album) with two high-price disks in it; now it’s released as GOR (the Originals) as one mid-price disk.

  4. Nearly 90 minutes on 1 CD side is already more than 10 years possible:
    Die Ärzte ‎– Bäst Of (2CD, released 2006) 2×90 minutes minus a few seconds, factory pressed no CD-R.

  5. I’ve been using 90 minute CDRs for a number of years. Sadly, they are becoming tricky to find, and at a reasonable price. But even if you can find a good price for the media itself, you still end up forking over a lot of money cos of import costs : shipping, foreign exchange, etc.

    I’m in Canada and fortunately still find the specialty discs in the US, but it’s still pricey. Sometimes it’s more economical to order from the UK or Germany, but it depends.

    I’ve tried some 99-minute discs, but those tend to be a little more problematic. Not sure if it’s the quality of the brand or the physical limitations of the disc and/or my players… or both? I expect some skipping towards the end (of a filled-to-capacity disc), but I’ve experienced some skipping problems throughout. Again, not sure if it’s the cheap quality of the brand or simple compatibility conflicts between disc and player.

    At any rate, 90-min discs are great. You can even get away with a LITTLE bit of overburning and get away with 91-92 mins, but it’s a narrower margin than overburning on 80-min discs which can give you that extra 2 mins easy without much problem, and maybe pushing the envelope for another 30-60 seconds after that.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.