SDR (audio)

XDR (eXtended Dynamic Range, also known as SDR (Super Dynamic Range)) is a quality-control and duplication process for the mass-production of pre-recorded audio cassettes. It is a process designed to provide higher quality audio on pre-recorded cassettes by checking the sound quality at all stages of the tape duplication process. In this way, the dynamic range of audio recorded on an XDR-duplicated cassette can be up to 13 decibels greater.[1]


XDR was originally developed by Capitol Records-EMI of Canada in 1982 as "SDR" (Super Dynamic Range). Capitol in the USA then adopted the system for its cassette releases that same year, renaming it "XDR".[2]


The XDR/SDR process involves many steps, the most prominent being:

  • Duplication of the cassettes from a 1" wide master loop tape mounted in a loop bin duplicator (as opposed to standard cassette duplication using a 1/2" master loop tape), resulting in clearer high frequencies, greater bass response, and less noise.[3]
  • Recording a short test toneburst at the beginning and end of the program material on the cassette, to detect for any loss of audio frequencies in the audio spectrum. The toneburst consists of 11 tones about 0.127 seconds in length (with 0.023 seconds of silence in-between each tone), from 32 to 18,000 Hz. These tones are recorded on the cassette, and are read during the duplication process to detect if there is any loss of any audio information.[4]

As well as with EMI & Capitol Records, PolyGram and other labels also offered cassette releases duplicated with the XDR process.


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