Red Book Standard

What is the Redbook standard?

Sony and Philips developed the Red Book Standard in the 1980s as a set of parameters used to produce CD (Compact Disc Digital Audio system) or CD-DA. Later in the article, we will discuss the role of the cd player but it's helpful first to understand the disc itself.

The name "Red Book" came from a series of technical guides printed in different colours and known as the Rainbow Books, which contained the technical specifications for all CD and CD-ROM formats.

Audio tracks are to be digitized at 44,100 samples per second (44.1KHz) with a range of values at 65,536 (2 to the power of 16 or 16 bits). This number should not be confused with the "bitrate," which is calculated as two channels (44,100 samples per second per channel) minus 16 bits per sample (1,411,200 bit/s) or 1,411.2 kbit/s. *Note that the bitrate of a CD is much higher than any free streaming service and higher even than some paid services as well.

The three main sections of a Red Book Disc are lead-in, program, and lead-out. CDs have a Table of Contents (TOC), which is stored in the lead-in area of the CD and records each track on the disc for recall and playback.

Unlike records, the reading of a CD begins near the centre of the disc (typically around 500 RPM) and gently slows down to about 200 RPM as the laser reaches the outer edge. Though the potential of a CD is closer to 100 minutes, the maximum length of a CD recording was 79.57 minutes and could not exceed a maximum of 99 tracks. The balance of the "bits" are used for control functions including start and stop of tracks, time signature and error correction.


Some labels began selling CDs that violated the Red Book standard for the purpose of copy prevention and using systems such as Copy Control. Others introduced extra features such as DualDisc, which includes both a CD layer and a DVD layer.

The trouble is, by introducing these features, the CD layer became much thinner at just 0.9 mm, rather than the minimum 1.1mm and optimum 1.2mm required by Red Book.

Philips, Sony, and other manufacturers warned producers that including the Compact Disc Digital Audio logo on such non-conforming discs may constitute trademark infringement but, more importantly, may not playback on all cd players.

On the component side of things, manufacturers began using DVD drives which by volume became much cheaper to produce. However, cost not sound quality was the  primary consideration.


Cyrus Audio and Exposure Electronics both use authentic CD mechanisms which adhere to the the Red Book Standard.

Cyrus has elevated the performance of CD playback using a proprietary and patented IP know as Servo-Evolution technology. The principle itself is quite simple. Usually the laser mechanism (servo) which reads the data from a disc makes tiny movements side to side in rapid succession to re-read misread data – this creates ‘servo noise’ that impacts the ‘noise-floor’ and limits the quality of the sound output. Cyrus CD Players reduce the speed of the CD to ensure a more accurate read the first time with a dramatic reduction of error correction.

The principle objective of Cyrus CD players is to extract the data on the disc as accurately as possible the first time – and that is only possible through some very careful design and calibration in both the hardware and software elements of the player. Visit CD Players on our website for more.