Mark Levinson, Marantz and Sony Europe Issue Dual Disc Advisory Notices

The parade of optical disc player makers issuing Dual Disc Advisories grew to 8 this week with new consumer notices being issued by Mark Levinson, Marantz & Sony Europe. The three new notices come on the heels of 5 earlier Dual Disc caution and warning notices from Toshiba, Sony Electronics, Pioneer Electronics, Onkyo Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Readers of High Fidelity Review know that we have been following the Dual Disc format since its announcement in the Summer of 2003. The format, developed by Warner Music in the U.S., consists of a “flipper disc” that has DVD Video and/or DVD Audio content on one side and “CD” content on the other side. The use of the term “CD” on the disc’s flip side has been the source of some contention since it apparently does not meet the Compact Disc specification and has therefore not received permission from Philips, co-developer of the Compact Disc format, to use the term Compact Disc – or the Compact Disc logo – on the Dual Disc packaging.

Mark Levinson and Proceed Warranty Coverage
The Mark Levinson division of Madrigal Audio Labs, part of the Harman International family of audio companies, issued one of the sterner Dual Disc notices we’ve seen to date this week. The company told consumers that the use of Dual Discs with their Mark Levinson and Proceed branded CD and DVD players “may damage” the players and such “damage” would not be covered under the player’s warranty. Here’s the full text of the Levinson statement:

Statement Regarding the “DualDisc” Format
Mark Levinson recommends that consumers do not use “DualDisc” products with Mark Levinson CD or Proceed CD and DVD products. It is unknown whether these products can safely handle these new hybrid discs, or whether these discs may damage Mark Levinson or Proceed products. Mark Levinson will provide an update upon the conclusion of internal testing of these discs in our products. Any damaged caused by using these discs will not be covered under warranty. Thank you for your patience while we test this new format.”

Marantz Notice on DualDisc Use
Also joining the DualDisc advisory list this week was Marantz, an audio and video products maker co-owned by Denon. Marantz says they recently “became aware” of the DualDisc format and that it recommends that consumers do not use DualDiscs with Marantz products until their research and development department can test these new discs. The Marantz DualDisc statement is as follows:

Marantz became aware that some two sided discs – which are referred to as “DualDisc” – have been released into the consumer market by some music companies and/or record labels. These double-sided discs appear to be a bonded combination of DVD on one side and non-DVD (which may incorrectly be referred to as a CD side) on the other side of the disc.

To our understanding the non-DVD side of the “DualDisc” does not meet the Compact Disc Digital Audio specification and clearly not includes a CD logo.

Until our Marantz development & research department has the opportunity to test the new commercially available double-sided discs, we cannot assure our products can safely handle these new double-sided discs, or whether these discs may damage your Marantz products.

Therefore we strongly recommend that consumers do not use “DualDisc” with any Marantz products, including CD players/changers, DVD players/changers, universal players or SA-CD players.”

Sony Europe Notice About Dual Disc Use With CD, DVD, SACD and Vaio Products
This week also saw Sony Europe issue a new set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on their web site about the Dual Disc and its use with CD, DVD, SACD and Vaio products made by the firm. The new FAQs were interesting – both because it covered the Vaio series of computers Sony makes (which have as of yet not been covered by any Sony U.S. DualDisc notices) and because DualDiscs are not allowed to be sold in Europe at this time (due to patents held on the flipper disc concept by Dieter Dierks of DVD International in Germany).

The DualDisc FAQs from Sony Europediscuss and answer the following questions:

  • What is DualDisc?
  • Will the DVD side of the DualDisc play on Sony DVD players or DVD-optioned PCs?
  • Will the audio side of the DualDisc play on Sony DVD players or DVD-optioned PCs?
  • Will the audio side of the DualDisc play on a Sony CD player or CD-optioned PC?
  • Will Sony modify my DVD/CD or CD player or drives to play DualDiscs?
  • Will DualDiscs play in my Sony MegaStorage CD or Megastorage DVD Changers?
  • Will DualDiscs play in my slot-type CD or DVD players?
  • Will DualDiscs play in car CD players and car DVD players?


One wonders if this is a prelude to a series of DualDisc advisories from other European CD, DVD, SACD and PC makers – just on the off chance that European music fans might be importing DualDiscs from the U.S. market via the web. We’ll have to watch and see.