patteo is 100% correct with his post and his links. Don't ever use CD/DVD labels unless it's something you don't care about losing or it is a disc that is only going to see short-term use. The dangers of using those labels vastly outweigh the advantages.
All audio CD players on the planet and the first CD-ROM/CD-R drives transfer data at a rate of 150 KB/second. That's the reference point for 1x speed. You can extrapolate from that the speeds of 52x or any others.
DVD players and DVD-ROM/DVD-R/DVD-RW drives use a different scale for their x numbers. I want to say 450 KB/second, but I may be misremembering. Using that number a 16x DVD-R drive is going to be as fast as a 48x CD-R drive.
In your example, Carol, that drive can record CDs at up to 52x speed & will read data speeds up to that fast as well. However, if you play an audio CD in it, though, it'll play back at 1x speed. Otherwise, you'd end up with something that sounded like Alvin & the Chipmunks on speed.
There are also lots of times that you will not want to record a DVD/CD at the fastest speeds your media and hardware will support, but that's beyond the scope of this post.