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Best CD Burner

Postby 50 cents on Tue Jul 01, 2003 9:56 am

What kind of CD Burner would you all recomend for scratched and dirty cd's.
I'm about to go out and buy one but i want to hear your opinions on the best one
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Postby Bhairav on Tue Jul 01, 2003 10:00 am

http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=11287

From my experience, Lite-On drives work pretty well with scratched cds.
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Postby aviationwiz on Tue Jul 01, 2003 1:36 pm

Read Ian's reviews if you want information about scratched and dirty disks. All his reviews have a section about that in Performance.
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Postby Noua on Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:43 pm

I've read somewhere that Premium does a very good job. Seems that Lite-On also does a nice joob, soo you need to read carefuly the reviws, check prices and then, the most dificult part, decide. :D

Good Luck!!!
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Postby aviationwiz on Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:50 pm

After looking at a few of Ian's reviews, the Lite-On's do look pretty good, but the Premium did not find any damaged sectors, which is very good, better than the Lite-On.

Of course, buying a Premium for $130 just for reading scratched and dirty disks is a little ridiculous. Get a Lite-On for that job, they are very cheap, and do the job well.

Now if you also want a high quality burner... Get a Premium.
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Postby Nerva on Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:36 am

As i know Premium has bad "bad sectors" perfomance. We talked with some CDRW guys on it and everybody get piont of it.
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Postby Halc on Thu Jul 03, 2003 8:05 am

There really isn't a foolproof and good way to test this.

Scratches, misprints, dirt and other tracking/reflectivity problems on a CD take so many forms that it would take a really mastefully produced test disc to simulate all these in a reproducible and consistent manner (there are some commercial and expensive test discs out there that try to simulate these kinds of scratched/dirty discs).

The best tests I've seen (performed by Ian here at CDRLabs) use AFAIK a commercial audio CD with scratches on it (if I remember correctly). Or Ian has used at least two different discs, one that had more scratches and the current used disc that has less error inducing scratches.

With his current test disc, the best performing drives should IMHO report as high number of blocks on the test CD as OK (not 'damaged' or 'unreadable') WHILE also at the same time consistently reading the discs with same results (number of % errors should be small) AND also at the same time do this with a speed that is still bearable. All drives should also be able to report back C2 error data for the OK/damaged/unreadable numbers to be meaningful.

If a drive only reports 100% ok, but produces a lot of errors, that doesn't make it a good reader for scratched discs. Also, if it produces no errors, but has a high number of unreadable/damaged blocks, then it's also no good.

Theoretically it is also possible for a drive to report a low number of damaged sectors (lousy or non-existent C2 reporting with undetectable error concealment) while still doing this with a low number of read errors (it just reads the disc poorly, but in a consistent manner). However, I find this an academic issue as I have not seen such a drive in Ian's tests. Drives with no C2 usually fail in the CD DAE error count test as well.

Based on the above explained criteria (which I hopefully have explained faithfully here), the best performing CDRW burners for Digital Audio Extraction of scratched discs is (based on Ian's testing) are:

Code: Select all
                         CD Blocks status                DAE
Writer               OK    Damaged   Unreadable    Errors   Speed
=================================================================
Samsung SM-348B      44%    56%       0%            0.28%   8.9x
Samsung SW-252B      38%    62%       0%            0.32%   9.1x
Sony CRX220A1        40%    60%       0%            0.37%  10.3x
LG GCE-8520B         32%    68%       0%            0.43%   8.9x

Some of the otherwise well received drives did not perform that well
compared to the above drives:

Plextor Premium      30%    70%       0%            12.35%  23.2x
LiteOn 52246S        30%    70%      <1%            test failed
TDK veloCD 522448    29%    67%       4%            test failed
Teac CD-W552E        26%    38%       7%            test failed
(with Teac test the percentages do not add up to 100%,
because the test was not able to complete due to the drive freezing up)



What I can deduce from above is:

Both Samsung drives do a very good job IMHO. So does the LG.

What is interesting is that the Sony drive did very well, but the LiteOn drive based on the same mechanism did quite poorly. AFAIK, both drives use the same mechanism manufactured by LiteON. Also, afaik, the test disc was the same. I have no idea if the differences can be explained by firmware differences or due to drive units being good and bad examples of what that mechanism can do (i.e. quality variance in manufacturing, slight misalignment in shipping or some other unit-to-unit variance).

It would be nice to see the test of another LiteOn 52x drive and see how it fared with these tests (I'm very eagerly waiting for Ian's 52327S review along with the aforementioned DAE test data).

As we do not have enough statistical data, I'm not sure we can fully trust the 'bad' results for some drives models for which there is test data inconsistency (like the LiteOn above).

However, if we believe that this is a rare anomaly, then it's pretty safe to say that Plextor premium is not perhaps the best drive to use for scratched disc DAE WITH maximum speed settings. It is not known how well the drive does if the speed is manually set to a lower setting (say 12x) or if another program is used to control the DAE process (say Plextools Professional).

This also raises another issue with the DAE test results applicabability: if the DAE performance of a drive can improve with a different software (that tests for errors on the fly in a different manner and manually sets the speed of the drive for difficult to read parts of the CD), then how well do the CD Speed and CD DAE tests correspond with the optimal performance of the drive. To tell the truth, I have no idea. Probably the correspondence is quite high for most drives, but for drives using special commands there may be interesting differences (i.e. Plextor being a prime candidate).

I hope I didn't bore you with my ramblings. Please feel free to correct any mistakes you find. I'm not an expert on these issues and I'm still learning a lot.

regards,
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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:16 am

thanks halc for the intersting and detailed post.
and for the work of gathering the data for the comparison chart.

Halc wrote:This also raises another issue with the DAE test results applicabability: if the DAE performance of a drive can improve with a different software (that tests for errors on the fly in a different manner and manually sets the speed of the drive for difficult to read parts of the CD), then how well do the CD Speed and CD DAE tests correspond with the optimal performance of the drive. To tell the truth, I have no idea. Probably the correspondence is quite high for most drives, but for drives using special commands there may be interesting differences (i.e. Plextor being a prime candidate).

yes, but this is true for any kind of testing.
we need to have the benchmark tool (DAE software in this case) uniform for testing all drives. so unaviodably we have to use a general-purpose prog. such as CDSpeed, and not such as PlexTools that is specialied for a particular drive.
this gives meaningful information when you want to compare different drives.
of course you could say that this info is not as useful as it could be, because then if say the Plextor Premium drive does not do very well with CDSpeed but would do much better with a specialized prog such as PlexTools, then this comparison does not give you this info, and if you want the best DAE ripper you'll miss out.
OK in this case what we're actually discussing is not only DAE performance of the drive but of the drive/software combination, and so we would need to test all combinations of drives/programs, which makes this comparative research MUCH more work!

i think that for a general-purpose comparison we'll have to settle for using a single benchmarking program, and CD Speed + CD DAE Ian uses is a good enough tool. for the non-audiophile i think Ian's test are quite good enough. of course if your'e an Audiophile, you'll have to work much harder to find the best performance combo of drive+software and be prepared to go to the appropriate lengths in terms of time, effort and money.
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Postby hoxlund on Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:55 am

can we please stop these threads about best burners this and that

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Postby Halc on Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:59 am

dodecahedron,

I completely agree with your opinion and I wasn't trying to give an impression that I do not think highly of CDRLabs tests. I do.

They are the only references available that pits the drives against each other with a useful and interestesting test set up.

My drive + software rambling was just that, rambling. It would be interesting (as an academic exercise) to compare CD DAE + Plextor vs. PlexTools Pro + Plextor and see how the results differ, if any.

Maybe I'll try that when I finally get my Premium here :)


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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Jul 03, 2003 12:21 pm

Halc wrote:My drive + software rambling was just that, rambling. It would be interesting (as an academic exercise) to compare CD DAE + Plextor vs. PlexTools Pro + Plextor and see how the results differ, if any.

Maybe I'll try that when I finally get my Premium here :)

sure, no problem, interesting ramble at that. i agree.
when you do, post the results! :D
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Postby Halc on Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:16 am

What I find interesting is that nobody is at all puzzled by the odd results the two LiteOn drives got (the Sony OEM and original LiteOn).

regards,
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:25 am

believe me, i am puzzled.

i raised this issue before (the difference between a LiteOn original and an OEM) in another topic, where writing quality was discussed.

the "standard" answer is that the Sony has a different firmware.
however, i can't believe they mess around with the firmware to such an extent that would explain the drastic differences between the two drives you listed.

maybe it was just a bad drive...?
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:41 am

Interesting results indeed, however like Dodecahedron said, it could be a defective drive, or just a bad scan? Actually, I remember hearing something about Sony drives having "turbo mode" and if you don't enable it you are always reading CD-Rs at a lower speed then max. Does anyone else remember hearing something along these lines? That could change the results significantly since I know that LiteON firmwares do not use this.

EDIT: Confirmed, the Sony drive uses a turbo mode. The Sony was reading at 40x max and the LiteON would have been reading at 52x. That could be responsible perhaps.

Here's the sony PDF that mentions turbo mode for the drive: http://www.sonystyle.com/intershoproot/ ... x225au.pdf
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Postby Reg-da-Ripper on Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:42 am

Actually, there were three Lite-On-based drives: the Sony, the Lite-On, and the TDK. :) Both the TDK and the Lite-On failed the scratched-disc reading test.

If you want to add another Lite-On-based CD-RW to this discussion, the CenDyne burner (OEM LTR-52246, firmware version 6S02) did finish the scratched-disc reading test. :) The Lite-On used in Ian's testing was flashed to firmware version 6S0C.

dolphinius_rex: I was wondering the same thing about Sony's "turbo boost" feature; however, I think that the results from the CenDyne burner negate that argument. :)
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:49 am

There's a simple way to solve this of course. Simply flash the sony drive with a LiteON firmware, and check the same CD-R again, and compare results.

why not switch all the drive around a little :P

Actually, I would suggest running the scan three times on each drive, to rule out abnormalities, but that is just me.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Jul 04, 2003 4:13 am

i don't buy the TurboBoost explanation.
all the drives slow down very much to read the scratched CD.
for example the Sony CRX220A1: the average speed was 10x. and this is quite fast, other drives are much slower when reading this disc. so it doesn't really matter at all of TurboBoost is on or off.
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