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In House Review - Sony DRU-710A Double Layer 16x DVD±RW

DVD-R/W, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM

Postby VideoRoy on Sat Jan 08, 2005 8:41 pm

I was able to get another chat session that was also not very helpful, but I requested that the tech escalate the issue and request at least some explaination on the website of what is going on with BYX2 and why is was replaced on the USA website.

The Europe site still has it posted as the latest as of just now.
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Postby code65536 on Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:20 pm

VideoRoy wrote:I was able to get another chat session that was also not very helpful, but I requested that the tech escalate the issue and request at least some explaination on the website of what is going on with BYX2 and why is was replaced on the USA website.

The Europe site still has it posted as the latest as of just now.


I find it strange that the USA website posted BY02 and not BY03. A number of recent 710A drives have come with BY03. If they're going to abandon BYX, at least they should go to the latest BY0, esp. since BY03 is apparently stable enough for them to be preloading it onto new drives. The USA website actually never posted the BY02 firmware. They went straight from "no firmware" to "BYX2" whereas the Europe site went from BY02 to BYX2. I wonder if it's an accident; maybe someone at the USA website realized that they had never posted BY02, and in posting it, they accidentally overrode BYX2? Eh. Just a wild guess, don't pay attention to me. ;)
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Postby VideoRoy on Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:08 pm

If they're going to abandon BYX, at least they should go to the latest BY0, esp. since BY03 is apparently stable enough for them to be preloading it onto new drives.


Don't be too sure. Check out this from the Australia website:


Firmware Upgrade: DRU-710A and DRX-710UL

Description:
added: Dec 2004
This is firmware upgrade version BYX2.

This upgrades offers the following:
- 12x DVD-R recording support.
- 4x DVD+R DL recording support.

This firmware upgrade can be used for the following products and firmware versions:
- DRU-710AL: BY01, BY02 and BY03
- DRX-710UL: BY01 and BY02

Important Note: This upgrade is to be used only for the 710 series drives with the firmware versions mentioned. Do not use this upgrade on drives other than the ones mentioned. Use on other drives may cause damage and will not be covered under warranty.

Date: 2004-12-09
File size: 578 KB
Filename: 710A_BYX2.exe
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Postby Ian on Sun Jan 09, 2005 12:17 am

If we had a firmware dump, we could check the date of BY03.
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Postby code65536 on Sun Jan 09, 2005 1:54 am

Ian wrote:If we had a firmware dump, we could check the date of BY03.


http://codeguys.rpc1.org/firmwares.html#DRU-710A

Order of creation: BY01, BY02, BY03, BYX2; ... BY03 has a timestamp of "2004/10/19 13:38"
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Postby JoeyShabadoo on Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:46 am

code65536 wrote:For most of the world who are unable to even tell the difference between a 8x and 16x burn, burn quality is probably not the most important thing on their list. The priorities for people vary, and if your priority is write quality, then you can ignore all the other sections and make your decsion on just the performance score... at least that's what I do...


I just bought this drive (DRU-710A) and wasted 2 weeks making DVDs that wouldn't play on 2 out of 3 players I tested, before returning it out of disgust. If I saw a review that gave it 8/10 I would at least think it could burn a good DVD, which it can't. This drive is crap. A few players will play the discs and probably won't look that great, and that's if you're lucky. The funny thing is my neighbor has the DRU-510A and apparently his is also a rebadged liteon, and guess what, his discs will only play on his Sony set top player, not any others I've tried.

What really infuriated me is when I returned the drive I was planning on getting the Plextor PX-716A because I knew from their CD writer history they made great drives, but they were out of stock. Then I read the terrible reviews, so now I'm dvd-writer-less. My brother has the NEC 2100AD +R writer and it seems to make a perfect copy every time that plays on every player I tried. I don't know what to buy now and I'm stuck with $150 store credit at Best Buy and they only carry HP, memorex, Plextor, and Sony that I saw.
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Postby Ian on Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:13 am

JoeyShabadoo wrote:I just bought this drive (DRU-710A) and wasted 2 weeks making DVDs that wouldn't play on 2 out of 3 players I tested, before returning it out of disgust.


This is probably due more to the media you're using and/or the DVD player. Keep in mind that not all DVD players can read recordable media.
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Postby JoeyShabadoo on Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:40 pm

Ian wrote:
JoeyShabadoo wrote:I just bought this drive (DRU-710A) and wasted 2 weeks making DVDs that wouldn't play on 2 out of 3 players I tested, before returning it out of disgust.


This is probably due more to the media you're using and/or the DVD player. Keep in mind that not all DVD players can read recordable media.


I was using TY (Fuji 8x) and Ricoh (Maxell 4x) +R media. From what I read on your forums and cdrfreaks, that's good media. I figured if the drive couldn't write properly to even above average media it must be defective or just sucks.

I wasn't clear enough in my first reply, but the very first DVD I made on my brother's NEC 2100AD with the Maxell +R media played in his 1 year old Panasonic DVD player, and my 5+ year old JVC player. Using the same media my Sony DRU-710A couldn't make a disc that those 2 players could read, and neither could my neighbor's DRU-510A. Coincidence? Both drives defective? Operator error? I don't know but all discs I made are recognized as DVDs and play fine in PC DVD drives and 3 of the discs I made on the DRU-710A even have booktype set to DVD-ROM.

I updated the firmware to a LiteOn firmware and except for Nero not recognizing the drive as a bitsetting drive and forcing me to use KProbe to set the booktype, it still wouldn't make a disc that would work in the above mentioned dvd players.

My point with all this is that it's possible my JVC dvd player and my brother's Panasonic progressive scan are able to read media burned on drives that have better write quality, but not on drives like the Sony with poor write quality. Using 3 different types of media in 2 different Sony burners resulted in DVDs only readable on a PC drive. Soon as you pop the same media into the NEC 2100AD all the players can read the disc. All machines were ripping and burning the same way, with the same programs (DVDShrink 3.2 re-author for main title so there's no compression, then burned with Nero 6.6.0.3).

I mean I appreciate all the info on this forum and cdrfreaks, but I'm not running a testing lab here. I bought a DVD drive to burn home movies and data to reliably, I can't go out and buy 5 different spindles of media to test and hope one works. So that drive wasn't for me, I returned it.
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Postby Ian on Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:09 pm

That is good media. Can you tell me what speeds you tried?
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Postby JoeyShabadoo on Mon Jan 10, 2005 4:52 pm

Ian wrote:That is good media. Can you tell me what speeds you tried?


I burned the first one at 8x on the Fuji 8x, and when it wouldn't read in my player I burned another at 4x...I wanted to try 2x but apparently the DRU-710A can't do that speed? That's when I had my neighbor burn a disc for me on his Sony DRU-510A at 4x on Memorex +R (not sure what company manufactures those). When that wouldn't read I thought I should try using bitsetting, so I did one at 4x on the Fuji media and set booktype to DVD-ROM, which also wouldn't play in my player. I then tested the Maxell 4x at 4x (only option with that drive/media combo) and that wouldn't read on my brother's or mine.

What I find interesting about this whole thing is my neighbor's Sony DVD player plays all the discs, but the discs I burned on the 710 look like crap on it (jittery picture occasionally, break-ups, and an occasional faint line). The discs he burned on his 510 look a lot better, but still not great. But if the DRU-710A is actually a LiteOn drive, I'm wondering if Sony beefed up the laser in their Sony DVD players to read those type of burns.

Anyway, after all that I updated the firmware to BS41 LiteOn, which I read on cdrfreaks from a couple posts that was the best bet for both +R and -R compatibility. The results appeared to be the same on the Fuji media, and by that time I was too disgusted to try anything else. Especially since after going to BS41 Nero no longer recognized the drive could do bitsetting and I had to use Kprobe to set the booktype.

Now I'm not sure what to do since I'm stuck with a $150 in store credit at Best Buy. Someone on cdrfreaks recommended the BenQ 1620 or NEC 3500A, but I don't think Best Buy carries either of those. I know one thing, Sony has lost my respect after all this, I used to have a few companies that I trusted to fall back on for items I didn't have time to read reviews for, Sony and Plextor were 2 of them, but now after all these problems and reading the Plextor 716 reviews, my world is falling apart :)
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Postby VideoRoy on Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:17 pm

I have the DRU500a and DRU710a and have been using Verbatim 2x (Ritek rebrand) and Ritek 4x all DVD-R. I burn with Nero and the videos play fine in a very old Toshiba and a JVC DVD player they also play in all the PC DVD drives I have even the very old one.

I just purchased some Sony DVD-R as well that I will try later. BTW I tried the Memorex and it never worked very well for me in my DRU-500a. I know they use various suppliers though.

ot sure if this all means anything to your or not. I also have now tried to stay pretty close to Sony's recommended media.
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Postby JoeyShabadoo on Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:29 pm

VideoRoy wrote:I have the DRU500a and DRU710a and have been using Verbatim 2x (Ritek rebrand) and Ritek 4x all DVD-R. I burn with Nero and the videos play fine in a very old Toshiba and a JVC DVD player they also play in all the PC DVD drives I have even the very old one.

I just purchased some Sony DVD-R as well that I will try later. BTW I tried the Memorex and it never worked very well for me in my DRU-500a. I know they use various suppliers though.

ot sure if this all means anything to your or not. I also have now tried to stay pretty close to Sony's recommended media.


Well that's interesting. What JVC player do you have? Mine is the XV-501BK that I got around 1999. My neighbor's Sony is about a year old, not sure what model but it came with the complete surround speaker setup. My brother's is a Panasonic progressive scan also less than a year old.

I didn't try Verbatim or Ritek media, but I think after trying 3 types of media (knowing for sure the Maxell worked in my player after burning on my brother's NEC) I would have returned the 710A even if I knew for sure one brand worked. The "questionable writing quality" comment in the cdrlabs review seals the deal for me. I don't want to have to hunt around for certain media, I want a burner than can handle what I find on sale :).
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Postby Gen-An on Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:30 pm

If you get a PX-716A with TLA0202 or higher, update to latest official firmware 1.03 (or the beta 1.04), stick to quality media like MCC, TY, Maxell, or Ricoh, and limit your burning to 12x or below, the Plex is a good burner.
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Postby VideoRoy on Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:20 pm

JoeyShabadoo wrote:What JVC player do you have?


I have the HR-XVC33U with is a VCR / DVD combo. Actually I have been able to find the Verbatim media very good price almost always at the local Sam's Club and I can get Ritek from supermediastore.com among other places. I bought some Sony 8x media today $40 for 100pack at CompUSA.

I got the DRU710a for $60 dollars so I had to try it out.
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Postby VideoRoy on Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:45 pm

For those keeping score on the BYX2 firmware, I finally spoke to a live human at Sony tech support who was very helpful. It is reccomended that I go back to BY02. Admitted they have problems with the BYX2 and are looking to fix them to support 12x DVD-R and 4x DL.

I did ask about the BY03 for those of you that have this version but the tech was unclear. Since it was never released on the website I would probably not downgrade unless you have issues. Not sure what the changes were but it could be related to a component change or something else.

I wonder if the review here and tests would have been better with the BY02? I am hopeful anyway that BY02 works better on my 8X media and they have a update soon.
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Postby Ian on Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:21 pm

Here's the official word from Sony. My contact said pretty much the same thing as Roy's:

In the meantime, I do now have an answer regarding the 710 firmware. It turns out Sony discovered a possible issue with the firmware and needed to investigate it further, so pulled the download from the site as they didn't want to expose users to a potential problem. They promised to keep me updated on the status and I'll be sure to keep you in the loop on it.


I did ask why BY03 isn't on their website when its being shipped on the new drives.
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Postby VideoRoy on Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:43 pm

I reverted back to BY02 and burned the same disc as in the review. My first attempt at Kprobe so I am not sure if I did everything right, just left the defaults except changed to 4x like the review. Also do not have a place to post the image handy so here is the text.


Date : 1/11/2005 9:36:15 PM
Model : 1-0-0-0 SONY DVD RW DRU-710A BY02
Disc : DVD-R , MCC 02RG20 [Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation]
Speed : 4x
ECC blocks sum (PI/PIF) : 8/1
Scanned range : 0 - 1765332
Sampling count : 100206
Errors : 0
PI Max : 16
PI Average : 2.47
PI Total : 31846
PIF Max : 2
PIF Average : 0.01
PIF Total : 75

I scanned a regular Video DVD that I created that is probably not the same so I might be mixing apples and pineapples here. I wish I had burned and scanned the same disc with BYX2 but I am not going back now.

The numbers are lower than the review, so that is good right?

Thanks for any comments. I am really glad I found the CDRLabs Forums. It is great to discuss this with others who are interested.
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Postby Ian on Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:49 pm

Yeah, they're better than the ones in the review.. but those were pretty good too. If you want to see if the writing quality is better with BY02.. write a few DVD+R discs at 16x. That's where most of the problems are.
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Postby VideoRoy on Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:57 pm

Thanks I did not have a good frame of reference. I used to work in the SCSI hard disk world and understand the basics but I am not as familar with optical. I will pick up some 16x DVD+R and give it a whirl.

I got hooked on DVD-R a long time ago for set top player compatibility and it is hard to break old habits.

I appreciate your help and hard work! =D>
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Postby Ian on Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:29 pm

Been busy as hell today. Anyway, I got an email from Sony. I guess their latest answer (see above) was for the BY03 firmware. There were problems with it so they put the BY02 on their website. As far as the BYX2 goes.. I'm still waiting for an answer to that.
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Postby VideoRoy on Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:32 pm

Thanks for the info. Had to rebuild a computer that crashed so I have not been able to do much.

I am actually having a problem finding 16x DVD+R media locally. Thought it would be a quick check but looks like I might have to order some.
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Postby ttxs1234 on Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:41 am

General Information
Drive: SONY DVD RW DRU-710A
Firmware: BY02
Disc: DVD+R (SONY D11)
Selected speed: Maximum
PI errors
Maximum: 153
Average: 4.03
Total: 43360
PI failures
Maximum: 9
Average: 0.11
Total: 2786
PO failures: n/a
Jitter: n/a
Scanning statistics
Elapsed time: 9:43
Number of samples: 119862
Average scanning interval: 1.16 ECC
Glitches removed: 2

Not bad, anyway...
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Postby Bhairav on Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:30 am

ttxs, scan at 4X instead of max. That's the standard we use for comparision, here and at CDFreaks.
Was that a 16X burn?
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Postby ttxs1234 on Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:14 pm

Bhairav wrote:ttxs, scan at 4X instead of max. That's the standard we use for comparision, here and at CDFreaks.
Was that a 16X burn?


Thanks a lot Bhairav. I just wanna try if this burner works fine with the disks in hand.

Here below are results by Kprobe with sony +R(8x) and -R(8x) media. Both disks were burned at 8X. This sony burner is weak to get overburn.

Image
Sony +R 8X media, burned at 8X


Image
Sony -R 8X media, burned at 8X
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Postby Lenonn on Sat Jan 22, 2005 3:23 am

I was thinking of getting this drive due to the $30 rebate. But now I'm not so sure.

I like fast speeds, but I personally couldn't tell much difference unless I tried burning two discs with the same things at different speeds and saw that one got done faster than the other. As for quality of writing, all that technical stuff is beyond me. Would this drive give a relative novice like me problems?

If this drive has problems as big as you guys seem to indicate, I think I'll avoid it like a case of the plague. But, I figure you experts can tell me whether you think it's worth it for the average joe.
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