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Why can't I burn a decent disc?

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Why can't I burn a decent disc?

Postby ric on Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:32 am

I've got 2 liteon drives: 52246S and 24102B. Each is on a separate IDE channel and my hard drives are on a SATA controller (via IDE-SATA converters).

When I first got the 52246S I started doing quality checks with CDDoctor and K-probe. The media I had was Ritek 40x and everything seemed fine.

However, lately I can't burn anything without getting C2 errors. The next media I bought was Smartbuy/Prodisc 48x. I've had good luck with Prodisc in the past and the first few discs I burned looked really good. But later I started finding C2 errors. Sometimes I'd get a spike or 2 of C2 errors even though the C1 error background was very low.

So today I had to burn a lot of discs and decided to pick up another spindle of Ritek since the last one seemed to work well and I've been reading good things about them. The 52246S only let me burn at 40x on the older Ritek spindle but allowed up to 52x on the new one. After burning one at this speed there were lots of C2s. I backed down to 48x on the next burn and it had no C2s. Then the next one had lots of C2.

I tried the Smartbuy and the new Ritek on the 24102B and a few were fine but most had some or many C2s, usually near the end of the disc.

So having a few of the old Ritek spindle, I decided to try those again to see if they still gave me good burns. I burned 2 discs, one on the 52246S and on eon the 24102B and 40x/24x respectively. One had no C2s, the other had a single spike near the end of the disc.

So it seems like none of the media I have is reliable, or there's something wrong with my set up. At this point I'm not sure which. I've reached the point here I'll shell out double the cost for some Fuji TYs if they'll be reliable, but I'll be kicking myself if they don't work either. And I'm having a hard time buying that TYs are the only media the liteons can write to without error.

I'm also using Nero 6.0.0.11. Is that my problem?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I need to burn around 50 discs in the next couple of days and I really don't want to have to check each one and throw out half. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a high speed drive...

Thanks!
Ric
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Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:42 am

whoa! that doesn't sound good!

It is VERY unusual for this sort of thing to be happening, especially with trusted manufacturers like Ritek and Prodisc! I wonder perhaps if it isn't your burner? do you have a friend's system that you could burn some media on?

Also, what speed are you testing at? I suggest doing some scans at 40x and some at 8x, and see how they fair. If possible, post the resulting graphs, as it will be easier for us to interpret.

Good luck!
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Postby TheWizard on Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:12 am

This is a long-shot, I'm sure, but what SATA controller are you using? Does the read and write graphs stay at or near 100% during the entire burning process? I ask because apparently the Promise SATA150 TX4 Controller had some problems...until the firmware was updated. Take a look at this article, maybe that's the problem.

http://www.storagereview.com/articles/2 ... Std_1.html
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Postby ric on Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:37 pm

Okay, I pulled some of the CDs from the garbage and I'll rescan them at 40x and 8x and post some graphs. It'll take some time with the 8x, but based on what I'm seeing, there are a lot less errors when scanned at slow speed. So what does this say about my drive or the CDs?

I'm was getting the C2 errors when burned with both liteon drives which made me question that it's a drive problem. What's the recommended firmware for the 52246S? I tried the latest one but found it wouldn't let me write at 40x to the older Ritek I had, only 16x, so I went back to the 5S05 which seemed to work better.

As for the SATA controller, it's the one built into the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe (nforce2) motherboard. It's a Silicon Image controller.

Thanks,
Ric
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Postby ric on Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:23 pm

Okay, here are some scans of discs that were giving C2 errors. There's a huge difference between max speed and 8x speed scans! Also, all the discs I burned passed the verification in Nero 6.0.0.11 or RecordNow Max 4.5 (px408).

I couldn't figure out how to put pictures in here so here's a link instead:
http://www.guest.shirty.net:40252/liteon/liteon.htm

So clearly there's a lot of variability depending on the speed at which I do the test and also from day to day or test to test.

What does this all mean?

Should I forget about testing and just trust anything that passes the verification?

Thanks,
Ric
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Postby Inertia on Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:21 pm

ric wrote:So clearly there's a lot of variability depending on the speed at which I do the test and also from day to day or test to test.

What does this all mean?


Lower read speeds always return lower error rates. The lower the read speed, the easier it is for a disc to be read. High read speeds are used in error testing to stress the reading ability. This is done in order to get a relative evaluation of the disc quality under worst case conditions.

Have you been doing your burning tests on a hot day? Heat is the enemy of error free burning. If you are doing your burning and testing under high temperature conditions or are continually running the burners, excess heat may be affecting your burns and tests. You may have noticed that some of the "bad" burns tested better later, maybe when things had cooled a bit.

The temperature from a hot day or continual operation of the burner can cause excess error readings. If possible, try doing your burning and testing under conditions that are free of excess heat. As you know, reducing the burn speed may help produce better results, particularly under stressful conditions.
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Postby ric on Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:07 pm

All the burning and testing have been done in an airconditioned room so the temperature should not be unusually hot and varience from day to day shouldn't be huge.

I've been finding that slow burning has not produced better results than fast burning, with the exception of 52x with my newest ritek media. But from 48x down the results seem to be similar. It's on reading that lowering the speed seems to help.

So if a media test poorly at high speed but okay at low speed, what does this indicate? Is this an average media that should be okay to use or is the chance of it degrading rapidly much higher than a media that tests well even at high speed? The truth is, since all the burns passed their verification tests, if I had not bothered to do further checking to assess the quality of my new spindle, I would never have known there might be an issue. Presumably, this is the case with the average consumer. So does this indicate crummy burns are still okay or that the average consumer has no idea their backups will fail them?

Do these results seem unusually poor for these burners and these media?

Thanks,
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Postby rdgrimes on Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:57 pm

There is nothing in the system configuration that can produce high read-error rates, it's purely a function of the drive's interaction with the disc. The problem is either the media or the drives. Since it's unlikely (but not impossible) that both drives would exhibit the same behaviour on the given media, I vote for the media, or a heat issue with the drives. What firmware is in use on the 52x drive?
Because of it's age, I would discount the scans on the 24x drive and scan only in the 52x drive, suggest firmware 6S0D.
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Postby ric on Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:36 pm

I am using the 6S0D firmware.

I'm just surprised that three different batches of media are all bad. But maybe I'll pick up a pack of Fuji TYs this weekend and see if they're consistently good. From what I've read those are the best discs for the 52x drive. I guess that'll give me a control. If I'm still getting errors on the TY discs then it's unlikely it's a media problem and must be a drive problem.

Would it help to mount some fans above (or below) the burners, if it turns out not to be a media issue? The drives are in the upper bay of a very tall Antec case. Besides the power supply there's another 92mm fan at the back blowing air out. There are 6 bays occupied from bottom to top: LTR-24102B, empty, Pioneer 16x DVD-ROM (slot), empty (with front vent holes from a now defunct HD fan), LTR-52246S, empty (with front vent holes from another defunct HD fan).

Thanks,
Ric
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Postby rdgrimes on Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:51 pm

I always pop the cover off a spare bay when burning a lot of discs, it lowers the drive temp quite a bit. If the HD's are located under the optical drives, an intake fan in the bottom front of the case will lower the HD temps. Most cases are designed for the front intake fans.

If the discs you burn first look better than the ones you burn later, and if they scan better later on (after the drives have cooled), then heat problems is a possibility.
Burning at 52x is rarely a good idea on any media. Slowing the burn speed to 40x will produce much better quality and far less heat. TY is no more forgiving of excessive burn speed than any other.
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Postby Inertia on Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:10 pm

I have two Antec towers and they are very well ventilated, as you know. Personally, I prefer when possible to have my fastest burners mounted in the lowest bay. This is in keeping with the theory that the top of the case may tend to be hotter due to the rising action of hot air. Also, the lower bay may be better aligned to the rear case fans.

If you have only one fan mounted at the rear but have two fan vents as I do, adding another rear fan would be a good move. I wouldn't add any fans above or below the drive. Front case fans are OK, but generally not as effective as rear fans.

Comments:

I wouldn't use RecordNow Max for critical burning with the Liteon LTR-52246S. Although the burner is recognized by MMC commands, support is incomplete as witnessed by the only available Min-Med-Max speeds. It is unknown whether Smartburn is even supported by the software. Support for the basically good RecordNow Max is sorely lacking, as the basic software has had three different owners in the last few years. Prassi » Veritas » Sonic Solutions. Even with the latest pxEngine update support is lacking for the Liteon. If you look at the supported recorders list, the last Liteon drive supported was the LTR-48246S. Strangely enough, the LTR-48125S is not supported, although the LTR-40125S is supported. :-?

I would also recommend that you not use Nero 6x for testing at this point. I am not blaming the software, but it still has issues and it is best to start with a stable platform for testing to eliminate possible unknown influences. A late version of Nero 5x would be a better choice for the basic test burning platform.
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Postby ric on Fri Aug 29, 2003 1:34 am

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Here's my current update.

First off, I guess I didn't explain my case setup properly. I meant that in the upper bay (for some reason Antec desided to separate the top and bottom of the case with a metal sheet with a few holes for running cables and air flow, but I'm not convinced there's a whole ot of air moving from the lower section of the case to the upper section) there is the powersupply fan and above that a 92mm fan blowing air out the rear.

In the lower section, where the mainboard and the hard drive cages are are many fans. I have 3 intake fans at the front, 1 in front of each of 2 hard drive cages (each containing 1 7200 rpm hard drive) and a thrid fan below the hard drives. At the rear are 2 more fans blowing out. I've basically put a fan in every spot Antec gave me holes to screw them in. (Actually, most of them just clip in which is nice.) I just got a bunch of quieter replacement fans but haven't gotten around to swapping them in...

In any case, the computer's been sweating with a lot of video processing tonight, but I've managed to burn half a dozer or so CDs while it's doing that and have tested them with kprobe 1.1.23. Prior to doing this I tried uninstalling the ASPI drivers on the vague hope maybe that was an issue. Needless to say that made cddoctor and kprobe stop working. I was using an older version of kprobe so I downloaded the newer one and installed it, which also re-installed my ASPI drivers. Anyway, of all the CDs I burned tonight, all at 48x, both Ritek and Prodisc media... they all looked close to perfect, testing at max read speed. No C2 errors. Very low C1 error count as well. The worst tested disk had a hump of C1s near the end but they only peaked at around 15 - 20. Generally all these discs average ~1 or less C1 error. There was one disc where kprobe seemed to have some seeking problems, and at 1 point there was a single green vertical line in the C2 graph. I'm not entirely sure what that means. To be sure I did a binary file comparison of the file on the CD with the source on my HD and they were identical.

So on the one hand I'm happy it seems to be working now. On the other, still not sure what the root cause is. So can ASPI drivers affect burn quality, or was this particular change just coincident with something else, like my room's a little cooler tonight than yesterday?

With regards to RecrodNow Max, I use it sometimes because it's the only program I know of that has anything approaching adequate support for long filenames. I've tried pleading with Ahead to add some propper long filename support but couldn't seem to communicate what the problem is and what they could do to fix it. I think it's a language issue... I do know that RecordNow max does support burnproof on the liteon because I've seen it kick in during a RecordNow max burn and the product was fine. (I generally can't burn to both burners simultaneously form the same hard drive without getting a few burnproof pauses. I assume the hard drive can't keep up.) The min/med/max issue is a pain since at max speed on most media quality is an issue and med speed is quite slow...

Thanks again,
Ric
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Postby Inertia on Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:37 am

You're welcome, ric. :) I'm glad that your burns seem to be testing satisfactorily for errors now.

You have plenty of fans, as I do. ;) Reinstalling the same ASPI drivers should not have any effect on burn quality. Running a newer version of KProbe (or cooler temperature) may possibly have had some effect on error reporting.

Buffer underrun protection is only one feature of Liteon's Smartburn. I also know that this works with RecordNow Max as I have run the same dual burning experiments and seen the drives recover from interruptions. Smartburn has four features, and it is the last three to which I was referring. See SMART-BURN

Smartburn Features:
1. Buffer Under Run Error Free
2. Running Optimum Power Calibration
3. Automatic Writing Strategy & Burning Parameters
4. Automatically decrease burning speed when Laser power over margin due to poor media quality or high temperature

If RecordNow Max has only three undefined speeds of Min - Mid - Max, I question whether Smartburn is being adequately supported.

You may know that Nero 6.0.0.11 has a "Relax Joliet restrictions" feature which is supposed to "Allow more than 64 characters for Joliet names". Naturally, it doesn't say anywhere how many more characters than 64 are allowed. 8)

NTI programs like NTI CD&DVD Maker have been able to burn long filenames of up to 128 characters for years using the Romeo format.
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Aug 29, 2003 2:41 am

ric wrote:With regards to RecrodNow Max, I use it sometimes because it's the only program I know of that has anything approaching adequate support for long filenames. I've tried pleading with Ahead to add some propper long filename support but couldn't seem to communicate what the problem is and what they could do to fix it.

yeah!
too bad Ahead can't get their act toghether about long filenames!

if long filenames are your thing, i suggest you check out burnatonce.
www.burnatonce.com
good support for long filenames, a good program in my experience.
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Postby ric on Fri Aug 29, 2003 3:35 am

Yeah, burnatonce is pretty good. However, even it doesn't touch Recordnow max for long filename support. I believe burnatonce can 208 characters, but that includes the path. The few times I tried to use it for this purpose, my path/filenames were still too long.

RecordNow Max support 212 but that seems to not include the path so it actually supports longer filenames than Windows Explorer! If they'd update their engine for liteon support and maybe add a proper GUI for multisession discs it'd be the perfect app. As it is, Nero's easier to use for all around stuff, but I go back to RecordNow max for longfilename stuff.

But if anyone around here has an inside connection at Ahead, please push for long filename support. I'm pretty sure UDF format has adequate support but it's not implimented that way in Nero.

Ric
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Postby ric on Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:38 pm

Okay so I got around to picking up a spindle of Fuji/TY 48x media.
They don't work at 52x, but at 48x time on the 52246S the burn quality is remarkable. Around 0.05 C1 errors on average.

However, when I burn them at 24x on the 24102B the quality is mediocre. No C2s but average around 10 C1s. Does this make any sense? The Ritek and Prodisc 48x media are much better on the 24102B.

The Ritek and Prodisc media on the 52246S at 40x or 48x are variable. The trend seems to be a rise of C1s near the very end of the CD but whether there are C2s or the discs are unreadable seem to change from day to day or disc to disc.

I guess the drives are much more finicky about media than I expected. I think I'll shell out the extra cash and go for the Fujis for the 48x burning and keep a spindle of Riteks around for when I want to use 24x drive.

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Postby CDRecorder on Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:55 pm

The fact that the recording quality on the 24x drive wasn't as good as that of the 52x drive is normal; the drive affects the recording quality, too. BTW, 10 C1 average isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. Your discs will still be fully readable, even with far more C1 errors than that.
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Postby ric on Fri Sep 05, 2003 2:29 am

I think even with some C2 errors the disc will still be readable. I've seen lots of those, especially when writing with the 24x drive to the Ritek or Prodisc media, although in most cases they passed the file verification test. I still worry though, that this means the disc will be more likely to deteriorate over time.

I think I may be creating too much paranoia in myself by testing my burns this way. On the other hand, I've had problems trying to read old discs, so I'd like to find a system that reduces that problem.

The Fuji media when burned on the 24x drive looks rather interesting when scanned with CDDoctor. The first 30% or so of the disc has a very low C1 count (almost as good as 48x burn on the 52x burner) but then it suddenly goes up to around 10 C1 average and then near the last 30% or so starts to rise peaking sometimes as high as 200 C1 average. If I slow the test read to 16x the same thing but the C1s peak at around 40. From what I understand the 24x drive burns the first segment at 16x, the second at 20x and the third at 24x. The switch from 20 to 24x occurs at around 30% of a full 80 min CD, so I suspect the drive can write at 20x with a much higher quality than 24x on this media.

I'm still discouraged that I can't get reliable burns with any of the media on the 24x without any C2 errors. Maybe I'll try limiting that drive to 20x to see if I get reliably better burns. If I can burn at 20x but not 24x reliably, does this indicate the drive is in the process of dying?

Thanks again,
Ric
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Postby CDRecorder on Fri Sep 05, 2003 4:29 am

You're right; discs with some C2 errors are usually readable.

If your 24x drive can't burn reliably (i.e. without C2 errors) on the media you mentioned, I'd guess that it's probably dying (unless you have bad media, which I don't think you do). Before assuming that the drive is dying, I'd recommend updating the firmware. You can get it at Lite-On's web site.
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Postby ric on Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:47 pm

The 24x burner has the latest firmware from liteon. That firmware hasn't been updated in quite a while.

I did a couple of more tests yesterday before going to sleep. I burned a TY disc at 20x on the 24x burner and the results were as good as burning at 48x on the 52x burner. No C2s and an average of 0.05 C1s. Burning at 16x on that drive with the Prodisc media produced a mess of C1s and C2s at the end of the disc. So I think maybe the drive isn't performing as well as it once did combined with marginal media = bad. But it does seem like it does a good job on the TY stuff with the limited speed. Really the speed difference between 20 and 24x isn't that big a deal so I'll be happy to do that.

I also decided to try something radical with the 52x burner because I really wanted it to work with RecordNow Max. So I downgraded it to a 48246S by flashing it with the latest firmware for that drive from liteon's site. Recordnow max has direct support for the 48x burner. This seemed to work fine and I was able to burn a flawless disc at 48x from Recordnow Max. Again, the speed difference between 48 and 52x is negligible and 52x is dodgy quality-wise anyway, so I think this is a good solution for me.

Definitely looks like the TY media is worth the money for these drives. I think I'll be sticking with it. I wish I could find a cheaper source in Canada, though. If anyone knows of one...

Thanks for all your help!
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Postby Bhairav on Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:07 am

I think www.rima.com ships to Canada. They have a 100-pc spindle of TY 52X discs for 28$ US, and they have excellent reseller ratings too.

http://www.resellerratings.com/seller2551-p2.html

Read the comments by Redscott and Ghorticus.

http://www.rima.com/Merchant2/merchant. ... _Code=1160

Link for the TYs.
Hope this helps.
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Postby ric on Sat Sep 06, 2003 1:37 am

That's a really good price. I'm not so sure how much that'll be after shipping/taxes/duties, though. Canada has a blank media levy that applies to CDs and I suspect they would hit me with that if I try to import CDs from the states. In the end, it may be virtually the same price as walking down the street to the local computer shop, but more headache.

What I would really like to do is find a cheap Canadian distributor, if there is such a thing.

As it happens, I'm going to be in Buffalo tomorrow so I'll probably stop by a Best Buy and bring some home with me.

Maybe the Canadian Best Buy has the same price. They don't have an online store yet and all the shops are out in the burbs...

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