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  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
In their previous issue, the noted german c't magazine had an interesting article about different drives and their usefulness for ripping and burning of audio CDs. So good in fact that i want to post some of the results here. I encourage any german reader to buy c't magazine, it's by far the best around. I don't want to spoil anything with these excerpts. Please order the mag and read the full article. Germans can also order the article for 0.80 Euro here.

So anyway, they had several DVD and CD burners for the roundup. The read tests were done with EAC (in secure mode). For the write tests, they sent the media to Audiodev in Sweden for detailed CATS analysis.

Keep in mind that these results are for (audio) CDs only, not for DVD ripping/burning.

Scores, worst to best: -- / - / o / + / ++

Quote
BenQ DW-1640
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: +
- Read quality: +
- Reading copy-protected CDs: o  (no CDS100/CDS200B/DocData2/Key2AudioB)

LG GSA-H20L
- Burn quality: o
- Read speed: -
- Read quality: o
- Reading copy-protected CDs: +  (no CDS100)

LiteOn SHM-165P6S
- Burn quality: -
- Read speed: --
- Read quality: ++
- Reading copy-protected CDs: +  (no CDS100)

NEC ND-4551A
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: ++
- Read quality: --
- Reading copy-protected CDs: o  (no CDS100/DocData1/DocData2)

Pioneer DVR-111
- Burn quality: ++
- Read speed: o
- Read quality: o
- Reading copy-protected CDs: o  (no CDS100/DocData2/Key2AudioB)

Plextor PX-760A
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: + (note: with Plextools, was slow with EAC)
- Read quality: +
- Reading copy-protected CDs: ++

Samsung SH-W163C
- Burn quality: o
- Read speed: +
- Read quality: o
- Reading copy-protected CDs: o  (no CDS100/DocData1/DocData2/Key2AudioB)

ASUS CRW-5232A3
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: o
- Read quality: -
- Reading copy-protected CDs: o  (no CDS100/DocData2/Key2AudioA/Key2AudioB)

Plextor Plexwriter Premium 2
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: +
- Read quality: -
- Reading copy-protected CDs: ++

Plextor PX-230A
- Burn quality: +
- Read speed: +
- Read quality: ++
- Reading copy-protected CDs: ++




They also tested different CD-R media as to which can offer the best burn quality. They were burned with the NEC ND-4551A and the Plextor PX-760A, sent to Audiodev, and the results were averaged. They were also subjected to 100 hours of 80°C and 85% humidity to simulate aging, for 20 discs of each brand ("durability").

Quote
Plextor CD-R 48x (Taiyo Yuden / cyanine dye / silver)
Quality: +
Durability: ++
Compatibility: ++

Primeon Gold CD-R 48x (C.S.I. MAM-E / phthalocyanine dye / gold)
Quality: --
Durability: o
Compatibility: +

Sony CD-R 48x (Sony / phthalocyanine dye / silver)
Quality: +
Durability: +
Compatibility: +

TDK CD-R 52x (CMC / phthalocyanine dye / silver)
Quality: -
Durability: +
Compatibility: -

Verbatim CD-R DLP 52x (Mitsubishi / azo dye / silver)
Quality: +
Durability: --
Compatibility: ++

Verbatim CD-R Audio 16x (Mitsubishi / azo dye / silver)
Quality: --
Durability: --
Compatibility: --



And to top it off, excerpts of a test on how burn speed affects burn quality:

Quote
Plextor CD-R 48x (TY) burned with Plexwriter Premium 2:

4x speed - burn quality: +
4x speed AMQR - burn quality: ++
16x speed - burn quality: +
48x speed - burn quality: o



Some more results are here (older drives).
  • Last Edit: 21 November, 2007, 12:14:57 PM by CiTay

  • Zoom
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #1
These results make me feel less crazy for ripping and burning audio CDs at 8x my Plextor Premium. Although it makes me happy that I only buy Taiyo Yuden media, because it's cheap, easy to find and I've yet to have a problem with any disc burned.

On a side note, I wish there were an excellent magazine in the United States like c't magazine. I always hear about excellent articles and coverage from this magazine.

Good info CiTay.

  • Andavari
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #2
Very interesting, and I apprecitate the information. Thank you CiTay.
I wish there were an excellent magazine in the United States like c't magazine. I always hear about excellent articles and coverage from this magazine.

You aren't the only one wishing there was an equivelent here in the U.S., but even better if the original c't was just translated to English and sold here as well.
Complexity of incoherent design.

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #3
Very interesting, and I apprecitate the information. Thank you CiTay.

I wish there were an excellent magazine in the United States like c't magazine. I always hear about excellent articles and coverage from this magazine.

You aren't the only one wishing there was an equivelent here in the U.S., but even better if the original c't was just translated to English and sold here as well.


Glad you find it useful. About the translation, i don't think it's feasible. Substracting the ads, you're looking at roughly 150-200 pages of pretty technical text every 2 weeks. It would take an armada of tech-savvy translators to cope with that amount of text within a week or so. They do have an english section, but honestly, it's not worth a look.

It's a pity, because there certainly aren't any better mags i know of and not that many website reviews can be trusted (sponsorship & impartiality issues, testing practices, etc. Another good read for germans: reading product tests the right way) But don't despair, i will try to inform you about any groundbreaking results concerning audio topics. I obviously can't post complete articles or results, but you can expect summaries of the most important points like in this thread.

  • evereux
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #4
Another vote of thanks for that information Citay.

I was also going to ask if anyone knew of a publication like this in the UK. c't really seems like a quality magazine. 
daefeatures.co.uk

  • vinnie97
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #5
As far as websites are concerned, http://www.cdrlabs.com is a pretty good source for drive and media testing.
  • Last Edit: 11 June, 2006, 10:52:16 AM by vinnie97

  • rudefyet
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #6
Yep...I can attest for the "-" quality and compat. rating of CMC media

my Toshiba dvd player won't even read them anymore, but the Sony works fine...*sigh*
  • Last Edit: 11 June, 2006, 11:16:12 AM by rudefyet

  • Demetris
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #7
Thank you, CiTay. Really appreciated.

  • Hollunder
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #8
looks interesting, how many drives have been tested? Are they cd-only or dvd-drives too?

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #9
looks interesting, how many drives have been tested? Are they cd-only or dvd-drives too?


Ten (as you can see), the last three are CD writers, the other ones DVD/CD writers.

  • Hollunder
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #10
I thought the ones you have postet are just a few of the tested, thanks anyway

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #11
I thought the ones you have postet are just a few of the tested, thanks anyway


No, those were all, but the review and the results were a lot more detailed. I only posted the most important bits.

  • spoon
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #12
Plextor Plexwriter Premium 2
- Read quality: -

That is not a result Plextor will want to see, although the Plextor PX-230A comes top for reading alone.

Does it go into detail about the copy protections? (I suspect 95% are false 2nd sessions, where the other 5% might be intentional uncorrectable noise).

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #13
Does it go into detail about the copy protections? (I suspect 95% are false 2nd sessions, where the other 5% might be intentional uncorrectable noise).


There was a previous article that elaborated on the most popular copy protections. Let me give you an example, the CP called Key2Audio.

CDs protected with this CP are multisession CDs, which in itself is already a violation of the Red Book standard.

- First session: Contains the audio tracks. Several violations of Red Book audio CD standard: The Pre-gap is 10 seconds long (standard: 2-3 seconds). In the main-channel of the first pause, there's ROM-data in Mode-1-format (specified in Yellow Book), in all frames from 00:00:00 (MM:SS:FF) till 00:02:00, but the Control-Nibble has the value 00, which would be 2-channel audio. The frames all contain the same ROM-data 0x00. EFM-coded and interpreted as audio data, the frames 00, 86 and 97 of each subcode frame contain non-null audio samples, and the frames from 01 to 85 contain null-samples (digital silence).

These audio samples can contain a 24-bit sequence which is inserted in illegal places, to prevent the detection of the beginning of each frame by a PC drive. They can also contain certain bit patterns which prevent a clock retrieval from the data stream. This doesn't affect a stand-alone CD player, since it normally skips the pre-gap.

- In the gap before the first track, the subcode-Q data 'Amin', 'Asec' and 'Aframe' (also called 'Atime') is faulty. Atime is sometimes a constant 00:00:00, while it should increase continuously. This can mean that the drive can't find the first track.

- The copy bit of the Serial Copy Management System (SCMS) alternates every 6 frames, signaling that no digital copies are allowed.

- Second session: Mode 2 data session, all data bytes '0x00'. The subcode-Q-data is in the invalid mode 6, and doesn't repeat three times, as stated in the spec. This can lead to an abortion of the read process.

- Third session: Mode 2 data session, all data bytes '0x00'. The Program Area (PMA) is truncated, and the lead-out is missing. The TOC has entries of tracks which are already referenced in the TOC of the 1st and 2nd session. These tracks are now assigned different start times on the CD. Those start times are completely wrong and all point to the single data track of the third session. According to the multisession-CD standard, each start time must be different, there can't be several tracks with the same start time. If a CD drive tries to read an audio track, it receives the wrong start time and jumps to the data track of this third session. The TOC contains a recursive pointer which can lead to an infinite loop.



The other CPs work with similar tricks. They are all multisession-CDs. Some of their tricks are:

- invalid Lead-Ins
- invalid subcode data
- missing frames during pre-gap
- wrong start times of the tracks
- symbol errors in the audio data of the lead-out
- wrong P-Bits
- wrong TOC (Table of Contents)
- uncorrectable C2-errors
- shifted Sync-positions
- faulty ZERO-field
- missing post-gap
- Lead-out containing a mix of data and audio
- Lead-out containing only audio
- Index switching from 00 to 01
- symbol errors in the main channel of the lead-out
  • Last Edit: 12 June, 2006, 07:49:28 AM by CiTay

  • Firon
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #14
How nice that the Pioneer drive has excellent burn quality. I have a DVR-110D, and I've recommended it and the 111D to a lot of people.

  • spoon
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #15
Thanks for the info, it is a shame I dont speak german, CT seems a good resource...

Pretty much any CD drive should be able to read the first session TOC (with the right calls) - it is then upto the drive. I think this article is showing is that modern drives will see though these copy protections without the need for special programs, which is good (although I am suspect of the Plextors needing Plextools - this test should (perhaps they did) have used one program for reading).

  • Pio2001
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #16
To complete what Citay said, in the last versions of CDS200, the sectors are 99 blocks long instead of 98.
The CD player is supposed to read all of them, while the computer drives stops at the 98th block of the last sector of the burst read command. Then it restarts at the first block of the next sector, missing the 99th.

Actually, my hi-fi CD player also skips the 99th block sometimes And it's a pure hifi stereo player from 1991 !

  • Andavari
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #17
That's pretty involved from them to CP a disc like that.

Being sarcastic:
An easier solution- they could use the crappiest CMC discs ever made.
Complexity of incoherent design.

  • CSMR
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #18
(although I am suspect of the Plextors needing Plextools - this test should (perhaps they did) have used one program for reading).

Lookes like they used EAC for everthing except where noted. I would have been happier if they had used the best software for each drive, which would be plextools for plextor, EAC for everthing else.

Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #19
If you can point me to the issue of c't, I'll try to translate the article. I have too much free time on my hands nevertheless.

Edit: Is it the article titled "Konservatorium digitale"?
  • Last Edit: 18 June, 2006, 07:34:45 AM by LaserSokrates

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #20
If you can point me to the issue of c't, I'll try to translate the article. I have too much free time on my hands nevertheless.

Edit: Is it the article titled "Konservatorium digitale"?


I don't think that's a good idea. I'm already stretching the limits with those small excerpts of the results here, not having a written consent from c't. For a full translated article you definitely have to get an approval from c't first (and please don't mention this thread  ). I'm sure some c't people have seen this thread already, they definitely keep track of the stuff on HA. But so far it has been a deal of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". They also get some nice stories from here. 

Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #21
IMHO, there wasn't too much new in the article about ripping - the only interesting part were the tests. Most of us here already know about accuraterip, accurate stream, lossless formats etc.

Man, I'm bored. Just finished my Abitur and now I've got nothing to do...

  • CiTay
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #22
Man, I'm bored. Just finished my Abitur and now I've got nothing to do...


Hehe.. there's always the World Cup.

  • Triza
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #23
Guys! I did my own independent test and I reached a very same conclusion about the Premium. The old version, that I bought half a year ago. Read this.

I sold my Premium shortly after my tests. The fame of Plextor is one of the biggest myths on the internet. I owned the Premium and also the PX-716A and I am not planning to buy any more Plextor product. The ridiculous thing is that cost was never a consideration.

Triza

PS: Just another anecdote: Last week my new Plextor PX-716A, which was RMA-ed before not being able to read 10% of my pressed CD-s, failed to even recognize a spanking new CD that has zero (nada!!!!!) scratches. Despite the fact that it is a new HW model (TLA#03xx). I admit that the CD had some pressing errors because even my Liteon CD-RW did not read it with the lightning speed it used to, but it could not just recognize it, but read it. I read it twice with it and I got identical copies. So it is likely that the rip was bit perfect. Again Plextor "The King of Quality" could not even recognized it. I got those stupid blinking error codes.
  • Last Edit: 18 June, 2006, 04:11:53 PM by Triza

  • JeanLuc
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Review: Best burners for reading/burning audio CDs
Reply #24
To complete what Citay said, in the last versions of CDS200, the sectors are 99 blocks long instead of 98.


The record labels should be forced to clearly verbose on the cover artwork what they are doing ...
The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper