CD writing speed? and audio quality...

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by James Perrett, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. > I haven't a
    >clue as to what's going on there, not even when examining the list of
    >processes running.


    In the Mickeysoft world, the list of active tasks doesn't show all the
    active tasks. One would see a full list only by using MS's "Procview" or
    any one of the other (better) process viewers.

    Interpreting what you then find is another story... Google can help with
    that.
  2. >I dissagree with almost everything you are saying here.The only thing I
    >agree with is burning a master slow at 1X.Faster is in no way better.


    You may have been right a few years ago.
    You certainly aren't right now.
  3. >Would someone like to update the principle of "buffer under-run" for
    >me? This used to be the major cause of errors on a CD-R as I recall.
    >You'd start burning, you'd get the error message, and it would stop.
    >
    >So did the "protection" help prevent the problem that was causing the
    >error message, or did it simply allow the drive to go on working after
    >an error condition was detected?


    I believe it allowed the burn process to pause while it waited for
    more data.

  4. >That's what I thought it meant. But doesn't data get read off the hard
    >drive faster than it can be written on the CD (the reason why there's
    >a buffer in the first place)? Or is this protection feature only
    >beneficial to those who have other processes running that might keep
    >the data source drive occupied long enough for the buffer to empty?


    Overall, yes. You can read off hard drive more than fast enough to
    feed a burner. But in the short term, there may be interruptions.
    That's why there's a buffer.

    If read speed was faster than write speed, and wasn't subject to
    control, the buffer would need to keep increasing in size. This isn't
    how it works. You can ask for data at any rate you want. But you
    won't always get it.
  5. Arny Krueger

    Arny Krueger Guest

    "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
    news:znr1061148932k@trad
    > In article <612dnWWvqbPIKqKiXTWJjw@comcast.com> arnyk@hotpop.com
    > writes:
    >
    >> Buffer underrun protection changed how CD burners respond to running
    >> out of data to burn. The old technique involved aborting the job and
    >> creating a coaster. The new technique allows the burn to be
    >> transparently restarted when data again becomes available.

    >
    > That's what I thought it meant. But doesn't data get read off the hard
    > drive faster than it can be written on the CD (the reason why there's
    > a buffer in the first place)?


    On a multi-tasking computer there are few if any guarantees.

    >Or is this protection feature only
    > beneficial to those who have other processes running that might keep
    > the data source drive occupied long enough for the buffer to empty?


    Look at it this way - CD burning prior to "Burn Proof" was among the very
    few I/O tasks that would fail if the data was not available on a precise
    timetable. Ironically, another such process is audio output.

    > What am I saying? I'm running Windows. _I_ have processes running
    > that I know nothing about, and every once in a while, even on the
    > computer that's isolated from the Internet, I see the disk activity
    > light go on for several seconds and things slow down. No fast find, no
    > screen savers, no virus checkers, no automatic updates - I haven't a
    > clue as to what's going on there, not even when examining the list of
    > processes running.


    Those would probably be delayed writes.
  6. Ben Bradley

    Ben Bradley Guest

    In rec.audio.pro, mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote:

    >
    >In article <612dnWWvqbPIKqKiXTWJjw@comcast.com> arnyk@hotpop.com writes:


    >> ... { "burnproof" described )


    >That's what I thought it meant. But doesn't data get read off the hard
    >drive faster than it can be written on the CD (the reason why there's
    >a buffer in the first place)?


    If you're running MS-DOS, with no TSR's loaded, and you disable the
    18.2-time-per-second hardware interrupt that drives DOS's real-time
    clock, that MIGHT be true... (gee, do I really remember that stuff?)

    >Or is this protection feature only
    >beneficial to those who have other processes running that might keep
    >the data source drive occupied long enough for the buffer to empty?


    I think that's usually what it's used for. I'd think a modern OS
    would let the burning application say it needs a certain amount of
    hard disk bandwidth, bandwidth to the CDR, and CPU time, with
    "absolute priority" over other apps. In NT/2K/XP you can set an app's
    priority, but IIRC that's only for CPU time.

    >What am I saying? I'm running Windows. _I_ have processes running
    >that I know nothing about, and every once in a while, even on the
    >comptuter that's isolated from the Internet, I see the disk activity
    >light go on for several seconds and things slow down. No fast find, no
    >screen savers, no virus checkers, no automatic updates - I haven't a
    >clue as to what's going on there, not even when examining the list of
    >processes running.


    If you really want to learn what's going on, google for a few of
    the task names you see, you'll find webpages that explain most known
    tasks (hundreds of them), who wrote it, what it does and is for, and
    if it's a virus/trojan.
    But then you may ask, quite legitimately, why you should have to
    learn all this stuff just to burn a CDR.

    >--
    >I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  7. Ben Bradley

    Ben Bradley Guest

    In rec.audio.pro, "Sugarite" <nobody@home.com> wrote:

    > ...


    >The only other issue is jitter, which I imagine is present on fast burns,
    >but is nullified by the buffering process in all DVD players and computers.
    >Only cheap portable cd players like discmans, ghetto blasters, and car
    >stereos still don't buffer.


    Where is the origin of "old/cheap CD players don't buffer"? How
    many people believe that PCM audio is read straight off the disc and
    clocked straight into a serial DAC, at the rate of some clock
    reconstructed from the bitstream from the disc? Such a playback method
    would not only have excessive jitter, but also measurable wow and
    flutter created by the varying disc speed.
    It's true that most players don't have the large ten-second or
    40-second "no-skip" buffers as advertised on recent portables, but you
    can't decode audio from a CD without a buffer, or actualy several
    buffers from the looks of this description:
    http://www.ee.washington.edu/conselec/CE/kuhn/cdaudio2/95x7.htm

    FWIW, this very point has been discussed several times over the
    years on RAP.

    >IMO any CD player that doesn't eliminate jitter
    >is not worth spending 24x more time to accommodate.
  8. Troy

    Troy Guest

    Yup 1X to 2X for mastering with HHB CDs

    If you are doing music and using a newer budget CD burner then yes you may
    have problems at any speed you do.If you are using a good burner then you
    won't have these problems.

    As for anything else you say .....I don't give a fuck as there are alot of
    people here who have agreed with what I said.All you have brought to this
    thread is a reapeat of others opinions.

    Get a thought of your own then try posting.

    Ritek diamond CDs work great .As for the CMC CDs ....I said we have had good
    luck with them.

    I named every CD you know because these are some of the most used CDs.There
    is nothing wrong with ritek CDs at all,we get very few duds.

    > Do you have any

    additional info?>


    I have lots of other info.....but you think your so smart go find it
    yourself.




    <GagMe@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:vanvjv4ds5u5qsmm33nd7n9cf1nvhtfshd@4ax.com...
    > "Troy" <alternate-root@shaw.ca> wrote:
    >
    > >Are you saying I am full of shit?

    >
    > Well, "full" is obviously an exaggeration...
    >
    > You wrote:
    > >No Matter what kind of drive you are using slower is better.Always burn
    > >masters at 1X to 2 X.

    >
    > This statement conflicts with the experience of others (both users and
    > burner manufacturers) who find that the lowest error rates are more
    > burner-and-media specific than this simple formula. I'll concede that you
    > speak from your own experience.
    >
    > You wrote:
    > >Mistsui,Taiyo Yuden,Ritek (Diamond Silver),Prodisc (diamond silver).All
    > >these CDs work good at 1X with no problems.We have also had good luck

    with
    > >some of the CMC CDs also.

    >
    > You've named every manufacturer I know. Ritek and CMC are well-known
    > low-end manufacturers and indeed their undamaged yet unreadable disks have
    > come my way. Never so for Mitsui and TY. Plextor recommends TY (and
    > Verbatim!)
    >
    > You wrote
    > >This is why you should buy Grade A duplicator quality CDs.
    > >Don't buy the CRAP from the stores most of it is garbage.

    >
    > I did a Google search for "duplicator quality" cds and found nothing but
    > claims for duplicator machines. The name itself implies to me an optimum
    > cost-quality point rather than a superior quality disk. Do you have any
    > additional info?
    >
  9. Geoff Wood

    Geoff Wood Guest

    "Troy" <alternate-root@shaw.ca> wrote in message
    news:DT7%a.735158$3C2.17109904@news3.calgary.shaw.ca...
    > No Matter what kind of drive you are using slower is better.Always burn
    > masters at 1X to 2 X on a good quality CD.I recomend no more than 8X to

    12X
    > for copies of the master.Higher speeds can cause to many errors and

    playback
    > can be affected on CD players.Faster is NOT better.We duplicate large runs
    > of CDs at 8X only for the best quality.



    Slower is not necessarily better either. Some drive and media , even older
    and quality 'name' brands, burn with more errors at very slow speeds than
    medium speeds.

    I have good success duplicating at 8x too (on 12x burners in a stack of 7).

    geoff
  10. Geoff Wood

    Geoff Wood Guest

    "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
    news:znr1061122056k@trad...
    >
    > In article <wdw%a.743618$3C2.17274727@news3.calgary.shaw.ca>

    alternate-root@shaw.ca writes:
    >
    > > This is why you should buy Grade A duplicator quality CDs.Don't buy the

    CRAP
    > > from the stores most of it is garbage.

    >
    > Do the millions of people who use that "garbage" for data backup,
    > pictures, MP3 files, etc. have these problems? Clearly it isn't crap,
    > it's just that audio people who try to save a little money (because
    > everyone knows how cheap blank CDs are) are using the wrong tools for
    > the job.
    >


    DATA has extra layers of error detection/correction than CD-A. However,
    even with this I have had unreadable CD-ROMs that were 'very cheap' media .


    geoff
  11. Linus

    Linus Guest

    Ok ...

    Been reading all the posts ... thanks for the replys those of you who had
    something to say ...

    The thing is ...I have to find some kind of solution to this question. I
    have to have some way of measuring the error on the discs I create I
    suppose.

    Which leads of course to the next question: Does anyone know where one
    could find a PC app that would analyse and measure the error percentage on a
    newly written disc?

    Regards

    Linus

    Regards
    "Linus" <support@tuerkmusic.co.za> wrote in message
    news:bhidbl$5tk$1@ctb-nnrp2.saix.net...
    > Hello ...
    >
    > A potentially stupid question:
    >
    > Is it still important with the current crop of CDRW drives on the market

    to
    > write cds at single speed for the best audio quality?
    >
    > Or is the question pointless on account of CDRW drive quality being poor
    > regardless of speed ...
    >
    > does anyone have the lowdown on this subject?
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Linus
    >
    >
    >
    >
  12. Mike Rivers

    Mike Rivers Guest

    In article <3f40218c.18857046@newsgroups.bellsouth.net> ben_nospam_bradley@mindspring.com writes:

    > But then you may ask, quite legitimately, why you should have to
    > learn all this stuff just to burn a CDR.


    I have asked, and I haven't learned - because my CDs work for some
    apparently strange reason.


    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  13. Mike Rivers

    Mike Rivers Guest

    In article <bhpvmh$lim$1@ctb-nnrp2.saix.net> support@tuerkmusic.co.za writes:

    > Which leads of course to the next question: Does anyone know where one
    > could find a PC app that would analyse and measure the error percentage on a
    > newly written disc?


    From Plextor, but you have to use it with their drives. The good news
    is that, unless you were expecting freeware, a new Plextor Premium
    drive with the error analysis software costs just a bit over $100.
    That shouldn't be too much for something that you want this badly. And
    you get what's reported to be a good drive along with it.



    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  14. SD

    SD Guest

    Laurence Payne wrote:

    >>Would someone like to update the principle of "buffer under-run" for
    >>me? This used to be the major cause of errors on a CD-R as I recall.
    >>You'd start burning, you'd get the error message, and it would stop.
    >>
    >>So did the "protection" help prevent the problem that was causing the
    >>error message, or did it simply allow the drive to go on working after
    >>an error condition was detected?

    >
    >
    > I believe it allowed the burn process to pause while it waited for
    > more data.


    I think it just slows down the write process so the reads can catch up..
  15. Scott Dorsey

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Steve King <steve@steveking.net> wrote:
    >
    >So, Brian, how can I determine an error rate for my burner/media combo? It
    >hasn't happened in a while, but a year or so ago I was getting CDs rejected
    >by a local Chicago duplicator, be cause they "contained too many errors". I
    >was using a Plextor SCSI burner, Taiyo Yuden blanks, burning at several
    >different speeds... from 4X to 12X, the fastest that old burner would go.
    >Finally, the problem got solved, when the duplicating house burned my
    >regular order of 250 CDs on an older duplication setup, where they ran fine.
    >
    >How can I know before I send off a CD to a duplicator whether there are
    >errors... or how many, or?????
    >
    >And, no a Google search did not find an answer.


    It should have.


    --cut here--


    From geoff@paf.co.nz-nospam Thu Apr 12 09:50:10 EDT 2001
    Article: 619268 of rec.audio.pro
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    From: "Geoff Wood" <geoff@paf.co.nz-nospam>
    Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
    Subject: Re: Are All CD-Rs The Same?
    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 11:04:02 +1200
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    References: <20010411112041.08861.00003391@ng-mo1.aol.com> <9b1tk5$b5r$1@panix2.panix.com> <794B6.2441$cb6.238968@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net> <td9jpvln2pv464@corp.supernews.com>
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    Try CD-R Diagnostic from www.cdrom-prod.com

    geoff

    "Brad Blackwood" <bblackwood@ardentstudios.com> wrote in message
    news:td9jpvln2pv464@corp.supernews.com...
    > "Steve Cawley" <neodym@earthlink.net> wrote in message
    > news:794B6.2441$cb6.238968@newsread2.prod.itd.earthlink.net...
    > > Is there a software utility that reports error rates? I use CD

    Architect
    > on
    > > my PC to record CDs, and I've never been able to find an error log. The
    > > only error display I ever get coincides with a new coaster acquisition.

    >
    > Nope - you need a Clover or Stagetech (hardware) device. Software can't do
    > it.
    > --------------------------
    > Brad Blackwood
    > Mastering Engineer
    > Ardent Studios
    > www.ardentstudios.com
    >
    >
    >





    From James.R.Perrett@soc.soton.ac.uk Thu Apr 12 09:55:29 EDT 2001
    Article: 619502 of rec.audio.pro
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    Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 12:41:14 +0100
    From: James Perrett <James.R.Perrett@soc.soton.ac.uk>
    Organization: SOC
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    Steve Cawley wrote:
    >
    > Is there a software utility that reports error rates? I use CD Architect on
    > my PC to record CDs, and I've never been able to find an error log. The
    > only error display I ever get coincides with a new coaster acquisition.
    >
    > Steve Cawley
    >


    I don't know of any software that can give true BLER readings but
    CDSpeed, in conjunction with a suitable CDROM, like a Plextor PX40, can
    give you a count of C2 (or worse) errors.

    I have seen Plextor drives used in CD checking equipment so I would
    guess that they can be modified to give more information.

    I also understand that the newer Plextor CD Writers are better at giving
    error information than their older CD Writers. The PX1610 can give C2
    error information but the 8432 cannot (according to CDSpeed).

    You should also have a utility like CDInfo that tells you who really
    makes the discs that you are using. Established media manufacturers like
    BASF, Sony, Quantegy and Imation all buy in their disks from various
    sources and some of them have been known to switch from reputable
    manufacturers to cheaper, lower quality manufacturers.

    Cheers.

    James.

    --
    **********************************************************************
    * James Perrett Ocean Engineering Division *
    * Southampton Oceanography Centre, *
    * Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, U.K. *
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    **********************************************************************


    From steveaudio@earthlink.net Thu Apr 12 10:02:43 EDT 2001
    Article: 619436 of rec.audio.pro
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    From: Stephen Anderson <steveaudio@earthlink.net>
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    While I was on staff at Capitol Studios, we did extensive testing and analysis of
    CD-R from virtually every manufacturer, including those made from Sonic Solutions
    onto the venerable Sony CDW-900, those made on outboard cutters like Plextor
    units reading Toast and Jam files, and also parts made in our mass duplicators.
    Testing was done not only by listening, but also by analyzing in our Clover CD
    analyzer.

    Several things became apparant:
    1) CDR quality and consistancy was a moving target. TDKs, Mitsuis, whatever,
    varied from month to month, from purchase to purchase. And color didn't always
    matter. One month Blues from TDK worked well, next month it was golds from
    Maxell. However, what didn;t change was that name brands seemed to always test
    better than cheapie no-names.

    2) The biggest problem seemed to be consistency and accuracy of the embedded
    control track. If the cutter or the reader "loses it's place," by losing the
    control track, at best you get drop outs and snats, at worst it becomes a
    frisbee. It would make a certain sense that big-time manufacturers would have
    "hopefully" more precise manu\facturing and QC equipment, but I don't know, that
    may just be a fantasy.

    I do know that after analyzing MANY CDRs, and seeing the pretty dismal results
    displayed by the Clover, I wouldn't ever depend on CD as either a medium to
    master from, or for archiving. Make them to play, to sell, to hand out as refs,
    but not for mastering or manufacturing.

    Glenn Meadows, of Masterphonics, has done thousands of hours of really great
    research into CDR technology, and it's valuable info which he continues to pass
    on to us. Go to http://www.digido.com/ and click on the link to Glenn meadow's
    CDR tests.

    CJMorgan59 wrote:

    > Are all recordable CDs the same?
    > If so, why not just buy the most economical brand?
    > If not, what does one look for, particularly if quality and longivity are the
    > concerns?
    > If quality and longivity are important to you, what brand/make do you buy?
    >
    > Just one areas where I don't want to penny-pinch,
    > Thanks In Advance,
    > CJ


    --
    Stephen Anderson
    SteveAudio@earthlink.net
    SteveAudio@aol.com




    From jetrn@nb.net Wed Aug 1 22:06:38 EDT 2001
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    From: pH <high@cidity.level>
    Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
    Subject: Re: Fix a CDR with no TOC but 50mins of audio?
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    If all else fails, there's a program called CD-R Diagnostic, that
    might be worth a try. Have a look here:

    http://www.cdrom-prod.com

    I think the demo will at least show you whether or not you have
    recoverable (from the program's perspective) data. If so, then
    you should be able (with the full version, that is -- $50) to extract
    the disc's contents to your HD. I'm not sure of the particulars, here,
    but in the event that what gets extracted is "raw" data, you can
    probably open it as such in an editor (Forge, Wavelab,...), save it
    as a .wav, then burn a new disc with your mastering software.

    Jeff

    http://www.nb.net/~jetrn/home.html


    On 1 Aug 2001 18:32:34 GMT, louie@u.washington.edu (G. Louie) wrote:

    >Here is a poser for you. I was given a CDR, recorded on a Sony CDRW33 CDR
    >recorder. It reads 0 tracks, 00 secs and of course, does not play, even
    >though the user swears it was started (and left unattended) recording for
    >about 50 minutes.
    >
    >Careful examination does reveal the characteristic burn diameter
    >corresponding to the time of the recording (it's a Quantegy gold and much
    >harder to see than blue CDRs). The user can provide no information about
    >whether the recorder was properly stopped to allow a proper temporary TOC,
    >and certainly nothing about finalizing. Examining the behavior of the
    >recorder, I find that it is possible to record for a length of time, then
    >cut the power, and because it hasn't been able to write a temporary TOC,
    >behaves as above. The recorder does not allow other odd actions such as
    >ejecting during a TOC write. In addition, virgin discs inserted into the
    >Sony go through an OPC (optical laser power calibration), and this disc
    >does not, as if it has already been through it.
    >
    >Apparently I have a disc with no TOC, but 50 minutes of audio. Can anyone
    >think of a way to recover the audio? Unfortunately, whenever inserted into
    >a CD player or computer CD drive, it always reads as an audio CD with a
    >TOC of 0 tracks and 00 secs.
    >
    >The only thing I can think of is to create a disc image similar to this
    >program (I use JAM on the Mac), attempt to burn this onto my problem disc,
    >and cut the power after the new TOC has been written, and before too much
    >of the audio has been double written. Then pray that it will fool a player
    >enough to go. I don't care if a little of the start is mangled, or if the
    >leadout is wrong, I'll just transfer to the workstation and edit it,
    >whether I can play it in realtime, or extract it.




    From jetrn@earthlink.net Mon Oct 21 11:37:04 EDT 2002
    Article: 836267 of rec.audio.pro
    Path: reader1.panix.com!panix!bloom-beacon.mit.edu!pln-e!spln!dex!extra.newsguy.com!newsp.newsguy.com!enews1
    From: pH <high@cidity.level>
    Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
    Subject: Re: CD-R testing programs?
    Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 23:51:44 -0400
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    On Sun, 20 Oct 2002 19:57:21 +0300, PenttiL <pentti.leppaaho@helsinki.fi> wrote:

    >
    >Someone will have some experience about the CD-R testing programs to
    >PC? The purpose is to test audio-CD-R -disc after the burning.
    >Especially possible errors of the CD-R should have to analyze and find
    >them after burn the master -CD-R before copy from it several CD-R
    >-copies.
    >
    >-prices?
    >-how easy to use?
    >-possible some more information on internet, where ?


    Have a look at:

    http://www.cdromprod.com

    Their CD-R Detective is about the best available at the
    consumer level, but look around here, as well:

    http://www.exactaudiocopy.de

    Lastly, for more than you ever wanted to know about all things
    CD-R:

    http://www.mscience.com

    Good luck!
    Jeff

    http://www.jefftturner.com




    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  16. > Do the millions of people who use that "garbage" for data backup,
    > pictures, MP3 files, etc. have these problems?


    There's some differences you between data and audio discs.

    * If the CD reader looses track of what it's doing, or has to re-read
    something, when reading a data disc all that happens is that it takes
    longer to read the data. The disc can stop spinning and start up again with
    no bad result. If a CD player playing an audio disc has to reread something
    (and eventual buffers runs out), it simply won't sound good. And if it
    actually has to stop the audio disc and get it up to speed again, it'd be
    even worse. We don't wont music to play that way.

    * Data discs have more error correction (wich is also more enforced). This
    makes sense for lot of consumer use. One single bad bit on a data disc
    might make the data completely useless, while an audio CD with a tick
    (destroing several bits) should still be playable on a CD player without
    too much artifacts (and seeing that lots of people leave ther music CDs
    around without covers (a friend who lived here did that all the time even
    though we also lived with two cats and their claws)) that makes a lot of
    sense.

    When using CD-Rs as audio masters, or for selling to listeners, things
    become quite different. Suddenly we want every single bit on the audio disc
    to be exactly what it should be, and we want a disc that CD players can
    play without ever loosing track.


    /Jonas
  17. Brian

    Brian Guest

    In article <W2R%a.170980$YN5.113717@sccrnsc01>, Steve King
    <steve@steveking.net> wrote:

    > So, Brian, how can I determine an error rate for my burner/media combo?


    In addition to the other replies, a simple utility can be found here:
    http://www.cdspeed2000.com/go.php3?link=cdspeed.html

    I haven't used this myself (since I have a Mac here in the studio) but
    it doesn't look like the data returned is extremely thorough; however,
    if your drive supports these tests it should certainly allow you to
    determine the best brand and speed, even if it doesn't give you the
    actual BLER or other error information specifically.

    Brian
  18. ryanm

    ryanm Guest

    "Mike Rivers" <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote in message
    news:znr1061148932k@trad...
    >
    > What am I saying? I'm running Windows. _I_ have processes running
    > that I know nothing about, and every once in a while, even on the
    > comptuter that's isolated from the Internet, I see the disk activity
    > light go on for several seconds and things slow down. No fast find, no
    > screen savers, no virus checkers, no automatic updates - I haven't a
    > clue as to what's going on there, not even when examining the list of
    > processes running.
    >

    Generally it's a defrag or other cleanup process, which are set up to
    run during periods of inactivity. During periods of inactivity, during boot
    up, and during shut down are when Windows does it's cleanup and maintenance
    (make backups of your registry, check non-system processes to see if they
    should still be running, etc), so that stuff is ok. It's when you see your
    network card light flickering when you're not online that you should worry.

    ryanm
  19. J. Joyce

    J. Joyce Guest

    I think there are several issues here, all related.
    First of all, there are many good programs for checking error rates;
    some are simple, some are not.
    For an easy check of a burned sample, try exact audio copy (EAC),
    which is free, no less. There is an option to test the CD quality
    which is very good. You can also play around with making offset
    matched copies and there is a sophisticated extraction system tied
    into the offset copy process.
    For other info, check out www.cdrinfo.com. They test hardware and
    media and show error rates with all different types of media and
    burners. There are links to the software they use. Turn on the popup
    blocker before you go.
    As far as what media to use, you can buy two brand name cakeboxes at
    the same store on the same day and get two types of media, because the
    vendors are making rapid decisions based on price and availability.
    The media LOOK the same, but the info tools show they are not the same
    and have different characteristics. Even reliable sources like Mitsui
    change their formulations.
    The net result is that you have test each batch if you care about
    errors

    As far as "Will it play in my clients CD player", my experience is
    that there is not a precise correlation between the error rates and
    the universality of the media. Indeed, evidence suggests that picky
    players will read media that is burned at one speed rather than
    another. My search for a brand that will play in EVERYONE's CD player
    has been unsuccessful so far, in part because there are a lot of
    really old CD players out there that have problems. It is not
    unreasonable to suppose that the common use of 80 minute CDs is
    toasting the installed base as well.

    In general, it would seem that some of the silver dyes are more
    problematic on older players due to reflectivity issues,
    counterbalanced by the fact that the mitsui's (the silver ones) are in
    general higher quality. Reflectivity plays a part in the burner as
    well. In addition, certain coatings do not do well under the laser and
    that can case a weak burn.

    The yamaha system, which is basically reading glasses for CD players,
    improves the sound on lousy players but not on really good players.
    This seems good until you realize that the lousy players sound lousy
    anyway. My testing so far shows that a yamaha burned CD has a slightly
    better chance of being read by a picky player. However, I would not
    use it for mastering, as i have no data for that. The yamaha system
    creates larger pits, but CDs of an odd size. To send in a 74 minute
    master, you would have to use an 80 minute CD or overburn,
    unacceptable for a mastering CD. For shorter CDs, such as demos, which
    have to play in a wide variety of machines, the yamaha system is a
    good choice. However, Lite-ons and other brands have better error
    rates than yamahas. The yamahas are not bad, but they are not the
    best. Some of the newer drives have flawless C2 error correction.

    The suggestion to turn off the buffer underrun software is a good one,
    but obscures the fact that there are many different implementations
    for different drives, as well as different generations of the same
    systems. Basically, you are looking at gapping and testing.
    The testing systems run a little routine at startup to set the speed.
    This should be disabled as you may get a different speed than you
    requested, and, in addition, you may move out of a burning bracket,
    for example for CLV to partial CLV.

    I would definitely burn at CLV myself, but, again, it depends on the
    drive.

    Gapping is similar to cueing on a record player in most
    implementations. The laser waits for more data, ergo, no underrun.
    When it starts up agin, there is what I would call a burble when the
    needle drops Usually, there is a blinking light on the burner to show
    that it is doing its thing. There are different systems that modulate
    the speed, and so on, producing different gaps
    I would like to see someone point to it as it flies by :) The gap on
    older sysyems was much larger. The gap now is so small that it may be
    concsidered "within spec". Oddly enough, the size of the gap does not
    tell the whole story. Certain Aopen drives tested very well but
    nonetheless produced unreliable burns.

    Would I turn it off anyway? Yes. You don't need it at even 24x unless
    you have a slow buss, and in that case you will have problems anyway.
    Also, the gaps created are smaller than many random defects.
    Something to ponder.
    I would agree that 1x is often a poor choice. 2x is often bad as well.
    However, this has to do with Error rates, not playability, and so one
    can get conflicting results from the field.
    Testing your drive is easy, or, easier still, buy one that has been
    tested. I usually burn critical material between 8-16x but have done
    4x on occasion, and 24x for a picky reader once in a while.
    I always use CLV, and will use yamaha's system for shorter material.

    Another thing to consider: a yamah 16x scsi burner. Very reliable for
    certain applications, nothing to turn off. And it is scsi.
    I myself use liteon and yamaha. I like the liteons because I can burn
    three CDs at once at 40x using three drives, on the fly.
    But critical recordings, one drive, 8-16x.

    I agree with the poster (Mike?) who says we need special media.
    This is true, and one would pay a stiff premium, but it is all so
    cheap....


    Here are some suggestions:
    Never use 80 minute CDs for critical burns
    Always burn at CLV, no lower than 4x, however, if 1x or 2x has always
    worked for you, why change? Check the error rates, howver.
    Buy a burner that has a good error rating and has good evidence from
    the field--check the rating in cdrinfo and then cross that with
    professional opinions in this forum.
    Use slower rated disks of high quality for critical work--can be
    bought for a good price right after a speed hike.
    Use archival rated material for storage--it makes a difference.
    Get the latest firmware for your burner--generally the update is for
    the media issues.
    Run the CD through EAC to get a track quality rating before you send
    it. Try to get 98% to 100% on their scale, and 100% if you can.
    Always burn from a hardisk image. If you are burning on the fly.
    Isolate the drives so they do not vibrate near each other and create
    harmonic instability.
    Use balanced media--no labels--especially at higherspeeds.
    Buy a couple of cheapo CD players on Ebay for reference. Older
    Technics are not a great choice since they tend to read anything.
    Onkyo's are a pit more picky. I have one that is just starting to go,
    I use that for the out the door test. Get an old sony as well, there
    are a lot of those still around.
    And then there is the car...

    Hope that helps,

    jj

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