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DVD/CD Burner choice..., Seeking the wisdom of Solomon...
dewey1973
post Apr 30 2004, 23:45
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I'm have decided to get myself an external Multi-Burner. Since I'll use it for ripping CDs as well I thought I'd ask for some advice. I'm considering these two:

Plextor PX-708UF
Liteon SOHW - 812SX

Anyone have any experience with these? Plextor seems to be a highly regarded brand for CD ripping. Thanks in advance!
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dreamliner77
post May 1 2004, 05:13
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You could save some $$ by getting an internal burner and then throwing it in an external usb2 case ($30 from newegg). Off the top of my head, I think the internal version of that liteon burner is ~$83 at newegg.


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kl33per
post May 6 2004, 05:39
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Putting it in an external case is a really good idea. The internal versions of both those drives are both excellent.


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dub_doctor
post May 6 2004, 08:34
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External case good.

I've recently acquired a Pioneer 107d and so far am pretty happy with it. Its seek times are pretty slow, but it seems to be burning reliably at 8x with the latest firmware even on fairly cheap DVD-R media, and it has flawlessly ripped a number of cds with EAC in secure mode.

.dd.
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jormartr
post May 6 2004, 12:17
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I would recommend you the NEC 2500 dvd burner. It is internal, and costs about the same as the pioneer one.
Its burn quality is superior to the pioneer mode.
You can take a look at www.cdfreaks.com and read their reviews.
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smok3
post May 6 2004, 13:03
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i got the nec 2500a and put it into external box via usb2, from the reviews i read it is unique with its writing quality (including cds), on the other hand dae and reading in general is not really good.


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upNorth
post May 6 2004, 13:43
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I've also got a NEC 2500A, and I have considered putting my Lite-On CDRW drive back in for DAE and reading data cd's (I would have done it already if I had had any room for it). I haven't done alot of testing, but I have for sure had problems with it's reading capability and I've also had problems with DAE. The problem with the latter wasn't apparent until I tried to replaygain my rips with foobar2000. Foobar wasn't able to do album gain as some values turned out pretty extreme (don't remeber which as I have deleted those files, but I guess it was the track peak).

The DAE problem might be because I did not tick the "Drive caches audio data" in EAC, as EAC reports that it doesn't and IIRC I have also read that it doesn't. Can anyone confirm if this is true?

It is supposedly a very good writer, but I haven't used it much, so I don't really know.

Btw: I use the original firmware v.1.06

Edit: removed unnecessary quote

This post has been edited by upNorth: May 6 2004, 13:44
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Halcyon
post May 6 2004, 14:16
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Don't buy the Plextor or LiteOn, if you want compatibility and high quality burning with as many different media as possible.

While no drive is perfect, the safest choices as of now remain Nec ND2500A (with herrie's beta firmware), LG GSA-4082B, BenQ 800A and to some extent Pioneer 107D.

8x burning is still much of a hit and miss. While one may get good readings with kProbe for 8x burn it doesn't mean that the burn will be within DVD specifications nor that it is actually readable outside a LiteOn drive.

These claims are backed up by not only various kProbe results (from above mentioned forumns), but also low level measurement results with calibrated CATS scanners and causal error rates from the same calibrated readers.

regards,
halcyon
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dewey1973
post May 6 2004, 15:39
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QUOTE (Halcyon @ May 6 2004, 06:16 AM)
Don't buy the Plextor or LiteOn, if you want compatibility and high quality burning with as many different media as possible.

Please explain, what you mean by as many different media as possible. Do you mean brands of media? What about the fact that I'll also be using this for ripping CDs? I though the Plextors were considered some of the best ripping drives around.
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JeanLuc
post May 6 2004, 16:21
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Whatever you do ... avoid LiteOn DVD/RW drives ... they are known for their pickyness regarding media compatibility and they are also known for their rather low writing quality ... LiteOn will cease firmware development after 6 months of production (as with the x11S series) sdo you will stand alone when newer media hits the market.

I'd suggest to go for a cheap NEC2500A ... over at the cdfreaks forums, you can read its review - and if you are there, take a look into the LiteOn & Plextor forums ... this info might come in handy.


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alexnoe
post May 6 2004, 17:39
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In the C'T 10/04, the LG 4082B was the only drive that wrote all 7 test discs (8x -r: ty, mcc, 8x +r: cmc, philips, ritek, mcc, ty) at good quality. However, the LG 4082B needs 8x media to write at 8x (whereas for example the plextor 708 or the benq 800 will write some 4x discs at 8x properly, here a mitsubishi 4x +r disc, made in singapor, written at 8x in a plextor 708, read at 17x)
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spase
post May 6 2004, 18:10
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I don't know why everyone has had so much trouble with Lite-ON drives. Both myself and my roomate have had nothing but success with ours.

I have the 4x DVD+/-R/W drive (451s) and it works fantastic. I haven't ripped and CDs with it, but it has some "SMART-X" technology that is supposed to help with that, although my Lite-ON 16x DVD-ROM drive (which I do use for burning) rips at respectable (8-12x) speeds in EAC secure mode without the SMART-X technology (again I have no idea what SMART-X is or if it is simply nothing but hype).

Anyways, Lite-ON is a good deal for the money (IMHO) and you really can't go wrong with it (especially if you are on a budget).

You may also want to have a look at Tom's Hardware's extensive test of burners (albeit ~ a quarter of a year old). I think they reviewed about 11 drives in the test.


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alexnoe
post May 6 2004, 18:54
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I guess he sent the written discs, like the C'T, to Audiodev to have them analyzed with professional equipment? So far, each single scan of discs written by LiteOn DVD drives at 8x which has been printed in the C'T has been terrible.

This post has been edited by alexnoe: May 6 2004, 18:54
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JeanLuc
post May 6 2004, 19:07
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In germany, the NEC2500A is cheaper than the LiteOn 812S (which failed on every single DVD tested in the 'CT review)


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Halcyon
post May 6 2004, 19:47
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Yes, I meant compatibility AND high quality burning as many different discs (by different manufacturers) as possible.

Plextor is a little better than LiteOn, but not amongst the best currently.

Plextor is also a good audio ripper (IMHO) and relatively quiet.

However, for quality dvd burning the other drives already mentioned are better.
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JeanLuc
post May 6 2004, 20:16
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According to CDR-Info, the PX708A is the best audio ripper ever tested ... and it's burning quality with +R (especially YUDEN000T01 and RICOHJPNR01) is also very good.

But I agree with Halcyon ... you'd better not feed this drive any media crap you can buy on a 50 pcs. spindle ...


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dewey1973
post May 6 2004, 20:24
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QUOTE (JeanLuc @ May 6 2004, 12:16 PM)
According to CDR-Info, the PX708A is the best audio ripper ever tested...

Do you think that would follow with the new version? It's the PX-712A.

This post has been edited by dewey1973: May 6 2004, 20:24
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JeanLuc
post May 6 2004, 20:40
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From my Info, the PX-712A will be basically (hardware-wise) the same drive as the PX-708A ... with the addition of being capable to perform PI/PO scans with a new version of Plextools Professional ... but if the reliability of these scans is comparable to K-Probe, you'd have to take them with a grain of salt as well.

But if I were you, I'd wait for the reviews ... biggrin.gif ... and I would also consider that there are a lot of PX708A owners reporting strange problems in the CDFreaks' Plextor Forum ...

This post has been edited by JeanLuc: May 6 2004, 20:43


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dobz
post May 7 2004, 00:16
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I just bought the NEC 2500A, after reading about its superior writing quality, so i bought some cheap dvd's (bulkpaq dvd-r) 9.99 qty 25, ripped a dvd and copied it to blank dvd and it worked perfectly, written a few data dvd's now and not one failiure, ripped a few cd's and seems flawless. I also noticed a new bios version 1.07 that supports more media but im not going to bother untill something fails. I recomend it.

Aparently this drive isnt as capable at circumventing copy protections as other drives are, but no probs so far.
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ddrawley
post May 7 2004, 01:37
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I strongly disagree with the negative comments about the Lite-On and Plextor drives. Plextor is well known for making quality drives that last for years. The Plextor DAE has been lackluster lately though. The Lite-On drives I own, and customers own, have worked flawlessly. Some very detailed reviews can be found on:
CDRLabs

Lite-On has consistantly rated very well on DAE, and a high quality of writing.

My Plexwriter 16/10/40A is about three years old and works flawlessly.

My Lite-On LTC48161H DVD reader-CDR/W has performed flawlessly. It has extracted some problem CDs that even my Plextor had trouble with. For the record, the 16/10/40 was rated highly for DAE. Hopefully Plextor will soon regain the DAE quality they once had.

As for picky media, people need to read the dead cd-r thread. If you save a few pennies on a disk, and your cheap cd-r/w writes to it, you still may lose your data in a few years. It doesn't pay to be cheap.

Dead CD-R thread on HA

Taiyo-Yuden and Mitsui have never let me down, and consistantly rate tops for quality and longevity.
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OneHeadlight
post May 7 2004, 01:53
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Have you thought about waiting a little while longer? The reason I say this is because Double-Layer DVD burners are just about to hit the market. A Double Layer Disc can hold 8.5 GB as compared to the 4.7 GB of a Single Layer Disc. These burners, can, of course burn to single layer and CDs as well. And they are literally just about to hit the market, with the actual Double Layer blanks being available roughly by the end of June (according to the manufacturers.)
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den
post May 7 2004, 05:22
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Make this another vote for the Lite On. I actually have one of the so called "abandoned" Lite Ons (411) that have been bagged above. I can only speak from my own experience, but it has burned successfully on everything I have pumped through it, including some rather inexpensive and crappy low end media, both DVDs and CDs.

I can count the instances of unsupported media I've come across with two fingers, and in both cases it still burned without errors, just at 2x instead of 4.

Further to that, it's CD ripping capabilities are spot on. I've ripped a wide range of protected audio CDs with EAC, very quickly, no dramas. The resulting files are clear of the typical Cactus Datashield clicks and pops you sometimes get reported in these forums.

And *cough* if you need to back up Safedisc stuff, it just happens with the appropriate software tools, again with no dramas.

On the other hand, friends of mine who have purchased other drives from LG, NEC, Sony and Pioneer have looked at my drive with envy. Nowadays it aint the fastest on the block, but it just gets the job done, everytime.

Den.


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Halcyon
post May 7 2004, 07:50
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I was trying to refer to specific LiteOn and Plextor models, but for brevity just talked about manufacturers. My bad. The following refers to current Plextor (sans 712) and LiteOn (sans 832) models.

It's true that both Plextor and LiteOn have had very good drives as well, but only on the cd-r/dvd-rom front for now.

I own PX-708A myself as well as LiteOn 851s. However I would not recommend them to anyone looking for reliable/trouble free/high quality burning with as many different media as possible.

Why? Because they are not as good as the competition according to all the useful tests. This is very hard to dispute, because there are several professional tests (PC Pro, C't, etc) that prove this.

Unfortunately, the testers at cdrlabs, cdrinfo and cdfreaks do not have access to calibrated professional hardware giving low level results of the burns. Nor do they have measures to assess the low level tolerances of the drive units themselves. As such, when there is discrepance between professional measurements and their data, I tend to trust the professional analyzer results first. This is not to say that the people doing the test were not professional. It's just stating that not everybody can afford to plunk down 300 000 euros for a good dvd tester.

Also, kProbe results can be very misleading. Most people have no idea what they mean and they take causal measurements (PI/PO) as guarantee of burn quality, which they are not.

Burn quality is measured in low level measures (such as reflectivity, wobble, DC jitter, etc).

Causal measures (PI/PO) are an indication of how well the media was read in the drive under test.

Those are different things. Many people fail to understand this.

While there is often a strong correlation between the two, this correlation is drive dependent. The dependency is probably a based on what are the low level reading tolerances of the drives.

For example, LiteOn drive has very high jitter tolerance margin. They can read burns that are out of the DVD speficiations and still give relatively low PI/PO counts with kProbe. However, these bad discs will not read in many rack or lesser dvd-readers. They are just bad burns.

What's even more interesting is that LiteOn drives themselves burn quite bad low level results on huge population of discs (even on some of the best quality ones).

They simply just not are very good burners (811, 851, 812).

As for Plextor, it can muster much better results, but even 708A fails on many discs, where Nec 2500A, LG 4082 and BenQ 800A excel.

So, for trouble free "burn on almost any decent media available" type of use, Plextor and LiteOn are far from best bets right now (talking about their current models).

Of course, anybody is allowed to believe and buy what they want and it's possible to make Plextor and LiteOn drives shipping now working tools by carefully picking the media onto which burn.

However, I have now hidden interest here, I'm merely trying to point people towards what I think is objectively (according to the best available public data on the issue) the most trouble-free and high quality burners available at the time of writing this.

But of course, price, availability, ability to circumvent copy protections and what not, they all play into people's choices.

So, I don't believe that based on all selection criteria, there is a single best drives out there. But in terms of burn quality there are still big differences, so buyer beware.

regards,
halcyon
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alexnoe
post May 7 2004, 09:03
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Also don't forget that a Plextor 708 costs twice as much as other drives with wider media compatibility....but for twice as much money, it should be twice as good wink.gif
I have it on my own, and it wonderfully writes Verbatim 4x +R discs at 8x...but that's it.
QUOTE
Why? Because they are not as good as the competition according to all the useful tests. This is very hard to dispute, because there are several professional tests (PC Pro, C't, etc) that prove this.
It's not really hard, it is trollism. If you look at cdfreaks Plextor premium review and the reaction to my additional note that it didn't read a Cactus 100 Un-CD (with the old firmware), you'll see what I mean.

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dewey1973
post May 7 2004, 16:19
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QUOTE (Halcyon @ May 6 2004, 11:50 PM)
So, for trouble free "burn on almost any decent media available" type of use, Plextor and LiteOn are far from best bets right now (talking about their current models).

Thanks for the info. But there is my question.

Since...

-The disks are for my use only.
-I don't plan on buying substandard media.
-This will be my primary CD ripping drive.

Aren't the disadvantages you listed outweighed by the quality DAE capabilities of the Plextor and LiteOn?

Please correct me if I'm off base.
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