CDR burn speeds question

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Dr. Winston, Feb 9, 2002.

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  1. Dr. Winston

    Dr. Winston New Member Thread Starter

    This has been brought up before in the old DCC forum but I'm lazy this morning and don't feel like researching----

    1. What is everyone's current suggestion on CDR burn speeds using a PC? I have a relatively new(shipped July 2001) Gateway P4, 1.6 ghz PC using CD Creator 4 which has the capability to burn at 4 diff speeds---2x,4x,8x or 12x. In my PC, bay 1 is a DVD drive and bay 2 is a cd-rw drive at 48x--all factory built from Gateway. I admit to burning at 12x mainly and was having few problems. After trading some 100 discs over the past 60 days I'm running into a small # of various read errors on discs that were copied by a variety of other folks as well as discs burned from original Cds by me. Most of the messages are "output error by source device or something to that effect" when I try to copy them. I am using TDK 80mb frosted discs for my burns. I always request frosted Sony, Mitsui, or TDK in burn trades.

    2. I am a relative novice (6 months) on PC burns and many of you have shared opinions in the past on burning software that is supposedly better than CD Creator 4--could you briefly give me the name of the best (IYO) and also why CD Creator is not THE Choice. I also have read that there is a way to check for the #of errors after you burn----I have never done this--can someone help with this also--many thanks.

    Dr. Winston OBoogie
  2. Dan

    Dan Senior Member

    Good Doctor,

    A couple of questions for you (and answers!)

    1) Check your CD-R for us. Is 12x the top speed you can burn at? If so, occaisionally some drives don't like to burn at their maximum speed usually because of other factors (size of memory buffer, speed of device that contains your source material, etc.)

    2) Are you burning disc directly from Drive 1 (DVD) to Drive 2 (CD-R)??? DVD drives usually spin slower than CD drives. That could be the problem if you are copying CD's that way. I would think you would get a "Buffer Underrun" error message though. It's also possible that there is some type of occaisional system conflict when you are using these two devices together.

    3) I've had relatively few problems with CD-R media of any kind.

    4) "Toast" by Roxio seems to be the king of CD-R software. I have a friend with a Sony CD-R PC drive that occaisionally goes haywire and it's definitely the software. Some of the software they bundle free with units often isn't any good.

    Anyone else care to comment?

  3. Dr. Winston

    Dr. Winston New Member Thread Starter


    12x is the maximum burn speed on this NEC OEM drive.

    I do burn from the DVD drive to the CDR drive and the "copy to the hard drive first" box is checked.


  4. tenuous

    tenuous New Member

    North Carolina
    Hello Dan. I have been backing up and *shock and dismay* mp3'ing cd's for quite some time, I may be able to help.

    First of all, you want to make sure you have a bit for bit perfect copy of the original cd on your harddrive. For this, I would *strongly* recommend a program called Exact Audio Copy ( ). It is a very complex program, you can find a guide for proper configuration at The Coaster Factory.

    To "rip" the cd, you want to use the option "copy image and create cue sheet". This will give you one big .wav file and a cue sheet with all the timestamps for track breaks, etc. Provided you had EAC configured properly, you now have an EXACT copy of the disc on your harddrive.

    To burn, I also use EAC. Just load the burn section of the program, and open the .cue sheet you just created. Then burn away.

    As for the speed of the burn, there are a few schools of thought. One school says speed doesnt matter at all, the other says it does, and can introduce "jitter" into the final burn. I cannot confirm or deny this, but I can say that everyone agrees burning at 1x is safe. Burning at 12x probably won't be a problem, but you've gone to so much trouble to make it perfect, why stop now.

    Good luck, if you have any questions let me know.
  5. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA

    Nice post. Could you expand on this regarding making compilations. I haven't got a burner yet, and I use a SCSI system, so they cost a lot more. But I'm definitely interested in making compilations for use in the car, travelling etc. Your experience is valuable.

  6. Grant

    Grant In holiday HELL

    United States
    And i'm one of the ones that say burning at 1x is the worst because of the increased errors and jitter.
  7. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    I'm with you Grant, with the caveat one also doesn't go beyond 4x. I've learned I can get rid of a lot of the high end "mush" I hear when a disc is burned at 8x (or more) by reburning at 4x, but the disc doesn't sound as clean as one burned at 4x from the start.

    Here are the very basic directions I give people who want to use EAC, forgive the fact that they are written with a Plextor in mind. Plextor's the one I recommend and I've geared the instructions toward it:

    First, you will want to go into the EAC options and set everything up for your system.

    Let's start by pressing F9 (or go to EAC>EAC Options on the menu).
    Click the Extraction tab, make sure Error Recovery Quality is High.
    Click the Tools tab, check Use CD-Text information in Cue Sheet Generation if it's not checked already. (this is if you have a drive that supports this like a Plextor)
    Click OK to close the dialog box.

    Now press the F10 key (or go to EAC>Drive Options on the menu).
    Click the Extraction Method tab, choose Secure mode. Place a CD in your drive that has sratches on it into the Plextor and then press Detect Read Features. EAC will do a diagnostic of your drive and when it's done simply press the Apply button.
    (hopefully, your drive will have some important features like Accustream, C2 error correction and no caching like Plextors, but each manufacturer is different)

    Click the Drive tab, and press the Autodetect Read Command button. EAC will apply the info automatically.
    Click the Drive tab, choose Gap Detection method A (it's the fastest-- and on the Plextor, that's important because the Plextor takes much longer than my Toshiba reader). Gap detection takes up a lot of CPU power-- don't do too much when EAC is detecting those gaps or you may have a crash. Also choose Detection Acurracy: Secure. (Some people on this forum would suggest using Burst mode but from everything I've read regarding this program it is universally accepted that Burst mode is the worst-- it doesn't check for read errors at all-- you might as well be using EZ CD Creator)

    Click the Offset/Speed tab, and choose Actual Speed Selection and check the Allow Speed Reduction During Extraction if it's not checked.

    Click OK, you're ready to burn your first discs!

    To burn discs with EAC is easy!

    First, load the CD you want to copy.

    Your Plextor is capable of burning text info onto the CD also, even if you don't have a CD player that plays back text, you might eventually-- so an optional step here is... you can go to Database>Get CD Information From>Remote freedb (or press Alt +G). A dialog box comes up asking for your e-mail address, I suggest you use If you're online, the disc info will then come up, even for most bootlegs!

    Next, press Alt + F7 or choose Action>Copy Image&Create Cue Sheet from the menu. This creates a very large .wav file on the spot of your hard drive where you've chosen and a cue sheet for EAC to use for CD tracks and gap info.

    This wav file and the cue sheet have to be manually deleted from your hard drive once you've made all the copies you want from them so place them in a folder that you can access easily (you can specify a specific folder to always go to in EAC options).

    Choose Tools>Write CD-R (or press Alt + W) to open the CD Layout Editor dialog box.

    From the CD Layout Editor choose File>Load Cue Sheet.

    Finally choose CD-R>Write CD-R. In the dialog box that opens, set the speed (4x), make sure the disc is Closed and No Test Write. Press the Make It So button and you're done!
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Chairman of the Bored

    Just back from BestBuy with a USB external burner (4x). Got the Neato CD labeller package and some Imation blank media to go with it. Why USB? To burn copies from my IBM notebook. If this works out, I'll finally be able to start trading with y'all!:D
  9. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-)

    Santa Cruz
    Hey Andrew -

    Let me know if the USB at 4x works! I had a USB burner, and could barely get my machine to do 2x. Even then, it'd burn coasters fairly often, so I usually ran it at 1x. I now have Firewire, no more problems. But still, it'd be cool to know that USB can handle 4x.
  10. Paul C.

    Paul C. Forum Resident

    Grant and ClaviusB - why is it that 1X burning is bad for errors and jitter? I had never heard that, and am quite intrigued to know what the deal is. Many thanks.
  11. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-)

    Santa Cruz
    I can't talk about jitter, but from what I've read, errors tend to be higher at 1x simply because hardly any manufacturer of computer cd recorders bother tuning for performance at 1x - rather they tune/test at higher speeds, since that's what most people want to burn at.

    Now, I hope this isn't true for standalone audio cd recorders, which can only burn at 1x. :)
  12. Paul C.

    Paul C. Forum Resident

    Thanks - hey, has anyone tried the new Yamaha 3200 burner, which has this feature called Audio Master Quality? I am keen to find out if this is any good. The idea is that the drive, when in AMQ mode, burns slightly longer pits on the CDR (but still within redbook spec), which reduces jitter on playback. The tradeoff is that music time is reduced a bit eg. you can only get about 63 minutes on a 74 minute disc, I think.

    The other interesting thing is that, while this is a 20 or 24X speed burner for regular burning, it will only burn at 4X speed for Audio Master Quality.

    I read about it at Tom's Hardware (

    A couple of quotes:
    "In any case, you need adequate audio equipment to notice any difference at all. On a standard hi-fi, the gain in quality is fairly significant, especially with regard to instrument location. But you can hardly tell the difference between a CD burned conventionally in 4x and one burned in Audio Master on a top-range CD player like the Denon DCD1550AR. This is undoubtedly because a player of this quality already has an effective error correction system."


    "We noted another fairly strange quirk during our tests. If you make a copy of an original CD Audio in Audio Master Quality and then compare the two on the same equipment, you notice a definite difference. High and low notes seem more marked and the stereo distribution more emphatic. Yamaha says this is due to the fact that the Audio Master recovers the quality lost between the recording and mastering of the original! Given that the data are stored digitally on a CD, it would be nice if Yamaha explained how this miracle happens, jitter or no jitter."

    Despite the above query, the reviewers gave the Yamaha a warm recommendation.
  13. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    I read about this myself some time ago, and I found the idea very intriguing.

    What's to explain if it works?

    The thing that stopped me from looking further into buying the Yamaha is that I previously owned one and I really liked it until a couple of days after my warranty expired the unit began to have a hard time reading discs, including ones it had itself written. The drive became totally unusable shortly after the problem kicked in and I had to buy another burner. After a little while I found out at some CD burning forum that a whole bunch of guys were quite aware of this problem among Yamahas. I was wondering where all this info was when I was looking at the Yamaha-- I'd never have bought it at the price I paid for only a year's worth of service. So it may well do what they say it does... but be forewarned that you may have troubles too.
  14. Paul C.

    Paul C. Forum Resident

    Thanks for the info - that's unfortunate about your previous experience with the Yamaha burner. It's easy to say "you were just unlucky", but of course you should get more than a year's service out of the unit, and I would be mightily annoyed too. I don't know whether Yamaha burners tend to be more unreliable than other brands - it would be nice to have access to info on the longevity of different brands, but I imagine that sort of info would be hard to come by. Perhaps someone who has been in the business of selling different brands could best advise on this issue.

    I do know that Yamaha burners here in Australia seem to be priced above most other brands, for machines with comparable features. One local wholesaler has stopped selling Yamahas, because they were viewed as too pricey and they were not selling enough. He did say they were good machines.
  15. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    As I said, they were quite aware of this being a common problem among Yamahas, only it was the first I had heard of it at all. I was simply lurking and didn't even say "hey, that happened to me!"

    I remember paying a fair amount of money for mine, but I didn't mind because I expected it to last for a while. Now you've got me thinkng about the current model too, as a second unit. If the price is right I might be ok with it going bad if I am fully aware that it has a limited life span-- the tradeoff being better sounding CD-Rs. Something to consider.
  16. Paul C.

    Paul C. Forum Resident

    Well, I wouldn't want to be recommending buying anything that was likely to crap itself shortly after the warranty expired - but hopefully this newer model won't fall into that category. That's why I was wondering about who might know about the longevity of different brands and models. After all, if lots of people were getting "burned" (so to speak) by a model that was failing after only a year or so, then I'd expect some sort of backlash, and hopefully the manufacturer would take steps to improve the product.

    I would still feel fairly confident in buying a Yamaha, becuase I think they have a pretty good name in providing computer peripherals.

    I think the Audio Master feature is in itself interesting enough to warrant further investigation. If I was buying a new computer, that is the CDRW drive i would get (unfortunately, I am not in a position to get a new computer, nor a burner, at this point).

    The thing that most caught my attention when I heard of this drive was the fact that it burns longer pits on the CD (hence the reduced recording time). I had no idea that the redbook spec for CD encompassed such variation. From my limited understanding, a disc with longer pits will be easier for a CD player to read, hence less jitter occurring on playback. It was also interesting to me that the reviewer for "Tom's Hardware" said that the CDR made with teh Audio Master feature sounded better with regard to instrument location - I've no idea how he came to that conclusion, but it's noteworthy coming from a non-audiophile review.
  17. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    I imagine lowering the jitter that way has lots of benefits, including enhanced imaging. Just look at the wave form and see how much more solid and well defined it is. Easy to see how that could translate to music.

    I hate you Paul. ;) Now I want one.
  18. Dan

    Dan Senior Member

    With USB burners 4x is about a 50/50 proposition. I had an iMac with an external Que 4x drive, and burning at 2x was a 99% certainty though.
  19. Andrew

    Andrew Chairman of the Bored

    Well Jeff, the first two I tried last night worked out A-OK. Just simple disc-to-disc transfers, nothing complicated... but no errors noticed. Yeah, working at 4x is slow, but I can live with it (nice to be able to use this with both my machines). The version of Easy Creator included is very stripped down, so doing more fancy stuff should prove interesting.:)
  20. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    Hey Andrew

    Andrew, make sure the "On The Fly" option in EZ CD Creator is turned off (even the stripped down version should offer the option to turn this off). If you have OTF on you introduce a ton of jitter at the very least and you run the risk of turning out some pretty funky discs with small chirps and other noises in them.

    "On The Fly" writes directly from the CD reader to the CD writer. While this sounds like the ideal, this is actually not good, because there are a ton of things that can disrupt the flow of data on a computer when the pipeline you are dependant on is the CD reader and it's cable. Your hard drive reads much faster than any CD reader so by turning off "OTF" EZ CD Creator places the CD info all on the hard drive temporarily and then extracts it from the faster reading hard drive to send to the writer.

    Anyway, just my suggestion...
  21. cd media counts too

    I have used the clear top-and-bottom discs for 2 years but I find a lot of car players do not like them, I've even crashed other people's computers after I loan cd's to them and they attempt to play them. Seems all cd players are not created equal. So, I am switching to frosted ones ASAP.

    I have a Yamaha external SCSI I burner and except for some fan noise on the back of the unit (groans), it has been ok. I burn at 2-4x and never from a cd, always from the hd.

    A faster 7200 rpm or better HD helps too. Fewer errors.

    - - - - -

    P.S. - sounds like a lot of us here at the forum are Mac users. Weigh in, how many? I have 5 Macs, and two of them are 15 years old and still boot up. My daily user is a 5 year old Performa 6400 minitower.
  22. JPartyka

    JPartyka I Got a Home on High

    Re: cd media counts too

    Same here. I have a Yamaha 6/4/24, and I've used it exclusively for almost three years. Works absolutely perfectly for me, at all speeds.

    People always find it odd that I'm a Mac person at home ... I'm a Microsoft-certified IT guy, and I know my way around Windows machines really well ... but when I go home I like to work on something different, and Macs are enjoyable and easy to run, especially for the things I do at home (pretty much just the 'Net and CD burning).

    At the moment I have an indigo iMac DV, which I bought new at the end of 2000. I'm running OS 9.1 on it. I absolutely love it.
  23. Andrew

    Andrew Chairman of the Bored

    Re: Hey Andrew

    Thanks, will do. :)
  24. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man


    This cracked me up! Great avatar!
  25. sgb

    sgb Senior Member

    Baton Rouge
    I too use Macs (a 7600/200/128<B & a 9500/180/256MB); both are going on 7 yrs old. The 9500 sports a 2940UW Adaptec card and a pair of Viking UW SCSI drives which will be put into a new machine eventually. I use a Yamaha CDRW burner & have not had any problems with it. I figure it's about time to invest in a G4, but have no interest in the DVD drive in the top-of-the-line versions, so I will probably opt for a 723 or 800 base model soon so that I can play with iTunes.

    As for burning speeds, one of the honchos in the LSU computer center here is also in charge of the local Mac user group. It is his contention that burning music should be done at 2 or 4x for this reason: at faster speeds the laser does not spend as much time burning any given pit on your blank. The consequences will be that as the disk ages, the slightly less dense pits will become unreadable, and, in a humid climate like ours here in Lousiana, this will be sooner than later.

    Roxio is now bundling Jam with its Toast software, and this is what I've been using exclusively.
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