I am looking for a way to know if I am producing good or not so good optical media when I make CDs or DVDs for others. It doesn't seem very professional to wait until someone tells me that media I burned for them doesn't work. I should be the first to know.
From what I have read, some people like tests that measure PI/PIF, TE/FE, jitter, etc. while others say those tests mean nothing. I've recently had some problems with burns (even though I use TY03 media from rima.com) and have run some of these tests on a number of good and not so good DVDs. Unfortunately, I must agree that the measurements I got did not correlate at all with which DVDs were good and which were bad. (I determined “good” and “bad” by which ones played correctly and which ones did not – but of course that is a subjective and somewhat bogus measurement as it depends on which DVD player is used).
These measurements probably aren't wrong, yet since they don't seem to indicate whether a DVD is good or bad they apparently aren't measuring the right thing. Is there something that provides better information? Obviously the companies that make the media and the companies that make drives must have precision equipment to make measurements but it seems that there should be something fairly inexpensive and less precise but yet useful on the market.
I wonder if what causes a DVD player to “hiccup” (hesitate for a noticeable time) is not the total number of errors, or even the average error rate as is reported by these programs, but instead the burst error rate – when too many errors occur within some short time period.
I also wonder if it would be useful (and not overly difficult to implement) for the drive to report the signal amplitude from the media as derived from the difference in the reflectivity between the pits and the lands. This could allow software to produce a graph of that amplitude just as it now does of the PI/PIF data. This might not be a calibrated measurement as it would be for professional equipment but could at least give an indication of the quality of various media. It seems that the software could even relate PIF errors to the corresponding signal amplitude at the time of the error if appropriate timing information was available from the drive.
To get the measurements I talked about above, I'm using my somewhat old Plextor PX-L890SA drive and PlexTools. I'm thinking I probably need a new drive but of the myriad of drives available, I haven't come across any that say they support the media tests and provide associated software. Even if these tests don't appear to be particularly good at predicting failure, not having them at all gives me even less information. If these tests are disappearing from the market because they are useless, I wonder why someone isn't coming up with better tests. I would really like some way to evaluate the quality of the media I produce.
I'd appreciate any comments on the above (even ones along the line of “you idiot ...”) as well as suggestions on what are good or less good drives.
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Are you throwing 99 percent of your effort at a 1 percent problem? If you use a reputable drive, media, and software, your discs should play fine in any reasonably maintained player. That's what standards are all about. You could burn the best discs in the world and still have clients come back to you because their players have weak lasers or dirty lenses.
I suppose you could be right but I have a Plextor drive, use TY03 media exclusively, and burn with Imgburn. With this combination I have made a lot of good DVDs - until recently. Obviously something degraded - probably my drive. But without some way to test the burns, how does one know when things have degraded? I'd rather find out myself then have someone tell me that I made some junk. As it turns out, I may have made several poor DVDs without knowing it.
How do you monitor the quality of your burns? Maybe I'm missing something.
Thanks for your response.Rich
You must have a known-good, high-performing drive to make meaningful tests. So if you suspect your Plextor is at fault, you'll need to get another drive. Then use something like Nero DiscSpeed to perform surface scan and transfer rate tests.
I try out my DVDs on a tired old Denon DVD player. It's a finicky beast, so if they play there, I'm happy.
I scan every DVD I burn with CD-DVD Speed using an older Lite-On writer (LH-18A1H). Lite-On writers seem to be the most accurate for scanning (in dedicated forums Lite-On drives are the standard for scanning). Edit: Note that many writers (including all LG ones) cannot scan at all, it's not a standard feature.
Well, all I can say is so far every scanned disc that didn't show any oddities in it's scan was and still is indeed fine.
Last edited by Skiller; 8th Sep 2016 at 19:38.
I did run Nero diskspeed on some of the DVDs. All the testing I did, however, was on the Plextor drive - the same drive on which some of the DVDs (the "bad" ones) were burned. I guess tomorrow's project should be to go to MicroCenter to get a new drive and repeat the tests on it. Any recommendation on brands and/or price needed to get a good one? I don't think I have any need for a BD drive.
I do still wish there were more thorough tests available though.
Thanks for your help.Rich
Thanks Skiller. I made my above post before I saw yours.Rich
Thanks Kerry56. Sounds like a good drive. I'll watch for availability and price. The latter might be high but as the saying goes, "You don't always get what you pay for but you always pay for what you get". Maybe I'll pick up something cheap in the meantime and then wait to see when and how much.Rich
Either wait for that one or grab any Lite-On writer you can get your hands on.
However, most importantly you need good quality media, which can be hard to find these days.
Personally, I stick with Taiwan made Verbatim DVD+R (MCC 004) and burn with my good old BenQ DW 1650 at 8x with SolidBurn enabled for all media. This gives me excellent results and the discs play perfectly.
Here's a recent scan.
I did pick up a LiteOn iHAS324 drive and downloaded a trial of Opti-Drive. The drive seems to burn better media then my old Plextor PX-L890SA. I also seem to see a closer correlation between the graph results I get from Opti-Drive and DVDs that work well and those that don't. I'm not sure if it's my imagination or not.
In the past I've used TY "Watershield" media because inkjet printed labels don't smear. I do, however, get better looking graphs from Opti-Drive (or the old Plextools for that matter) from Verbatim AZO media - but Verbatim doesn't, as far as I know, have a "no-smear" surface available.
Kerry56, I'll still be waiting to take a look at the new drive you mention.
Thanks to all for the feedback and information.Rich
Verbatim's AquaAce DVD-R media (#96552) is supposed to be water resistant.
This might be a bit simplistic, but I test burned dvds/cds by playing them in my dvd player connected to the tv. I have found that if they start, & if the chapters button on the remote works, (just a few chapters), they have allus been ok. If they dont even start, , , ,
Last edited by cornemuse; 13th Sep 2016 at 08:53. Reason: feng shuiCranky Old Man