A Guide to Best Burning

It’s the holiday season and, being the only source for consistent, high-quality A-Grade media in Europe, we’re rushed off our feet here at River Pro Audio. To add to the general hustle and bustle, we’re also continuing with our investigation into “Taiyo Yuden”. With the aid of Taiyo Yuden themselves we’re helping to remove imitation products from the market and prevent people purchasing under performing stock – we’ll bring updates on our progress shortly. It is worth being extra careful, however, as there’s still a large amount of misinformation regarding it. Again, contact us if you’re unsure of anything or are aware of anyone selling a disc as, or associated with, Taiyo Yuden – we’ll be able to check validity of claims for you.

As a bit of a change of pace we’re introducing a quick guide to burning that even the most hardened veterans might pick up some tips from – or perhaps even suggest some that we haven’t got here!

We’re often asked for advice in achieving the best burn, of course the main thing that we recommend is using a high-quality, consistent, professional A-Grade product like ACU-Disc, River Media and Falcon Media.

For the average user, using an A-Grade product will suffice, but for the professional user to achieve the absolute best results there are, of course, various other factors to consider.

Write Speed

Perhaps the next biggest thing is to ensure you’re utilising the correct speed during recording. There’s a very well-known myth in the industry that burning more slowly will allow you to achieve lower error rates. While this may have been true when devices struggled to output the required data to record a disc at higher speeds in a consistent manner, technology has advanced to the point that we no longer have this problem.

Burning at higher speeds doesn’t introduce problems, but, burning at incorrect or lower speeds does.

While it may sound odd, slow and steady doesn’t win the race, it’s easily explained. Most modern drives do not support burning at lower speeds, even though mastering software and firmware might allow you to force them to.

CD, DVD and BDR are also engineered to perform the best at their highest rated speeds – any differentiation of that will introduce problems. They are always rated at the speed they’re intended to be burnt at – while a 4x CD will achieve best results at 4x, a 52x CD will achieve best results at 52x. A multi-speed disc is still, always intended to burn at its upper speed limit.

We, firstly, recommend leaving duplication equipment and master burning speed to ‘maximum’ or ‘automatic’ settings. Not to force a higher speed or a lower speed. This ensures that both the media and the burning drive are using their most optimal levels and ensures the best quality burn.

However, if you are not getting the results you’d expect, we recommend fixing speeds, starting at the higher end. Some older drives that don’t contain the write procedures for newer discs on their firmware will default to burning them slowly, by fixing them to a higher speed you can negate the problems that it will introduce. Though, for best practice, we’d ultimately recommend modernising your write drives, such as with an M-Tech duplicator.

Disc Master Checking – Bad master? Worse duplicates.

At every stage of the duplication process, there are errors introduced. This is absolutely normal and is why disc readers contain error correction technology, however we do want to keep this as low as possible as explained in the A-Grade guide. To ensure that duplicates are going to be as error-free as possible, it’s critical to ensure that the source you’re copying from is as good as it can be.

If you only test one disc when you’re duplicating, make sure it’s the master. While the master disc may play correctly, it may still contain a high number of error rates – especially if you’ve received it from a customer in a physical form and on a consumer-quality media.

If you utilise this bad master in say, a tower duplicator, you’ll be adding yet more errors into the mix and the duplicates may be pushed over the limit. They may have compatibility issues, artifact issues, hang issues or simply not play at all.

Professional Hardware

It doesn’t often happen outside of the duplication industry, but optical disc drives aren’t immune to degradation over use. The more that they are used, the more likely it is they’ll fail.
If you are receiving a high number of rejects, or high error rates from a drive, it may be best to look to replace it.

It’s worth noting that professional duplication systems, such as those from M-Tech, R-Quest or Rimage, will often be much more durable and accurate than standard off the shelf consumer drives.

To surmise, for the best burns, you’ll want to:

From everyone here at River Pro Audio, I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Thanks for all your custom this year and we look forward to working with you long into the future.

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