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.

River Media, True A-Grade

Here at River Pro Audio, we’ve been manufacturing blank CD-R and blank DVD, optical media, for over 20 years. Optical media, although a mature technology, is still a complex method of storage and requires a high degree of technical skill, accuracy and experience to manufacture.

Here at River, we create all our optical media (blank CD-R, blank DVD and blank BDR) with the bottom line being quality, unlike other manufacturers who focus on price.

For the average consumer, so long as an optical disc burns it is generally considered good – however that could not be further from the truth.

Red Book Specification and Grading

The Red Book Specification governs the physical parameters and properties of a blank CD-R. Unfortunately, this specification is very broad, which enables factories to manufacture very poor quality blank CD-R and sell them alongside other, superior products with no legal distinction.

To combat this and highlight superior products several grading systems have been introduced, the most popular of which is a system from Clover Systems. You will often notice discs being sold as “A-Grade” or “AAA-Grade”, with reference to this system.

While well intentioned, this has only caused manufacturers to sell all their optical media as A-Grade; as there is no official, legal and enforced terminology of “A-Grade” media the majority of media making these claims are not “A-Grade”, by Clover Systems standard. This goes unnoticed by many consumers and professionals as they do not have the facilities to scan blank CD-R for defects.

River Media is true A-Grade. It has unparalleled reliability, consistency and archival length. It does this by offering:

No un-correctable errors

  • Un-correctable errors will cause audio artefacts, loss of quality, lower archival life and reduced playback compatibility

No E22, E32 errors (C2 / CU)

  • While it is possible in some modern players to correct these errors, earlier playback devices will be unable to. We consider E22 and E32 errors to be un-correctable in order to ensure the highest compatibility of our media with playback devices.

Exceptionally low BLER

  • Block Error Rate is defined as the number of data blocks per second that contain detectable errors.
  • Red Book Specification (IEC 908) calls for a maximum BLER of 220 per second (Average Over 10 seconds), which is a maximum of 2200 errors in a 10 second period.
  • River Media has an average BLER of 2.7, or 27 in a 10 second period; which is approximately 87 times higher quality than the Red Book Specification.

Why does this matter?

To an average consumer, so long as an optical disc works, it’s fine. However, to a supplier or producer of media, a disc that burns, or even plays is not the bottom line. Using lower quality media will result in returns and unhappy customers, costing time and money, as:

  • Higher error rates leave considerably less room for degradation, which negatively affects the resilience and archival life of the optical media. An optical disc with higher error rates may only be suitably read / played once or twice before they become unusable.
  • High error rates will reduce audio quality and produce audio artefacts, even if an optical disc plays fine when created, one with high error rates will see these problem manifest on different players and at an accelerated rate over time.
  • High error rates will severely reduce playback compatibility. While an optical disc may work with one reader, it doesn’t ensure it will work at all with another.

To prevent these problems occurring, we recommend using River Media products. Having the most consistent, low error rates of any media examined, you put yourself in the best position to serve your customers.

We’re so confident in the quality of our optical media and of our commitment to excellence that it is reinforced by our Unique, No Quibble, Satisfaction Guarantee.

We are proud to be the only optical media manufacturer in the world with this level of confidence in our products.

Satisfaction Guarantee