Always bad quality burns at reasonable speed on good media :(

Hi Guys,

I have a terribly annoying problem that I’ve had for some time and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve always burnt at slow speed (4x) for years now due to high error rates and fluctuating write speed/buffer drop outs at anything higher. However I recently defragged and found the buffer dropouts stopped, however the fluctuating write speeds still remain (im using imgburn to burn so I can see the active write speed).

I understand I have a PCAV burner (Dell OEM LG GSA H31N) and due to this the laser adjusts its speed to best suit the burn, so I assume this accounts for the ocassional drops in speed I see (for example, if I burn at 4x I see the burn drop back to 3.6x maybe four or five times during the burn, and raise itself back to 4x a couple of seconds later). However, if I burn at the more recommended higher speeds for my media Verb MCC03RG20 such as 8x or 12x or 16x I see much more drastic drops. Near the end of the disc when it’s hitting near enough 12 or 16x the speed drops back to sometimes as low as 6.5x or 4.5x (!) for a few seconds before shooting back up. There is no buffer underrun however, and overall time of the burn is about right. Is this normal?

Anyway, I’m not bothered about burn scans however I have attached some as I want to get to the bottom of this problem. Basically, the last two spindles I’ve had were quality media TDK branded TDK003 pack of 50 and now Verbatim branded MCC03RG20 and I seem to have a problems on quite a few of the discs, maybe 1/3 of them, no matter what speed I burn however the faster I burn I seem to get more problems. These problems manifest themselves generally toward the last 20% of the discs. Ie, DVD video will skip near the end. A little in some players, a lot in others. Most of the time if burning at 4x I get no problems at all but I shouldn’t have to burn that low on quality media in this day and age should I?

Also on these verbs I’ve noticed visble defects when burnt on some of them! I assume these are the bad burns? Near outer edge of the disc there’s like a “cloud” or a dark blotch about 2mm in diameter. It doesn’t go round the whole of the disc it’s just on a certain part. Is this normal on quality media? I assume this maybe causing some problems, however not all bad burns I have done have visible defects like this!!

Please see attached some scans I’ve done. These include the MCC disc burnt at 12x which had visible skipping errors on the last part of the dvd video. 30% quality rating?!?! Also attached the terrible speed graph for that disc, that failed before finishing with an error.

Also included is a TDK003 burnt at 4x with a 40% rating, high PIF errors near end of disc may explain skipping seen there on some players.

Also finally a decent 84% rating but still low? for MCC burnt at 8x. Not sure of any errors as havent tested. Speed scan attached for this.

Anyway fellas, please help me get to the bottom of the problem of these visible defects and poor burns its doing my head in!!

Did you ever figure this out?

Check your DMA settings.

Are you using the drive in an enclosure? USB2 or Firewire?

Make sure the drive is connected with an 80-wire cable.