~~~ CD Writer and Media Recomendations ~~~

Well, now in the age of DVD writers, there seems to be very little discussion about CD writers. I burn alot of audio CD’s. I mean a ton. I have two rigs that I use to burn on multiple recorders. Here’s the hitch: The one I mosty use has two NEC drives. A 3500 which writes everything really well, and a 3540 that makes a real mess of Ritek disks. As I understand it, Ritek CDs are pretty decent, so I just bought 500. I use Taiyo Yuden for all my archival stuff, but I burn a truckload of, “church CD’s,” for people that I give away free of charge. (It’s actualy more of a spiritual group who don’t drink alcohol if you really must know) I need to keep my media costs as minimal as possible. CMC stuff burns well for me, but I can’t find info on who’s using CMC stock for CD’s. Videohelp only lists stuff for DVD.

1.) I’m going to keep the 3500 in this machine, for really obvious reasons… :smiley: but I’d like to pull the 3540 and replace it with something that writes cheap(er) CD-R media well. I’d like to keep the cost down too, so I’m leaning toward a couple CD-R writers VS DVD writers. (I may also bite the bullet and go with DVD writers so they’re more useful, but I’m not gonna spend $60, or even $50 bucks apeice on them either.)

What do you all recomend? I’d really like to be able to either choose a couple $16-$20 CD writers, or a couple $30 DVD writers that are proven to write lower cost CD-R very well. If you’re recomending DVD writers, I would really prefer something that writes TYG02/03, TY T02, and MCC004 very well. I’d also prefer drives that can do accurate quality scans. (I guess I want it all) Lightscribe would be a nice bonus, but is definately NOT one of my primary concerns. (Ok, just shy of all :p)

All recomendations MUST BE PATA

2.) Any help identifying what manufacturers are using CMC stock would be much appriciated. I actualy hate Ritek, as I’ve been burned enough by them, (once :clap: for me. I learned quick!) and would prefer to use someone elses media. Unfortunately, I can’t just buy CMC media at shop4tech or supermediastore for $22/100 shipped and be done with it. There is no, “CMC unbranded media.” I just bought those 500 Riteks because I got in on a clearance of Office Depot branded disks for $9.99/100, shipped, as the order was over $50.00 once I added some paperclips. Sometimes ya gotta make a deal with the devil, as it were. lol I can seem myself having to use Ritek FOR CD-R MEDIA ONLY in the future, so I might as well adjust to that fact.

Any other cheap media recomendations are also appriciated, but only if the stuff is gonna stand the test of time at least reasonably well. (None of that crap that starts flaking apart in 6 months, PLEASE!)

I know I’m asking alot here, but I have faith in the collective cheapness of my fellow freaks. I mean, um, err, ability to find great VALUE! lol


PS, if you’ve got something you might sell at a fair price that you’ve outgrown, PM me.

My NEC Optiarc AD-7170A burns Prodisc CD-R really well (as well as Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim Super Azo). I haven’t tried burning RiTEK CD-R with that drive yet, but I could burn one if you’re interested. I don’t have any CMC CD-R.

Drage, you the MAN! Um, yeah, I’d like to know what Ritek looks like burned at 48X, particularly if you have a peice of 97m15s17f. I’m well aware that 16X is the ideal speed for redbook audio, but if I can get consistant scans with max C1 under 40 and no C2 errors, I’m ok with that given the number of disks I burn. The 3540 makes a real mess of it. Does that drive do accurate quality scans? It certainly fits the price point I’m looking at.

Might I be better off with something like a Lite-On LH-20A1P-185, LH-20A1P-186 for quality scanning? Also, if I remember correctly, the Samsung SH-S182D is an excelent scanner too, yes?

If I can narrow down what I’m considering some, then I can read a bunch on those specific drives. It’s been awhile since I’ve really caught up on what everyone’s offering these days. I’m going to do some reading up on that 7170A. :slight_smile:

Thanks Drege! Anyone else?


Let me rephrase that to avoid any misunderstanding:

My NEC Optiarc AD-7170A burns Prodisc CD-R really well, and also burns Taiyo Yuden and Verbatim Super Azo with excellent quality. Prodisc CD-R results are not as good as with TY or Super Azo, however.

I’ll see if I can burn and post scans of Fuji branded RiTEK 48x CD-R burned in an Optiarc AD-7170A today or tomorrow.

Fujifilm branded RiTEK 48x CD-R (97m15s17f) burned at 48x on my Optiarc AD-7170A 1.O4 and scanned in two drives.

There’s clearly a problem at the end of the CD-R that causes a mountain of E22 errors (a.k.a. C2 in the Plextor scan) but no E32 errors (a.k.a. CU in the Plextor scan). I’ve had other results that were bad at the end of this batch of discs.

This disc has been stored in a paper sleeve and has visible dirt on the surface including a speck of dust near the outer edge, which explains the mountain of E22 errors. :doh:

I have exactly one (1) disc left if you want me to test at another burning speed.

Hmmm, definately less than stellar. C2 errors abound. I’m starting to wonder what’s acceptable though. I thought C2 errors generaly ment an unplayable disk, but have found otherwise. Disks burned in my 3540 actualy have lower total C2 counts, but have very high spikes. (Scanning on a Lite-On 1693)

Can’t thank you enough for the time you’ve taken to burn that disk and scan it on the two drives Drage.

If BigMike wasn’t out of the country ATM, I’d send him some of these Ritek disks and ask him to burn 'em on a couple of his drives for me. Anyone else willing to burn a few for me if I ship them to you? If so, shoot me a PM.


The thing about “C2 errors” is that it’s a vague term that IMO leads to misunderstandings because it means different things at different times. That’s why I have started using the precise terms E22 and E32 instead.

Most drives capable of scanning for “C2 errors” will in fact only report errors that are uncorrectable at the C2 layer; the correct term for these errors is: E32.

Some drives like true Plextor drives will report two kinds of C2 errors, both E22 that are correctable and E32 that are not correctable. In a PlexTools or PxScan scan, these will be reported as C2=E22 and CU=E32.

True BenQ drives using Advanced Disc Quality Scan will report all the individual Exy errors, even E12 which are technically also “C2 errors” but which will be present on all but the most outstanding discs. Whenever you have E31 errors (uncorrectable by C1 layer) you will automatically also have E12 errors, so they are almost unavoidable.

Since it’s meaningless to compare scans showing C2=E32 on some drives with scans showing C2=E22 or C2=E22+E32 on some other drives, I make it a point to be specific about what kind of C2 errors I’m talking about.

The “C2 errors generally meant an unplayable disk” has some truth to it, but lets examine what it means:

Any E32 on an audio CD are uncorrectable by the drive, and error concealment will be used to try to mask the error. This may or may not be audible.

Any E32 on a data CD are uncorrectable by the drive, but there’s a third layer of error correction that can be used by the computer to correct the error. Only if third layer error correction fails will there be an actual read error reported by the operating system.

All E22 are correctable but they should not be present on a really good CD.


None of these drives are suitable for CD-R scanning.


Drage, thanks so much for taking the time to explain the real deal with C2 errors. I don’t think there’s really a terrific need to burn another at a different speed. I thank you for your generous offer, and for the increadible explanation reguarding E22 and E32 errors. If you were in the USA, I’d happily send you samples of all of the media I have on hand just for what you’ve already done to make that crystal clear.

Michael, I appriciate your input reguarding the Lite-On’s not being suitable for CD-R scanning. How about my Lite-On 1693 or my NEC-3540? I’ve been scanning with the 1693 as I’m under the understanding that the 3540 really isn’t a very good scanner, but maybe that’s just reguarding DVD scanning?

I burned 4 test disks, one in each of the writers I currently own. I have 2 3500’s, a 3540, and the Litey 1693. I did scans on each of the 4 disks yesterday right after I burned them, and saved the results. I just finished re-scanning the disks and the results are quite different. I thought maybe letting the dye settle for 24 hours might change things, but the scans really look SO different, that I question the accuracy of CD-R scanning with the 1693. I have disks that scan with C2 spikes into the thousands on some disks, but they play just fine. :confused:

Apparently I don’t have the right hardware to do accurate CD-R scanning. You know, that’s ok, just so long as I know what drives are decent CD-R writers and which are not. I’m not all about making disks the scan awesome so I can show those scans off and gloat. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) I’m all about writing alot of CDs real fast and knowing the people I give them to are not going to start saying to me, “I just can’t play the CDs you give me.”

So, I guess what I’m really getting at here is, I don’t NEED to scan disks if that’s what it comes down to. My first DVD writer was the NEC-3500, and I still use it more than anything else. I like it so much, I now own two. I got the 1693 because I wanted to be able to do quality scans. All I really accomplished by doing so was to again confirm that the 3500 is an awesome writer. :slight_smile: And I have the 3540, well, because it was a gift.

Maybe if I want to write good CDs, I’m just going to have to buy straight CD writers. I’m willing to do that given how inexpensive they are, as I’m going to continue to burn alot of CDs for a very very long time God willing.

So the question remains, what are the better CD writers available in today’s market? (Hopefully Plextor aside. $$$ Yikes.) Or is the 7170 about as good as it gets these days?


No problem. :slight_smile:

I’d be happy to burn my last Fujifilm branded RiTEK CD-R after a more thorough cleaning this time. Just let me know if you change your mind.

How about my Lite-On 1693 or my NEC-3540? I’ve been scanning with the 1693 as I’m under the understanding that the 3540 really isn’t a very good scanner, but maybe that’s just reguarding DVD scanning?
NEC drives are not considered reliable scanners for DVDs, but they can be quite acceptable for scanning CDs.

I suggest you try using your NEC 3540 for CD scanning at a 32x scanning speed.
It will report C1 in a standard way (C1=BLER=E11+E21+E31) and it will report uncorrectable C2 i.e. C2=E32.

Some NEC drives will produce seemingly random C1/C2 spikes at some scanning speeds with some CDs, and I have found 32x to be the most reliable scanning speed in general with my NEC/Optiarc drives.

Hi JD,
I went the Plextor Premium route (look in my sig) and get great results with both of mine. I know you don’t want to hear that sorry and yes they are expensive.

Also TY CD’s are pretty much the cheapest for media route. There is more expensive media but good all round media is TY.

Hey Rollin’…
TY’s are cheap? $32/100 shipped from Rima for me, and shop4tech has the value line for $29/100 shipped (Hardly worth it considering it’s the value line). I got the RiTEKs I’m using now from the Office Depot closeout for $9.99/100 shipped. Quite a differance. Like I said above, I use NOTHING BUT TY for my archival stuff, (Burned at 16X for redbook audio), but I use the cheap stuff for my play-every-day stuff and for the hundreds of CDs I give away. I just want to be sure they’re going to play for at least a couple years.

It’s not that I don’t want to hear about the Plex drives, I just can’t afford 3 or 4 of 'em. lol (BTW, are you familiar with www.tradersden.com? One of my most favorite sites in the world, second only to 'Freaks of course. Some good shows to be had there.)

I think I’m gonna do some scans with the 3540 as you suggested, at 32X. Maybe I’ve finaly hit upon something that drive can do well? lol Who knows, maybe the stuff the 3500 and 3540 (those are the drives that are in my 2ndary machine that I do most of my CD bruning on), are pretty good disks. Like I said, they play fine and I can’t hear any audible clicks or other problems where I estimate those C1 and C2 spikes are. (Not to mention the fact that they seem to change location from one day to the next when I scan with the 1693) If that’s the case, maybe I’ll just add another drive to that machine and be able to burn 3 at once.

That machine’s an early Celeron 2.4 Ghz (Not the D, only 128 K cache on the chip), on a cheap ECS mobo, running XP with 1 gig. I have a Promise Ultra 133 TX2 running the two hard disks in it, and am running the optical drives both as master on the primary and secondary IDE channels on the mobo. Burns two CD’s at once @48X just fine. I wonder if I can get away with running a third drive as slave though. The Promise controller is not good for optical drives as I understand it, and have proven to myself. Perhaps you saw my post in the Bargain Basement (my home here on freaks) asking Alan about that. Anyhow, I hope I don’t have to buy a new controller to pull it off, butr suspect I will.


JD it all comes down to, “you get what you pay for”. If you use cheap media then you get crappy burns that don’t last long.

By the way K-Mart has some good deals on Fujifilm TY CD-R’s every now and then :iagree:

That’s a good tip too. Unfortunately, the only K-marts around me (40 miles away), all have the MIM stuff. :sad: I just happened to be in Rochester a few weeks ago when it was on sale and checked it out at two of the K-Marts there. No dice. I was really bummed too, because it was a pretty decent price if it was MIJ.

I know you get what you pay for (usualy) but you have to understand, no-one pays for what I give them, so I have to work within the finacial restraints that comes with a fixed income. I’ve burned alot of disks on cheap(er) CMC media 10 years ago that is still going strong. I’ve also burned some prodisk or plasmon or something like that back then, that the silver layer flaked off of in a matter of months, sometimes even days, and none lasted beyond a year or two, so I definately hear what you’re saying. Point is, there IS a happy medium between value and quality, and that happy medium is exactly what fits the bill here.

TY is bar none, the finest media available, I know that. Have for a long long time. (Although the 2004 and new Verbatim +R stuff is looking pretty damned good and the new T02 I’ve been getting from Rima is not nearly what it used to be.)

I’m really not trying to be cheap bro. It’s just that, I only have so much to spend, charitably or otherwise. The reason I bought all those Office Depot disks is BECAUSE I knew they were RiTEK. RiTEK disks (well, CD-R anyhow, don’t get me going on how much I hate RiTEK), have proven themselves in the past few years, as a disk that burns reasonably well, and doesn’t dye-rott in a matter of weeks or months. No-one I give these disks to is quality scanning them, or even knows what that is. The point is, will they last a few years? All my research says DEFINATELY, where CD-R is concerned.

If I was being paid even $1 a disk, you can rest assured I’d be using nothing BUT TY. I’ve been banging that drum for years here on Freaks. Like I siad, it’s all I use for archiving, and not valueline stuff either. TY bought from Rima on spindles.

When I got my first DVD writer back in 2004, I was replacing a Yamaha SCSI 4x4x16 CD-RW drive, and I did ALOT of reading around here before I bit. Glad I did. The 3500 I bought is still the best writer I own. (Have two of 'em now actualy, thanks to Big Mike.) Unfortunately, there’s not so many people testing what CD-R works best with what writer any more. We’re all posting our DVD ±R scans these days. So I figured the newbie forum would be a good place to ask what people are using specificly for CD-R these days.

If you’ve tested some, “less expensive, readily available from places like Rima, Shop4tech or supermediastore, not scouring store shelves 40-50 miles away from me for MIJ stock,” media, I’d love to hear the results.


Well, I scanned those 4 disks with the 3540 at 32X, and while it reported between 2X-4X the C1 errors, no C2 errors showed up on 3 of the 4 disks. The disk that still shows C2 errors was the one written on the 1693.

I’ve been real busy with other things, so I haven’t had the time to do the further testing I would like to. I’d really like to scan the same disk more than once on the 3540 at 32X and compare the scans to determine if the results are repeatable. I’d also like to try burning some disks at 32X and see if there’s any significant improvement. When I get the time to do that, I’ll report my findings.


That has recently changed, so if you’re interested in seeing HP branded CMC CD-R scans I can oblige you.
I have already made a burn at 48x in the Optiarc AD-7170A with scans and I’m comparing with a 16x burn in a Plextor PX-760A.

Yeah, that’d be cool for sure. That’s exactly what I bought awhile ago was HP branded CMC when Viking Office Supply had them marked down to ~ $8/50 and buy one get one free. I still have about 150 pieces left in that nice cool dark closet of mine. :iagree:

My 1693 is now dying. :frowning: every scan I do, at least on DVDs, now ends with an error. I’ve seen something similar in a few other threads here, and suspect it’s on it’s way out, so now I may need to buy at least one drive that’s a suitable scanner. What a mess. Being in the NEC family, I’ve got to beleive that that 7170 is a pretty bad scanner. I’m probably looking at another Lite-On to replace the 1693, but I don’t know whether I’m better off with a new drive, or a new old stock 160P6S. {sigh} Newegg review anyhow, on the LH-20A1H don’t look so hot.


I’ll put my NEC 3500 in my case. It’s currently in my external Prolific enclosure and burn the discs i have here. Or i can leave it in the Prolific enclosure.

You want me to post them here in this thread? Also what do you want me to use to scan them with and at what speed?

IMO the 160P6S (same as my 165P6S but without DVD-RAM support) would be the more useful scanner, but the LH-20A1P/H would be a better DVD burner. I have no experience with the even newer DH-20A3P/H drives and no opinion on these.

@ Rolling
If you want to move the 3500 you can, but do you really think there’s going to be a big differance in write quality? Honestly though, I’d find disks burned in burners available in retail chains now, such as the DH-20A1P, DH-20A3P, or Samsung drives more useful in determining what I’ll buy. As for what drive and speed to scan, I’d imagine that the Plextor drives or perhaps BenQ’s that can do advanced disk quality testing are probably going to produce the most reliable repeatable results.

I wonder which of the aformetioned drives would burn CDs well as well. This is just really bad timing for the 1693 to be actin up. I may have to concern myself withy getting a good scanner first, and just continue to burn CD’s two up on the 3500 and 3540 for the time being. It’d be nice to burn 'em 4 at a time right away, but it may have to wait.

Well, I’m out for awhile. Have to go visit with some people.