Go for better scans, or bitset to ROM?



Sorry for the cryptic title, but I couldn’t think of a concise way to ask this.

I have two burners: NEC 3520AW, and LG GSA 4163B. I’ve had the NEC for awhile, and it is a sturdy little workhorse–actually probably the most reliable burner I’ve ever owned. The LG is new. When I back up a DVD movie, and then scan it using CDSpeed (Disk Quality Test), I get slightly better scan results on discs burned w/the NEC, than w/the LG.

However, the LG allows bitsetting +R’s to DVD-ROM. If my primary purpose for these disks is to make them the most playable that I can, in set-top players, which would you go for: the NEC, which produces slightly better scans but cannot bitset +R to ROM, or the LG, which can bitset +R to ROM, but which produces slightly less better scans?

You can see an example of what I’m talking about here: Same movie, burned w/LG, and again on the NEC. NEC produced slightly better results, but of course the disk is still a +R, as far as a set-top player is concerned.

Since the LG won’t work w/CDSpeed, both disks were scanned on the NEC. Which begs another question: could scanning an LG-burned disk on the NEC actually make the PIFs and PIEs seem higher, when in fact they are not?

So anyway, if you folks were presented w/this Hobson’s choice for your movies, which would you take: slightly higher PIFs and PIEs but ROM compatibility, or lower errors but a +R disk?

P.S. I know some of you are thinking, “Mencken, dude, just use Liggy and Dee’s hacked firmware and you can do bitsetting on the NEC.” Not ready to go there yet, hence my quandary.


Well, HLMencken, I would say that the difference in quality between these two discs is negligible. These are both very high quality burns, and it is possible (and quite probable) that the LG burn would be even better if both these discs were scanned by a third burner (like BenQ 1620). And it is a great thing for compatibility to be able to bitset a disc, so I would go for LG when using + format (for the minus, I think NEC gives slightly better burns…). Cheers!


Better in this case does not mean different. Either burn could be expected to last and be playable for an equal period of time, all things being constant. If you need bitsetting, use the LG. And don’t be afraid of switching firmware on the NEC. I left mine virgin for a long time and then took the plunge and never looked back.

I have tons of burns from the days when my Pioneer 107D was a good choice. They have PIEs near 100. None of those are any trouble and I would not consider reburning them to get PIEs in the teens. Remember, the standard is less than 280 PIE and no PIF out of the green. Be happy, part of the fun of more drives is using them, especially when they are both so good. Eventually you will find different media that is best on one or the other and then you will specialize the burns.

BTW, both of these drive are generally better on -R where bitsetting is not an issue.