:: Good & Bad Media for Pioneer 109/A09 ::

My list (add your picks), ranked from highest burn speeds with lowest PI/PO errors to lowest burn speeds with lowest PI/PO errors, followed by increasingly worse discs ranked by speed of burn.

On my 109 w/v1.09 firmware (drive dated Jan 05 originally on v1.01 from newegg.com), using a 106 w/v1.08 unlocked for scanning:


  1. 16x+R @12x Verbatim MCC004
  2. 4x-R @ 4x Maxell TYG001


  1. 16x+R @ 12x Memorex PhilipsC16

Don’t know yet (the A09 is supposed to burn to 2.4x DL Verbatim’s well - see other people’s scans, so I think it’s the A06 that isn’t a great PI/PO scanner for this perhaps?) I’ll have to pickup a Plextor in the future to make another scan; still first layer PI/PO performance is great.


  1. 2.4x+R DL @ 6x Verbatim MKM001

Please note the SCALE of each chart - it’s different across different scans, so you need to be careful else you’ll get the wrong idea about a disc.
(Don’t go blaming me for bad setup of the scanning software, drives used, etc. – this is just for fun and having my friend do these.)

For comparison, a LiteOn 1633s w/BS0S firmware burned 16x+R @16x Verbatim is included.

At least for single layer discs, you can see right away the superior performance of the 109/A09 series over the LiteOn on the very same disc (although different speeds 16x Liteon vs. 12x Pioneer; still much, much lower PI/PO errors on the Pioneer).

Anyways, it’s only my second day with this drive, so I’ll be posting more scans as I go. It’s a great drive thus far - quick (esp. 6x DL burns), quiet (vs. noisier LiteOn I used to have), and just works w/o a hitch. Hopefully, I’ll find someone in OC, CA with a better scan drive, or I’ll have to pickup a Plextor on my next paycheck to check out the DL scans (hope I don’t have a bad drive here =P).

Thankfully, we know right away that there’s two excellent media for this drive with, IMO, excellent & low PI/PO errors - 16x+R Verbatim (pick up anywhere at Staples, Microcenter, etc.) and 4x-R Maxell (Made In Japan on label; pick up at office stores, etc.).

here’s more scans burned with v/1.09 scanned on A06:

  1. 2.4x DL MKM001 Verbatim burned @ 2.4x
  2. 2x -R Princo Compusa @ 1x
  3. 4x -R CMCMAG AF1 Teon @ 4x
  4. 8x +R Philips041 nobrand @ 4x
  5. 8x +R Philips041 nobrand @ 8x

yack that MKM DL burn looks horid. I’m not burning any DL till a new firmware comes out with some better quality.

SKY media (in Australia it is branded Laser) DVD-R 4x is bad on 108 & 109. Okay I thought I would try it at 50 for $20 (approx $15 US) and I did get what I paid for…


SKY is cheapo media and so is their quality.

I wonder why you have used FASTER for Speed / Accuracy…

General rules on good and bad media still apply.

The only 109 exception so far is it burned OPTODISCR04 DVD+R (Staples branded) media at 100% perfect. Never tried that “brand” before, but the OPTODISC codes for DVD+R generally results in a pile of coasters. I ended up using all of these for my xbox.

Today’s post:
2.4x DL+R Verbatim @ 4x

and posted here for comparison:

109 1.09 burned: 2.4x DL+R Verbatim @ 2.4x

1633s BS0S burned: 2.4x DL+R Verbatim @ 2.4x
(Please note CHANGE IN SCALE!!! vs. above.)

So, we can see a direct correlation between PI/PO error rates increase with speed. Why are they higher than the Liteon 1633S DL burn vs. 109, no idea for now, but it looks like this particular 109 doesn’t do as good of a job on DL burns yet. The 109 is easily doing 3x higher PI error rates on the 2nd layer vs. the 1633s burn (~60 vs 20).

Okay, finally got hands on an older Liteon 812S US0Q to do some scans:

  1. 2.4x DL+R Verbatim @ 4x - DVDInfoPro Scans (full scale & magnified)
  2. Kprobe scans of above (full scale & magnified)

There are four (4) images total, two per pair. The magnified image of each pair lets you see the PI on the 2nd layer more clearly.

Why the 1st layer has such PI/PO errors and the 2nd layer is superb?!? Very much the opposite of the Pioneer A06 scans.

Makes me wonder what all of these ‘non-supported’ PI/PO error scans on drives that didn’t release with these features in mind (ie. every drive except a Plextor) and supported by the manufacturer =really= means.

(In this particular case of the 2.4xDL+R @ 4x, is it the 2nd layer that’s bad or the first layer?!? ie. has high PI/PO error rates. The A06 scan is completely opposite of the 812S scan!)

YSS Japan A09 review

In comparison, YSS Japan scanned their 6x burns on other drives, and they look fine.

Yep, that shows that you cannot use scans with the DVR-106 for a fair comparison…


Just picked up a Plextor PX-716A at BestBuy for $99 AR and used it to make quality PI/PO scans of the Pioneer 109 drive DL burns I have.

Drives used:
Plextor PX-716A @ 1.04 firmware, TL0203, Jan 05 using Plextools 2.19
Pioneer DVR-109 @ 1.09 firmware, Jan 05
LiteOn 1633S BS0S

To start, here’s a scan of a 2.4x MKM001 DL +R Verbatim burned on the =Liteon 1633S= for comparison.

(notice that I’ve named each graphic to include the:

  1. drive used to burn the disc

  2. the disc burned including Media ID, and at what speed (if not stated, then it’s a the labled default, otherwise, at the faster 4x/6x DL speeds).

  3. the drive used to scan the disc

  4. And most importantly, IMO, the disc HUB laser printed codes!
    I think that DL discs are still very new, and even minor differences between batches can cause big differences, so I’m posting these hub codes along with everything else.

Okay, now, the 1633S DL 2.4x burn looks like this:

So, the Liteon 1633S isn’t bad at all as you can see above – it does under 10 PI for the first layer, then 40-60 PI for the second layer. Quite nice in fact.

But do a Land/Pit analysis (not posted due to time limits), it only gets a very good (4 bars out of 5).

But let’s compare the Pionner to the Liteon and see how much better you can get with Pioneer’s Liquid Crystal focused laser beam system.

Here’s two scans of the Pioneer DVR-109 v1.09 on the Verbatim 2.4x DL+R MKM001 discs:

  1. 2.4x DL+R @ 4x burn speed
  2. 2.4x DL+R @ 6x burn speed


Both 4x and 6x burns look almost identical, with PI under 10 for the first layer, and PI around 20-25 for the second layer flat all the way through!!

Superb burns on any DVD burner for sure, and amazingly good for a DL burner! (2x-3x lower PI error rates on the 2nd layer vs. the Liteon 1633s)

Plus, it gets a consistant 5 bars out of 5 (excellent burn) on the Land/Pit analysis on these two discs!!

I have to do nothing more than to feed this OEM Pioneer DVR-109 from www.newegg.com the latest firmware and 2.4x DL+R Verbatim discs to get awesome DL burns!!! Yeah!!!

This makes me extremely happy about my DVR-109 purchase, and it’s a keeper for sure! I’ll have to go back and redo my PI/PO scans on the Plextor for the other discs I’ve posted earlier later and repost, but I already have a good feeling about this latest Pioneer!

This also means that both the LiteOn 812S and the Pioneer A06 drives are not very good at PI/PO error scans, and should not be used to do so – you definitely won’t get any realistic results. (they get exactly opposite PI/PO graphs - one reports high PI in the first layer, the other reports high PI in the 2nd layer)

I bought the Plextor 716A specifically after reading the reviews at www.cdrinfo.com re: the close match between the PI/PO curve trends reported by the Plextor vs. the professional scanner machine they also tested just for scanning purposes. No point buying a scanner drive that doesn’t match the trends reported by the professional disc scanner (eg. like the LiteOn 16xx series, which they said often doesn’t match up at all).

Although my Plextor could be defective, thus giving low PI/PO error reports for whatever reason, I would like to think that the drive is good since the scans match those at YSS’s Japan DVD burner review website for the Pioneer on Verbatim DL media.

Anyways, now what to do about two drives? I’ll keep one external, the other internal as always for double-checking burns (always good to make sure the discs are readable in more than one drive when burning anything important).

But I’ll have to hunt down a new external case now that both drives use more power than the A06 I had in the external case. The Plextor is definitely quieter at tray opening/closing than the Pioneers - a soft whoosh opening and closing vs. a clunk. The Plextor is quicker at detecting CDs and showing them in Windows; the Pioneer is quicker at detecting DVDs and showing them in Windows. Nevertheless, both drives take =forever= IMO to detect and show DVDs of any sort (we’re talking many seconds to a dozen or two!) and are slow at this vs. a plain-jane DVD-ROM drive. But I can understand due to the fact that the drive is trying to detect which type, burnable/not burnable, DL or not, etc. on DVDs.

ME-320UF case 12v (1.8A max)/5v (1.5A max)

A06 12v (0.6A max)/5v (1.1A max)
109 12v (1.0A max)/5v (1.6A max)
716 12v (1.4A avg/2.0peak)/5v (1.4A avg/1.7A peak)

As I remember, some people had problems using their drives in external cases, with drives not burning correctly – I’d definitely make sure you read the power supply ratings first to make sure you’re not starving the drive!! Even a 0.1A difference may seem like nothing, but drives are sensitive to power fluctuations due to the sensitive nature of laser burning.

My updated good media list for the Pioneer 109/A09 is now:

=Single Layer discs=

  1. 16x+R @12x Verbatim MCC004
  2. 4x-R @ 4x Maxell TYG001


  1. 16x+R @ 12x Memorex PhilipsC16

=Dual Layer discs=

  1. 2.4x+R DL @ 2.4x, 4x & 6x Verbatim MKM001

Yay, that looks very useful.

Thanks, adorable!

Okay, got some more time with the 109 & my new PX-716A, and here’s more.

First 4 images off the 109 v1.09 burn, Verbatim 16x+R @ 12x MCC004

  1. PI/PO
  2. Beta/Jitter
  3. Inner Land/Pit
  4. Middle Land/Pit

Next 4 for comparison, PX-716A v1.04 burn, same media, same disc image.
1-4. same order as above.

Here’s a scan of some 1x media I still have to see how well the 109 copes with older media.
CMCMAG 1x Optimum brand.

  1. PI/PO
  2. Inner Pit/Land
  3. Middle Pit/Land
  4. Outer Pit/Land

As you can see above, the Plextor 716A had about 3.8x higher PI errors than the Pioneer 109 on this 16x+R Verbatim comparison. Keep in mind the Plextor burned at 16x while the Pioneer limited this disc to 12x (in reality, about the same 5 minutes or so to burn both).

I’ll have to burn more duplicates to compare and see if this trend keeps up.

My updated good media list for the Pioneer 109/A09 is now:

=Single Layer discs=

  1. 16x+R @12x Verbatim MCC004
  2. 4x-R @ 4x Maxell TYG001


  1. 16x+R @ 12x Memorex PhilipsC16


  1. 1x-R Optimum CMCMAG

=Dual Layer discs=

  1. 2.4x+R DL @ 2.4x, 4x & 6x Verbatim MKM001

Again, standard rules apply. You get best results with better media. Stuff like CMC is fit only for a landfill, in most cases. I’m shocked that a 1x CMC burned at all.

For comparison, Plextor PX716A 2.4xDL Verbatim @ 6x MKM001.

Obviously worse than the Pioneer @ 6x and closer to the LiteOn