How fussy is 712A about media?

I recently bought my first DVD burner - a 712A, based on Plextor’s reputation and a good review I saw. Since then I’ve read a lot of negative reports about this drive, and now I’m wondering if the behaviour of mine is typical, or whether I have a faulty one.

It works fine as a CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drive. DAE at high speed works well. I have burned a few CDRs and not had a problem. But trying to burn DVDs (just bog-standard data format ones) has been a bit of an eye-opener:

I first bought some 4x Xerox DVD-Rs (ID: CMC MAG AF1), and every one has had write failures at both 4x and 2x writing.
Next I picked up some 4x Packard Bell DVD-Rs (ID: VDSPMSAB 01), and these fail immediately (even during a simulation) writing the lead-in, even writing at only 2x.
Finally I got a couple of 8x Verbatims, a DVD-R (ID: MCC 02RG20) and a DVD+R (ID: MCC), since they are on Plextor’s recommended list. Both of these wrote successfully (the DVD+R at 6x, and the DVD-R at 8x).

Until I bought to 712A, I had been using an old Ricoh MP6200S CD burner, and in 7 years it has never burned a single coaster, using all manner of assorted media types. So I suppose my expectations have been set by this experience.

Is DVD burning that much less reliable than CD burning?
Or is it just that the 712A is extremely fussy about media quality?
Or does the evidence suggest my 712A is sub-standard?

NB. Currently using firmware 1.04. (I had upgraded it to 1.05, then backed it off after seeing some reports that 1.05 was worse than 1.04). Using Adaptec ASPI layer 4.60 (as installed by ForceASPI). Plextools Pro 2.15 (after trying 2.16 and experiencing the PC lock-up others have reported).

You cannot compare CD recording vs. DVD recording. DVDs discs are far more sensitive to errors and there is a LOT of inferior DVDR media floating around. Judging from your post I’d say your drive is working fine. If you’re using low quality media then any drive will have problems with them. Agreed, some writers may be able to write a low quality disc that another drive cannot (and vice versa) but try reading them after a couple of months…

XEROX media failing??? This is NOT normal!!! Xerox doesn’t strike me as someone who sells crap media! One might say that this is not recomended media … granted … but nevertheless this dye is supported. Besides, CMC MAG AF1 writes VERY well at 4x in my unit (amongst the lowest pipo scans, PIPO < 20). Granted, my media is Memorex not Xerox … but that should make no difference (especially since there are quite few people saying that Memorex is bad!) … if you ask me this is very fishy :eek:

I can’t say anything about Packard Bell’s, but again since VDSPMSAB 01 has FW support, it should not behave like this (my humble opinion).

Have you did a PIPO scan on these discs? If yes, what kind of values do you get? If not, then you should!!! Not having an error during the burning process doesn’t mean anything nowadays … if you want to ckeck that the writing quality is OK, use Plextools and scan the discs … I’ve got plenty of coasters who were written “succesfully” according to the burning software …

In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with your expectations!!! I feel the same way … overall this is a MAJOR failure of the industry … both in terms of hardware manufacturers and media manufacturers!!! :a
The HW manufacturers should demand good quality media from media manufacturers under the threat of publicly blacklisting them … if this would be enforced, any media manufacturer would think twice before releasing crap to the market, because otherwise their reputation would be trashed!!! Pretty simple solution huh?!

If you ask me, 712A is known to be very fussy about media!!! Even die hard Plextor fans will agree with that, although they will gently hide behind the Tayo Yuden media, generally blaming this behaviour on media quality (which is not always the case) :bigsmile:

Lots have been said about PI/PO, but not too much has been posted on taking screen shots of Tracking/Focus errors on blank media. These factors have nothing to do with the write stragegies and show if the drive can stay on track and the media can write at the claimed speed. Yes, the drive is picky. Yes, some have good results with a media ADIP while others have lots of problems with the same ADIP. There can be quite a quality range in media, and just because you have a media code work great in one drive doesn’t mean another drive will work fine with that media code because it may be from an entirely different factory. As experienced by CVS and others, it can be a marginal drive, but I and others have not experienced any problems with the hardware.

Test the media first with tracking/focus Q-check. If the media checks good, and then PI/POF is too high, check beta and jitter. Beta and jitter are a good check of the write strategy and the accuracy of the burn. Doesn’t check error rates for ECC, but does check the pit/land variation and the T3 ratio.

Thanks to everyone for their very useful replies. I will try what bob11879 suggests, and check all these various things.

In the meantime, I have already measured the PI/PO of the two Verbatims that burned successfully. The DVD+R had consistent PI/PO around the 5 to 8 mark, with one isolated peak at 12. I believe these are very good figures. The DVD-R started off around the 500 mark, then rapidly shot off the top of the 1000 scale that I selected, and about 1/5th of the way in the scan halted with an error message (I think it was “Media Error”, but could be mistaken. I will take careful notes when I run all the other tests that have been suggested). What I can say is that the DVD-R was definitely burned at 8x using firmware 1.04, but the DVD+R, which was burned at 6x, might have been burned with firmware 1.05 - I honestly can’t remember whether I switched back to 1.04 before or after burning the DVD+R. After further reading in other threads here, I get the feeling that on balance firmware 1.05 is generally regarded as the best, so will switch back to that.

I have to admit that I’ve been a little haphazard in what I’ve been trying, and put it down to my initial disappointment and subsequent attempts to find a solution. It seems that I need to be far more systematic from now on. I will report back with more findings when I get them.

OK, I’ve had a chance to do some more structured tests, and here is what I’ve found:

All tests used Plextools Pro 2.15, firmware 1.05, Adaptec ASPI 4.60.

Packard Bell 4x DVD-R (Manufacturer ID: VDSPMSAB 01):
FE/TE reported that it was outside limits, and should not be written at full speed.
All attempts to burn failed with a write error during the lead-in.

Xerox 4x DVD-R (Manufacturer ID: CMC MAG. AF1):
FE/TE reported OK.
All attempts to burn failed with a write error at some random point.

Verbatim 8x DVD-R (Manufacturer ID: MCC 02RG20):
FE/TE reported OK.
Burns appeared to go well, but analysis of PI/PO and beta/jitter show poor burns.
Typical PIE around 10, but rising sharply to >120 at end of disc. POF=0.
Beta/jitter started low, rising steadily through disc until it goes bonkers around the 2.5GB mark (see attached image).
Uncorrectable read errors when attempting to read back the burned discs.

Verbatim 8x DVD+R (Manufacturer ID: MCC; Media ID: 003):
FE/TE reported OK.
Burns went well, subsequent PI/PO and beta/jitter tests show good burns.
Very good PIE (typical <4, peak of 10), POF=0.

Maxell 4x DVD+R (Manufacturer ID: YUDEN000; Media ID: T01):
FE/TE reported OK.
Burns went well, subsequent PI/PO and beta/jitter tests show good burns.
Exceptionally low PIE (typical <3, peak of 8), POF=0.

Drawing conclusions seems difficult, however…
All DVD+Rs have been successful, although I’ve only used Plextor’s recommended media.
All DVD-Rs have been unsuccessful, using both cheap media and Plextor recommended media (Verbatim).
I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps my particular drive just doesn’t like DVD-R media. Is that plausible? The next interesting experiment would be to try some cheap random DVD+R media to see if it works.


Here is a tip. Instead of grabbing screenshots of the whole PlexTools Pro window and JPEG try right-clicking on the scan and saving it as a .png. Much better image quality at 1/5th-1/10th the size.

I’ve ran alot through mine with real good results! Verbatim, Prodisc :slight_smile:

Thanks for brining up a one-year-old thread :doh: