Is the Plex Premium II worth the difference in price over the Premium?

vbimport

#1

Gentle People

I have found a couple of NOS Premiums for sale and I also found one PII for sale, however at a significant ‘premium’:o over the PIs.

My main (only?) interest is scanning and burning High Quality Audio CD’s from my own personal collection, which entails slow burn speeds and optimal conditions for quality burns.

Given this, is the PII worth the extra Cash? I have read on this site that the Gigarec at -.8 which is available on both premium models results in a very close approximation to the AMQR setting available only on the PII.

So for those of you lucky enough to own one or more of both of these drives and enough experience using both, is there a significant difference in the burn quality of these two devices when they are set up for optimum performance?

Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

Kerry


#2

I would say that there is very little difference unless you are an absolute perfectionist when it comes to extracted audio file sizes. There is at least one regular here who prefers the original Premium because it extracts files with the size that they expect to see.

I use the Premium 2 for audio extraction and CD mastering and have never had any problems with it. The burned data and extracted data match exactly as far as I’m concerned. Burn quality is virtually identical.

I wouldn’t bother with Gigarec or AMQR as they are only of interest to audiophiles with badly designed CD players.

James.


#3

Thanks James.

I agree with your assessment of the use of Gigarec (and I assume AMQR work the same way). I have a state of the art Esoteric CD player in my home system with a stable platter CD transoprt system known as the VRDS. Here I hear:) no difference between burns using various gigarec settings on my 716UF. Interestingly, I do notice that the -.8 setting sounds better in my car than standard burns, go figure…:confused:

Kerry


#4

[QUOTE=musicfirst;2534335]I do notice that the -.8 setting sounds better in my car than standard burns, go figure…:confused:
[/QUOTE]

That just means that the motor control section in your car player is interfering with the audio section in some way. Or possibly your car player isn’t happy playing CD-R’s and it sees fewer errors on a disc burned at the .8 setting.

James.


#5

[QUOTE=jamesp;2534334]I would say that there is very little difference unless you are an absolute perfectionist when it comes to extracted audio file sizes. There is at least one regular here who prefers the original Premium because it extracts files with the size that they expect to see.

I use the Premium 2 for audio extraction and CD mastering and have never had any problems with it. The burned data and extracted data match exactly as far as I’m concerned. Burn quality is virtually identical.

I wouldn’t bother with Gigarec or AMQR as they are only of interest to audiophiles with badly designed CD players.

James.[/QUOTE]

http://www.yamaha.ca/av/technology/AMQR.jsp


#6

[QUOTE=jamescooley1;2534716]http://www.yamaha.ca/av/technology/AMQR.jsp[/QUOTE]

Can’t see anything there that actually stands up to scrutiny. If Yamaha say that an AMQR disc sounds different on their players then they’re effectively saying that their CD players are badly designed. Good CD players are immune to pit jitter and all the other problems that AMQR is supposed to solve.

James.


#7

[QUOTE=jamesp;2534839]Can’t see anything there that actually stands up to scrutiny. If Yamaha say that an AMQR disc sounds different on their players then they’re effectively saying that their CD players are badly designed. Good CD players are immune to pit jitter and all the other problems that AMQR is supposed to solve.

James.[/QUOTE]
Right… You know more than Yamaha Engineers.


#8

[QUOTE=jamescooley1;2534876]Right… You know more than Yamaha Engineers.[/QUOTE]

I may not know more than Yamaha engineers, but I have been involved with CD-R related hardware and software development for a while and I am absolutely certain that AMQR wasn’t included for engineering reasons. It was included for marketing reasons so that the drive could be sold to (mainly Japanese) audiophiles who seem to like badly designed CD players which sound different with data identical discs burned under different conditions.

The page you link to is a marketing document.

James.


#9

Can you supply anything besides your speculation? If it improves playback quality in badly designed CD players, then it improves playback quality in good CD players.


#10

[QUOTE=jamescooley1;2535123]f it improves playback quality in badly designed CD players, then it improves playback quality in good CD players.[/QUOTE]

I’d suggest taking a look at Bob Katz’s Mastering Audio book which will explain why jitter isn’t a problem with modern good digital to analogue convertors.

James.


#11

Yamaha’s advanced Audio Master Quality Recording (AMQR) system, burns larger “pits” and “lands” into the disc surface, theoretically resulting in a better-sounding, more durable CD. In our listening tests, we noticed slightly superior dynamics in the AMQR-recorded CD, but only by the slimmest of margins. In any case, we appreciate any technology that will extend the life of our discs. [I]–Gordon Goble[/I]
Jitter is no concern-eh. Well it is to me-sorry. Also the book you mention is 7 years old.


#12

[QUOTE=jamescooley1;2535742]Also the book you mention is 7 years old.[/QUOTE]

Which means that jitter immune convertors have been around for longer than that. It is a shame that some in the audiophile community don’t understand the real problem and persist in producing fixes for old problems that simply don’t exist if the player is properly engineered.

James.


#13

:bigsmile:


#14

It might be cheaper to buy a first-generation Premium with a Yamaha CRW-F1 (if you can find them used), than to buy a Premium2 in any condition. That’s if you take CD players seriously, otherwise all you’d really need is an original Premium on its own.

I don’t like AMQR and GigaRec, because they dramatically slow down the ripping. They “optimize” a disc for CD players, while neglecting the readability of that disc in any computers. AMQR/GigaRec discs are almost copy-protected, in the sense that if you try to rip them as quickly as you know you could normally get away with on other albums - you will run into problems.

The only advantage the Premium2 has for me, is that it understands more degrees of GigaRec - so even if I have no interest in producing AMQR/GigaRec discs, I at least I can rip all the discs which were mastered by studios in that way. The Premiums don’t know how to read any forms of GigaRec they can’t produce, and the original Premium’s GigaRec options are much more limited.


#15

[QUOTE=jamescooley1;2535742]Yamaha’s advanced Audio Master Quality Recording (AMQR) system, burns larger “pits” and “lands” into the disc surface, theoretically resulting in a better-sounding, more durable CD. In our listening tests, we noticed slightly superior dynamics in the AMQR-recorded CD, but only by the slimmest of margins. In any case, we appreciate any technology that will extend the life of our discs. [I]–Gordon Goble[/I]
Jitter is no concern-eh. Well it is to me-sorry. Also the book you mention is 7 years old.[/QUOTE]

I would say it’s a marketing doc. Burning long pits & lands does not imply that motors in CD players will read them with less jitter, and as for listening tests let’s not forget about the placebo effect.

Digital bits on a CD are recorded as Manchester Encoded or RLL (Run Length Limited). So a group of bits are recorded as a length from 3 to 11 T units, where T = can be from 1.2m/s to 1.4m/s. Simply put a CD consists of recorded strips of pits and lands whose lengths represent whole numbers of 3T to 11T.

The laser in a CD player needs to read of these lengths. It measures them by timing how long it takes for a transition to occur. Naturally the measurements won’t be exact (jitter), e.g. the CD player could measure lengths like 2.9, 3.1, 3.2 etc for a 3T length, which is rounded to a whole number by the PLL chip. You will get this even if the pits and lands were burned longer, because the problem lies with the measurement being an analogue process.


#16

[QUOTE=Truman;2536098]I would say it’s a marketing doc. Burning long pits & lands does not imply that motors in CD players will read them with less jitter, and as for listening tests let’s not forget about the placebo effect.

Digital bits on a CD are recorded as Manchester Encoded or RLL (Run Length Limited). So a group of bits are recorded as a length from 3 to 11 T units, where T = can be from 1.2m/s to 1.4m/s. Simply put a CD consists of recorded strips of pits and lands whose lengths represent whole numbers of 3T to 11T.

The laser in a CD player needs to read of these lengths. It measures them by timing how long it takes for a transition to occur. Naturally the measurements won’t be exact (jitter), e.g. the CD player could measure lengths like 2.9, 3.1, 3.2 etc for a 3T length, which is rounded to a whole number by the PLL chip. You will get this even if the pits and lands were burned longer, because the problem lies with the measurement being an analogue process.[/QUOTE]
Hey thanks for the info :bow:. The quote was from an independent test.


#17

Well for what its worth the Yamaha document is correct on one point.

When observing the raw data from the player optical unit (eye pattern), discs recorded using the Plextor GigaRec system (0.8x 0.7x 0.6x) always provide a much cleaner well defined waveform. Also Focus and Tracking signals are smoother.

This could account for the improved sound in the car player, easier to track and less chance of read errors.

When monitoring the error correction circuitry, there are less total correctable errors, per hour, when using the GigaRec system than a standard write or even a pressed CD. So the electronics are processing a more accurate signal.

As to sound quality, only you, and your ears, can decide that.

One further point the VariRec + Recording strategy is definately worth experimenting with.

As a Studio/Mastering engineer I use a Premium 2 for pre mastering. :wink: