New ND-3550a doesn't write either CD or DVD worth crap!

I appologize if this isn’t the best forum for this question, but feel more comfortable in the NEC forum until I can determine if I have a hardware problem or not.

I have searched and queried the entire forum until I feel I have analysis paralysis. Largely from my reading here, I decided to buy the NEC ND-3550a for a good burner that would handle a wide variety of media.

After installation and burning many CDs (I had a large project of CDs to make), I got some feedback that some of the copies were borderline in quality. Since Nero Express came with the drive, (OEM) I started looking at the test results and was horrified at the poor results. I spent a week learning all I could about Nero CD-DVD Speed, and learned that the 3550a isn’t the best “reader”, but what it was telling me was also relected in poor playback in other drives and software. In fact, the results were so poor, I bought a second drive from NewEgg. The results were no different at all.

After spending literally weeks trying and testing with different burn speeds, different “read” speeds, and different media, I became so discouraged, I nearly gave up. I kept reading the forums here, but could never find anything to relate. There are very few scans posted that look as bad as mine.

During the time I was doing all these tests, NEC came out with FW 1.06 which I flashed to the second drive, but I don’t see any difference in performance.

Thinking that there may be a difference between burning CDs and DVDs, I tried burning a DVD on Tayo Yuden TYG02 and it seemed to burn OK, until I tested it. CD-DVD Speed 4.5 couldn’t even read a quarter of the way through without choking.

I don’t have a large variety of media, but did test half a dozen different brands and thought I was using better quality media by getting Tayo Yuden and CMC Magnetics. I checked the NEC media list and they only show DVD media, not CDs.

I even wondered about my power supply as others have found this to be a problem, but mine is rated at 450 Watts. I only have 2 HDs and the 2 Nec burners, so don’t see why that should be a problem. So at this point I need some ideas where to look for my trouble. I have many screen shots I can post, but don’t want to bog this down with too many. I am including some hardware info below. Please advise what further info would be most helpful for analysis.

I am indebted to you brilliant scollars :bow: and really hope someone can explain what I’m doing wrong. :confused:

Hardware Information

CPU : AMD Athlon XP 1533 MHz
Bus Speed : 133 MHz
Motherboard : Gigabyte nVidia-nForce2
System :
BIOS : Award FG
Memory : 1024 MB (10ns)
Sound : SB Live! Audio [A000]
Video : NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700LE

Adapter 1

Description : Primary IDE Channel

Description : System32\DRIVERS\atapi.sys
Company : Microsoft Corporation
Version : 5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)
Description : IDE/ATAPI Port Driver

Attached Devices
Description : Master: _NEC DVD_RW ND-3550A
Type : CD-Rom Drive
DMA : On
Autorun : On

You just cannot rely on scanning test with a burner like the 3550.

Update Nero and also use better media!

That’s the golden rule to success.

chef said: You just cannot rely on scanning test with a burner like the 3550.

I understand the weakness of the scanning test with the 3550, but are you suggesting that I can’t use it to READ a disk either? Like I said, I can’t play or read most of the discs. (The bad parts at least.)

Update Nero and also use better media!

Unless you know of a secret or beta version, I [B]am[/B] using the latest available on the official web site. This may not be the place to discuss media, but from everything I’ve read, Taiyo Yuden is supposed to be at the top of the list. And I’ve seen good reviews on CMC Mag also. So what’s your suggestion of better? :confused:

Dude, I never said anything about reading!

Read my post again, I clearly said “scanning”.

Even a crap PSU can make a BIG impact on the quality of burned media.

If you don’t post the info I cannot know what Nero version you are using…

I never felt it is a good thing to push a recorder to burn many medias at full speed out of the box.

Horrible quality-scans with NEC drives (unreadable or barely readable) I only got with inkjet-printable media with soft surface. If you use media like that, I suggest you change it

That’s true. [B][U]I[/U][/B] said reading. Because even if we disregard Nero CD-DVD Speed for the moment, and I can’t [B]play[/B] the discs I write, what’s the point? It’s all a waste of time. :frowning: :sad:

Even a crap PSU can make a BIG impact on the quality of burned media.

There has never been anything to make me suspicious of my PSU, but I suppose I could figure a way to add a second PSU to my system and see what that does.

If you don’t post the info I cannot know what Nero version you are using…

Unless you read my original post. :smiley: I started out with 4.05 but as soon as I saw that 4.50 came out, I upgraded. Maybe I didn’t make it very clear the way I inserted it in my 1st post. (6th paragraph) I’ll try to put up the most informative graphs below.

I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure I held it down to 8X or 16X because I knew that slower could sometimes mean better quality.

Now that’s an interesting point. I had never heard that, and the DVD I burned [B]was[/B] a soft surface printable disk. But it was also a Taiyo Yuden TYG02 (no brand). But the CDs which I spent the most time on, were a mix of printable and non-printable.

All the below graphs are done on the printable CDs. – CMC magnetics as shown in the 1st graphic.
The 1st quality test is a dud. :confused: The CD had never been out of the drive and I followed up with a 2nd scan as shown in the 4th or last image.

The pattern is pretty much always the same – good to start, and terrible near the end. :sad:

I bought a 3550a a few months ago and have had only two problems, one was burning a cd to fast for my old sony cd player, a slower burn took care of that. The other problem was I could not burn dl ridatap01 disc’s that I got free and that was remidied by Dee’s firmware upgrade, I burn dvd-r’s because my old player won’t read +r’s. I have scanned my disc’s and they don’t always look that great on paper, but they play in my old Toshiba 1700 great, that is sound and picture quality. So I don’t take those scans to seriously, I figure the end result is what matters. I liked my burner so much that I gave one to my brother-in-law and He has had no problems. Special Thanks to Liggy and Dee for all of your work and the time and energy you have put into firmware upgrades, to help us all. Oh I forgot to say, I play everything I burn back on my 3550a and no problems there.

What exactly is a “soft surface” dvd? What type of printable Taiyo Yuden dvd’s should I use in my inkjet printer?
Boy, I’m tellin ya just when you think you have a handle on things, something else come along to re-confuse you!!! :confused:

Dave P.

Frankly, I hadn’t heard of the term either, but on reflection, the inkjet printable discs that I have gotten from “” [B]do[/B] have a “soft” surface. I had tried to erase some pencil marks with alcohol and it [B]removed[/B] the soft rubbery surface that absorbs?? the ink, by rolling it up. Strange.

Now that we can all print discs with an inkjet printer, the disc packages are plainly marked whether or not they are printable.

For everyone else, I put my original 3550a into another machine with Win2K and burned 1 CD at 8X and got much better results but I’m still working on it and don’t have the scans available for post yet. I’ll be experimenting with PSU and FW and come back. (Tax time :eek: )