I have a few questions about Plextools Professional.
My computer has a Plextor PX 712 and a PX 716 DVD/CD writer. When copying audio CD’s, I usually select the “On the Fly” option because it is much faster than copying the CD image to the hard drive before writing it on the other drive. Here are my questions:
Is there any reason to believe the CD copy will be inferior as a result of using the “On the Fly” option? I have selecting the “Audio Error Detection” box and am using option 5 to “Recover the Best Bytes”. The manual says the “On the Fly” option should only be used with two Plextor drives, so I am assuming the copy quality will be the same since I have two Plextor drives.
How can I compare the audio CD copy to the original to confirm they are identical? Can Plextools Professional compare two CD’s, or do I have to buy Plextools XL to compare the copy to the original to make sure they are the same?
If the reading drive runs into problems, the writing drive will have to wait for it. That will mean the burn-proof function has to kick in and save your disk. The workings of Burn-proof AFAIK do not affect the resulting burn in any measurable way. However since a burn-proof event is something that does not happen on a regular burn and is not present on a pressed disk i personally try to avoid it as much as possible.
If you are using Image files you could extract the burnt disk into a second image file (or single tracks of you can localise the possible problem) and compare the files.
The differences will not be audible unless there are severe communication problems between the drives. Updated BIOS and chipset drivers are very important. I don’t have two Plex drives in one machine, so I can’t check if copying on the fly results in more buffer underruns than usual. However, I suggest you listen to the copy first before you discard, sell, or eat the original.
Byte-per-byte comparison won’t be necessary. Just make a listening test. If you do want to do it, extract one track from the original and the same from the copy, and then compare the two files. But again, I wouldn’t do that.
Where is this ‘on the fly’ switch in Plextools you speak of, BTW? Are you using plextools pro? Or is this some kind of feature in XL I’m not aware of? All DAE in Pro AFAIK is ‘on the fly’; there’s not an option to encue files for encoding like EAC can… more information please…
AFAIK Plextools Pro doesn’t have a “File Compare” option (i.e. for two extracted supposedly identical WAV files). Comparing 2 extracted files seems more logical to me than comparing an extracted file to the “original CD”, becaue the whole point of the test in the first place is that you may not come up with the same data each time you read from the disk. Certain programs like EAC and AudioGrabber have file compare features which have their own strengths and weaknesses… sometimes not seeming too helpful, except to simply determine IF there are differences, not exactly how much difference there is. In which case, just comparing the number of actual bits in the file seems to make just as much sense sometimes, using ‘file properties’ in File Manager.
If you use EAC to rip to WAV, you can use the ‘Test & Copy’ function which reads each track twice and produces a checksum for both and displays them, (so you can later re-rip that track for another try at bit accuracy if you want). If a CD file is damaged and you’re not getting an accurate rip, chances are very high the extracted data will be different each time, and that is the fundamental principle behind this process. But even test and copy will not show exactly how much difference there is (i.e. whether the difference is audible or not). But it will give you a warning sign. If the checksums match, your file is okay.
But to answer your question, (AFAIK) XL is the only one which has any kind of comparo, and that in itself is a very new feature. Heck, we can’t even use LAME the way it was intended, with full command line switches. I’d certainly hope Plextor would add that before doing some file compare features in a senseless and way overpriced pay-upgrade software, but they didn’t. (Directing this at Plextor, not at you personally, of course) Really-----what is likely to make Plextor more money? Adding full command line switch capability to LAME DAE, or spending their resources adding a file compare option to XL, hoping to lure in more new customers [lol]? Oh–too late. But there I go again with my common sense. Seriously though, a file compare option in Pro would be nice. But I think there are some higher priorities which they may or not be in the process of fulfilling (as of now there hasn’t even been a release of v2.24c to correct the continuing ABR bugs).
Not to detract from your question, but when using Plextools, a file compare option is not so important because Plextools DAE on a plextor drive is so great (which is why it bugs this community that its LAME qualifications are so, well, ‘lame’). Plextools can and should be set to automatically slow down on errors, so re-ripping at a lower speed is moot. If Plextools with a Plextor drive can’t extract it, you won’t find anything superior IMO, at least anything which will extract the file in a reasonable amount of time (EAC could take hours and hours).
Interesting and informative brjones !
Today I just received this :
Press Release - PlexTools Professional XL 3.02
Plextor launches PlexTools Professional XL 3.02
with verify function -
Brussels, June 2005
Plextor Europe has announced a new updated version of its PlexTools Professional XL software. Version 3.02 of this popular software includes new features that will appeal to many professional users and optical disc related enterprises. Targeted at those working in the field of Audio CD and CD/DVD-ROM mastering, its new functionality will enable professional users and optical disc related enterprises to take advantage of its capabilities and reach a wider market.
The AudioCD Maker, Disc Maker and Disc Copy functions of PlexTools Professional XL have been enhanced with a powerful, automated verify function. This allows the blank disc to be tested before writing and the data integrity to be checked after writing. Low-level diagnostics can be run on the written disc and this also allows all results to be automatically compiled into a professional report.
“While keeping the flexibility of user-selectable tests, the automated verify process will result in significant time-savings,” says Rik Swusten, Engineering Manager at Plextor Europe. “By adding the in-depth report as a proof of quality along with their written disc, mastering companies can improve their service for their clients and expect a higher degree of customer satisfaction. Content creators will love this added bonus for their one-off masters.”
Guess there are no more differences worth mentioning , brjones ?
Thanks for that link , everyone should read it ! (Even though I stand outside religions !)
Press Release - PlexTools Professional XL 3.03
Plextor launches PlexTools Professional XL 3.03
with All-in-One Test function -
Brussels, July 2005
Plextor Europe has announced a new updated version of its PlexTools Professional XL software. Version 3.03 of this popular software includes new features that will appeal to many professional users and optical disc related enterprises. Targeted at those working in the field of Audio CD and CD/DVD-ROM mastering, its new functionality will enable professional users and optical disc related enterprises to take advantage of its capabilities and reach a wider market.
PlexTools Professional XL has been enhanced with a new All-in-One Test function. Both blank and written discs can to be tested and the data integrity can be checked automatically. A test sequence of the famous and unique Q-Check functions can be selected to be run on a disc with the option to compile the results automatically into a professional report.
“While keeping the flexibility of user-selectable tests, the new All-in-One Test function will result in significant time-savings,” says Rik Swusten, Engineering Manager at Plextor Europe. “By adding the in-depth report as a proof of quality along with their test result, Beta testers, Reviewers and decision makers are getting a powerful and excellent tool to facilitate their job.”
Plextor is really dynamic at this time …