I'm having a really fun issue with Plextor. They're not making exact copies. You'd also be pretty amazed at the lack of knowledge most professional places really have about these sort of things, figure here I'd probably reach a lot more people that have used the drives. Just to start out, here's the hardware list I've been trying to sort this out with.
Vinpower Digital 1 to 9 DVD/CD copiers using Plextor 716A drives
Custom built dupicator tower using Pioneer 108 drives
Rimage Autostart Towers using Pioneer 109 drives
Clover Systems DVX Analyzer (Which is a Plextor 716A with additional hardware put into it)
Sonic Authoring station using a Pioneer 109, switched to a Plextor 716A
And a big handful of random discs of unknown origin/setup.
Now, all the media used in-house here is Taiyo Yuden. But a lot of the discs coming in are not. The issue starts with some copies made on the Vinpower towers. Master was on Taiyo media coming from the Sonic when it had a Pioneer 109 in it. Copies were compared on the analyzer and found to be different. I did an MD5 compare between the content on the hard drive to the content on the master and found that when burning out through the 109, it actually had modified some data and mismatched there. But, with the duplicator tower not matching the master means that the data got changed when burning it out of the Sonic, and again in the duplicator. I tried making the copy on the Pioneer tower and the Rimage towers, both of them matched the master. Now, at this point, I really don't care that the master was changed from the hard drive, because even if it's been changed the towers should make identical copies.
I've switched the authoring station to a Plextor 716A and it's data matches on disc and on drive now. That issue, I haven't looked any further into, but I never really liked the Pioneer 109s from the start of using them. They have been far better than the Plextors in terms of read compatibility and burn quality....both of those respects, there's really no comparison. Pioneer wins. But, the 109s always seemed to be unreliable, though firmwares have improved them a lot. So, now stuff from the authoring system and copied on any of the towers seems to match.
But, we still have a lot of issues with those Vinpower towers. Say I put a disc that was already in fairly bad shape into it. The copies from it will not match the master. Yet any of the Pioneer towers will make an excellent copy that will match the master. There's just been so many instances of the Plextor towers not matching the master lately. Now, is it Vinpower's fault or is it Plextor's? At this point, I have no idea. The drive that reads the content in on the Plextor towers is a Pioneer I believe. It seems like it's reading the data in fine. I say that because there's been perfectly good discs (verified on the analyzer) that have produced copies in the tower where some of them match and some of them don't. The Plextor burns very commonly will have strange issues...like when trying to test them in the analyzer they will have read issues that lock up the system, then with a re-test show up as being great discs.
It's hard to really keep track of all the issues I've been having with the Plextors, so I'm just going to leave it all at this right now. If any of this sounds like a similar issue or anyone has a potential thing I should be checking on, let me know. I've done more testing than what is listed here, but I can't really think of everything off the top of my head. If anyone needs more info about any part of this, let me know and I'll elaborate more. But basically, it comes down to having Pioneer towers and Plextor towers, the latter of which is unreliable. But, everyone at the IDDA loves the Plextors....though it's funny in a way how few of them actually run their discs through analyzers and do image comparisons.