Which DVD burner (NEC, Sony, Pioneer)?



Hi guys, this is my first post so please be gentle!
I am looking for a new dual layer burner to go with my aluminium case (therefore silver is preferable).
My initial intention was to buy the NEC ND3520A, but posts on here seem to suggest it may be a bit picky with disks and need alot of firmware upgrading to get the best from it.
As silver seems to be fairly uncommon, the only other 2 I can find in my price range are: the Pioneer DVR-109XLC and Sony DWD22AS.
Ideally I am looking for good quality copies (speed isn’t too important) and compatibility with a large range of disks.
I’m also a bit confussed with the issue of copy protection. I see that the NEC needs an unofficial firmware to remove ‘RIPLOCK’. Does this mean without this I will not be able to copy disks using DVD shrink (this is the method I currently use with my LG single layer burner)? If so is this the case with all the burners I am looking at? (I would rather stick to official firmware if at all possible).
Any suggestions on the best of these burners to buy and help clearing up my confussion would be appreciated.


Go to newegg.com and get you a 109 for $55 shipped!

Also BQ=


Hi :slight_smile:
In answer to your question re riplock 16x dvdrw have the read speed locked to 4x>10x riplock releases this so in theory read speed now upto 16x ( this varies on the media ) manufacter’s put this lock on to reduce errors when reading , unless speed is important to you I wouldn’t worry about it
Pioneer is a far better unit than Sony although it’s based on a NEC chip its circuitry is Pioneer’s causing quite a few differences take a look here


Ok guys, thanks for the info so far (etp maybe I should have mentioned I am in the UK, it appears newegg won’t ship here).
It looks like the extra £5 for the Pioneer is the way to go then?
Any thoughts on disk compatibility anyone? I am currently using the last of my DataWrite ‘FujiCode’ disks. These are no longer available, the replacement is the Datawrite Titanium DVD-R (CMC MAG. AE1) for single layer disks and Datasafe DVD+R (Ritek D01) Double layer.
Anyone tried these with the Pioneer? or got any better suggestions?



This will help! Excellent review of the 109v716v3530


Hi :slight_smile:
Dabs have a Nec 3520a (silver) £40 inc shipping
Pioneer 109XL (silver)£45 inc shipping
Nec 3540a (silver)£43 inc shipping
I personally would go for Nec 3540a it’s slightly higher spec & excellent f/w via Liggy & Dee :bow:
Although you can stick with official f/w & results I’ve had have been great with Liggy & Dee’s you get full bitsetting support (when using + DVD’s you set for - rom giving greater compatability for stand alone DVD players)
As for media I’ve used Infiniti / Verbatim / TDK / Ritek Both -/+ & had no problems as yet


If you plan to use any of my recommended media, I would suggest the NEC 3520. Hacked firmware is not hard to use but is not really necessary un less you need bitsetting. It is an all round reliable burner.


Hmmm now I’m really confussed! The first couple of comments both recommended the Pioneer, so I thought that was the way to go - now both NEC have been recommended! The only one we seem to be ruling out is the Sony!
Zebadee - I was looking at Dabs for the Pioneer, both the NEC’s are slightly cheaper from Eclipse. I looked at the 3540 but the only advantage seemed to be speed, which I’m not too concerned about, are there any other differences? (anyone?).
Chas0039 - Some of your recommended media is reasonably priced so yes I could use it with the 3520, infact some of them are cheaper than the ‘CMC MAG. AE1’ I mentioned earlier (namely the Ritek G05), are the ritek better disks? (I have previously tried ritek but found the Datawrite generally better - although as I mention these were the ‘fujicode’ which are no longer available).
Anyone else got any suggestions on the best choice (bearing in mind my requirements - accuracy and compatibilty ahead of speed)?
I’ve read the review posted earlier on the Pioneer and it looks good, there also seems to be less problems posted on here about it than the NEC, but is this simply because it is less popular/common?


I would suggest to review this thread: Which 16x DVD writer should I buy?
The poll suggests that cdfreakers prefer BenQ, NEC, Plextor, LG, LiteOn (incl. Sony), and Pioneer, in that order. You can cross out plextor for the price. All others are within your price range imo, $40-70.


nec, two of my brothers have them and they love it


Hi :slight_smile:
Sorry it’s confusing but I think we’re trying to give the most comprehensive guide , instead of sticking to your original request ( this is all well meant )
So to start afresh if you don’t want to go through process of region free ( this can be done with s/w anyway ) riplock & bitsetting then the Pioneer is probably the one for you , the XL giving the looks/finish you want with solid performance . But bare in mind that to get the most out of this drive / media ( past / present / future ) you will almost certianly have to upgrade the f/w
Drives like BenQ / Nec are ideal for those of us who like to tweak to get the most out of drives / media ( even though the gains can sometimes be marginal ) . By choosing one these drives you would be leaving your options open for the future , when instead of getting a new drive you may decide to have a tweak or two of your own
So I think it would appear by your previous posts
1st Pioneer DVR 109 XLS
Joint 2nd BenQ (1620 / 1640 ) Nec ( 3520 / 3540 )
Any of these drives will perform with decent media ( MCC / Ritek / Taiyo Yuden )
For more info on 109 try


If the 3540 is cheap, then jump on it!


Ok guys, thanks for all your (hopefully good) advise. It seems very close between the NEC’s and Pioneer (the BenQ I’m not really interested in).
Unknown to me my brother had just purchased the NEC 3520. He has had compatibility problems both with blank disks and reading original disks! An ‘unofficial’ firmware has helped a little but its still very picky, so this has made my mind up, the Pioneer it is!
I kind of had a leaning that way anyway after always wanting some of the older Pioneer burners that I couldn’t afford at the time!
So its fingers crossed, wait for delivery and hope i’ve made the right choice now. If nothing else the brushed aluminium finish will look great in my aluminium case :wink:
Thanks guys.