DVD CD Burners 

DVD CD Burners, DVD CD recorders, or DVD CD writers, are required to record information on recordable CDs, recordable DVDs (DVD-Rs or DVD+Rs), erasable CDs or CD-RWs, and erasable DVDs (DVD-RWs or DVD+RWs).

Although the process is fairly simple, there are a few rules that should be followed to produce CDs and DVDs with good burns. Note the process of recording digital information on a CD or DVD is often referred to as burning a disc, but recording a disc or writing a disc are equivalent terms.

The quality of the burn is measured by whether the files on the disc can be read without problems or whether the disc plays without hesitating or stopping. More specifically a good quality burn from DVD CD burners means that the error rate on the disc is low after recording. Every recorded or burned disc when played has an error rate. No CD or DVD plays without errors. However, the technology is designed to deal with this by using an error detection and correction system. When a CD or DVD is read, the data is checked and errors (which are present) are detected and corrected and the output is what it should be. The error correction system has its limits and too many errors will result in uncorrectable errors and files that cannot be read or discs that will not play smoothly.

cd and dvd burner for recording optical discs

It is imperative that when discs are burned with information, that the error rate is low. This ensures less chance of uncorrectable errors and ensures better disc longevity. It is not simply a matter of using the best DVD burner to burn CDs and DVDs. There are other factors as well. First of all, choose good quality media and avoid cheap generic brands. Make sure you use the best DVD burner or best DVD CD burner available. Using a cheap burner will generally result in poor burns or recorded discs with high error rates. Sometimes manufacturers recommend the brand or brands of disc to use with their DVD CD burners. Adhering to these guidelines will help, but nowadays as long as you use a good quality burner and good quality disc and follow the other recommendations, your results should be good.

Prior to recording a CD or DVD, ensure the disc is free of dust and fingerprints. Blow off dust gently with a compressed air duster and remove fingerprints (avoid scratching the disc) prior to recording the media. Avoid using scratched or damaged media. The last tip when using DVD CD burners is with respect to burn speed. Record CDs and DVDs at moderate speed in order to get the best quality burn possible. CD-Rs should be recorded at about 8x to 12x and recordable DVDs at 4x to 8x for the best burns. For erasable media, aim for the middle of the recommended recording range.

DVD CD Burners and Error Rates

The images below illustrate the effect that burning speed can have on the error rate of a disc. The top image is the error analysis of a recordable CD or CD-R that was recorded on a Plextor PX-716UF recordable drive at the speed setting of 4x. Total burn time was about 20 minutes. The bottom image is the same brand of disc also burned on the Plextor burner but this time at the 48x setting. The total burn time was about two minutes. As is clearly evident from the error analysis of the discs, burning at the higher speed produced a lower quality disc. The average error rate for the CD-R burner at 4x is 2.1 errors per second and that for the CD-R burned at 48x is 60.4 errors per second.

lower error rate on a CD-R or recordable CD burned at 4x
higher error rate on a CD-R or recordable CD burned at 48x

Depending on the disc type and/or burner type used, results can vary substantially. Other combinations of disc and burner type may produce little differences between the quality of discs at different burn speeds or may result in much larger error rate differences than what is illustrated here. Below is an error analysis of a different type of recordable CD than what was used in the above example. The DVD CD burner was the same as in the above example. As is evident, the CD-R burned at a speed of 48x (the bottom image) produced a disc with a very high error rate. In fact, the disc failed halfway through the analysis, making the disc 100 percent unacceptable. The same brand disc burned at the speed of 4x (the top image) was much better in quality. The average error rate of the 4x burned disc is 10.3 errors per second whereas for the 48x burned disc the average error rate is 178.9, but the disc stopped analyzing about halfway through. This clearly illustrates that a burner can behave differently with the same disc, simply by changing the burning speed. It also illustrates that burners can have different compatibility with different disc brands.

recordable CD or CD-R burned at 4x speed with a Plextor DVD CD burner
CD-R or recordable CD recorded at 48x speed with a Plextor DVD CD burner

Following the above mentioned tips will ensure that when you record you digital photos, digital audio and other information onto an optical disc, the burn will be good and discs will have good longevity with respect to the error rate level.

A final check should be performed by reading the recorded disc to ensure it is fine. If possible, try reading the disc in other DVD CD drives to ensure there is good compatibility between the disc and different equipment.

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