OT: DVD Burner

mjroddy wrote on 3/20/2008, 10:42 AM
My Pioneer A09 finally bit the dust (probably very literally) a few days ago. I haven't done any research on good DVD burners since I purchased that A09.
If all I'm looking for is a good CD/DVD burner (not in the market to burn HighDef yet), are there any clear winners? I remember Pioneer was the hot ticket a while back. Is that still the case?

Thanks very much for any and all advice, suggestions and comments.


John_Cline wrote on 3/20/2008, 11:33 AM
I've been using Plextor, Pioneer and NEC drives for years, however a couple of months ago I bought ten DH-20A4P-04 Lite-On DVD burners and they have been outstanding. I use Taiyo Yuden 8x media almost exclusively and these drives have produced discs with some of the lowest error rates I have ever seen. The drives are ridiculously inexpensive at $23.99 with free three-day shipping from NewEgg.


mjroddy wrote on 3/20/2008, 5:04 PM
Thanks very much! Both options look great!
It's been SO long since I bought a burner, I had NO idea they were so ... er... reasonable in price!!!
richard-courtney wrote on 3/20/2008, 7:14 PM
My Sony finally couldn't burn a disc (or a fly passing through the beam)
went with Lite-on. Inexpensive and burns everything I present to it.

I figure by the time we decide on HD I'll be ready to replace the DVD burner.
craftech wrote on 3/21/2008, 6:03 AM
I bought one of the LIteOn burners John linked to replace my Pioneer A05. Although I liked the A05 better, the LiteOn seems to work fine although it is a bit loud when it spins fast. On the plus side, the retail version of that drive is sold at Walmart packaged with Nero software for around $35,

jabloomf1230 wrote on 3/21/2008, 11:48 AM
Eeek! You're scaring me, since I have been wondering whether my A09 is ready to buy the farm at any moment. I'd also suggest that you take a look at the site:


Their official and user reviews are unbiased (cough, cough, except for the usual fanbois) and pretty informative (unlike some of the commercial websites).

I'm trying to keep my A09 going until I can afford a Blu-Ray burner, which should be about in the same year as the SCS website and forum is upgraded.
Jeff9329 wrote on 3/24/2008, 10:22 AM

I tried the LH-20A1S which seems to be the SATA version of the DH-20A4P-04.

I didn't really like it. I also installed the Sony Optiarc AD-7170S at the same time to do side by side tests. The 7170S is faster and quieter in all operations. It also had a lot more firmware available with bitsetting.

It is funny how using CDSpeed for disc quality scans gives very different results using the different brands of drives on the same disc, and they don't always prefer the ones they burned.

Are you getting low error rates on DL media too?

jabloomf1230 wrote on 3/24/2008, 10:50 AM
"It is funny how using CDSpeed for disc quality scans gives very different results using the different brands of drives on the same disc, and they don't always prefer the ones they burned."

Some drives are better at disk quality scans than others. My Panny A09 was one of the best quality drives for writing DVDs, when it came out. However, it was lousy for doing reliable error scans, even with disks that it had burned. LiteOn drives tend to be the best error scanners.

I also forget to say before that the website:


has excellent summary information on optical drives. One bit of info that this website has that is very helpful is that it lists both who the OEM is for "badged" drives and the chipset used in the drive:


You may find that your high-priced Sony DVD burner is actually made by BenQ.
musicvid10 wrote on 3/24/2008, 11:37 AM
I changed my mind on pricey burners when I discovered that their life expectancy is not necessarily better than the cheapies. If it will burn discs reliably and last two years or more, there's not much point in spending an extra $50 - $100.

The Sony OEM (Optiarc) at MicroCenter works great, supports all media, and the 20X Lightscribe version weighs in at $39. I bought two of them and I'm not going to shed a tear when one wears out.

It raises the old Rolex / Timex debate: if it tells the time, why not own one you can throw away without the angst.
jabloomf1230 wrote on 3/24/2008, 12:55 PM
All you have to hope is that your burner experience is not akin the the Three Stooges clip where Curly is wearing 3 wristwatches.
John_Cline wrote on 3/24/2008, 1:26 PM
For consistent disc quality checking I have been using the same drive for years; a Plextor PX-712a. I typically use DVDInfoPro and CD-DVD Speed to do the tests. By using the same drive, all the tests will be accurate relative to each other.

I have NEC, Pioneer, Plextor and now, Lite-On drives. On Taiyo Yuden 8x premium media, the Lite-On and Plextor drives have produced the lowest errors.

Yes, the HD-20A4P is "noisy" but that doesn't bother me in the least, the DVD duplication room is a little noisy anyway.

johnmeyer wrote on 3/24/2008, 1:59 PM
I second the CD Freaks recommendation.

If you really want to get into this, and if the burn quality is the only thing that matters to you (which is certainly true for me), then check out the forum, and in particular, this sub-section:

DVD Burner User Reviews and Comments

You will find some wonderfully obsessed, compulsive individuals who have burned countless discs in the pursuit of the "perfect burn." It is truly unbelievable what some of these individuals claim to be able to do.

Also note the activity numbers. This is a VERY active forum.

[Edit] Here's my favorite post. It is the ultimate in obsessive-compulsive behavior, with a lot of people spending a lot of time and also some money, to come up with the lowest error rate:

Pulsee's 10 DVD Burner Shootout

It was started almost two years ago, so some of the models mentioned are no longer made, but it provides some wonderful benchmarking that you can use to test your own burning setup.

Here is a summary that I extracted from that thread. Might be helpful:

Drive Media PI_Errors PI_Failures Notes
LG GH20LS10 MAXELL003 4,757 45 tested on DH20A4H
DH-20A3P MCC004 5,440 136 tested on DH20A4P
Pioneer DVR-115D MCC03RG20 7,043 49 tested on DH20A
Benq DW2000@LH20A1P KL0N TYG03 GH000157 7,540 27 tested on Benq
DVR-112 MCC03RG20 8,028 69 tested on DH20A4P
DH-20A3P MCC03RG20 8,635 137 tested on DH20A4P
Optiarc AD-7203A YUDEN000T02 9,517 43
Pioneer DVR-115D TYG03 10,330 216
DH16A1P @ DH20A4P YUDEN000T03 11,155 1,303
LiteOn LH20A1P KL05 TYG03 GH000157 14,424 92 tested on Benq
DH16A1P @ DH20A4P YUDEN000T03 15,233 1,107
Benq DW2000@LH20A1P KL0N TYG03 GH000157 15,478 229 tested on Benq
Samsung SH-S203N_SB01 YUDE000T03 16,384 1,238 tested on Benq
DH20A3P LG ( CMCMAG AM3 ) 21,063 1,791 tested on DH20A3P
Pioneer DVR-215 YUDEN000T03 21,816 418
Optiarc7200A Sony D21 22,421 283
DH20A3P MCC004 22,687 261
LG GSA-H62N CL01 MCC004 23,847 605 tested on DH20A4P
Samsung 203B SB01 TYG03 34,756 213
Optiarc AD-7200A YUDEN000T03 43,836 627
DH20A3P DAXON AZ3 46,327 349
Pioneer DVR-115D YUDEN000T03 46,905 4,228
Samsung SH-S203B TYG03 74,369 1,222
H42N@H44N RB01 MCC03RG20 93,668 480 tested on non-liteon
Samsung SH-S203B MCC04 211,667 789
Samsung SN-S203B MCC004 213,555 518
Sammy S203N_SB001 MBIPG101-R05 235,297 3,215 tested on Benq

Be careful when reading this summary as well as the post itself, because not everyone used the recommended Liteon drive to do the test on the burned discs and, of course, the tests were done by different people. Therefore, this hardly rates as a controlled experiment. However, the Pioneer drive certainly seems to do well.