Will burning music CDs at faster rates reduce quality?

Greg Haynes

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Wanting to make a couple of music backups for the car and work and was wondering with CD writers getting faster and faster if burning at the maxiumum speed can anyway to detoriate the sound quality from the original CD. I remember when burners first came out that it was generally suggested to burn everything at 1x or 2x and that the faster speeds to will make you lose quality.

Is this still true today? What speeds does everyone else burn at nowadays? Can you tell a difference from a CD that was burned at 1x compared to 52x?
 

Mike Dickerson

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I personally can't tell much of a difference (maybe goes along with the fact that I don't subscribe to the "my $1000 power cord sounds better" type listening), but burning at 1 or 2x does induce a lot less jitter and makes the number of errors basically nil. If you want the absolute best quality, burn at 1x, but I doubt you'll hear much of a difference.
 

NickSo

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I dont know bout others, but i burn at a moderate speed.

I was doin some testing one day burning an Audio CD at different rates, i found that burning at the slowest rate (4x in my case) resulted in HUGE number of C1 errors. Burning at a moderate speed (24x) gave much less errors, and burning at max (40x with the media i was using at the time), gave slightly more C1 errors than at 24x, but still much less than at 4x.

might have been the write method that slower speeds uses that creates such a high number of errors.

I had a peice of software that would for some reason (that was unintentional), switch write modes (CLV? CAV? I dont know exactly what method for what speeds) halfway through a disc from high speed to low-speed writing. Running the disc through a quality check found the area burned usig the higher speed write method had few errors, but the errors skyrocketed after it started analyzing the part of the disc that was written using the slow-speed write method.

thats IME, YMMV.

FOr high quality discs i want to archive, i burn at around 24/36x, using Taiyo Yudens. I get an average error rate of about .30, and max of around 3 or 4.

However, frankly, i cannot say i hear a difference with the high-error rate disc and the low-error rate disc. I have good ears, but not exactly golden enough to hear much difference. Still, no harm in having a disc with low-error rates.
 

Christ Reynolds

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if i have a cd player that seems to uncover every error on a cd, burning at a slower speed seems to correct it. i havent noticed a difference on a normal player though. i'd say, if quality was of very high importance, i'd say it couldnt hurt to burn at a low speed.

CJ
 

PhilBoy

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For fun if you have Nero, try 3 sample burns at 4X, 16X, and 24X.

Nero has a utility to check CD-R's for errors.

I scanned a disc someone had written for me and Nero lost count of the errors.

I never write music over 8X or data over 16X.

Use the same quality of blanks to make it fair. I only use Verbatim.
 

Scott L

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Hmmm I'll try that next time I burn a CDR. I've always wondered if there was a loss when converting mp3 -> pcm for an audio cd when burning at a fast rate. I usually only burn WAVs though and if there is a quality loss doing that I'd be surprised.
 

PhilBoy

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I only burn .wav as well, but you will be surprised at how many errors some CD-R's actually have (make).
 

Vince Maskeeper

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There are tons of articles on this topic written by engineers and professionals in the audio trade. Try a web search, you'll probably find tons of opinions.
 

Ted Lee

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hmm...am i missing something?

i'll typically burn (with cdex or easy cd 6) at optimum speed, with buffer underrun protection, averaging around 16x. afaik, i have zero errors. everything certainly sounds fine.

but it sounds like you guys think there are still errors of some sort when burning at high speed?
 

JohanD

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I've always burnt at 1x. Maybe it was just the player I was using (in my car) but when I burned at 1x it sounded better. When I burned at max speed it seemed more distorted.

I had a friend who was having the same problem when burning MP3's to CD's. He burned at 1x like I suggested and didn't have any more problems.

I would suggest burning a copy of the same CD at 1x and at max speed. Listen to them both and decide for yourself. May depend on the burner, player, media, or a combination of the three.

*edit* PS I always converted to WAV before burning.
 

Vince Maskeeper

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Then I wouldnt worry about it. Faster burning doesn't produce specific pop errors- but the jitter rates and read errors go up significantly-- which can result in a reduction of clarity from misread bits.

The analogy they often use is the concept of a 24x or higher burner being like a golf club hitting grass divots- creating rounded pits on the disc because of the speed.

Almost every major recording magazine has done articles on this topic, and they all say anyone burning master discs on anything other than 1x is asking for trouble.

-V
 

Ted Lee

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hmm...guess i don't really need to worry too much then. most of the stuff i do is simply compilations from my original cds anyway.

but, of course, now i'm curious. is there any kind of software to detect or report how much error there is on any given burned cd?
 

D. Scott MacDonald

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I never realized that burning CDs resulted in so many errors. How come I can copy files and programs to CD without ever experiencing these errors? I can see where getting some bits wrong may not be obvious in music and in pictures, but it should be very obvious when running programs and accessing some types of data files. Have I just been lucky, or am I missing something?
 

PhilBoy

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Nero 5 or 6.

Maybe even Exact Audio Copy (not sure).
 

Ken Chan

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There's a fundamental difference between a CD-audio disc and a CD-ROM (one used for data, which could be music files). 1x speed for a CD-ROM is 150Kbyte/sec; this is actually 75 2KB sectors per second. If you do the math for CD-audio -- two 16-bit channels at 44.1KHz -- it's more
The speed is the same, and the sectors are the same physical size, but more bits per sector are devoted to audio data with CD-audio. With CD-ROM, those bits are used for (more) error correction and other stuff to make reading CD-ROM data more robust.
 

NickSo

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Im not sure if im totally right here, but from what i understand, the errors are unavoidable. Even pressed discs straight out of a freshly opened case will have C1 errors. Though they are very small errors, they are expected.

To see for yourself, go here for software which will scan the disc and detect read errors:
http://www.cdspeed2000.com/

and download the software. Pop in one of your factory-pressed discs, and run the CD Quality Check located in the 'extra' menu. Check the box that says "Report C1 Errors", and run the test. (it may glitch up sometimes, and report a HUGE number of errors, if this happens, just stop the process and do it again).

You do expereience errors, but these errors are read errors, and C1/C2 errors are minute errors that dont usually cause problems in reading the disc itself, and usually, aren't anythign to worry much about.

From what i understand, C1 errors are pretty common and shouldnt be worried about too much. C2 errors are less common and are more 'serious' errors.

Here's a good thread for more info on these errors: http://forum.cdfreaks.com/showthread...threadid=75573
 

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