The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 July 2006

The greed for speed

The new desktop machine, with the OEM software provided — a slightly-stripped version of Nero — offers three speeds at which to burn CDs: 32x, 16x, and a lowly 8x.

Now I've always believed that the slower one burns an audio CD, the more likely it is to play flawlessly on whatever players one has. The old box burned at 4x or 8x, and it took me a while to work up the nerve to use 8x.

I have noticed, though, that the hyperexpensive stereo in my current car is a bit more sensitive than the more generic unit in my previous car: it doesn't notice bumps or anything, but once in a while it jumps slightly on a CD-R, and the newer it is — meaning, in effect, the more likely I burned it at a higher speed — the more likely it is to come up with audio problems.

As an experiment, I have taken a disc I burned at 8x and made a copy of it at 4x, using that old computer I'd cleaned off during the holiday. (If anyone cares, it's this.) We shall see.

Posted at 6:22 AM to PEBKAC

Yeah, interested in results. The old slower is better rule of thumb may no longer apply due to the improvements in technology. I've thought that for some time with data CDs, but have never taken the time to experiment...

Posted by: Winston at 6:49 AM on 6 July 2006

I burn 'em full speed with no problems at all. Seems to me that the source material quality is more of an issue than the actual burn. This new burner I have does something rather irksome. You can indicate a slower than it's stated speed burn but when Nero does the actual burn it will switch it to full crank and do it at 32x. So that was when I started burning everything full tilt.

Posted by: ms7168 at 9:43 AM on 6 July 2006

For a while I had two CD drives in Bugbox3. One was the 52x drive that came with it, while the other was a much slower drive (8x read, I believe) that could also burn. The reason I transplanted the burner out of Bugbox 2 into Bb3 should be obvious.

I discovered that software installed from the 52x CD-ROM drive often had fatal errors. If I reinstalled from the transplanted slower drive, all was well.

So when I decided to install a third hard drive in the case, the 52x drive went into the "surplus" box that now gathers dust and cobwebs in the attic.

I'd be really surprised if a CD-R burned from the same source at 4x, had the same problems as one burned at 8x.

Posted by: McGehee at 12:58 PM on 6 July 2006

I did check my source material; it plays back correctly elsewhere.

I'm getting a solid 8x out of the new box: not counting preliminaries, an 80-minute audio CD (and I tend to cram them to the max) takes right at 10 minutes to burn. The alternatives are 16 and 32.

I have noticed that when ripping a CD to a WAV or MP3, the CD drive runs at a modest 16x or so.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:26 PM on 6 July 2006

For some unverifiable reason, 16x is the optimum speed for me.

Posted by: Mike at 10:46 PM on 6 July 2006