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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Monday, July 19, 2004
Sony DRU-700A


1. Retail Package - Installation

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 1

Sony announced at the end of April a new 8X DUAL burner, the "DRU-700A". The main difference with the presently available series was the adoption of Double Layer (DVD+R DL) recording.

Our main interest is to see how the new Sony drive compared with the previous series and most importantly, if and how DL writing works. Another important issue would be writing quality and the various subtests. So, let's get cracking!

- New Features

The most important new feature of the DRU-700A is the ability to read/write Double Layer DVD+R media.

The Double Layer DVD+R system uses two thin embedded organic dye films for data storage separated by a spacer layer. Heating with a focused laser beam irreversibly modifies the physical and chemical structure of each layer such that the modified areas have different optical properties to those of their unmodified surroundings. This causes a variation in reflectivity as the disc rotates to provide a read-out signal as with commercially pressed read-only discs. Below is a picture showing the structure of a DVD+R DL media.

For more information about DVD+R DL technology, you can visit the DVD+RW Alliance website or Philips Research website.

The SONY DRU-700A also supports:

In terms of writing/reading speeds, the drive supports 8X (Z-CLV) writing for both DVD±R and 4X (CLV) writing for DVD±RW formats, while it can read DVD-ROM (pressed) up to 12X (CAV). The drive offers 40X (P-CAV) / 24X (Z-CLV) / 40X (CAV) specs for the CD formats.

- Specifications
Interface:
E-IDE/ATAPI (Ultra DMA Mode 2)
Writing Speed:

DVD+R DL: 2.4X DVD+R: 8X / -R: 8X, DVD+RW:4X,
DVD-RW: 4X

CD-R: 40X, CD-RW: 24X
Read Speed:

DVD+R/-R/+RW/-RW: 8X

DVD-ROM: 12X, CD-R/RW: 40X
Random Access:
DVD: 130msec, CD: 135msec
Buffer Size:
2MB
Supported Disc Formats:
DVD: DVD single / dual layer ( PTP / OTP ), DVD-R ( 3.9 GB / 4.7 GB ), DVD-R multi-borders, DVD+R, DVD+R multi-sessions, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW
CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM / XA, Photo-CD, Multi-session, Karaoke-CD, Video-CD, CD-I FMV, CD Extra, CD Plus, CD-R, and CD-RW
Supported Writing Types:

DVD±RW: Disc-at-once, Incremental recording, Multi-border recording, Restricted overwriting

  CD-R/RW: Variable Packet, TAO, SAO, DAO, Raw Mode Burning & Over-Burn

The specs don't indicate whether the drive supports Mount Rainier for either of CD or DVD formats, but we will check this later. The drive also uses the RPC II region control, allowing a user to change the drive's region at most 5 times, which however can easily be bypassed with various utilities.

Below are the drive's main specs as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

Lastly, let's see what additional information KProbe software returns:

- European Retail package

The European retail package includes the Sony DRU-700A, a quick install guide, an IDE cable and mounting screws. Also included is an extra front panel bezel, black color, which you can swap with the white bezel that comes standard. Included software is Nero v6 OEM version. The device is covered by a two year warranty. The total cost is expected to be around €165.00.

The retail package did not contain any media of CD/DVD format and unfortunately no DVD+R DL.

Now let's take a look at the drive itself.

The Sony DRU-700A looks more or less the same as the previous 540A series and it has all the appropriate logos indicating the supported formats. In the front, the user will distinguish the DVD+R DL logo! SONY gives an additional black bezel that can easily be mounted, making for a better match with black cases.

On the rear panel you can see the analogue and digital outputs (SPDIF), the IDE connector and the power input. Our drive was manufactured during May 2004 in Japan.

Removing the screws and opening the drive's cover voids the drive's warranty. For reference reasons, we post the following pictures. You can click on the mainboard picture for a higher resolution image:

Click To Enlarge!

The SONY DRU-700A further incorporates (located on the underside of the controller circuit board), a high-speed DVD dual Optical Disk Controller chipset from MediaTek Inc. consisting of two CMOS ultra-scale integrated circuits, the MT1816E and MT1818E. The MT1816E is the front-end analog signal processor and the MT1818E is the servo control and Endec IC. The pickup system is the Sanyo SF-DB 10SA.



- Installation

The drive was installed as secondary master and under WindowsXP recognized as a "SONY DVD RW DRU-700A". The drive arrived with firmware VY02. Below is a picture from Nero Burning Rom, showing the drive's specs.

For most recording tests, we used a newer unofficial firmware revision (VYC1) and after all tests finished SONY released officially a newer (VY05) firmware. Be aware however, that VY05 removes the option to set BookType Bitsetting, so keep that in mind before upgrading!

In our tests, we will compare the drive with the Liteon SOHW-832S, and the Plextor PX-708A.

- Testing software

In order to perform our tests we used:

  1. Nero CD-DVD Speed v3.00
  2. CDVD Benchmark v1.21
  3. ExactAudioCopy v0.9 beta5
  4. Nero Info Tool v2.21
  5. KProbe v2.1.0 (Reader: LiteOn LDW-811S firmware vHS0Q, Reading speed 8X CAV)
  6. PlexTools v2.14 (Reader: Plextor PX-712A firmware v1.02, Reading speed 8X CLV for CD-R)
  7. DVDInfoPro v2.54
  8. LiteOn Booktype Utility v1.0.6
  9. Nero Burning Rom v6.3.1.15
  10. Omnipatcher for LiteON drives v1.1.2

2. Transfer Rate Reading Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 2

Transfer Rate Reading Tests

- CD Format

The Sony DRU-700A supports up to 40X reading speed. Below are the transfer rate graphs, along with the comparison with the other two drives:



As we can see from our tests, the drive performs similarly with the 832S with Mode1 Pressed disc and Mode1 CD-R media. The 832S drive seems to be slight faster at most of the tests. The same maximum speed for US-RW media is 32X.

- DVD Format

Click for the Seek Times Graph!
Click for the Seek Times Graph!

The DRU700A again was slight slower than the 832S, despite the fact that started reading higher, at both SL and DL test discs. The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, towards the outer range, for each layer.

Click to Enlarge!

The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks toward the inner part of the disc. The average reading speed is 6.26X (again 3~8X CAV).

The DRU-700A performs similarly with the 832S drive.

The 832S seems to rip CSS DVD-Video discs faster than the DRU700A.

- Appendix

Nero CD-DVD Speed Graphs


3. CD Error Correction Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 3

CD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we check the drive's behavior when it comes to reading scratched / defected discs. The test discs we use are the ABEX series from ALMEDIO.

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total
Num: 960795
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 50100
Avg: -73.7 dB(A)
Max: -35.8 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 3073
Avg: 1.0 Samples
Max: 11 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0.0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
76.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum)
C2 Accuracy
99.7 % (out of 100.0% maximum)

The 832S drive performed very well with the ABEX TCD-721R. The drive's highest spike was at -36.0 dB(A) and the total score of 76.8 points is very good. We must also note that C2 accuracy reached 99.7%, an almost perfect score. The total error count is also relatively low.

- ABEX TCD-726

Errors total
Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 0
Avg: -174.0 dB(A)
Max: -174.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 0
Avg: 0 Samples
Max: 0 Samples
Total Test Result
100points (out of 100.0 maximum)

Unfortunately, EAC's analyzer software couldn't process the extracted wav file, since it produced a flat line on the error graph.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is a very useful tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests. These tracks are referred as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The files are reproduced (played) through a software multimedia player (i.e. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone coming out from the speakers is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested device.

Error Level
1
2
3
4
5
Sony DRU-700A
5/5
5/5
5/5
0/5
0/5

The drive passed only the first three Check Levels of the test. The performance reveals average sound reproduction and error correction. The fifth level includes an error size of 1.500mm, and the drive produced many audible clicks.

- Conclusion

The performance of the SONY DRU-700A was good, at least with the ABEX TCD-721R. The drive's abilities with the CD-Check Test Disc were limited to the 3rd Error level only.


4. DVD Error Correction Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 4

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD reading capabilities of the DRU700A drive with scratched / defected DVD media. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed . The reference test media come from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media
ABEX TDR-821

This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from the CDVD Benchmark v1.21 transfer rate test.

The Sony DRU-700A read the disc at 12X CAV and the scratched area did not affect the reading speed. The disc was read accurately and no read errors were reported. The performance reveals high error correction capabilities with scratched single layer DVD-ROM discs.

ABEX TDR-825

This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but defected areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.

As in the previous test, the disc was read without any "read errors". There was a small drop in reading speed just before the fingerprint defective area, but the test was finished successfully.

- Dual Layer media
ABEX TDR-841

This is a 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, in both layers.

The drive didn't have any major problems as the above graph shows.

ABEX TDR-845

The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc of a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defected areas and fingerprints. The dimensions of the defected areas range from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 65 to 75 micro meters.

Here we notice the same behavior as with the single layer disc. When the drive enters the fingerprint defective area, the reading speed drops for a while but quickly regains speed and finishes the test without any problems.

ABEX TDV-541

The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with a capacity of 8.5GB.The disc is based upon the TDV-540 series which is designed for inspection and adjustment of DVD-VIDEO players. The discs check the layer switch operation from layer 0 to layer 1 and also include test pictures and test signals for DVD sound files. The current TDV-541 checks also the error correcting capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

Click for the full graph!

The reading process started at 3.54X and reached 8.45X at the 4.0GB point, where the drive changed layer and reduced its reading speed till the end. No serious problems were noticed, very small glitches but the result is good.

ABEX TDV-545

The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It has also 65 - 75 micro meters fingerprints.

Click for a full graph!

Black dots and fingerprints on the disc's surface did not create any reading problems, and the drive finished the task successfully.


5. Protected Disc Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 5

Protected Disc Tests
- Reading Tests

To create the image of the various protected titles to the hard disk, we used Alcohol 120% software and the appropriate settings, according to the protection type of the inserted discs. Below you can see the duration of each process as well as the transfer rate in each case, which should prove interesting for all users.

Game Title
Protection Scheme
Duration
Reading speed
PSX "NBA Jam Extreme"
Lybcrypt
3:23 min
445 sectors/sec
Serious Sam The Second Encounter
SafeDisc v.2.50.051
9:32 min
586 sectors/sec
VRally II
SecuROM v.2
3:02 min
1889 sectors/sec

The DRU-700A drive performed similarly with the other drives. Unfortunately, it cannot skip read errors quickly, giving a high reading time for a SafeDisc2 protected disc.

- Writing Tests

The Sony DRU-700A supports the DAO-RAW writing mode. For checking the drive's EFM correction status, we used 3 different game titles with different SafeDisc 2 versions having the latest software patches installed. After making the images of the various titles onto the hard disk, we burned them (maximum speed) with Alcohol 120% v1.9.2.1705. Two different discs were created for each title; one with the "Bypass EFM error" enabled and one more with the function disabled.

The table below shows the results of the attempted backups and whether they worked (game installed / played normally), or not.

Drive

Fifa 2004
SD v3.1x

Sims Superstar
SD v2.9x
Sims Unleashed
SD v2.8x
Serious Sam-Second Encounter
SD v2.50.051
Max Payne
SD v2.51.020
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
EFM OFF
EFM ON
Toshiba
SD-M1502
No
 
  No
Yes
Creative CD5233E
    Yes

SONY DRU700A

  
Yes

The drive's full Safedisc2 backup capabilities reached only up to v2.8x. The drive will produce partially working backups with the newest v2.9x and v3.1x builds.


6. DAE Tests

Sony DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 6

DAE Tests

- Pressed and CDR AudioCD

The Sony DRU-700A supports up to 40X CAV DAE speed. When using a pressed AudioCD and its CD-R copy, with EAC, we measured the following results:

The DRU-700A's DAE reading speed is almost identical with the other two drives. As EAC reports, the drive caches DAE, supports accurate stream and can report C2 error information.

- Advanced DAE Quality

The Sony DRU-700A received a score of 100 (perfect) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. CDSpeed showed that the average reading speed is 27.83X, and that the drive supports reading of SubChannel data. Leadin / Leadout data and CD Text.

- Reading 90/ 99mins AudioCDs

Click for the Full Graph!

Click for the Full Graph!


7. Protected AudioCDs

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 7

Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used three audio discs with different audio copy protections. The ripping process for all protected Audio discs was carried out with Exact Audio Copy v0.9beta5.

The tested protected Audio discs were:

The Cactus Data Shield 200 protected CD contains artificial errors that are not easily bypassed by readers, while the Key2Audio protected CD contains a second session, causing problems for readers when they try to read the Table Of Contents (TOC).

The sequence of tests are:

The DRU-700A recognized the 12 Audio tracks of the CDS200 protected disc,

and with the "Retrieve Native TOC" option removed, recognized the 13th data track.

The test results are shown in the following table:

Key2Audio
CDS200
SONY DRU-700A
Ripping process completed, Read&Test CRC comparison same for all tracks
Ripping process completed, EAC reports timing problems, Read&Test CRC comparison not the same for all tracks

The SONY DRU-700A will rip both Key2Audio/CDS200 protected audio discs. Both discs were recognized and their contents were ripped at the maximum speed. However, the drive may not rip 100% accurately CD200 protected discs since EAC reported timing problems and at the same time, the Read&Test CRC check comparison was not the same for all tracks. No problems were noticed with Key2Audio discs.

This is a "special" CDS200 build, since it doesn't contain any artificial errors during the ripping process. Most problems occur when trying to write the ripped wav files, since the produced CD-R disc contains C2 and CU errors! This "problem" is rumored to be connected to specific chipset weaknesses..

We ripped the disc contents with EAC and burned the produced wav with the latest Nero version as AudioCD+CD-Text. The burned media was checked for C1/C2 errors with PlexTools/KProbe software using Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.02) and LiteOn LDW-811S (firmware vHS0Q).

CDS 200.0.4 - 3.0 build 16a
SONY DRU-700A
Reading performed without any errors, writing produces few C2 spikes

The C1/C2 error graphs indicate that the drive didn't manage to produce a 100% error free disc.

Lets try to extract all wav files with the Plextor PX-712A and PlexTool DAE Error Correction 5th Level enabled:

No errors were reported after extracting all files, despite the high C2 spike reported by PlexTools at around the 46 minute mark. The drive's error correction mechanism corrected the errors.


8. CD Recording Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 8

CD Recording Tests

The SONY DRU700A supports 40X CD-R and 24X US-RW recording speeds.

The drive supports 8X, 16X (CLV), 24X, 32X and 40X (P-CAV) writing speeds. Below are the recording speed as detected from Nero Burning Rom.

Its quite possible that due to the PowerBurn system, the maximum burning speed reduced down to 32X or even 24X. User can disable it and get the maximum writing speed. This can be done under Nero Burning Rom->Choose Recorder->Options->Un-check Generic PowerControl Enabled.

Another utility that can be used to check the maximum speed of the inserted media comes from LiteON, SONY owns LiteON, with the name "SMART-BURN Media Check Program":

According to Nero CDSpeed the drive reached the maximum 40X speed. The test started at 18.51X and finished at 41.89X having an average speed of 31.65X. Click on the image below to see the whole graph.

Click For Full Graph!

For the burning tests we created a 80min data compilation through Nero Burning Rom recorded the data on a 700MB disc. The SONY DRU-700A finished the task in 3:19 minutes, for the maximum 40X writing speed, three seconds slower than the 832S model.

The writing performance varies according to the inserted media, as our tests showed. The SmartBurn system will lower the writing speed if the media ID code is not placed at the drive's firmware. Below is a chart demonstrating all recording times with various media.

The best performance came from Mam 80min 52X media with 196secs (3:16mins) with SmartBurn disabled, since when enabled, allowed only 24X for the specific disc. The higher higher recording time comes from TraxData 80min 52X media with 201secs (3:21mins).

- Other features

Overburning writing
Up to 99min
CD text reading/writing
Yes

SONY DRU-700A supports the 16X CLV, 24X Z-CLV rewriting speeds, with Ultra Speed Rewritable Media (US-RW). The drive also writes at 4X CLV with NS CD-RW and 10X CLV with HS-RW discs.

Below you can see the Nero CD-DVD Speed writing simulation test with blank 24X US-RW media by Mitsubishi Chemicals.

Click for the full graph!

The drive starts the writing task at 16.04X and reaches the maximum 24X at 14:00 mins address of the disc. According to CDSpeed, the average writing speed is 22.54X.

We also used Nero Burning Rom in order to burn a data disc with 24X US-RW media by MCC. The data compilation we burned had a size of 651 MB and the duration of the recording process was 4:08 minutes.

- CD-RW Mount Rainier Tests

We used Philips Mount Rainier Validation Suite v2.2 to test the drive's compliance with the Mount Rainier format. All three scripts loaded in the Validation Suite (mandatory command set, Light R'n'R and Heavy R'n'R) but for some reason the Mount Rainier Suite didn't worked as supposed too.


9. 3T Jitter Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 9

3T Jitter Tests

On this page you can see the 3T Pit & Land Jitter graphs using various media burned at 40X CAV writing speed.

- 3T Pit results

The recording quality of the drive was good with half the media while with the other half it was quite bad (note the readings for BenQ, Fuji and MPO which all reached 55nsecs). This indicates that the drive needs a new firmware release for better compatibility with all media brands. Traxdata displayed the best writing quality.

- 3T Land results

Once again the above results show the same situation with the Sony recorder, where we have poor results with the same media as before.


10. C1 / C2 Error Measurements

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 10

C1 / C2 Error Measurements

We measured the C1 / C2 error rate on the recorded discs we burned at the various supported writing speeds. The software we used was PleXTools Professional v2.14, and particularly the built-in Q-Check utility. The reader was the Plextor PX-712A (firmware v1.02)

BenQ 80min 52X CD-R @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

CMC Magnetics 80min 48X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

Fuji 80min 40X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

MPO Gold 80min 52X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

Promedia 80min 52X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

Verbatim 80min 52X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

TraxData 80min 52X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

TY 80min 48X @ 40X (PowerBurn Enabled)

- Summary

The SONY DRU-700A needs to improve its writing quality with CD-R media. With specific media we noticed high C1 and more importantly C2 errors, which can be corrected by the drive's error correction capabilities, but we feel the performance should be better.

- Appendix

Media Label
ID Code
Manufacturer Name
Lead Out TIme
ProMedia 80min 52X
97m26s66f
CMC Magnetics Corporation
79m59s71f
MPO GOLD 80min 52X
97m25s07f
Moulage Plastique de l'Ouest
79m59s71f
CMC Magnetics 80min 48X
97m26s66f
CMC Magnetics
79m59s71f
BenQ 80min 48X
97m22s67f
Daxon Technology
79m59s74f
TY 80min 48X
97m24s 1f
Taiyo Yuden
79m59s72f
Verbatim 80min 52X
97m34s23f
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
79m59s73f
TraxData 80min 52X
97m15s17f
Ritek
79m59s70f
Fuji 80min 40X
97m26s45f
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.
79m59s73f

11. DVD Recording Tests

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 11

DVD Recording Tests
- Writing Performance

The SONY-DRU700A supports DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW writing. The maximum supported speed for the DVD±R is 8X (6X~8 Z-CLV) and 4X CLV for DVD±RW media. Nero Burning Rom reported speeds are shown below. Notice that the drive burns CLV at 4X & 6X writing speeds for both DVD±R formats.

By using Codeguys "OmniPatcher for LiteOn DVD Writers", we can see which media codes are supported for ±R/RW formats and at which recording speeds (for VYC1 firmware):

It is possible that with Codeguys "OmniPatcher for LiteOn DVD Writers" a user can change the maximum recording speeds for lower rated media, and burn them at 8X or 6X. More on this later...

By using Nero CD-DVD Speed's "create disc" function with TY's 8X DVD+R media, we are able to see the 8X Z-CLV recording technology in use on the SONY DRU-700A recorder.

Click for the full graph!

The drive starts writing at 3.96X until 0.8GB where it shifts to just above 6X, and then at 1.5GB it shifts to 8X and stays there till the end. The average writing speed is around 7.19X. This recording strategy is used for both DVD±R formats.

Depending on the inserted media, the drive adopts a different writing strategy that leads to lower writing time. Using an Intenso 8X DVD+R media we can see a slightly different Z-CLV implementation, which is faster (7.52X average), due to earlier speed shifts.

Click To Enlarge!

As we said, the above strategy occurs with specific media, however there is the option to permanently change this with Codeguys "OmniPatcher for LiteOn DVD Writers" :-)

- Burning Tests

We burned 4315MB of data on various DVD±R, DVD±RW media. After checking the supported media list, we noticed that almost all 4X rated media could burn only at 4X, while most 8X rated media at 8X. For the 'normal' recording tests we used the 8X rated media, burned at 8X for the DVD±R formats.

The best recording times for the DVD-R format came from Maxell's 8X media with 9:17mins. All other 8X rated DVD-R media had higher recording times (check below).

With DVD+R media, the lowest burning time came from Intenso's 8X DVD+R media at 8:30mins. We did notice a high variation in the burning times of 8X DVD+R media, which can be explained by the drive's ability to adapt its writing strategy (shifts in writing speeds) depending on the inserted media.

Below are all the burning results for the various media types used.

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
That's 8X
TYG02
8X
9:27
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
9:32
CMC 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
9:17
TraxData 8X
RITEKG05
8X
9:18
Noname
RITEKG06
8X
9:27
Maxell 8X
MXL RG03
8X
9:17
Promedia
ProdiscS04
8X
9:28
Memorex 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
9:28
MKM 4X RW
MCC 01RW4X
4X
14:27
TraxData 4X RW
RITEK W04
4X
14:26
Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
Plextor 8X
YUDEN000T02
8X
9:05
Verbatim 8X
MCC003
8X
9:07
Intenso 8X
PRODISCR03
8X
8:30
Promedia 8X
AML002
8X
8:58
Memorex 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
9:12
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
9:05
3A 8X
Plasmon1C01
8X
9:27
3A 4X
POMSC001002
4X
14:14
MKM 4X RW
MKMA02
4X
13:49
TraxData 4X RW
RICOHJPNW11
4X
13:52

- DVD Overburning Tests

In order to test the drive's DVD overburning capabilities, we used two media types, one 4X DVD-R from Traxdata and one 8X DVD+R from Plextor. As you can see from the screenshot below, the drive refused to start the test with DVD-R media,

while with DVD+R media, it started but when it reached 4.38GB, stopped with an error message.

Hence, the SONY DRU-700A cannot overburn with either of DVD±R format.

- DVD+MRW Tests

We used MRW Validation Suite 2.2 by Philips to test the compliance of the drive with the Mount Rainier DVD+MRW format. For the test we used 4X DVD+RW media from TraxData and 2.4X DVD+RW media from Sentinel. The test was terminated immediately after starting, prompting us to insert a blank DVD+RW disc. We have seen the same behavior with other drives as well and is most probably a program bug, so when a newer version is released, we will update our review.


12. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 12

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 1

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD+R/RW media we burned with the SONY DRU-700A.

The software we used for all measurements were:

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The primary explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speed, since when the error rate increases at a specific area on the disc, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

3A 4X DVD+R @ 4X

3A 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Intenso 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Memorex 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Promedia 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Due to high PI error rate, we got freezes of picture when inserted to a PS2

TraxData 8X DVD+R @ 4X

TY 8X DVD+R @ 8X

Due to high PI error rate, we got freezes of picture when inserted to a PS2

Verbatim 8X DVD+R @ 8X

MKM 4X DVD+RW @ 4X

TraxData 4X DVD+RW @ 4X

- Summary

The PI/PIF scans showed that with some specific media, the drive produced good quality, whereas with other media it wasn't so good. Newer firmware can improve writing performance. The best results came with Intenso 8X which also gave the lowest recording time!

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
Plextor 8X
YUDEN000T02
8X
9:05
Verbatim 8X
MCC003
8X
9:07
Intenso 8X
PRODISCR03
8X
8:30
Promedia 8X
AML002
8X
8:58
Memorex 8X
CMC MAG E01
8X
9:12
Traxdata 8X
RITEK R03
8X
9:05
3A 8X
Plasmon1C01
8X
9:27
3A 4X
POMSC001002
4X
14:14
MKM 4X RW
MKMA02
4X
13:49
TraxData 4X RW
RICOHJPNW11
4X
13:52

13. KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 13

KProbe/PlexTools Scans - Page 2

In the following screenshots you can see the PI/PIF scans for the DVD+R/RW media we burned with the SONY DRU-700A.

The software we used for all measurements was

Comparing the KProbe/PlexTools scans we can see major differences in the reported PI/PIF error rates. The primary explanation is that we have two different readers, with different pickup/chipset combinations, scanning at different reading speeds (8X CAV for KProbe, 2X CLV for PlexTools). It's interesting to see the disc scanned at low & high speed, since when the error rate increases at a specific area on the disc, it should appear in both scans...else it would be, perhaps, a reading glitch of the tested reader.

Note: PI/PIF errors only give us a quick look at the error rate of the burned media. Those scans should be taken not as the absolute criteria of the burning quality but as an indication level.

CMC Magnetics 8X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools report read error around 3.6GB

Disc doesn't recognized at PS2

Maxell 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Memorex 8X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools report read error around 3.6GB

RITEK G06 8X DVD-R @ 8X

ProMedia 8X DVD-R @ 8X

TraxData 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Disc recognized at PS2, jerky playback occasionally

TraxData 8X (G06) 8X DVD-R @ 8X

TY 8X DVD-R @ 8X

Verbatim 8X DVD-R @ 8X

MKM 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

TraxData 4X DVD-RW @ 4X

- Summary

The writing quality of the drive with DVD-R can be considered as average, where again with some media the drive performed very well but with others very badly. Good results came with RITEKG06 and Maxell's 8X DVD-R media. Its can easily be seen that most problems occur either at the inner or outer areas of the disc.

- Appendix

Disc Label
Disc Information
Max Allowed Writing Speed
Total Recording Time (mins)
That's 8X
TYG02
8X
9:27
Verbatim 8X
MCC 02RG20
8X
9:32
CMC 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
9:17
TraxData 8X
RITEKG05
8X
9:18
Noname
RITEKG06
8X
9:27
Maxell 8X
MXL RG03
8X
9:17
Promedia
ProdiscS04
8X
9:28
Memorex 8X
CMC MAG. AE1
8X
9:28
MKM 4X RW
MCC 01RW4X
4X
14:27
TraxData 4X RW
RITEK W04
4X
14:26

14. DVD+R DL - Page 1

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 14

DVD+R DL - Page 1

The SONY DRU-700A is one of the first writers that supports the DVD+R DL format. Currently, two media ID codes are supported with firmware, namely Mitsubishi Chemicals (MKM 001) and Ricoh ( RICOHJPND00) DL media. Hopefully, with new firmware, more media ID codes would be supported such as the upcoming RITEK and CMC Mangetics DL media.

The retail package didn't included any DL media, and SONY didn't provide us with any media for testing. After contacting Verbatim Europe, we managed to get some media for our tests. Note that at least for Europe, DL media comes in a 5 pack and is not available in single discs.

Below is the Verbatim DVD+R DL Media ID, as reported from DVDInfoPro software:

- DVD+R DL BookType Setting

SONY doesn't provide any utility to set/change the DVD+R DL booktype setting, which is important since the drive comes with the DVD+R DL as default booktype. As we have seen from previous tests, the DVD-ROM booktype highly improves compatibility. Using KProbe's Bit Setting utility we managed to change from Normal (DVD+R DL):

to the desired DVD-ROM.

- Writing Tests

We burned one DVD+R DL disc with DVD-Video content and DVD-ROM BookType setting. As the source we used "Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1 with total size of 6.86GB. First, we transferred the movie to the HDD with DVD Decrypter, stored in ISO format (single file). Afterwards, we used CopyToDVD v3.0.19 to burn the image and selected the SONY burner.

After pressing"OK", the burning procedure started but only after a delay of 36secs (disc recognized 36:39, burning started 37:15):

and finished after 38:35 mins. The average speed was 2.28X as reported by the CopyToDVD software.

For comparison, we post some burning times with other DL writers, which all burned the same content ("Gladiator Movie - Special Edition" disc1), using CopyToDVD software:

Drive
Time (mins)
BenQ DW830A
39:14
NEC 2510A
37:17
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD+R DL BookType
38:33
LiteON SOHW-832S DVD-ROM BookType
38:36
SONY DRU-700A
38:35

The SONY drive performed well, but the best recording time comes from the NEC 2510A.


15. DVD+R DL - Page 2

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 15

DVD+R DL - Page 2

- Writing Quality

In order to test the writing quality of the burned DVD+R DL DL, we again used the LiteOn SOHD-167T and Plextor PX-712A drives.

The results were very good with the lowest PI error rate we have seen from a DL burn:

Pressed movie

The Beta/Jitter graph seems very good also, you can see the layer change from the drop in the Jitter value.

The reported PI error rate reached the 280 limit and Nero CD-DVD Speed is far from being perfect. Using the LiteON SOHD-167T at 6X reading speed, and KProbe v2.1.0 we saw a much higher error rate than PlexTools reported. Of course the PI error trend line looks the same, however the CDSpeed graph looks better than Plextor PX-712A, even with some glitches: ?????????

Pressed movie

Mitsubishi Chemicals 2.4X DVD+R DL

- Compatibility Matrix

For our compatibility tests, we used the burned DVD+R DL with DVD-ROM booktype disc and PowerDVD v5.0 for PC drives. We moved forwards and backwards around the layer change to ensure that the movie can playback without any glitches or skips. The results are shown below:

Drive
Firmware
DVD+R DL Booktype
LiteOn SOHW-812S
vUSOJ
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LDW-811S
vHS0Q
Disc size recognized under CDSpeed but not disc contents under Windows
LiteOn SOHC-5232K
vNK07
Playback is perfect
Panasonic LDF-511
vA112
Playback is perfect
Philips DVDR824P
vP1.2
Not recognized
Pioneer DCR-111
v1.26
Playback is perfect
Pioneer A06
v1.07
Playback is perfect
BenQ DW822A
vB3HC
Not recognized
Samsung SH-W08A
v1S30
Not recognized
Plextor PX-712A
v1.01
Playback is perfect
Pioneer A07
v1.12
Not recognized
Optorite DD405
v1.50E
Playback is perfect
Optorite DD203
v2.25
Playback is perfect
Ricoh MP5125A
v1.27
Playback is perfect
Ricoh 5308D
v1.B2
Playback is perfect
NEC 2500A
v1.07 official
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LTD-163D
vGH5S
Playback is perfect
LiteOn LTD-165H
vCH11
Playback is perfect
Pioneer DVD-500M
v1.02
Not recognized, drive makes noises
Pioneer DVD-106S/2
v1.22
Playback is perfect
Pioneer DVD-116/S2
v1.22
Playback is perfect
Toshiba SD-1502
v1012
Playback is perfect
Toshiba SD-1612
v1004
Playback is perfect
Toshiba SD-1712
v1004
Playback is possible, several skips
Toshiba SD-1802
v1034
Recognizes disc size under CDSpeed but not disc contents under Windows
TEAC DV-516E
v2.01
Not recognized
BTC BDV-316B
v0.47
Playback is perfect

From 27 drives that are capable of reading DVD media, we had the following results:

DVD+R DL
(DVD-ROM BookType)
Perfect Playback
19 (70.37%)
Medium/Low/No Playback
3
Not recognized at all
6

In addition, we tested with a few DVD players:

Player
DVD-ROM BookType
PS2
SCPH-5004 series
Playback is perfect
Waitec DVD-X4
Disc recognized, playback is jerky
Waitec Vision-HR
Disc recognized, playback is jerky
LiteON LVW-5001
Playback is perfect
LiteON LVW-5005
Playback is perfect
Kiss DP-1504
Disc isn't recognized

16. DRU700A vs. SA300 - Page 1

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 15

DRU700A vs. SA300 - Page 1

For checking exactly what the DRU-700A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. Those three media have been measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

The drive reports only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested DRU-700A drive. Using another drive can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

The PIF error rate trend line looks like the SA300, however with totally different value level. ?????

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#1st Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

With this test disc, all reading speeds 8X, 6X, 4X showed that at the end of the disc, the PI/PIF error rate increases. The SA300 system also measured similar performance. Its rather interesting that the 4X reading speed gave the "worst" results with the same trend line for PI/PIF errors but with higher values than the 8X speed...


17. DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 2

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 17

DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 2

For checking exactly what the DRU-700A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. The three media were then measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

The drive reports only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested DRU-700A drive. Using another drive can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#2nd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

- Conclusion

All reading speeds gave the same error rates, indicating that the disc is in perfect shape, however the CATS results show the opposite. We cannot recommend using the DRU-700A for scanning DVD media even at 8X.


18. DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 3

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 18

DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 3

For checking exactly what the DRU-700A reports, we used three different media, burned with other recorders. The media was then measured with the well known AudioDev SA300 DVD CATS system at 1X.

The drive reports only PI/PIF errors, we will compare those measurements at various reading speeds:

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested DRU-700A drive. Using another drive can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

#3rd Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 4X Reading speed

- Conclusion

All reading speeds gave more or less the same results, the disc is in good condition, no problems noticed. Of course, the reported PI error rate is very low compared with the SA300 series.


19. DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 4

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 19

DRU-700A vs. SA300 - Page 4

We didn't use KProbe v2.1.0 for the scan since all the times we tried, it froze at 50%, at either the ASPI or SPTI layer. We didn't manage to set 4X reading speed , only 6X and 8X using the latest Nero CD-DVD Speed.

Please note that the posted results are only valid for the specific tested DRU-700A drive. Using another drive can produce totally different results. Be aware!

#4th Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 8X Reading speed

#4th Test Disc - PISum8/PIF Comparison - 6X Reading speed

- Conclusion

The drive reported a low PI error rate with the used DL media, close to what CATS showed. We can say that the drive may be used for DL scans with good results.


20. BookType Setting

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 20

BookType Setting

As was said earlier, SONY doesn't provide a BookType Setting for the DVD+R/+RW formats. You can use alternative utilities mainly aimed at LiteON users (LiteON Booktype Utility & KProbe). Please note that with VY05 firmware, SONY has REMOVED the ability to set BookType Bitsetting, be warned before installing it.

With KProbe, under Tools->Bitsetting, the user can view the current Disc Type and change the BookType to either DVD-ROM/DVD+R/+RW. Unfortunately, Bit Setting isn't supported with DVD-R media:

Lets now try changing the Bit Setting for DVD+R media, the current Booktype is normal (DVD+R):

After pressing the "Set" button, the booktype changed to DVD-ROM:


21. Conclusion

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 21

Conclusion

The SONY DRU-700A is along with the LiteON SOHW-832S and NEC 2510A drives, the first ever recorders that support DVD+R DL writing. The drive's performance was good in some tests, but can be improved in others.

Listing the negative points, the drive's biggest drawback is the lack of Booktype Bitsetting with the latest official firmware. Our tests have shown that DVD+R DL writing needs DVD-ROM booktype to improve compatibility. SONY not only doesn't offer a utility, but also doesn't support it in the latest firmware. Another issue is that the drive's general performance could be better although newer firmware can fix this. Finally, the retail package doesn't include any blank DVD+R DL media.

On the positive side, the drive has very good CD/DVD error correction, can backup SD2 2.8x builds and has no problem with protected Audio discs. A big plus for the drive, is the fact that many utilities used by LiteON's unofficial community can also be used with the DRU-700A drive offering many "unique" features/utilities (KProbe, Media speed hacks, RPC1 utilities, overclocking, etc...).

As a last word, we would like the price of the drive to be lower since competitors drives, such as NEC and LiteON, are already at lower prices...

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed


22. Firmware Hacks - Page 1

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 22

Firmware Hacks - Page 1

It is possible with the use of "OmniPatcher for LiteOn DVD Writers", to change the maximum supported writing speed for every supported media as listed in the drive's firmware. Why someone should consider doing this? Simply cause there are some media that can be burned "safely" at 8X even are only 4X rated.

Why SONY hasn't already added those media ID codes to 8X is not known, but since there is the possibility from end user to change it, we performed a series of tests. Please note that the following changes are not supported by SONY if you decide use them at your OWN RISK. Also our final verdict is not affected from the following tests, you can say its an appendix area for experienced users. Read on...

- Media Speed hacks

Assuming you already know how the OmniPatcher software works, we changed several media types either from 2X/4X to 8X. The process is a rather test and trial, change speed, burn media, check error rates, compatibility and decide its successful or not. Below are two screenshots from the OmniPatcher software:

Let's see which media ID codes are changed and the burning results. We inserted each burned disc at a PS2 and checked the recognize process among with playback problems.

Media Brand
Media ID Code
Default supported writing speed
Boosted writing speed
Burn Time
PS2 Compatibility
CMC
CMC MAG R01
2.4X
8X
8:32
Ok
CMC
CMC MAGF01
4X
8:55
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
MCC
MCC002
4X
8:59
Ok
MMore
MBIPG101R03
4X
9:16
Ok
TraxData
RICOHJPNR01
4X
9:14
Ok
TY
YUDEN000T01
4X
9:26
Ok

The burning results were encouraging meaning no coaster was noticed. With some media, the drive lowered the recording speed at the end to 6X or even 4X as we seen from Nero's burning speed indicator. Below are the KProbe/PlexTools scans for each burned media.

CMC Magnetics 2.4X DVD+R @ 8X

CMC Magnetics 4X DVD+R @ 8X


PlexTools report read error around 1.3GB

MCC 4X DVD+R @ 8X

MMore 4X DVD+R @ 8X

TraxData 4X DVD+R @ 8X

TaiyoYuden 4X DVD+R @ 8X

- Summary

Judging from the PI/PIF scans results we can "boost" several media from 4X to 8X with good results, MCC, MMore and others. Is rather interesting that while KProbe scans are quite well, PlexTools seems to disagree..


23. Firmware Hacks - Page 2

SONY DRU-700A Dual DVD±RW Recorder - Page 23

Firmware Hacks - Page 2

Let's see which media ID codes are changed and the burning results. We inserted each burned disc at a PS2 and checked the recognize process among with playback problems.

Media Brand
Media ID Code
Default supported writing speed
Boosted writing speed
Burn Time
PS2 Compatibility
3A 8X
POMS3A
4X
8X
9:41
Ok
Mam
MAM4XG02
4X
9:29
Ok
MMore
MBI 01RG20
4X
9:34
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
TY
TYG01
4X
10:05
Reading error after 1/3 of movie started
CMC
CMC MAG. AF1
4X
9:28
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
N-Tech
MXL RG01
4X
9:55
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
ProMedia
AML
4X
9:38
Ok
TraxData
RITEKG04
4X
9:33
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
TraxData
RITEKG04
4X
6X
11:11
Movies freezes at Chapter2
Verbatim
MCC 01RG20
4X
8X
9:33
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
TDK
TT01
4X
9:46
Ok
BenQ
SONY04D1
4X
9:29
Ok
TY
TAIYOYUDEN
2X
10:02
Doesn't recognize inserted disc
TY
TAIYOYUDEN
2X
6X
11:15
Ok
TEAC
MCI4XG01
4X
8X
9:20
Doesn't recognize inserted disc

Below are the KProbe/PlexTools scans for each burned media.

3A 8X DVD-R @ 8X

BenQ 4X DVD-R @ 8X

CMC Magnetics 4X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 4GB

Mam 4X DVD-R @ 8X

MMore 4X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 4GB

N-Tech 4X DVD-R @ 8X

PlexTools reports that media is empty (blank)!!!!!

ProMedia 4X DVD-R @ 8X

TDK 4X DVD-R @ 8X

TEAC 4X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 3.5GB

TraxData 4X DVD-R @ 6X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 4GB

TraxData 4X DVD-R @ 8X

TaiyoYuden 2X DVD-R @ 6X

TaiyoYuden 2X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 1.6GB

TaiyoYuden 4X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 3GB

Verbatim 4X DVD-R @ 8X


PlexTools reports read error and stops measuring around 1.6GB

- Summary

The results speak themselves, only one media, even 2X rated, managed to burn with good quality at 6X.



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