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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage

Thursday, December 10, 2009
LiteOn iHOS104 4x BD-ROM

3. CD error correction

This series of tests checks the drive's ability to correct/conceal possible erroneous data after reading artificially scratched / defective audio discs.

Using a CD-R in best shape to do the DAE test is generally not a safe way to test the drive's error correction capabilities. If your drive would not read audio CDs error free from an error free disc, you would probably bring the drive back to the vendor. It is far more interesting to see how a drive is behaving under critical conditions (which will also tell something about the DAE quality on CDs that have manipulated C2 error information on purpose). For that a special test CD like the ABEX discs from ALMEDIO can be used, that can be used to do a comparison between different drives. The ABEX test disc is actually an AudioCD that has artificial scratches and other physical disc error patterns on its surface.

Using a special software, we compare two audio files using FFT analysis. The first audio file has been extracted by a normal audio disc without physical error patterns on it . The second one is the result of the extraction of the ABEX test discs which hold the same audio tracks, but it also has specific defects on its surface. The similarity factor of the the two tracks unveils the error correction capabilities of the drive.

The differences between the two compared tracks are translated to a signal (noise) illustrated in the following graphs. Each graph tells a lot about the abilities of the drive. The quality of the optical system (and/or of the error correction capabilities of the firmware) is shown in at which time index the error start. The error hiding qualities are shown when the wedge gets bigger. The X position of a grid line is always a start of a new minute position on the CD (in play time, up to 74 min). The Y axis shows the dB(A) value of the error in the extracted file. The 0 dB(A) baseline at the top is marked slightly different. So the graph shows a range of 6 dB(A) down to -120.0 dB(A). Each line represents 6 dB(A) of volume (6 dB(A) louder means that the sound is double as loud).

- ABEX TCD-721R

Errors total Num : 898320
Errors (Loudness) Num : 48277 Avg : -73.9 dB(A) Max : -35.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 2872 Avg : 1.4 Samples Max : 598 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.6 points (of 100.0 maximum )

It is obvious that the LiteOn iHOS104 drive is actually muting the faulty samples rather than correcting them. Although the average value for the errors is not high enough to produce possible audible distortions to sound that will reach your speakers, some wedges are high enough (MAx -35.9 dB(A)).

LiteOn iHOS104 LiteOn DH-4O1S Pioneer BDC-202
Total score 76.6 points 47,5 points 75.3 points

- ABEX TCD-726R

Errors total Num : 69290
Errors (Loudness) Num : 370 Avg : -28.3.0 dB(A) Max : -16.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 140 Avg : 1.0 Samples Max : 2 Samples
Skips Num :0 Avg :0,0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 85.8 points(of 100.0 maximum)

The drive reacted badly as soon as it reached the first defected sectors of the disc, giving a high wedge. Other than that, the total score is adequate for the specific disc.

LiteOn iHOS104 LiteOn DH-4O1S Pioneer BDC-202
Total score 85.8 points 47,5 points 83.9 points

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is another 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 more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (e.g. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
LiteOn iHOS104S 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5
LiteOn DH-4O1S 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5
Pioneer BDC-202 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5

As it was expected, the error hiding mechanism of the LiteOn iHOS104 drive as well as the drive's tend to mute faulty samples resulted to a flawless reproduction of all the tracks of this test disc.




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