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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage

Monday, March 15, 2010
Samsung SH-B083L

3. Reading defected CDs

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 : 989433
Errors (Loudness) Num : 51509 Avg : -73.7 dB(A) Max : -14.2 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 3176 Avg : 1.0 Samples Max : 8 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 76.8 points (out of 100.0 maximum )

The Samsung SH-B083L drive muted many faulty samples. The average value for the errors is not high enough to produce possible audible distortions to sound that will reach your speakers, although some wedges are high (max -14.2 dB(A)). This is a better than average performance for the drive, compared to the results we have seen from other DVD and BD burners.

- ABEX TCD-726R

Errors total Num : 13
Errors (Loudness) Num : 4 Avg : -88.8 dB(A) Max : -81.0 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 0 Avg : 0.0 Samples Max : 0 Samples
Skips Num :0 Avg : 0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 94.1 points (out of 100.0 maximum)

The drive started reporting errors before actually reaching the defected areas of the test disc. This could be attributed to either the quality of the optical system and/or of the error correction capabilities of the firmware. The wedge was not high, meaning that it most probably wouldn't reach your speakers as noise. However, its existence was enough to lower the overall score of the test.

- 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
Samsung SH-B083L 5/5 5/5 5/5 5/5 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 first four tracks of this test disc. A good performance here.




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