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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage

Friday, April 08, 2011
Sony BWU-500S Review

2. CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc reading tests

For our CD/DVD and Blu-ray transfer rate tests we used the Nero Disc Speed utility and a set of data and audio CD-R/RW/ROM as well as BD-R and BD-RE media. Here we test the maximum reading speed of the Sony drive for each type of disc.

CD reading

  • CD-ROM

  • US RW


  • AudioCD

Advanced DAE Quality

Here is the Nero DiscSpeed - Advanced DAE Quality test. In the On-the-fly copying area, the test determines whether an audio CD can be copied without causing errors at various speeds between 1x and 16x, i.e. indicates if the optical
drive is suitable for use on-the-fly in combination with a recorder for backing up audio discs. The results of two tests are displayed in the Test results area: the Sequential read test and the Random read test. The sequential read test simulates the digital extraction of audio files (DAE) under ideal conditions and then runs a harmonic read test.

There are two different types of error. A search for data errors returns audio samples that were not read correctly, based on a comparison of the read bytes with the known data from the test disc. Minor data errors can be corrected using the drive's error correction feature. Synchronization errors occur when, instead of reading the required audio sectors, an optical drive reads the adjacent sectors. Nero DiscSpeed uses special data on the test disc to check if the correct sectors are being read. Synchronization errors can result in samples being lost or repeated, and these errors can be audible:

The disc was extracted at 33.18X (average) and the quality score was 100. Notice that the drive cannot read data from the Lead-Out area, which means that it cannot always create perfect copies.


Digital Audio Extraction or DAE is important when we try to read the files stored on an audio CD and store them in our hard disk drive. The procedure is not always that simple and the fidelity of the extracted data depend on the way each drive handles these data.

The majority of the software that support this procedure, commonly known as "ripping", will just read the audio files and store them on your hard disk. However, this approach is not recommended for all drives, since it may result to read or sync errors if your drive does not support report of C2 error pointer information and also what the author of the EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software describes as "accurate stream" and " non-caching."

According to EAC, the Sony drive supports "caching ", "Accurate stream" and reports "C2 error pointer information

Accurate stream and C2 error reporting is always welcome and contribute to reliable and fast audio extraction. Generally, if you select a drive for extraction better have a look that the drive does not cache audio data.

With these settings applied to EAC software, we perform a DAE of an audio CD to our HDD. Notice that the specific test will result in a slower DAE speed than what you would get if you simply select to rip the contents of the disc with another application. That's because EAC used its "Secure" ripping mode after we applied the drive's features (Caching, accurate stream , c2 error info) to the software, in order to have a reliable ripping with the specific drive. Since caching need to be defeated, the secure mode will be slow. When no read errors occur, it will usually something around a third to a fourth of the drive's maximum ripping speed (in case we had selected the default fast mode). The Sony drive ripped the audio tracks of the disc at an average ripping speed of 4.5X:

The same disc extracted using the faster "burst" ripping mode at 12.6X:


90/99 mins Audio discs

90min Audio disc

The drive returned an error as it was trying to read the data stored at the outer part of the disc.

It also gave a read error in the seek time test with the 99min CD-R.

DVD reading

Now let's take a look at how the drive performs with DVD media. This time, a set of SL and DL DVD media was used. The drive is capable of reading at 16X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 12X for dual layer DVD ROM media.

  • DVD-ROM SL media



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, progressing towards its outer range.



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 and progresses towards the inner part of the disc.


  • DVD-R


  • DVD-RW



  • DVD+R



  • DVD+RW


  • DVD+R DL

  • DVD-R DL



Version 2.2/5X-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 2.0

Version 6/12X-SPEED DVD-RAM RAM2

  • DVD Ripping speed

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

Blu-ray reading

Continuing, let's see how the drive reads the various Blu-ray recordable and ROM discs.




  • BD-R SL


The Sony drive is also capable of reading of BD-R Low-To-High (LTH) discs. Below you can see a reading test with a Verbatim SL BD-R LTH disc (VERBATIMw):

  • BD-R DL

  • BD-RE SL


  • BD-RE DL

  • 8cm BD-R SL

  • 8cm BD-RE SL


Reading of almost all media was completed fast and without read errors and at speeds that match the drive's specifications.

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