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Monday, June 03, 2002
PleXCombo PX-320A

4. DAE Tests

PleXCombo PX-320A IDE DVD/CDR-W - Page 4

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 beta 3 reports that the drive does "Caching" data, supports "Accurate Stream" and includes "C2" error info. However with actual tests we saw that the C2 error info capability feature is not actually present, although EAC reports it...


- Pressed AudioCD results

The DAE ripping speed of PX-320A is very high for the category. The specs state 40x (CAV) max DAE speed that was confirmed from the test results. The average speed is 28.9X with a pressed test disc. The PX-W4012A is faster with 30.1X and Ricoh MP9200A stays back with 26.8X:

- CDR AudioCD Results

Both Plextor drives had the exact same reading speed with CD-R media. The drives gave a 29.7X average ripping speed without producing any reading errors:

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

After many requests from numerous visitors we have added the EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that even EAC says drive supports C2 error info, if you actiave it, the drive refuses to extract the audio tracks. You must un-check it in order to start ripping:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
PleXCombo PX-320A

- Advanced DAE Quality

The PleXCombo PX-320A at the Nero CD Speed "Advanced DAE test", showed two different behaviours. With the test disc, produced by the same drive, got a 100 score without any reading errors. With a test disc produced from other drive, had much lower reading speed (23.85X) and produced 100 data errors! The same behaviour had been noticed also with other Plextor drive models. The drive can also read CD-Text, SubChannel data and from the lead in/out area, as CD Speed reports:

- Bad CDR Media results

Despite the fact that Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test stretches drive's mechanism to the max, we decided to do real life tests with a scratched disc. The disc was dirty, and with some light scratches, enough in order cause problems to most of the tested drives. We used CD DAE 99 software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) and the results were very interesting:

Average Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
PleXCombo PX-320A

The PleXCombo didn't perform well with the bad CDR media test disc. The drive doesn't lower its reading speed and therefore returns many reading errors. The % of the total errors is 15.92%, which must be the higher ever result we got from a Plextor drive.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

Digital Recordings CD-CHECK is a compact disc which allows evaluation of the CD player's "error correction headroom" (i.e. player's ability to correct data errors) and "tracking" (i.e. player's ability to stay on track despite of disc surface or other errors). CD-CHECK uses special digital signals in combination with disc error patterns arranged over five tracks. The five tracks contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests referred to as Check Level-1 to Check Level-5. The higher the Check Level passed the more reliable the sound reproduction of the CD player. A smooth, continuous tone of 20-seconds indicates the player passes that Check Level. Any clicks, interruptions, skipping or looping indicates failure of a Check Level.

CD-CHECK error sizes
Check Level-1
standard manufacturing errors
Check Level-2
0.375 mm
Check Level-3
0.750 mm
Check Level-4
1.125 mm
Check Level-5
1.500 mm

We tested the drive with the following procedure: We used WinXP Windows Media Player to playback the disc, and using headphones we listened all tracks. A continuous tone of 20 seconds plays in each track. If the drive playbacks without an audible pop or click occurring during playback of the tone it passes the check level. The tests are repeated five times. A result of 5/5 indicates that no pops or clicks were heard in 5 out of 5 playbacks of a particular track. A result of 0/5 means pops or clicks occurred during all 5 playbacks of a particular track. Digital Recordings provides the following interpretation of results:

· Level-1 Pass: Player meets minimum requirements
· Level-2 Pass: Average error correction
· Level-3 Pass: Good error correction
· Level-4 Pass: Very good error correction
· Level-5 Pass: Excellent error correction
Error Level
PleXCombo PX-320A

The drive worked very well with CD-Check test disc and managed to correct up to Level-4 errors. The almost perfect results of the CD-Check test, comes in contrast with the BAD CDR media results. As you may know, manufacturers calibrate the drives with industry's standard test discs, but real life tests are harder the most times.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

The drive recognizes 90min AudioCDs but when 99 min CDs are inserted, it will stop reading at 94mins.

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 3 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with CD DAE v0.3b/EAC v0.9 beta2) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)
* CDR AudioCD protected with Cactus Data Shield (CDS100) - made with Clone Audio Protector v1.1 (adding 30 secs lead-out)

PleXCombo PX-320A
Can rip disc contents without any issues
Can rip disc contents without any issues
Reads all tracks as Data tracks - ripping impossible

The Plextor PX-320A can "handle" protected CDs with the right software/settings. The drive will rip contents of Key2Audio/CDS200 discs with EAC 0.9beta 3. In order to rip CDS200 discs, you will have to use EAC's (Action>>"Detect TOC Manually") option, "BURST" reading mode and "Read Command D8". No errors were produced after the ripping process. If you use the "Secure" mode, the drive rips contents at almost 0X so it's not suggested.

In case you decide to use Plextor's PlexTools v1.13a to extract CDS200 contents, you will be disappointed. Even the software does recognize 12 tracks; it cannot rip the contents and returns a read error message. This has been fixed with a newer (v1.14) revision:

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