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Appeared on: Thursday, November 7, 2002
Pioneer DVR-A05

1. Introduction

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 1

- Introduction

Pioneer enforces the establishment of the DVD-R/RW writers against the competition, with the further developement of the succesfull line DVD-R/RW recorders. The previous DVR-A04 is optimized and replaced with the new Pioneer DVR-A05, providing advanced features, high recording speeds for both CD/DVD formats and quality performance for the desktop user. How fast 4X DVD recording can be?

- Important features

Combined with the bundled software, the enhanced writing functionality includes:

- New high speed DVD-R/RW media

The DVD Forum has established new standards for high-speed recordable discs back in August, 2002 ( DVD-R for General Version v2.0 supports 4X speed DVD-R v1.0 and DVD-RW v1.1 supports 2X-Speed DVD-RW v1.0). Both standards are designed to cover current 1X recording capability and higher speed writing capability.(2X and 4X for DVD-R, 2X for RW). The DVD Forum is the worldwide organization made up from numerous participants who do research or engaged in DVD businesses and commit to foster the format. The official formats of the DVD Forum are the DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM.

The previous Pioneer DVR-A03/A04 drive have issues with the new 4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW media. Pioneer already has released new firmware version that fixed the problem. For more information about the High Speed media issues you can visit this website. Back to the new media...

Pioneer has just shipped the first batch of the following media types and the availability for Europe will follow shortly through Pioneer distributors. The new 4X High Speed DVD-R media will come under the part number "DVS-R47BF" in a standard slim jewel case.This media also supports "CSS". Below are the pictures of the retail Pioneer 4X DVD-R media.

As Pioneer says "...Summary 4.7GB DVD-R disc corresponding to 650nm recording wavelength was developed by optimizing dye layer thickness, improving uniformity of substrate characteristics in the disc and adopting LPP structure. 61.7% modulation, 6.65% Jitter and a PIER_MAX count of 45 were observed with the disc recorded by the basic write strategy of the "DVD-R for General ver2.0" specification. Moreover, 77.1%(x2), 79.1%(x4) modulation, 6.38% (x2) ,6.42% (x4), Jitter and PIER_MAX counts of 23 (x2), and 27 (x4) were observed with the disc recorded by candidate basic write strategy of the "DVD-R for General ver2.01" specification. Therefore, the recorded discs will work on a general DVD players...". More information about 1-4X DVD-R media can be found at Pioneer's Japanese website (Japanese only).

The new 2X High Speed DVD-RW media will come under the part number "DVS-RW47CF" in a standard slim jewel case. This media supports "CPRM" and "CSS". Below are the pictures of the retail Pioneer 2X DVD-RW media.

As Pioneer says "...Summary 2x recording disks which are compatible with the existing DVD-RW (Version 1.1 standard) were developed. The development process included optimization of the crystallization speed of the phase-change materials, optimization of the disk structure, optimization of the LPP shape and reduction of noises from the groove surface by means of our high precision mastering technology. These disks recorded by "basic write strategy" of the DVD Re-recordable Disc Specification Version 1.1 resulted in 7.67% jitter, 67.9% modulation, 20.9% reflectivity, and by the 2x recording optimized strategy resulted 6.92% jitter, 75% modulation and 20.1% reflectivity. From this result, it is concluded that the recorded disks both by 1X and by 2X speed will work on general DVD players...". More information about 1-2X DVD-RW media can be found at Pioneer's Japanese website (Japanese only):

The new High Speed media will come with a warning label on its packaging, denoting the user to take care when using the disc in drives which do not support High Speed media.

- Comparison between the A05 and A04 models

Below is a table that displays the major differences between the A04 and A05 drives. With red are noted the new recording/reading speeds. As we can easily notice, the A05 is faster than the A04 drive in all recording/reading speeds.

The DVR-A05 also adopts a range of new technologies to enhance the reliability of writing to DVD:

- Drive features

The supported writing speed for the DVD-R format are 1X, 2X and 4X CLV. The 4X speed is available only with 4X DVD-R media. For the DVD-RW fromat, the supported writing speeds are 1X and 2X CLV, again with 2X DVD-RW media. The maximum reading speed for DVD-ROM is 12X CAV for single layer and 8X CAV for dual layer discs.

As for the CD-R media, you can select among the 4X, 8X, 12X and 16X CLV writing speeds, and 4X, 8X CLV writing for CD-RW format. The CD-ROM/-R/-RW reading speed is 32X CAV. The same speed is also supported for the CD-DA (DAE) format.

The buffer underrun protection and the 2MB cache buffer will prevent any buffer underrun problems in DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW formats. The drive came with region Code 1 selected, and the RPCII region control allows user to change the region code 4 more times. Till now there isn't any region free firmware.

The supported disc formats are: DVD-ROM (single layer/dual layer), DVD-R (General in case of writing), DVD-RW (Ver 1.o & 1.1), CD-ROM Mode 1, CD-ROM XA Mode 2, Photo CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-R. The following writing formats are supported:

1) DVD-R: DAO, Incremental recording, multi-border recording
2) DVD-RW: Restricted overwriting
2) CD-R/RW: DAO, SAO, TAO Packet write

- The package

The retail package included 1 high speed DVD-R (4X) disc, 1 high speed DVD-RW (2X) disc, and two software CD-ROM discs. The first CD-ROM contains the Sonic MyDVD Video Suite 4 software DVD player, which comes complete with Arcsoft's "Showbiz" video editing application and Cineplayer. In the other disc you can find the VOB Instant CD/DVD V6.5 software complete suite, for your CD/DVD data compilations. In addition, the package includes the usual analog audio cable, mounting screws, the forced eject hole key and an operating instructions manual.

Click to visit Pioneer A05 website!

On the disc loading tray there are the "DVD-R/RW" and the "HSRW" logos. The eject button is placed below the tray on the right side of the front panel, as usual. The indicator (Yellow Green LED) indicates the drive status. The indicator is active while reading/writing, and blinks when an error has occured. You can also find the head-phone jack, the volume control knob, the forced eject hole and a ventilation hole.

On the rear panel there are the usual connectors, such as the DC input, the ATAPI interface, the device configuration jumper, and the analog audio output. Pioneer had initially placed a cooling fan on the back of the drive, as you can see in the picture below. However, the fan was decided to be removed from the upcoming devices resulting to a much less operation noise of the drive, compared to the previous A03 and A04 models.

After removing the scews on the bottom we can see the drive's internal design. Pioneer mainly uses NEC chipsets as the following picture shows (click for a high-res)

Click to enlarge!

- Installation

Pioneer DVR-A05 was identified as "Pioneer DVR-105" under WinXP. The drive was installed to the secondary IDE channel of our test PC as a "Master". The drive worked in Ultra DMA Mode 2 transfer mode. The August 2002 model came with firmware version v0.56 installed, that was used to make all the reading/writing tests. After all tests finished, a newer firmware revision was provided (v1.00) and used to re-test all the negatives.

2. Data Reading Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 2

Data CD Tests

- Pressed CD results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

The DVR-A05 supports 32X CAV maximum CD reading speed. As it was expected, the drive is faster than the previous Pioneer model, and gives a 24.84X average reading speed.

The DVR-A05 has also lower seek times than the DVR-A04. In all the seek modes, the drive has improved the performance by approximately 20msec. The results agree with the manufacturer's specifications.

- CDR Media results (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

Both drives are quite fast with the CDR media. The DVR-A05 improved the average reading speed by 1X.

In the seek test, the results were not different than in the pressed CD test.

- HS-RW media (Click to see the CD Speed Graphs)

For the RW tests we used the Ricoh HS-RW media. The DVR-A05 starts reading at 14.93X and finished at 33.82X, resulting to 25.5X average speed. The drive is significally faster than the previous Pioneer model.

3. CD Error Correction Tests
Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 3

Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the error correction capabilities of the Pioneer DVR-A05, when reading a recorded CD-R.

- EAC CD-R Test Disc

- Introduction

We used the testing methodology as described in EAC website. The CD-R test disc includes 5 scratches and a black triangle defect. Using the "c2extract.exe" build-in software and with the max reading speed of each drive we ripped the disc. The attached analyse.exe software used to get the necessary results.

The graph tells a lot about the abilities of the drive. The quality of the optical system (and the error correction capabilities of the firmware) can be estimated by checking the time positions the errors start, during reading. Higher wedges mean lower error correction capabilities.

The grid of the graph has the following means:

- Explanation

After the analyze.exe software finishes, we get a detailed report about various errors:

- Errors total tells about the total number of wrong stereo samples. This includes areas of wrong samples that may include some correct samples.

- Errors Loudness is the number of FFT analysis done. For that the average and maximum value tells the power difference of the two signals. No acoustic model is used for this calculation, so the audible error may differ from these values.

- Error Muting gives information about error hiding. On bad errors (or bad error hiding techniques), the last error free sample is held for some time until a new valid sample is found. The number of these mutings is given as first result, following the average and maximum sample length of these mutings.

- Skips are occurring when the sync was lost and the drive had to reposition again (and start on a slightly different position). Non-accurate stream devices would loose the sync very often and smaller and bigger skips occur (thus samples are missing or extraneous). The average and maximum values denote the length in samples of such skips.

- Total Score is calculated according to the previous errors. The higher score a drive gets the better!

The C2 error graphs of EAC measure three C2 results:

As EAC author mentions "…This third one is the most interesting figure, it will show how much blocks are going unreported by C2 error correction...The 16 bit blocks (instead of 8-bit, the native format of C2) was because of some drives interpolate a (mono) sample, etc. but only flag the part with the read error on it (but changed both parts). Thus only 16 bit blocks are checked for consistency. It is enough if one of the two bits is flagged to accept that any of the two bytes are wrong..."

- Test Results (Max Reading)

The Pioneer DVR-A05 starts reporting errors at 16mins. The errors within the black triangle defect, reached -11.7dB in specific areas. The five scracthes also produced errors but the signal/noise level was less than -48dB(A). The score is of 71 out of 100 (max), which is an average performance.

Errors total
Num: 394676
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 3823
Avg:-77.9 dB(A)
Max: -11.7 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 97
Avg: 26.3 Samples
Max: 786 Samples
Skips Samples
Avg: 36.0 Samples
Max:36 Samples
Total Test Result
71.0 points (of 100.0 maximum)


- Introduction

This test disc includes artificial scratches with lengths from 1.8 mm to 3.0 mm.

Using the ABEX TCD-714 as the reference disc, we created the reference.wav file that is needed for the comparison. Using the c2extract.exe software and by setting the maximum reading speed with Nero Drive speed we ripped the disc. The attached analyse.exe software gave the comparison results.

- Test Results (Max speed)

Errors total
Num: 9895244
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 35370
Avg: -72.7 dB(A)
Max:-18.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Num: 2427
Avg: 1.5 Samples
Max: 530 Samples
Skips Samples
Avg: 6.0 Samples
Max: 6 Samples
Total Test Result
71.3 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The score for Pioneer DVR-A05 is 71.3, still an average performance. The total errors are more than in the previous test, as it was expected, since the disc is heavily scratched. The average level of the Loudness errors is -72.7dB(A).

- ABEX TCD-726

- Introduction

The ABEX TCD-726 includes three kinds of defects, interruption, black dots and fingerprints. The interruption defects are sized from 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm. The black dots are from 0.4 mm to 1.0 mm and the fingerprints range from 65 to 75 micrometers.

- Test Results (Max Speed)

The total amount of errors is smaller with the TCD-726 disc. The scratches on the disc is not as heavy as in the TCD-721, and the rest defects and fingerprints seem not to produce many errors while reading. The Loudness errors were 104 and the average level was -59.3dB(A), which is an acceptable level. However, the average skip samples and the error muting samples rates were high, leading to a 71.1 points score.

Errors total
Num: 31080
Errors (Loudness) dB(A)
Num: 104
Avg:-59.3 dB(A)
Max: -22.9 dB(A)
Error Muting Samples
Avg:48.0 Samples
Max: 914 Samples
Skips Samples
Num: 3
Avg: 188.7 Samples
Max: 458 Samples
Total Test Result
71.1 points (of 100.0 maximum)

- Conclusion

Test Disc
Reading Speed
Average Score

The Pioneer DVR-A05 gets an average 71.13 score out of 100 at our reading error correction tests.

- C2 Information accuracy

- Introduction

The Advanced DAE Error Correction tests are available in the latest version of Nero CD Speed. With the A-BEX TCD-721R disc, we can test the drive's C2 error information accuracy. First we created the image with the A-BEX TCD-714 test disc. Then we tested with the Advanced DAE Error Correction test, the C2 error information accuracy.

Note that the C2 accuracy test works only with drive that can report C2 errors according to the MMC standard. If the drive doesn't report C2 errors according to the MMC, but does support C2 errors, the software will give a 0 score, which is not correct, but also users couldn't use the C2 error information with any public available software (like DAE rippers).

According to the CD Speed author, the C2 accuracy should be very high (99%) to be useful. An explanation of the reported C2 errors follows:

The "Quality" test score table is shown below:

- Test Results (MAX Speed)

The quality score for Pioneer DVR-A05 is 90, while the C2 accuracy is rather low, only 84.37%.

4. DVD Reading Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 4

DVD reading tests

- Test Method

We used Nero DVD Speed to run DVD tests. All tests were performed at least 3 times with the same DVD title (we show the average results). The tests discs were one single sided, single layer DVD-ROM, one single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM, and DVD-R,-RW, +R and DVD+RW media. Also we used 4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW media (maximum allowed writing speeds).

- Single Layer DVD-ROM reading: (Click for DVDSpeed results)

Pioneer DVR-A05 supports 12X CAV maximum reading speed for the DVD format. The drive is clearly faster than the previous model.

The seek times of DVR-A05 are also improved. The random seek test gave an 128 msec result, and the Full seek around 300 msec. The results are confirmed by the Pioneer specifications.

- Dual Layer DVD-ROM reading: (Click for DVDSpeed results)

The drive supports 8X CAV reading speed for the dual layer DVD-ROM discs. The DVDSpeed graph states that the change layer time is 386msec. Something that we found interesting is the reading strategy of the drive in the second layer. The transfer rate graph looks the same as in the first layer, but the rotation speed seems not to be constant, since the drive slows down in the beggining of the reading process and accelerates until the end of the task.

The seek times for the dual layer DVD-ROMs are the same as in the previous test.

- DVD Ripping Tests

We measured the DVD Ripping speed using the "Matrix" DVD Video title and DVD Decrypter v3.0 software.

The ripping speed of the DVR-A05 seems to remain the same as in the previous model, around 2750 kb/sec. The drive is not the fastest you can find forthis test and the performance could be higher.

- DVD reading Tests

The charts below shows the Nero DVD Speed results with the following media.

In this chart you can see the average reading speeds for the A05 with 2X and the newer 4X DVD-R media. The drive supports 6X CAV average reading speed for the 4X media and 2X CLV for the 2X DVD-R discs. Notice that X equals to 1.38 MB/sec for the DVD format. The average reading speed for the 4X DVD-R is 4.61X. In addition, the drive supports 6X CAV average reading speed for the new 2X DVD-RW media.

Pioneer can also read the DVD+RW /+R discs, at a reasonable speed. The DVD+RW disc was read at 4.8X and the DVD+R at 9.29X!

5. DVD Error Correction Tests
Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 5

DVD Error Correction Tests

In the following tests we examined the DVD error correction capabilities of Pioneer DVR-A05. For the tests we used CDVD Benchmark v1.21 and Nero DVD Speed . The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, in which there are scratches with dimensions from 2.6 to 4.8 mm. The following transfer rate picture comes from CDVD Benchmark v1.21.

Pioneer DVR-A05 seems to have no problem finishing the reading task with no errors. The graph is not interrupted, meaning that the drive read the disc smoothly and no errors were reported. The performance is really high revailing advanced error correction capabilities.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as the TDR-821, with the difference that there not scratches on it but defected areas with dimensions from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There also fingerprints sized from 6.5 to 7.5 mm.

The drive did not have any problems to read the disc contents. The yellow dots correspond to the current speed in each area of the disc. No read errors were reported.

- Dual Layer media


This is a 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches with dimensions from 0.4 to 4.8 mm, in both layers.

The result is very good, as it was expected, judging from the reading test with the single layer disc. If you compare the two yellow transfer lines with the one we had in the TDR-821 test, you will see that the drive showed a similar good reading behavior, in both layers.


The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with 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 are ranged from 0.5 to 1.1 mm and the fingerprints are sized from 0.065 to 0.075 mm.

Again the drive easilly overcomes the defected areas and successfully finishes the reading test.


The TDV-541 is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc, with 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 correction capabilities of the drive and includes scratches from 1.8 to 3 mm.

The drive supports 8X CAV average reading speed for the DVD-Video format. The scratched areas made the drive slow down momentarily but it seems that there were no reading problems. The average reading time was 6.16X and the layer change time 47 msec.


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 0.8 to 1.0 mm. It has also 0.065 - 0.075 mm fingerprints.

Black dots and fingerprints were not a problem for the drive. The test was successful, with an 6.18X average speed and 149 msec for the layer change time.

6. CloneCD Reading Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 6

CloneCD Reading Tests

- Procedure

We used CloneCD and 4 original CDs - Serious Sam 2 (SafeDisc 2), Desperados (LaserLock 2), V-Rally 2 Expert (SecuROM 2) and NBA Jam Extreme (PSX) - in order to test the reading time of the drives. We also tested the reading performance with backups of the original CDs, since the reading speed varies between original and backup media. The following pictures show the drive reading/writing capabilities as CloneCD reports:

- PSX Pressed Media

For this test we used the PSX game 'NBA Jam Extreme' and we ripped the image to the HD with CloneCD. CyQ've needed only 67 min to finish the requested task.

- SafeDisc v.2 Results

The DVR-A05 needed aproximately an hour to finish the task. The performance is low but improved from the previous model.

- LaserLock v.2 Results

With the LaserLock v.2 protected disc, the drive finished after 35 minutes. Still the DVR-A05 is faster than the DVR-A04.

- SecuROM Results

Pioneer DVR-A05 can read SubChannel data from Data/Audio tracks. 3:12 minutes were enough for the drive to make the image file to the hard disk.

7. DAE Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 7

DAE Tests

- DAE features

EAC v0.9 reports that Pioneer DVR-A05 supports caching of data, "Accurate Stream" but retrieves no "C2" error info.

- Pressed AudioCD results

In this test we examine the speed of the DAE of the drive. Pioneer DVR-A05 supports 32X maximum ripping speed. In the test, the drive ripped the audio files at 23.8X average. The DAE speed is another improvement of the Pioneer newest model against the DVR-A04.

- CDR AudioCD results

With CD-R media, the ripping speed is 23.3X, a little slower than in the test with the pressed CD.

- EAC Secure Extract Ripping mode

EAC's secure extract ripping mode results, which ensures maximum produced WAV quality. Note that for each drive we used the build-in detection function:

Tested Drives
Average DAE Speed (X)
Pioneer DVR-A05
Pioneer DVR-A04

- Advanced DAE Quality

Pioneer DVR-A05 got a 100 score (best) in the Nero CD Speed Advanced DAE test. The average speed for the drive is 23.55X. The drive can also read data from SubChannel and CD Text.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

Error Level
Pioneer DVR-A05

The CyQ've drive showed average error correction / concealment abilities with the CD-Check audio test disc. The two first audio tracks were playbacked correctly without any error noises. The rest tracks produced audible errors.

- Bad CDR Media results

We used CD DAE software to rip the whole disc (756539616 sectors) to the hard disk.

Average Speed (X)
Errors Of Total Disc (%)
Pioneer DVR-A05
Read error at 85% of ripping

Pioneer DVR-A05 did not manage to finish the test and gave a read error in the last tracks of the disc.

- Ripping 90 and 99mins AudioCDs

Tested drives
Ripping up to
Pioneer DVR-A05

- Reading/Ripping Protected AudioCDs

For the test procedure we used 2 protected AudioCDs, which we tested in both recognition and ripping (with EAC) processes:

* Pressed AudioCD with Sony Key2Audio (Celine Dion - New Day Has Come)
* Pressed AudioCD with Cactus Data Shield 200 (Natalie Imbruglia - White Lilies Island)

Pioneer DVR-A05
Cannot recognize disc contents
Rips entire disc without problems
Pioneer DVR-A04
Cannot recognize disc contents
Cannot recognize disc contents

The drive cannot handle "Key2Audio" protected discs, but has no problem with Cactus Data Shield titles.

8. CDR Tests
Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 8

CDR Tests

We tested the drive with latest version of Nero/CloneCD. Pioneer DVR-A05 supports the 16X maximum writing speed. For all the recording tests, we used slightly more than 80min data (80:01:47).

- Recording Tests

The drive finished the burning at 16 at 327 seconds, faster than the DVR-A04, which of course supported 8X CLV maximum speed.

- Writing quality

We used Plasmon media and burned them at 16x with Pioneer DVR-A05. We used Nero as a CDR software. The measurement results are illustrated in the following tables.

Average Burning Time (mins)
Plasmon 80min (16x)

The produced writing quality is high. The average C1 error rate is only 1. By the end of the disc the drive gave a slightly higher rate, but this does not affect the overall quality.

- Other features

Up to 99 min
CD text reading/writing

- CloneCD Writing Tests

CloneCD reports that the drive supports the DAO-RAW feature.

The drive worked with CloneCD, however doesn't support neither software or hardware EFM correction. That means you cannot backup copy protected discs with the A05:

9. RW/Packet Writing Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 9

HS-RW Writing Tests

We used Nero Burning Rom for writing CDs in the maximum RW speed for Pioneer DVR-A05. The drive supports 8X maximum rewriting speed.

The DVR-A05 finished in 9:57 minutes, and needed just 32 seconds to perform the "quick erase" task with Nero. The DVR-A05 is slower since it supports 4X maximum RW speed.

- Packet Writing Tests

We used InCD and Ricoh HS-RW media for all Packet Writing tests. The formatting of the media takes around 10min. The formatted disc had 530mbs of free space. We copied a 403 MB file (403.147 kbs) from a Hard Disk (on the same PC as the writers) to the formatted RW media-using explorer (we dragged and dropped) we completed the test twice to eliminate possible time measurement faults and user errors:

In the writing part, Pioneer DVR-A05 gave a 5.6X average sreed, but was slower in the reading part with 3.41X.

10. DVD Recording Tests

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 10

DVD Recording Tests

- Writing Performance

Nero Burning Rom allows user to write to DVD-R media at 1X, 2X and 4X, when the media allow it of course. With some DVD-R media, you will only see 2X or 1X writing speed, since the drive automatically lowers the recording speed.

When we insert 2X DVD-RW media, we can choose the 1X or the 2X for the writing process.

We burned almost 4.7GB of data with Pioneer DVR-A05 in Pioneer 2X/4X DVD-R and 1X/2X DVD-RW media. The results are listed in the following table:

DVD Recording Tests
Writing Speed
Average Writing Time (min)
Pioneer DVR-A05
Pioneer DVR-A04

Pioneer DVR-A05 took 14:24 mins to write an almost full DVD-R 4.7GB disc. The same amount of data are written at 2X in 28:21 minutes. The recording time at 2X DVD-RW media is less than the half needed for recording in the 1X DVD-RW. Also notice that writing at 2X in DVD-RW media is faster than writing in DVD-R.

The following pictures come from Nero, after successful DVD-RW and DVD-R burnings. The amount of data is the same for all the tests.

- 4X DVD-R

- 2X DVD-R



- Media compatibility to 4X writing speed

We used the following DVD-R media, in order to determine which of them may work at the 4X writing speed. As the results showed, the A05 will write at 4X speed ONLY with certified 4X DVD-R media. The current 2X DVD-R media will be written at 2X while many Taiwaneze media (and the cheapest) only at 1X.

Maximum supported writing speed
Pioneer DVD-R For General 4.7GB
Panasonic DVD-R 4.7GB
Mitsubishi Chemicals For General 4.7GB
TDK DVD-R Data/Video 4.7GB
Prodisc DVD-R 4.7GB
Traxdata DVD-R Data/Video 4.7GB
Creation DVD-R Data Storage v2.0 4.7GB
Princo DVD-R For Data General 4.7GB

- DVD-RW Erase Time

Average Erase Time (mins)
Quick Erase
Pioneer DVR-A05

Pioneer DVR-A03 finished the Nero "Quick erase" task at only 26 seconds. The media we used for this test was 2X DVD-RW.

- Packet Writing Performance

We used the same file/methodology we are using for our CD packet-writing test. Pioneer DVR-A05 needs 2:25 minutes to write / read the test file. The following picture is from Nero, when we inserted the 2X DVD-RW disc.

Packet Writing/Reading Tests
Average Writing Speed
Average Reading Speed
Pioneer DVR-A05
Pioneer DVR-A04

It seems that the drive supports the 2X reading and writing speed with 2X DVD-RW discs. The previous model supported only 1X.

11. Conclusion

Pioneer DVR-A05 IDE DVD-R/-RW - Page 11


Positive (+)

Negative (-)

- Supports 4X DVD-R, 2X DVD-RW writing speeds
- Supports "Buffer underrun protection" technology for CD/DVD formats
- Can read DVD+R/+RW discs
- Excellent DVD error correction/reading quality
- Good DAE reading speed (for DVD recorder)
- Good CD-R writing quality
- Can handle CD200 protected audio discs
- 32X CD-R/RW reading speed
- Supports reading of SubChannel data
- Supports CD-Text (reading/writing)
- Suports overburning up to 99mins
- Complete retail package

- Average CD error correction capabilities
- C2 error information is present but with low accuracy
- Poor CloneCD reader
- Cannot handle Key2Audio protected audio discs
- Bad DAE quality with dusted/scratched CDR media
- Low DVD ripping performance (locked at 2X)
- Even supports DAO-RAW cannot backup protected discs
- Drives supporting both DVD±RW recording formats already sold...

The new Pioneer DVR-A05 is definately improved over the previous A04 series. It supports the ,currently, faster DVD recording speeds (4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW). This means that you can write up to 4.7GB in less than 15 minutes, with 4X media. The DVD-RW writing speed is also improved over the previous Pioneer model, and reaches the 2X High Speed writing standard. Currently, not many DVD-R/-RW media manufacturers support the new 4X / 2X recording speeds, but it is expected that the media list will be longer, soon.

In the reading part, the drive is also fast and supports 12X CAV speed for the DVD-ROM, while the access times are also adequate. What is interesting is the drive's high performance in the DVD error correction tests with the ABEX discs. No errors occurred in the reading process with single and dual layer media. In addition, the drive is able to read DVD+R/+RW discs. In the weak points, we could mention the average DVD ripping speed which is less than 2760 KB/sec.

For the CD format, the drive offers 16X CD-R recording speed, 8X rewriting and 32X reading. The DAE speed is also 32X, reading of Subchannel data and CD-Text is available, and the CD-R writing quality is high. On the other hand, we consider the lack of the DAO RAW writing mode as a negative point, among with the average error correction capabilities for the CD-R, and the disability to handle "Key2Audio" protected discs.

The Pioneer DVR-A05 left us with a positive overall impression mainly comes to fulfil the need for fast DVD recording. The suggested retail price of the drive is expected to be around €349. Currently Sony's DRU-500A supporting both DVD±RW recording is being sold for the same price range. Several users have reported DRU-500A's DVD-R media compatibility problems and indrustry rumours said that a new hardware is needed to eliminate them. Pioneer followed a rather strict media compatibility for the 4X DVD-R speed, that however ensures safe recording...

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