Plextools Returns

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by dpd, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    I did a search and didn't find any news here on this...

    PlexUtilities (nee Plextools) is back on the new Plextor drives:

    A quick overview of PlexUtilities:

    Nice to finally have that capability at home again.
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Praise be to (insert supreme being here)!!!

    Seriously - I'm down to 5 (now "vintage") Plextor PTPro compatible drives. Two of them are kept in a fireproof gun vault (no joke). One is kept off-site. I wouldn't (and still won't) give them up for twice what I paid for them.

    I can say "twice" now because before I read your post, they were priceless...
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    So, for the uninitiated, what's so special about these drives?
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    PlexTools Professional. Only a handful of drives ever ran it.

    To wit (somebody test me): PlexWriter (& PW II), 712, 716, 755 & 760. They let you with reasonable accuracy (unlike many other 'wannabe' utilities) check the block error rate (BLER) on a CD-R after burning to insure compliance to specifications.

    The problem is that Plextor doesn't really understand just how important that is to literally every single mastering facility on the planet. They could charge triple for their drives and we'd still eat them up (I hope they don't actually see that statement).

    Last I heard they were discontinuing certain drives (then ALL drives, which were going to be built by Lite-ON and have a Plextor badge), I went on a NOS buying spree. I'm down to 5 -- Which would probably last me a couple years.

    Figuring the whole time, of course, that they'd come to their senses and actually start producing good drives again...


    I see one of the applicable drives (the 610U) is designed specifically for the Mac... I wonder if they're porting the utilities... I know of several facilities that have a PC lying around just to run PlexTools Pro... They'll jump through hoops!
  5. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    I forgot to mention I received a PX-870 Asked for one once I saw the return of PlexUtilities) for Christmas. Installed it in the the DAW yesterday. Drives are reasonably new ones, so I checked and, sure enough, new downloads were available for both the drive firmware and PlexUtilities software.
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Is the PX-760A any good?
    I have one but was unaware of it having special purpose and am curious as I used to work on CDi "Green Book" drives for Phillips back in the day and didn't realize how valuable they seem to be for mastering?
    I had a friend who absolutely hated Plextor drives and never had any luck with them and swore he would never buy one again...although I think he did!
    Is it useful in some other way then burning CD/DVD's?
    I generally don't use Plextools and instead use a separate burn software.
    In fact at one time I think I uninstalled Plextools, so I may have to go check that!
    So like Codemonkey there a reason for us uninitiated in using the BLER when creating CD's (I assume you're talking "Red Book")?
    Is there something to learn here?
    If so I would like to check my firmware on the drive and see if it is up to date and download the newest version of Plextools and give it twirl if it will work!
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Yep, the 760 is one of "the" drives. They're certainly good burning drives - But last time they threatened to stop making PTPro compatible drives, I ended up filling the slots with Sony drives and used the Plextor drives just for BLER checking. Thank God they started making them again (coming out with the 755 at the time) because the Sony drives sucked (fine for data extraction though, which I still use them for).

    The block error rate needs to be within a certain range (more correctly, cannot exceed a certain level) to stay within spec. There is an allowable number via average/peak of C1 errors per second. No one I know would ever send out a disc with even a *single* C2 error and a single CU error would bring the entire disc out of spec.

    Granted - Discs that don't meet spec are fairly rare if you're using a high-quality drive and high-quality media. But actually *knowing* the BLER (I actually print the test results on every disc that leaves here so the plant can make sure they match) while it's here can save a lot of 'oops' moments later... And there are most certainly discs that just suck - Even in a lot of otherwise wonderful discs. Or the occasional truck backfiring a block away while you're burning a disc, someone slamming a door or tapping their foot on the floor (floating floors have their downsides also). Any of that can throw the BLER out of whack for the duration of the event.

    While you're digging for software, I'm *assuming* that PTPro is different than the new PlexUtilities. If you can't find your old discs, let me know - I probably have one I can send/upload or what not.
  8. thor

    thor Active Member

    Home Page:
    The 760 works great, we have one of them along with several premiums, premium IIs and some oler SCSI models.

    IIRC it's one of the last models supported by PlexTools.

    C1 max rate/second is 220 (from memory, so it might be off by +/- 20), as you state C2/CU should be 0 and will normally be kicked back by any plant with any semblance of QC in place. Although the max is 220 C1/sec, I don't think we've ever sent off a CD with more than around 10 C1/sec, more often than not it's much lower with an occasional spike up to 10 or so.

    As far as running the software itself, we usually cut on one drive (firewire) from Sonic, and run Windows in a virtual machine on the Mac and connect the USB from the second drive to the VM.

    PlexTools seems to work fine running from inside VMWare, the drive connected via USB (all our Plextors are in external enclosures).

    Just a tip.

  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    Can someone put up a screen shot of the plextools readout? I have the clover system and was wondering how it compared to the plextools.
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