Stand alone burner or computer burner?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by mallardduckman, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. mallardduckman

    mallardduckman Active Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Hello all,

    I've been home recording for a few years now. My setup is simple, a bunch of decent mics and preamps into a Fireface 800 to a Mac G5 using Logic and Waveburner with the internal G5 burner to make master CDs.

    I can't seem to get a straight answer to this question and to my surprise I can't find one on this forum so I will ask the question:

    Is it better to burn cds to an outboard, stand alone burner or is the quality exactly the same using the internal computer burner?

    Now, I've read the debates on the software part of this. I'm aware that the program you choose makes a difference, but if you are using an external burner, (sub-question :wink: ) how would you use a burning program at all?

    I could ask this another way. Lets say you have an great recording that's been dithered down to 44.1/16bit and it's sitting in your DAW ready to be burned. You also have the higest quality CDRs you can buy. What's the best, highest possible quality way to get that recording onto a CD?

    Thanks a bunch,

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    It should make no difference, PROVIDED THAT the CDs can be re-read without errors. However, I'm not sure whether you are talking about CDA format music CDs (that you could play in a CD player) or data CDs with computer files that could contain the same music in .wav files or any other data. Note that CDA is by convention only 16-bit 44.1 KHz, so other wordlengths or sampling rates need a different format.


    Whether a CD is written with non-correctable errors depends on the quality of the burner and the data feed to it at burn time. It always seems that the CD writers fitted internally to computers are the lowest cost units that the computer manufacturer could source, and there is a chance that a dedicated external burner has a higher-quality drive fitted, which could give fewer bit errors. Ranged against that is the need for more care to get a reliable data feed to an external burner, assuming your burning software can target an external drive.

    The other factor that comes into it is how long a drive can keep up reliable writing. I've had drives in CDs that give progressively more errors and finally won't write reliably after only about 100 burns.

  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    And most people don't realize that when trying to send out a music CD for CDDA disk for replication, it cannot be done without remastering. This is because the stand alone CD disk cutters operate on a "Track At Once" mode which is incompatible with replicators. Between tracks there is no data port, a break in data which is incompatible with most replicators. They need to have a disk that was recorded as "Disk At Once" mode. You cannot select this on a stand-alone cutter because they are always in "track at once" mode so you can only accomplish it, only within software on a computer. So, if you want to send out an audio CD for replication, you need disk at once capabilities. If like Boswell indicated he sends out zipped 24-bit CD-ROMs/DVD ROMs, which then have to be extracted within a computer and then can be put into the format the replicator needs. This is a more expensive way to go for most average bands.

    What is the difference between replication and duplication?
    It's rather simple, a duplicator is generally a single to a multiple tower that can duplicate CDs/DVD's via recordable media. Replication, is a more highly specialized, expensive industrial process, where Masters are transferred to glass stampers which are then stamped out like old-fashioned vinyl records were. Those are normally 100% universally compatible with all CD players. Whereas duplicated CDs, frequently have problems being played on numerous different players. Track at once CDs will usually play fine but are not appropriate to send to a replicator.

    Friend of a replicating duplicator. Or is that duplicating replicator?
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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