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Product: CRW3200E-VK
Company: Yamaha
Estimated Street Price: $189
Review By: Julien Jay


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Technology, SafeBurn & Audio Master QR
3: CD-RW Track Edit Mode & Mount Rainier
4: Performance, DAE & Burning
5: Nero 5.5
6: NeroMIX & InCD 3.0
7: Conclusion

   First of all we have to remind you of the correspondence of 1x burning; it is equal to 150kbps. That way a 24x burner can, in theory, burn CDs at 3600kbps. With such a high speed burner you can expect to burn a full 650MB CD in less than 4 minutes, and a 700MB CD in no more than 5 minutes. Yamaha believes that P-CAV (Partial-Constant Angular Velocity) is essential in developing high speed burners, like its predecessor (the CRW3200) uses P-CAV & CLV modes. However the mechanism and engines have been totally revamped, in comparison to the CRW2200. When you write a CD-R with the CRW3200, the writing initially starts in the lead-in area at 18x (8200rpm), and gradually accelerates toward 24x thanks to the use of the P-CAV (partial constant angular velocity) mode. The 24x speed is usually reached after the 14 first minutes of the CD, and is maintained constant (CLV) until the end of the writing.

Globally, this process ensures the highest quality of writing and grants the drive a longer lifetime since the moderated rotational speed doesn’t damage the laser diode or the pickup. The use of P-CAV’s is interesting especially when you copy CD to CDs as few CD-Rom drives can support data extraction with a sustained rate able to feed a constant flow of data required by the 24x burning speed. The other advantage of this method is that the burner can regulate its burning speed depending on the media quality through the OPC (Optimum Power Calibration) feature. OPC is marketed as”Optimum Write Speed Control” and is another exclusive Yamaha technology that adapts the burning speed to the maximum speed supported by the blank CD you’ve inserted in the drive. That way you’re sure to not waste CDs because they weren’t high speed certified. Before you burn a CD, and regardless of the burning speed you selected in Nero, the CRW3200 will check the characteristics and conditions of the disc and automatically select the adequate optimum writing speed to ensure data reliability. Sanyo, Plextor and Ricoh drives also offer a similar technology, however, they use CLV therefore they can only drop down the speed from 24x to 20x or 16x while Yamaha’s technology is much more flexible by allowing the speed to be set at 24x-22x 20x-18x-16x. Notice that daredevils can disable this option in Nero, so they can burn CDs faster than the speed they are certified for, but it’s risky.

Partial CAV versus Zone CLV

It’s obvious that competing burners that use the Z-CLV burning process are faster in speed than the Yamaha CRW3200 since they burn by levels: 16, 20, 24x. However, they use a method that implies that the burned CD will contain at least two gaps (requiring the use of BurnProof) resulting in a dramatically affected CD quality. Yamaha didn’t develop a similar technology to make sure the  burners produced the most accurate CDs without any quality loss. Considering the long established Yamaha quality reputation, we can’t expect the Japanese manufacturer to favor marketing performances over quality. But that’s not all! Qualitative writing at high speeds is guaranteed with the integration of the Pure Phase Laser system. This exclusive Yamaha function stabilizes the laser power and eliminates unwanted reflections and glares, which are usually produced when recording a CD. The result is near perfection in state of the art recording.


Like almost every burner, the Yamaha CRW3200 uses a proprietary developed hardware buffer underun protection dubbed “SafeBurn” to ensure you’ll never get coasters. This “anti-buffer underun” technology is powered by the OAK OTI9797 chip. If Yamaha’s competitors have dramatically reduced the size of their drive’s buffers due to the addition of such a technology, Yamaha still offers, with the CRW3200, a generous 8MB buffer. So the CRW3200 offers a triple burning security that consists of: OPC, 8MB Buffer and SafeBurn. 

SafeBurn ensures the burner will literally suspend the writing if the data flow doesn’t arrive fast enough into the buffer to ensure a continuous writing. Once system resources are back to a normal state, SafeBurn will automatically resume the burning session. SafeBurn slightly differs from the competing BurnProof technology. With BurnProof the produced CDs always contain gaps where the recording was paused.which can affect the compatibility of a CD when using them on various platforms. According to Yamaha, their latest burner doesn’t give rise to that kind of problem since SafeBurn’s eventual gaps are not supposed to be more than 1 micron (although, the orange book specifies that a gap shouldn’t exceed 100 microns).

SafeBurn will definitely change the way you burn CDs! It allows you to use your computer to perform other tasks while CDs are burned without any risks of errors. Best of all, SafeBurn doesn’t compromise the quality of the burned CD for an unprecedented, yet unmatched level of quality. During our intensive tests under Windows XP we were able to burn CDs in 24x/12x while in the mean time using some high demanding applications like Adobe PhotoShop 6, Microsoft Office XP and some games like: the result? Absolutely no errors when burning CDs!

Audio Master 

The killer feature of the CRW3200 is in the audio domain. Remember that Yamaha is, above all, a leader in this area. With this is mind, it’s no surprise to see they have developed and included a feature that dramatically enhances the listening quality of a recorded CD-Audio. The Yamaha CRW3200 is the first and only burner to include the “Audio Master” technology. The “Audio Master Quality Recording” is a new audio data writing mode that basically produces CD-R with less jitter. Now you may wonder what is “jitter”?

Well a CD-R/RW drive writes music data in the form of pits and lands. The digital information in those pits and lands is decoded and played by the reading unit of a CD-player. Some various influential factors (like ripple voltage, electromagnetic fields, component tolerances, etc.) can prevent the signals of the pits and lands to be played at exactly the right time. This delay is referred to as a “jitter”. Sure CD-Players always include an error correction chip that constantly monitors and repairs the sound if needed. However, those chips weren’t designed to be used permanently which is frequently the case with CD-R & CD-RW, therefore they can’t manage to continuously correct the signal. When the onboard error correction technology fails to correct the signal, you may likely experience poor bass frequency, unclear/noisy sound or inaccurate sound positioning. 

When Audio Master is enabled, the CRW3200 records pits and lands relatively longer than those you get with normal writing. In accordance to the red book (the bible of the CD standard), the linear velocity of a 1x CD player laser beam over the surface of the CD can vary between 1.2 and 1.4 meters per second. Audio Master recorded CDs are played at linear velocity 1.4m/s speed (rather than the normal 1.2m/s speed). The result is that jitter becomes small and reaches below 20ms, consequently creating a 30% decrease of the jitter. The other advantage of the Audio Master technology lies in the fact that since pits are longer the CD player’s lens receives more reflected information for each pit. This creates bigger RF output so CDs can be read much easier by picky CD players.  However, that does not mean the disc will be more reliable over the time.  

Although the feature is an overall improvement to the burner, Audio Master has a few major drawbacks. For example, in this mode you can only record 63 minutes of audio on a CD, versus 74 minutes with normal writing mode (you can record up to 68 minutes on a 80 minutes CD). As for software, only Nero actually supports Audio Master Quality Recording and when this mode is selected the CD will be recorded in 4x (it’ll take 15 minutes). 

The output signal of two audio discs burnt by the CRW3200 (one with AudioMaster and the other normally) have been examined by a photodetector: the result is that increased jitter appears as more blurring on the bottom graph.

Now you may be wondering if the human ear can hear the difference between an Audio Master recorded CD and a normal written CD. The answer is definitely yes. Indeed the Audio Master recorded CD reproduced, on our Yamaha HiFi system, a much clearer and accurate sound than the same music CD recorded normally.


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