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Product: CRW70
Company: Yamaha
Estimated Street Price:
Review By: Julien Jay


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Technology: SafeBurn & AudioMaster
3: DAE, MP3 & Audio CD Playback, Burning
4: Nero 5.5
5: NeroMIX & InCD 3.0

   First of all we have to remind you of the correspondence of 1x burning; it is equal to 150kbps. That way a 12x burner can, in theory, burn CDs at 1800kbps. With such a high speed burner you can expect to burn a full 650MB CD in less than 8 minutes, and a 700MB CD in no more than 9 minutes. This drive uses the CLV method with 1x, 2x & 4x burning speeds. Since Yamaha believes that P-CAV (Partial-Constant Angular Velocity) is essential in developing high speed burners, writing CD-Rs with speeds between 8x and 12x is ensured by the P-CAV technology. CD-RWs are burnt in Full CAV mode with speeds from 4x to 10x (max). 

Due to the use of P-CAV burning method, 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 won’t waste CDs that aren’t high speed certified. Before you burn a CD, and regardless of the burning speed you selected in Nero, the CRW70 will check the characteristics and conditions of the disc and automatically select the adequate optimum writing speed to ensure data reliability.  

Qualitative high quality 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 a near perfection, state of the art recording.


Like almost every burner, the Yamaha CRW70 uses a proprietary developed hardware buffer underun protection dubbed “SafeBurn” to ensure you’ll never get coasters. Even 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 CRW70, a generous 8MB buffer. So the CRW70 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 Professional we were able to burn CDs in 12x, with the burner connected through an Adaptec USB2Connect for notebooks PC card on our Pentium III 700MHz laptop. SafeBurn worked marvellously since we were able to burn CDs while in the mean time using some high demanding applications like Adobe PhotoShop.


The killer feature of the CRW70 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 CRW70 includes 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 CRW70 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 an 80 minute 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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