New Drive, New Technologies
The CRW-F1 may not appear to be the fastest writing CD-RW drive based on the specifications we saw in the previous page. And you may be wondering why Yamaha adopted a "44x" maximum writing strategy, since all other mainstream vendors increases their CD-RW drives writing speed at an 8x stepping (e.g. 24x - 32x - 40x - 48x). Well, believe it or not, during the press preview of the drive in Singapore, Yamaha told us that the CRW-F1 is actually very capable of writing at a speed of up to 52x. But they decided that 44x was the optimum speed for the best quality-to-speed writing, and so scaled down from the original 52x.
Another surprise is the lack of other writing speed options. Perhaps Yamaha views that any speeds between 16x and 44x are redundant, as it might still be using the F-CAV writing strategy so the quality is the same be it writing at 24x or 32x and so on. See what we mean below. Still, we gathered that many users will probably frown at not being given the choice to choose their preferred writing speeds. Let's take a brief look at some of the features of the CRW-F1.
Full CAV Technology (Full Constant Angular Velocity)
The CRW-F1 uses Full-CAV writing technology.
Similar to what we've seen in our TDK 48x24x48x CD-RW review, the CRW-F1 maintains a constant rotation speed from the beginning of the recording process, on the inner tracks of the disc, all the way to the tracks at the outer edge. Combined with a full digital optical laser pick-up servo control, Full CAV technology enables a synthesis of both high-quality recording and super high writing/re-writing speeds as compared to Z-CLV and P-CAV.
Yamaha first revealed their proprietary DiscT@2 (or "Disc Tattoo") technology at this year's CeBit convention. As the word "tattoo" implies, what DiscT@2 does onto your CD-R media is that it allows texts and graphics data to be tattooed to the media's surface after the writing stage is complete. A CD-RW drive usually burns digital information as 0.001mm EFM signal patterns. But although this would allow for graphics burning, the effect would be too fine for the naked eye to see. On the contrary, DiscT@2 enables 0.1mm graphics burning, just about the same resolution as a 250dpi printer, with 128 levels of grayscale gradation.
Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording
When Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording mode is enabled, the system widens the lands and pits during recording. This significantly reduces jitter and improves audio and music recording quality - Yamaha says that this produces clear faithful playback that rivals professionally prepared music CDs. We'll soon see how true is that. In addition, widening the pits delivers superior durability and longer life to the discs as well as making grooves more easily distinguished, and therefore easier for your CD player (especially old ones that are not very friendly with CD-R/RW media) to read. The newer Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording now supports 1x and 8x writing speeds, as well as its predecessor's 4x speed mode.
CD-RW Audio Track Edit
The CDW-F1 supports CD-RW Audio Track Edit in Nero Burning ROM.
The CRW-F1's Audio Track Edit allows you to edit audio tracks recorded onto a CD-RW disc without having to erase the disc in Nero Burning ROM. This is fairly similar to what you can do with a MiniDisc player. For example, you can erase the final track or add new songs directly to the CD if you wish. The limitation of this feature however, is that erasing a track can only be done sequentially. If you had a CD-RW with 10 tracks on it and wanted to remove track 1, you'd have to remove track 2 all the way to track 10 first.
If you had a CD-RW disc with a few tracks already on it and you wanted to add a few more, the Audio Track Edit mode will write the new tracks where the lead out was. After the last track has been written, the drive will write a new lead in and lead out.
SafeBurn & Optimum Write Speed Control
SafeBurn is Yamaha's true blue technology and have been around since the CRW2200 days. SafeBurn, just like Sanyo's BURN-Proof or RICOH's JustLink, works in a combination of three resources -
8MB Memory Buffer
- While other manufacturer's drives with buffer underrun protection system carry only 2MB (e.g. RICOH/LITE-ON) or 4MB (e.g. Plextor) of buffer memory, Yamaha has kept the tradition of generous buffer memory even after adopting the buffer underrun protection system. An 8MB buffer, against 2MB, have a higher chance of minimizing the incidence of buffer underrun in cases where the CPU of the host PC is not fast enough. Or when other applications are running while writing.
The Buffer Underrun Protection packaged in SafeBurn
- This aspect of SafeBurn completely eliminates buffer underrun errors. If data transfer is delayed and memory in the buffer drops to a critical level, recording is suspended until the buffer has regained sufficient memory, after which the writing restarts virtually seamlessly from the point where it was suspended.
Optimum Write Speed
- The Optimum Write Speed Control function automatically adjusts writing speed to the optimum level for each kind of disc, and removes user concerns about recording speeds and the CD-R disc's compatibility. When activated, the recorder checks the characteristics and conditions of the inserted disc and automatically selects the maximum optimum writing speed to ensure data reliability when the disc is read back by CD-ROM drives or CD players.