Red-Hot Stuff: 11 DVD Burners Reviewed

Pioneer DVD-A06

Firmware: 107

Pioneer really is a pioneer in DVD recording. The DVD-A04 and A05 devices or OEM versions 104 and 105 have already been available for a while, although they only handle the minus format. The A06 or 106 burns both plus and minus at 4x DVD speed, +RWs at 2.4x and -RWs at 2x.

The duration for writing to all four possible DVD types is in the expected range. Ironically enough, at 2.4x write speed, it is the A06 that is fastest in finishing the DVD+RW, although this traditionally belongs to the DVD minus contingent. Even at 4x DVD+R, it is minimally faster than the DVD+R/+RW devices and even slightly faster than when it burns 4x DVD-Rs.

At 25 minutes, the Pioneer burner needed a considerably longer time to read the scratched 5th Element DVD than Gigabyte or LG - but at least it can read it completely and without error. The HPs, Traxdata, Mitsumi, Philips and NU cannot handle this hurdle. Performance in reading our DVD, on which a movie had been recorded, is good across the board with 12 minutes and 40 seconds in all formats. Only LG and NU Tech are better in this respect.

No outstanding features could be seen when writing our data CD; after five minutes, the procedure was finished at the expected 16x. However, it took a little too long to detect data CDs in Windows. After closing the tray, 20 to 22 seconds pass until they can be accessed. The Pioneer drive needs the same amount of time to access DVDs of all types.

We waited a yawningly long time for our SVCD to be read in Nero. The process lasted almost 20 minutes, although the DVD-A06 can read CDs at 32x. With mode-2 CDs, however, there seem to be problems that are confirmed in the Teac burner, which is built the same way.

Extracting a complete audio CD went, suspiciously enough, at record speed - 2 minutes - leading us to check our results one more time. But it was all true: the quality was good - Pioneer has this function well under control. So anyone who wants to convert hundreds of Audio CDs into an MP-3 collection on their hard drive will save a whole lot of time with a fast reader like this.

  • Very informative review. Tedious reading and loading it though...It would have been nice to see a chart or graph at the end of the article with all the drives together. This loading page after page after page sucks big time. too much other crap. Otherwise, I did find what I was looking for. Thanks Tom's Hardware!