Yamaha CRW-F1

Posted 25 August 2002 13:44 CET by G@M3FR3@K


First things first as we check out the drive specifications as mentioned on the Yamaha website and as detected with additional software like Nero InfoTool :

Drive Specifications:

Write Speeds: 44X: 6.600KB/s Full CAV 16X: 2.400KB/s CLV 8X: 1.200KB/s CLV 4X: 600KB/s CLV 1X: 150KB/s CLV
Re-Write Speeds: 24X: 3.600KB/s P-CAV 16X: 2.400KB/s CLV 12X: 1.800KB/s CLV 10X: 1.500KB/s CLV 4X: 600 KB/s CLV 2X: 300 KB/s CLV
Read Speeds (max): 44X: 6.600KB/s Full CAV (max)
Buffer Size: 8 MB
Interface: Enhanced IDE (E-IDE)/ATAPI
Supported Formats: CD-DA, CD-TEXT, CD-ROM, Mixed Mode CD-ROM (CD-ROM+CD-DA), CD-ROM XA, Photo CD, Video CD, CD EXTRA, CD-MRW
Recording Modes:(detected with Nero InfoTool) Packet, TAO, DAO, SAO, RAW SAO, RAW SAO 16, RAW SAO 96, RAW DAO 96
Audio Master Mode: 2X, 4X, 8X / 79min max
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/98SE/Me (32MB RAM), 2000 (64MB RAM), XP (128MB RAM)
Disc Loading: Tray, auto load/auto eject
Dimensions WxHxD: 146.0 x 41.3 x 193.1 mm
Weight: 0.9 kg
Extra’s: DiscT@2, Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording, CD-RW Audio Track Edit Mode, 48-hour advance exchange and two-year warranty.

The Yamaha CRW-F1 drive has some impressive features on board. The only thing that seems a little weird is the small list of supported write speeds. We’ll get back to this later on in this review as we’ll also do with the other supported features listed in the drive specifications. Let’s give you a screenshot of Nero InfoTool first and the detected features of the CRW-F1 drive:

Nero InfoTool

As you can see from the screenshot the Yamaha CRW-F1 supports all features a CD-Writer should have including the new ‘Mount Rainier’ format. Let’s take a closer look at some of the supported features/technologies:

Buffer (Underrun Protection):

The claimed buffer size of the Yamaha CRW-F1 is 8MB. Let’s check this with Nero Burning Rom (v5.5.9.0):

Yamaha CRW-F1 Buffer

SafeBurn The buffer underrun technique the Yamaha CRW-F1 uses is called ‘SafeBurn’. But SafeBurn is more than just a technique to prevent buffer underruns. It’s a complete process to guarantee an optimum burn result. Part of the SafeBurn system is the generous 8MB buffer size and ‘Optimum Write Speed Control’, which automatically adjusts the writing speed depending on the type of media you’re using. The beating heart of the CRW-F1 drive is the Yamaha YDC132-V chipset which controls all features as you can see in the picture below:

Yamaha YDC132-V chipset

Mount Rainier:

The Yamaha CRW3200E drive was one of the first drives to support the Mount Rainier format together with the Mitsumi CR-480ATE drive and of course Yamaha’s new CRW-F1 drive also supports it. We’ll test the drive’s Mt. Rainier abilities later on in this review. Here’s a small introduction of the CD-MRW format. Click on the Mt. Rainier logo to read our article on the Mt. Rainier format:

Click to learn more “…Mount Rainier enables native OS support of data storage on CD-RW. This makes the technology far easier to use and allows the replacement of the floppy. This is done by having defect management in the drive, by making the drive 2k addressable, by using background formatting, and by standardizing both command set and physical layout. The new standard is promoted by Compaq, Microsoft, Philips, and Sony and is supported by over 40 industry leaders: OS vendors, PC-OEM’s, ISV’s, chip makers, and media makers.

The purpose of the proposal made by the Mount Rainier group is to make CD-RW easier to use for data storage and interchange. The changes proposed will enable the operating system support of dragging and dropping data to CD-RW discs. Formatting delays will also be eliminated and the use will be comparable to using a hard disk or a floppy…”

Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording:

Another feature we already saw on the Yamaha CRW3200E drive was ‘Audio Master Quality Recording’ which could, in theory, significantly increase the quality of your audio discs. By increasing the length of the pits and lands on the disc jitter on the disc is reduced resulting in a clearer audio signal:

Standard Audio CD
Audio CD burned as standard
Yamaha Audio CD
CD using Yamaha Audio Master

The first image (standard audio CD burned at 24X) illustrates a considerably less clear signal than the second image (using Yamaha’s Audio Master). You can see this by looking at the circles. The less clear the image, the higher the jitter factor.

The Audio Master feature does have one negative point: the memory capacity of a 650MB or 700MB CD-R is respectively 63 or 68 minutes. This is because the ‘pits’ and ‘lands’ on the disc are longer and take up more space than with normal writing. With the CRW-F1 drive Yamaha has introduced ‘Advanced Audio Master Quality Recording’ which introduces write support for 1X and 8X recording (normally you could only use 4X) and besides that you can now record music up to 79 minutes when using 900MB media (99 minutes CD-R). We will of course also test this during our review.

CD-RW Audio Track Editing Mode:

Another feature the Yamaha CRW-F1 supports is called ‘CD-RW Audio Track Editing Mode’ which we again also found on the CRW3200E drive. The ‘CD-RW Audio Track Editing Mode’ is a special feature with which you can edit audio tracks recorded on a CD-RW disc without having to delete the entire CD first. This means that individual tracks can be added or deleted from the disc.

With Nero Burning Rom you can start a new audio compilation and choose a new tab called ‘RW Edit Disc’ as you can see from the screenshot below:

RW Edit Disc

We of course tested this feature by starting ‘an editable Audio CD-RW disc’ (second option) and then using the third option (‘Modify an existing Audio CD-RW disc’). Although the ‘CD-RW Audio Track Editing Mode’ is a great feature it does have some limitations:

  • When you want to add a track between let’s say track 4 and 5 you first need to delete all tracks after track 4, add your new track and then re-add the tracks you just deleted. When you start the write process the TOC and selected tracks will be deleted and a new lead-in and lead-out will be written.

  • You can only delete consecutive tracks (see the Nero message below). Therefore it’s for instance not possible if you have an audio CD-RW disc with 7 tracks to only delete track 4 because you first have to erase track 5, 6 and 7. You can then of course re-add these tracks when setting up your compilation.

Only Delete Consecutive Tracks

  • Because the disc is written in TAO mode (Track At Once) it’s not possible to add CD-text to the disc (only possible in Disc At Once mode).

As we see it, the easiest way to take advantage of the ‘CD-RW Audio Track Editing Mode’ is to just add tracks to an existing audio CD-RW disc. This way you don’t need to delete tracks first.

Because the Yamaha CRW-F1 drive has a lot of features we’ve spread them out over two pages. On the next page we continue the features of the drive…