I didn’t realized this, but it seems to be a plant manufacture problem. I opened another of the 100-pack I have and it have the same problem.
The problem is that the data was burning fine, with no errors on my Lite-On iHAS524, but it failed to verify on some parts of the disk, as it was approaching the end. I was burning them at 24x, the maximum speed it supports on the writer.
I decided to use the Optiarc AD-7561A drive I have to see if it would burn fine with it, since slim drives usually burns at a lower speed.
When the CD is inserted in this drive, it is detected as a 10x media:
I burned the CD with this drive, where it was able to both burn and verify successfully. It also seems that the drive burned surface is a bit darker than with the LiteOn drive, so maybe that makes it handle the bad surface better.
I burned 2 CD’s with the Lite-On drive where both burned successfully but didn’t read fine. One was able to read completely, but lowering the read speed at the bad section. The other one failed with unrecoverable errors.
Let’s see their quality tests with the LiteOn drive first, followed with the Optiarc drive:
CD #1 – LiteOn
This is the CD that was able to read completely but lowers the speed. When playing it back, it pauses while reading the wrong area. It can be ripped, but will struggle in the bad area. The ripped file appears to be fine, but EAC reports timing problems. Listening to the track didn’t revealed any issues.
You can see the excesive amounts of C1 and C2 errors.
CD #2 – Optiarc
Here is another burn of the same data, burned with the Optiarc drive and tested on the LiteOn drive. You can see that it only reports a maximum of 10 C1 errors and no C2 errors. The quality score is 99%. Same media, but burned on a different drive, at 10x speed.
CD #3 – LiteOn
This CD failed to test properly. Once again, you can see the excessive amounts of C1 and C2 errors. The positions of the C1 and C2 errors seem to match the ones of the previous LiteOn burn.
CD #4 – Optiarc
Here is another burn of the same data of the previous burn. You can see this time it was successful, with only a maximum of 8 C1 errors and a total of 19. Again, the quality score is 99%, which is the same as the other Optiarc-burned media.
As seen from the above tests, it seems the Optiarc AD-7561A drive can successfully burn these discs if we intend to use all of its capacity. Maybe it is because of the slower burning speed, or because the optical laser can burn them better than the one on the LiteOn drive.
The LiteOn drive can only burn these CDs at 16x and 24x, while the Optiarc can only burn them at 10x. I’ll test burning a disc at 16x at a later time and see if it works. If not, I’ll continue using the Optiarc drive, which has proven to burn them correctly and without any issues.
Yesterday, I received some Pocket/Mini CD-R I purchased on eBay, which were being sold for cheap due to them not being branded or not having their specs listed.
The seller was selling 3 packs of 100 unbranded silver surface Mini CD-R, and since the price was lower compared to other branded media, I decided to buy all 3.
The discs were wrapped with no spindle.
The discs have a silver surface:
Here we can see a single CD-R:
They have the usual light green color on the data side.
The disc loaded fine on my LiteOn iHAS524 drive. I launched ImgBurn which says that the discs are made by Ritek. Their media ID is 97m15s17f:
They also have a capacity of 210MB or 24 minutes and a maximum write speed of 24x.
This is the first Mini CD I use with this LiteOn drive, which has the unique LabelTag feature to add labels to the data side. The software detected the disc and a label can be created:
I burned some of these CD-R with Nero Express, which allows the creation of the label on the same run. I also burned them at its maximum speed of 24x without any failure.
I ran a Disc Quality test using Nero DiscSpeed. Below you can see the results of those tests. I limited the test to the first session of it, as the second one is the label produced with the above software and contains unreadable data. This makes the test fail. By limiting it to the first session, we can get the actual data track quality.
The first test gave us a maximum of 14 C1 errors with a total of 58. The average was 0.11. There were no C2 errors reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
This test was perfect! No C1 or C2 errors were reported, making the Quality Score be 100%.
This disc had a maximum of 9 for the C1 Errors with a total of 13. The average was 0.07. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 99%.
This final disc I burned had a maximum of 13 C1 errors with a total of 27. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
These blank CD-R media seems to be good to write small amounts of data. This could be an MP3 album, some photos, or software you’d like to archive. The burns seem to be of good quality and the 24x burning speed is adequate. This sure was a great find on eBay!
Unboxing Photos of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
Yesterday, I got the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, with its 108MP and 8K recording being the main features that led me to purchase it. I intend to use its camera to take lots of photos and take early advantage of its 8K recording mode. The photos on this post were taken with my previous phone: the Samsung Galaxy S9+.
Let’s begin the unboxing with the box, which is similar to previous Samsung Galaxy phones:
As soon as we open it, we see the Samsung S20 Ultra 5G phone:
We then see the charger, as well as its other extras:
Taking everything off the box, here’s the content, which also includes a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-C headset tuned by AKG:
With the phone flipped:
Here we have a closer look to the cameras:
The phone charger has a USB-C port:
Here’s a closer look to the USB-C cable:
And here’s a closer look to the USB-C headset tuned by AKG. They look similar to the headset that came with the Samsung Galaxy S9+, but with a USB-C connector instead of the 3.5mm jack:
On the other part of the box, the documentation is included:
After the SIM card is inserted, it’s time to turn it on:
It prompted us to restart the phone as soon as it turned on:
We can then migrate the data from our previous phone to the Samsung S20 Ultra 5G:
After this process is finished and we have also finished configuring the phone, we can start to use our new phone:
I’ll be posting images taken with the S20 Ultra so you can see the quality of them. Note that this site is configured to scale large pictures and that they are optimized for web display, but you should still be able to get an idea of how the pictures looks on this brand-new phone.
This is a slim External CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, which is quite interesting, given that most units today are DVD writers. This one just reads and writes CD-R/RW, and reads DVD’s, but can’t write them.
The brand is unknown, too, but it was on sale a few days ago and decided to get one, just to have just in case one of my other drives goes bad. While CD/DVD usage has degraded over time, I do have music CD and I listen to them sometimes, so having a drive is handy to listen to them.
Let’s start with the box:
It is pretty colorful, and has a description of what it contains, as well as its features.
Opening the box we find the drive inside a bag:
We then find that the drive is wrapped in bubble wrap, and that there are some cards inside:
We can see that the faceplate of it is generic, with no CD or the actual DVD logo.
Taking off the bubble wrap, we see the DVD drive:
On the back, there is the USB cable:
The USB cable contains a USB-A 3.0 plug as well as a USB-C plug. Both can be used depending on the device you wish to use this DVD drive.
The documentation included is a manual, a thank you card, and another card telling to send an email to get a free 32GB USB drive.
Once the drive is plugged in the PC, I’m able to open the tray:
The drive is detected as a TEAC DW-224E-C drive:
The following is a screenshot of the capabilities of the drive as shown in ImgBurn:
As we can see, it reads most major CD and DVD formats and can write CD-R and CD-RW. Interestingly, it reports that it can’t read double-layer DVD+/-R. I’ll need to test this to confirm if this is in fact true.
I tested the drive with my Music CD collection and it reads and plays them fine. This is really great, and will be my main usage for it.
You can get this External CD-RW/DVD Combo drive on Amazon here.
Unboxing Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Double Pack
Yesterday, I received the brand-new Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors Absolute Kits.
The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver, while the Hidizs Mermaid MS4 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver and 3 Knowles Balanced Armatures.
My initial impressions are excellent. These IEMs do a lot to reproduce the music. I found that the MS1, with just the Dynamic Driver, produces a warm sound with great mids and smooth bass and treble. The MS4, on the other hand, improves the bass and treble while having great mids. Since the MS4 uses 3 balanced armatures for the mids and treble, they do a great job, and since the Dynamic Driver is focused on the bass, it also does a great job. The MS1, on the other hand, produces a warmer sound since the Dynamic Driver needs to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum.
The Hidizs Absolute Kits come with a choice of a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced cable, USB-C 2-pin cable and an aptX Bluetooth Cable using a CSR8645 chipset. They are also compatible with other 2-pin 0.78mm IEMs and you can also use other aftermarket cables due to their 2-pin connectors.
The IEMs can be driven easily since the MS1 only has an impedance of just 15Ω while the MS4 has an impedance of just 12Ω. However, you can use your favorite DAC like the Hidizs DH1000/Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus and use the balanced output to enjoy an even better sound. You can also use them with the 3.5mm cable with the Hidizs AP80.
Now, here’s my unboxing video I recorded yesterday where I unbox both kits, their cables and accessories:
I personally like the MS4 due to their more punchier bass and their extended treble. The MS1 have more forward vocals, so if you’re looking for that, the MS1 is for you, but if you want the treble and a bit more bass, go for the MS4.
Here’s the review video I also recorded with my thoughts on the IEMs and the cables:
Overall, Hidizs did a great job with these new In-Ear Monitors.
You can purchase these 2 Hidizs IEMs at Amazon using the following links:
Shucking the Western Digital WD Elements 10TB External Hard Disk Drive
We need to use a sharp object and slide it toward the edges to take off the clips from the case. Then, we’ll slide it to the right carefully:
We’ll keep sliding it right until it gets out:
The drive inside my WD Elements is a WD100EMAZ:
Now, we need to take out the Hard Disk Drive from the case. This is easy, because it is attached to the case using some rubbers. We just need to carefully push the hard drive to get it out:
Now, we need to take out the SATA to USB controller screw:
And here we finally have the shucked drive:
This drive didn’t required any hack to install it in my desktop machine, unlike my 8TB drive which needed to be plugged with a MOLEX to SATA adapter so that it doesn’t receive the 3.3V. I plugged this 10TB drive directly using a SATA power cable from my EVGA 600W PSU:
Windows recognized the drive immediately:
10TB of space! (Actually, 9.1TB)
I ran CrystalDiskMark and this is the result:
It’s fast, and it’s working awesome in my machine.
Yesterday night, I went to eat at Las Margaritas Restaurant, located in Ocala, Florida, where you can eat a variety of Mexican food, like burritos, fajitas, etc. It is a nice place to go and eat in family, and enjoy the food. Here, today, I’m sharing the plate I ate at this great restaurant.
This is their menú:
Quickly after sitting down, I ordered Sprite to drink:
They gave us some chips with a sauce:
And then, when I was ready to order, I ordered the Burrito Campechano, which, according to their menu, is a burrito with grilled steak and ground Mexican saugage, some vegetables, and somes with Mexican rice, refried beans, guacamole and sour cream:
This is actually the second time I go to this restaurant and I really like their food. It tastes good and the overal environment is really nice. I highly recommend this restaurant.
Yesterday, I received the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus:
This is a DAC and AMP all in one device. It has Dual ES9018K2M, Dual ES9601K amplifiers, as well as a Balanced 2.5mm headphone jack as well as the regular 3.5mm jack.
The device is very similar to the Hidizs DH1000. In fact, it is a rebranded Tempotec product. Today, I’ll take a look at a newer Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus revision.
The Tempotec unit I received should have some problems that the Hidizs DH1000 had. In particular, this unit should have the Blue LED problem fixed, where it would be permanently turned on at some point of the Hidizs DH1000 lifetime. I’ll also be comparing this version to the Hidizs DAC.
As seen in the picture above, the box look very similar. Let’s take the wrapping off:
Now, it’s time to open the box:
We find the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus inside the box. It is the first thing we see. Below the box, we find some more items:
We find a USB-A to Micro USB, a Micro USB to Micro USB OTG cable, and a USB-C to Micro USB cable. We also have the manual and other stuff.
Let’s take a look at the Sonata iDSD Plus:
It came well protected. The bag keeps the iDSD free from scratches, since it uses glass on both sides.
Not a single scratch in the bag. That’s great. Now, let’s take out our Sonata iDSD Plus:
This is the front. While we can’t see the charging LED, it is in the bottom left corner. It is blue, just like the Hidizs DH1000, and will turn on while charging. Also, on the upper left, we can see the volume buttons. We’ll see them later in details.
The back has the Tempotec branding, just like the Hidizs DH1000 also had the Hidizs branding.
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus has 3 USB ports. The USB-A is the so called “Private” port. This allows you to connect your compatible DAPs like the Hidizs AP80 and HiBy R3 when the USB mode is set to “Dock”. It also should work on Android and iOS devices when using the HibyMusic app.
The other ports are Micro USB. The middle port is for data transmission while the right port is for charging. The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charges at 5V/1A, usually drawing 800 mA but it can draw 940 mA if it is also turned on while listening to music and it is charging.
On the other side, we can see the standard 3.5mm audio jack on the left, the 2.5mm balanced jack in the middle, and the power button on the right. Between the power button and 2.5mm audio jack, we see the power LED, which will be green if it’s turned on, and will turn red when the battery is low.
Next, we’ll take a look at the cables:
Above, we have the USB-A to Micro USB cable. This is the cable that you’ll be using to use the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus in your computer, unless yours have a USB-C port, in which case you can use the included USB-C to Micro USB cable:
The USB-C to Micro USB cable also works with compatible Android devices. It works really well in my Samsung Galaxy S9+.
If your device has a Micro USB port, you’ll probably need this OTG cable, which is also included:
However, not all Micro USB phones support the OTG connection, so please be sure to check if your phone is compatible with USB Audio Class 2 audio devices.
The Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus manual comes in 2 languages:
And in English.
It also came with the Hi-Res Audio stickers:
Here’s how it looks when it has both USB ports plugged in:
Comparison with the Hidizs DH1000
Let’s compare the device with the Hidizs DH1000. Please note that due to hardware problems, I tried to repair the Hidizs DH1000, and while it works, I have it covered differently than how it used to look.
We can see they look similar.
The back also look similar. However, here is where we’ll see the main difference:
The Hidizs DH1000 has the volume buttons marked with paint, while the Tempotec iDSD Plus has the actual marks deep in the buttons.
Finally, both the USB ports and audio jacks look the same:
The device is detected on Windows a USB HD AUDIO as soon as it is plugged in.
The sound quality of the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus is the same as the Hidizs DH1000. I seem to find it more pleasant, but I tried switching between the Hidizs and Tempotec to see if I could find any difference. I may prefer the Tempotec sound, but the Hidizs one sounds quite similar, if not, identical. They both use the same ES9018K2M chips and ES9601K amplifiers. Theoretically, even the printed circuit board should be the same, or almost identical, except for the charging circuit, where it should be different to prevent possible charging issues.
I’m using the KZ ZS7 IEMs with a 2.5mm balanced cable. The bass feels powerful. This is especially true when listening to Twenty One Pilots “Trench” album. The mids are balanced, vocals are very well presented, and the treble, that’s the part where this DAC shines. The frequency response, I would say, is neutral. Other DACs would prefer to focus on providing forward vocals, and other instruments would sound recessed, but this is not the case with this DAC. Instrument separation is also pretty good. The sound feels open and wide, and the overal sound presentation is just as good and even relaxing. I can confortably listen to music in Tidal and enjoy every note in the song.
For around $130, this DAC does not dissapoint. The Hidizs DH1000 was my favorite, but now I have this Tempotec which will be with me at all times, and I’ll be attaching it to my HiBy R3 and Hidizs AP80 DAPs. Really, I haven’t found a DAC that outperforms this one.
The Western Digital 10TB WD Elements External Hard Drive
Last week, I got a new Western Digital 10TB Essentials External Drive, which was on sale at $160 on Amazon:
The reason for getting this drive is that in today’s world, digital content is growing by a lot, and files are taking more space than ever. Video resolutions are growing and so are the quality of music, which takes a lot of space. Recent development on newer audio and video codecs may keep the audio file size small, but then, there’s those who store raw or compressed lossless media files, like FLACs or lossless H264/H265 videos.
I myself sometimes record my gameplay when I play Nintendo Switch games, and then I further encode this lossless recording to another HEVC using my NVidia GTX 1060 video card. This saves me between 2 to 5GB of file size. I’m also doing tests encoding my gameplay videos to the newer AV1 codec, that significantly reduces the video size while having a great quality at lower bitrates.
My 8TB drive will soon get full with so many content, encodings, data compression tests, server backups, and so on, hence my reason to add another drive (In reality, half of the disk is full). I found the $160 price very reasonable, considering my 8TB drive was also priced at $160 at Best Buy a few months ago.
When I purchased this drive on Amazon, it was actually not in stock, so I had to wait a few weeks, but it made it home. Here’s the drive box:
Here are the sides:
And the back:
Opening the box, we find the drive well protected:
In the side, we can see the Power Supply and USB 3.0 cable, along with the user manual:
Here’s the drive out of the box in its protected plastic pads:
Here, we can see the drive with the plastic wrap in place:
Here, we can see the drive USB 3.0 and power supply jack, and the power button:
Here are the photos with the wrap taken off:
Here’s the power supply in its bag:
And outside the bag:
The Power Supply has a barrel-type plug:
Next, we have the USB 3.0 cable:
Finally, we have the user manual:
And that concludes this photo session. Later, I’ll do a post shucking this drive and also share the benchmark to you.
See ya next time!