Recommendations for Direct Recording to DVD-RAM

DVD-RAM is a convenient interchange medium between audio recorders and post production. While DVD-RAM disks share the same size and capacity as DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW disks, it is easier to think of DVD-RAM as an "optical hard disk".

FAT32-formatted DVD-RAM disks generally have higher data integrity than DVD-R and DVD+R disks.

Sound Devices offers the XL-DVDRAM FireWire accessory drive for the 7-Series recorders. The 7-Series can record directly to DVD-RAM disk or files can be copied from an internal hard drive or CompactFlash card to DVD-RAM after recording.

The following are a few recommendations to increase reliability when recording directly to DVD-RAM.

Handling of DVD-RAM Disks and the XL-DVDRAM Drive

Exercise great care when handling DVD-RAM disks. They are delicate, precision devices and can be easily damaged when loose. Both the top and bottom surfaces of a disk should not be touched since fingerprints and hand goo can make a disk unreadable or appear defective.

Sound Devices strongly recommends against recording directly (real time recording) to the XL-DVDRAM when operating out of a bag for "run-and-gun" productions. The XL-DVDRAM performs best when lying flat (horizontally) on a stable surface. While possible, it is not recommended to operate the XL-DVDRAM in a vertical orientation. Recording to the XL-DVDRAM in any orientation other than horizontal may cause write errors. In these situations, copying files from the internal hard drive or CompactFlash to the XL-DVDRAM is recommended.

Selecting the Best Media for the XL-DVDRAM

The 7-Series recorders can address DVD-RAM disks formatted as FAT32 volumes. The 7-Series recorders do not support the UDF format (DVD-R, DVD +R, CD-R, CD +R). Those disk types are only usable when using the XL-DVDRAM connected to a PC or Mac OS computer.

The XL-DVDRAM is most reliable with 5X DVD-RAM disks. Operation with 3X disks is possible, but with less reliability than when using 5X disks. In Sound Devices' tests Panasonic and Verbatim DVD-RAM disks performed with the highest reliability when recording directly (real time recording) to the XL-DVDRAM.

Recommended Sampling Rates and File Types for Real Time Recording to DVD-RAM

When recording in real time to DVD-RAM, record at sampling rates of 48048 Hz or below; sampling rates higher than 48048 may cause slow errors. When higher sampling rates are required for the production, record to the internal hard drive or CompactFlash and copy files to the DVD-RAM after recording.

When recording multiple track files to the XL-DVDRAM it is best practice to record using the WAV poly file type. WAV mono requires faster writing speeds which can reduce the reliability of the DVD-RAM. Wave Agent, our Windows-based file conversion utility, converts WAV files between monophonic and polyphonic formats. DownloadWave Agent here.

DVD-RAM is the slowest and most temperamental of all the storage mediums supported by the 7-Series recorders. Use caution when recording to data compressed FLAC and compressed MP2, and MP3. These codecs are processor-intensive and limit the recorder to only being able to record to one storage medium at a time.

Powering Considerations for the XL-DVDRAM

The XL-DVDRAM can be powered either from a DC supply or via FireWire bus powering.

  • The 7-Series recorders provide bus powering to external drives only when the recorders are powered from an external DC supply.
  • Bus powering external drives is not possible when the 7-Series is powered by the removable, rechargeable L or M-mount batteries; on-board batteries do not supply enough voltage meet the FireWire bus-powering specification.
  • When the external drive is being bus powered by the 7-Series, use the XL-1394 FireWire Power Conditioning Cable to avoid any power supply noise from being induced into the recording.
  • If the external drive has its own power source the XL-1394 is not needed. It is best practice to make all physical connections to the FireWire ports before powering on the recorder.