February, 2001 | As CD recording speeds seemingly go
through the roof, host hardware has more or less kept up,
at least to the extent that you can afford to replace your
computer every year or so, if not slightly more frequently.
At the latest 16X recording speeds, you need fast hardware
to avoid buffer underruns. Burn-Proof and Justlink have rendered
these concerns obsolete, you might say, but there is some
question as to whether those technologies make for efficient
Minds CD/DVD Studio
| synopsis: Young Minds'
CD/DVD Studio is an excellent solution for Windows NT-based
network users who need CD or DVD production that does
not interfere with workstation operation. For Linux-based
network users, the CD and DVD Studio products are a
one-step solution to adding non-invasive recording capability
for both CD-R and DVD-R while keeping the options open
for future expandability into a fully automated duplicating
and printing system.
Young Minds, Inc.
1906 Orange Tree Lane, #220
Redlands, CA 92374
One solutionone that has been available for some
time, since the days when even 4X recording was pushing
the limits of then-current host hardwareis to take
the data transfer and recording load off the host processor
and bus completely and move it to an external device. This
is what Young Minds has been doing with its CD Studio for
several years and now they have added and expanded their
product line to include its bigger, DVD-R-based brother,
the DVD Studio.
pity the linux user?
One interesting attribute of the CD/DVD Studio product is
its democratic support of open source recording; historically
a UNIX and NT product (and reviewed as such in April 1997),
the latest version of CD/DVD Studio is Linux-simpatico. As
such, it has the potential to fill a growing void in the recording
scene. Although there is a plethora of software available
for Windows users and a couple of products available for the
Mac, the growing use and interest in Linux has suffered from
a dearth of powerful, integrated recording solutions.
There are, of course, recording tools available for UNIX.
One is Gear UNIX for HP/UX, DEC UNIX, Sun Solaris, SunOS,
IBM AIX and SGI Irix; it has been available for several
years. Another, CD Publisher from Creative Digital Research,
has also been around for some time, and currently supports
Sun SPARCstation, Sun Solaris 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7. For the
Silicon Graphics workstations, it supports IRIX 6.2, 6.3,
6.5. HP is also supported.
For the Linux user, however, there has been a mishmash
of software that must be used in concert to get the recording
job done in a quick and useful manner. There are software-only
choices like BurnIT, a Java front end to the cdrecord, mksiofs,
and cdda2wav-0.95 programs, which are the core of most Linux
a drop-in solution
For the Linux user who just wants to drop in a solution, rather
than gather and configure the necessary software and hardware,
the CD Studio and DVD Studio are quick and easyif not
inexpensivesolutions. The hardware portion of the Studio
consists of a standard, but well-built horizontal ATX computer
case containing a motherboard with an Intel Celeron processor,
two Tekram PCI SCSI cards, a Fujitsu hard drive, and a TEAC
CD recorder. Also in the case is a switch card for configuration
of the unit; this card also includes a port for a CD printer.
Hardware installation is simple; you plug your SCSI cable
into the rear of the unit and likewise attach the external
Pioneer DVR-S201DVD recorder to another SCSI port on the
rear. To the host computer, the DVD Studio looks like a
tape device, usually an Exabyte 8200. Once connected, software
installation is simple in Windows, a little harder in Linux,
depending on your level of expertise. The command-line program
is easy enough to use for those who have command of such
things. The Windows GUI is straightforward and uncomplicated.
The Linux Java GUI is likewise uncomplicated and is helpful
for those who are not familiar with creating shell scripts.
command lines for the hard-liners
simple GUI for
In Linux, the MakeDisc recording software can be run from
the command line or a Java GUI. The GUI has three windows:
the Main window, the Options window, and the Volume Information
window. Each window has online help easily available. The
Main window allows you set the location of the MakeDisc program,
the temporary work directory, the data to premaster, and whether
to send the image to the local host or to the remote host.
The Volume Information window lets you specify the information
stored in the primary volume descriptor, something that few
of us remember to do anymore. The Options window allows you
to specify the premastering options which include Rock Ridge
support, ISO 9660 compliance, automatic file and directory
name conversion, Original Name Recovery (ONR), and symbolic
link support. Error reporting and warnings can be customized
to the user's preference and saved in the configuration file.
Command-line mode is also available in both the Windows
NT and Linux versions so you can set up automated recording
using a shell script in Linux or a batch file under Windows
NT. The program will produce images or discs in ISO 9660,
ISO 9660 with Translation Tables, ISO 9660/ Rock Ridge,
ISO 9660/ Joliet, and Native UNIX (UFS). On the DVD side,
the DVD Studio records images or discs in the standard DVD-ROM
bigger and bigger
Scalability is another feature that YMI has incorporated into
the CD/DVD Studio. The main unit is also referred to as the
CD Studio Intelligent Controller or the DVD Studio Intelligent
Controller. You can add different hardware modules, including
printing and automated disc loading.
The base configuration of the CD Studio is called the
Studio Plus. This configuration includes the Studio Intelligent
Controller, the MakeDisc premastering software, and a 12X
CD recorder. The controller connects to a host computer
and essentially offloads recording tasks. You can record
from any machine accessible on the network without risking
buffer underrun since all data is downloaded to the hard
disk in the controller before recording commences. This
leaves the workstation free to perform other tasks without
slowdown or interference. The DVD Studio includes a Pioneer
DVR-S201 DVD-Recorder and the Makedisc+ premastering software
which will premaster DVD discs.
For those who want expansion in the future, the main unit
can be augmented with additional equipment to become a fully
automated CD-R or DVD-R recording station. The next step
up is the PowerCD Studio, which is made for use with the
PASsport, PAS/2, and PAS/4 autoloaders. At the top of the
YMI line is the MaximumPower Studio 4, which includes a
120-disc robotic autoloader that offers thermal labeling
and four CD recorders. On the DVD side, the upgrade path
leads to the PAS/2 autoloader with 2 DVD-R recorders.
Besides Linux and Windows NT, Young Minds covers the field
in software, supporting 27 different platforms and many
flavors of UNIX including Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, IRIX, SCO,
HP, Digital UNIX, DG, and Unisys. UNIX users should contact
Young Minds for a full compatibility list.
Overall, the CD/DVD Studio is an excellent solution for
Windows NT-based network users who need CD or DVD production
that does not interfere with workstation operation. For
Linux-based network users, the CD and DVD Studio products
are a one-step solution to adding non-invasive recording
capability for both CD-R and DVD-R while keeping the options
open for future expandability into a fully automated duplicating
and printing system.
Other Companies Mentioned in This Article
Pioneer New Media Technologies., Inc.
2265 E. 220th Street, Long Beach, CA 90810; 800/527-3766,
310/952-2111; Fax 310/952-2990; http://
TEAC America, Inc.
7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640; 323/726-0303;
Fax 323/ 727-7672; http://www.teac.com
Bob Starrett (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a contributing editor for EMedia Magazine and
co-columnist for The CD Writer, and an independent consultant
based in Denver, Colorado. He is the co-author, with EMedia
Magazine contributer Joshua McDaniel, of The Little
CD Audio Recording Book, published by PeachPit Press.
Comments? Email us at email@example.com.