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August 2000

RSJ CD Writer for OS/2 3.05

By Louis Muollo ©August 2000


Editor note: RSJ Cd Writer for OS/2 2.80 was reviewed previously in the July 1999 issue of the VOICE Newsletter http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL0799H/vnewsf2.htm

I have been fortunate enough to be able to use RSJ's Version 3.05 CD recording software for OS/2 head-to-head with Adaptec's CD Creator for Windows 98 on the same machine. These are two excellent, high powered programs for CD recording with , I think, the main advantage gained in the OS/2 operating system.

Each OS is Drive C, has its own Seagate SCSI disk, and is unhidden by Boot Manager as needed, on a P120 system, Intel Advanced ML mainboard, Creative Labs AWE64 sound card. The CD player is a Plextor 20 speed SCSI unit. Recording is done by a Plextor RW 4/2/20 SCSI unit. The sound card input has access to a turntable, cassette deck, reel-to-reel Revox, and a Pioneer CD player. SCSI is controlled by an Adaptec 2940UW card. The unit's main purpose is to record CDs and is used to test new programs and upgrades in OS/2 before use on one of my critical PCs.

As the first version of RSJ did not have CD to CD copying capability, the PC was set up with CD Creator. At the time, RSJ stated a later version would have this, and, in keeping with their word of continued OS/2 support, this version did appear. At $189.00, RSJ was quite a bit higher than Adaptec. One reason stated by RSJ for this is that they expected to sell many more Windows copies. Is it worth it over a Windows program? If you have need for a CD copying program, it would be foolish not to give RSJ's demo download a try.

Installation is OS/2 easy

Although it does place files in the root directory, which I don't like, these can be moved and the config corrected to follow them. RSJ uses the Danis driver for IDE drive support. Care should be taken to choose the desired options on install so they are the default when using RSJ. A keyfile required to have continued use of the program beyond a 30 day evaluation period.

The RSJ CD Writer for OS/2 3.05 Installation Screen.

Using RSJ 3.05

The first test was to copy CD-to-CD two data CD's that Adaptec was unable to copy without a diskimage. Direct CD copying had turned in a buffer underrun failure, probably due to the operating system. However, I consider this a weakness on Adaptec's part as they do not give an option on the OS used. RSJ made the copies at 4X without a blink.

The next test was two Karaoke CD's my wife uses. These CD's are worth well over $100.00 each, and I dreaded the thought of them being broken. The first try was a CD with 3300 (yes, 3300) songs containing music, pictures, and the words highlighted at the bottom of the screen as you're supposed to sing them. How they do this I don't know. Both RSJ and Adaptec made successful copies of this. The second CD was the older and more used of the two with about 2200 songs on it. Adaptec refused to record this one. RSJ did record it with a warning of an unsuccessful copy of the main track. However, it did manage to make a good, usable recording. On the other hand, only Adaptec could copy a Mac CD byte for byte that neither OS/2 nor Windows could see. Both programs failed on certain audio CDs, such as Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon CD, leaving dropouts between songs that flow into each other.

Both programs will quickly copy most music and data CD's, with RSJ having the greater success rate. Adaptec is more likely to need a disc image to record without failure. On some program CD's of 32 bit Windows format, RSJ is unable to record a disk image, but can copy CD to CD without a hitch.

With a small utility to record to disk, records and tapes can be transferred to CD. In RSJ's case, the music is recorded to disk, transferred to its CDWFS/Tracks directory, and simply drag-and-dropped in the recording window, all at once or in any order you choose. The recordings were named in Filestar when completed, so when transferring for copying to CD it is known which is which. Or, if you have enough disk space, you can record one large block to fill the CD without breaks, in which case you can't skip or jump to individual tracks. But at least you don't have the dropouts on Dark Side of the Moon.

On bootup, RSJ changes the recorder to WORM which leaves it inaccessible to the operating system. This means that to check your CD, it is best to have a second player in the system anyway, not just to dupe CD's. With only a CDRW unit, all material on a CD has to be copied to a hard disk before transfer.

For system data, RSJ has the option to attach an assigned drive letter to the CDRW. OS/2 then sees it as a drive, and you can use OS/2's copy command to transfer any files to CD. The procedure is simple. Open RSJ's CD Control and attach the CDR drive to a driveletter, in my case L, open an OS/2 window and type format L:. This only takes a second and allows OS/2 to know what it is writing to. Then type copy (drive):\(filename) to L:. OS/2 will write the file to its work directory then transfer it to the CDR. When done, click Finalize CD. The speed of this operation is governed by the file size and recording speed of the CDR. There is also the option of using CDATTACH at the command prompt, to assign a drive letter to the CD Recorder.

The RSJ CD-Writer Control panel. The GUI method of assigning the CD Recorder a drive letter.

I have successfully backed up a Nova QIX file to a CD, then used Novadisk to restore. This gives me a hard copy of my system files that cannot be erased. CDRW can be used for a changeable CD backup, but with blank CD-Rs selling for about a dollar, it's worth it to have a few around. Assigning the CDR a drive letter puts it under OS/2's rules, a plus for file storage and management. There is also a utility available on Hobbes to make bootable CD's, should you desire this. Any file or files can be permanently stored on CD, and viewed or copied back to the harddrive using a file manager such as Filestar, or from a command prompt.

The new version 3.05 of RSJ adds a Copy Wizard, which copies with a mouseclick, and allows multiple copies without breaking stride. Version 3.05 also increases the number of CDR units recognized. Most of the recording mentioned here was done on RSJ Version 2.85.

Using the RSJ CD CopyWizard.

The power of OS/2 channeled into CD recording makes RSJ well worth the investment in my opinion. The continued support of RSJ for the OS/2 operating system, and the excellent tech help available, the on-line forum available on RSJ's website all combine to make this software worth having. It also offers a good way to not have to use Windows. I've seen sale prices on RSJ drop to around $120.00, which puts it in the ballpark with other CDR software by companies that do not support OS/2. Emails for tech help are answered promptly and efficiently.

Even if I was running Windows, I would purchase RSJ before any other for this reason. Others may prefer to use Adaptec's CD Creator, but, having access to both, I always use the OS/2 RSJ setup. I consider it easier to use than CD Creator, because OS/2 can handle so much, leaving the software with less baggage. This is definitely an A+ program.

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