|Min OS X: Any Version|
If you're wondering how a CD burner is related to Mac gaming, it could be infinitely handy in distributing large mods and demos to your modem-using friends. Truth be told, after we reviewed the CAVIT USB audio unit, Yamaha graciously asked us to review their newest FireWire CD-RW recorder, the LightSpeed 3 3200FXZ. It’s not often that we have the opportunity to test out hardware before the rest of the world sees it, so it was a difficult proposition to resist.
Yamaha’s 3200FXZ represents the third generation of its LightSpeed line of CD recorders. The 3200FXZ features a 24x write speed, 10x re-write speed, 40x read speed, 8 MB of cache, DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) at up to 40x, and Yamaha’s SafeBurn, anti-buffer under run technology. This means that you’ll be able to burn a 650 MB data CD or rip a 74 minute audio CD in under 3 minutes, all while multitasking. There are several other features that Yamaha boasts about on the packaging that I won’t discuss in this review, as most are not Mac-compatible. For more information, you can download the specification sheet for the 3200-series.
First ImpressionsWhen I first lifted the 3200FXZ out of the box, I was amazed at how light it was. I’m used to the metal enclosure and bulky SCSI mechanism of the Yamaha burner I use at work. The metallic silver casing of the 3200FXZ is a welcome departure from the traditional off-white color of Yamaha’s external CD recorders. Rounding out the looks of the burner is a dual color LED which indicates the mode: blue for reading and purple for recording. The overall appearance is very sleek and will match any G4 tower or Titanium Powerbook.
Besides the LED, the front face of the 3200FXZ has an eject button, headphone jack, and volume control. The DC-in connector, power switch, two FireWire ports (one for chaining), and line out jacks (left and right channel), line the back of the burner.
An external power supply is used to minimize the drive’s size and weight. The included cables are of adequate length, although I wish the FireWire cable were 6 feet long instead of 3 feet. Though this is only a minor annoyance, it would be more convenient to place the burner on my desk instead of on my tower.
Compatibility and PerformanceTo determine compatibility, I tested the 3200FXZ with the three most popular media authoring applications on the Mac: Roxio’s Toast 5 Titanium, iTunes and Disc Burner. Toast correctly identified the Yamaha burner in both OS 9 and OS X and I was able to burn several audio and data CDs without any problems. Although the 3200FXZ was not yet supported in Mac OS X 10.1.2, Disc Burner recognized that a CD recorder was attached and allowed me to burn a CD from the Finder. The recent 10.1.3 update added support for burning in iTunes. In Mac OS 9, neither iTunes nor Disc Burner supports the 3200FXZ.
Using instructions found on XLR8YourMac, I used HexEdit to modify the YamahaCDR authoring extension. That allowed iTunes to recognize and burn to the 3200FXZ. It is also possible to hack Disc Burner support into the OS 9, but it requires modifying the Finder, which is not for the faint of heart. In any case, I wasn’t too disappointed for the lack of native OS 9 support since Toast 5 Titanium is an excellent authoring application and I spend 95% of my time in OS X.