Pioneer a05 - Pioneer A05 / 105 Review ! Pioneer DVD writer.
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Pioneer A05 Review


Write Support

  • DVD-R (4.7GB General Discs Only) (5.54MB/s)
  • DVD-RW (2.77MB/s)
  • CD-R (2.46MB/s)
  • CD-RW (1.23MB/s)

Read Support

  • DVD-ROM single layer/dual layer (16.62MB) / (11.08MB/s)
  • DVD-R (all types) (8.31MB/s)
  • DVD-RW (8.31MB/s)
  • CD-ROM Mode 1 (4.92MB/s)
  • CD-ROM XA Mode 2 (form 1, form 2)
  • CD-TEXT Read & Write
  • Photo CD (single & multiple session)
  • CD-DA (Audio CD) (4.92MB/s)
  • CD-R (4.92MB/s)
  • CD-RW (4.92MB/s)

Write Speed

  • DVD-R 4X, 2X, 1X-CLV
  • DVD-RW 2X, 1X-CLV
  • CD-R 16X,12X,8X,4X-CLV
  • CD-RW 8X,4X-CLV

Read Speed

  • DVD-ROM (Single) Max. 12X CAV (Dual) 8X CAV
  • DVD-R, DVD-RW 2X (Older Media)
  • DVD-R, DVD-RW 6X (High Speed DVDR Media)
  • Video CD 4X CLV
  • CD-ROM Max. 32X CAV
  • CD-RW Max. 32X CAV
  • CD-Audio Max. 32X-CAV

Access Time DVD 120 Msec (Random Average) CD 130 Msec

Interface ATAPI (ATA/ATAPI-5 & SFFC INF8090 Ver.5)

Data Buffer 2Mbytes (Read) 2Mbytes (Write)

Mounting Orientation Horizontal & Vertical

Power Consumption Maximum 19.9W

Dimensions (W x H x D): 148 x 42.3 x 197.7 mm

Net Weight 1.1 kg 2 lbs. 7 oz


Our Test Machine's Specs:

Pentium 4 1.5GHz (not over clocked)


DELL (Custom) Motherboard

1 x Maxtor 20GB Hard Disk





Pioneer is an original founder member of the DVD forum and this drive is based upon the "minus" DVD recordable standard. Pioneer was the first company to release a DVD recorder for the home consumer market (Pioneer's first DVD writer back in 1997 cost over £17,000) - this drive promises greater performance for far less.

The DVR-A05 is the much anticipated sequel to the successful DVR-A04 / 104 drive which we reviewed in August this year. Unlike some of the new up and coming DVD writers - this burner only supports writing to DVD "-" minus disks (as opposed to writing to "+" disks).

In August the DVD forum updated the specification for DVD recording and this drive is one of the first writers that implements these new standards. This drive writes to DVD-RW disks at x2 speed and write-once DVD-Rs at 4x speed. Our review drive is a pre-release unit, but we don't anticipate many changes between this drive and the final retail product.

Our A05 review is based on a  non production drive

This drive has many differences over the A04, we will list a few of the ones we notice:

Differences between A05 and A04

  • DVD-R write-once recording increased to 4 speed (15mins to write a full 4.7GB disk)
  • DVD-RW re-writeable speed has been increased to 2 speed
  • Pressed DVD-ROM reading is now 12-speed (6 Speed for DVD-R-HS & 4 Speed for DVD-RW-HS) HS=High Speed DVD-R Media
  • CD-R write speed has been increased to 16 x speed
  • High-Speed CD-RW speed has been increased to 8 x speed
  • CD-ROM reading speed has increased from 24 x to 32 x
  • Access times greatly decreased
  • Tilt Technology for stabilising playback and recording
  • Smarter laser (quality control system)
  • Lower power consumption 19.9Watts max.
  • Width decreased slightly
  • Cooling fan removed
  • DAE speed increased from 10 x to 32x speed

As this is the first 4 speed DVD recorder, we will compare it to its predecessor the A04 for which it replaces and a drive from the DVD-Plus Alliance (in this case the Philips DVDRW228k).

What the package includes

The package contains:

1 x Pioneer DVR-105 DVD Writer
1 x Manual (online)

Again, we did not receive the retail package as this was an OEM PRE-RELEASE package. Depending on which country you purchased the drive from you can expect a different software package.

Note: The Pioneer DVR-105 and A05 are the same drive and they only differ in the extras that they come with.

The software bundled with the DVR-A05 will comprise of (from Pioneer's web site):

"MyDVD Video Suite 4 (Sonic Solutions) - Versatile video editing and authoring software that includes the new slideshow functionality, enabling the integration of digital photography into an electronic album for playback on any DVD-Video device. Also includes DVD playback software, CinePlayer

InstantCD/DVD V6.5 (VOB) - Software that enhances data recording, allowing users to format discs in approximately two minutes, and provides "drag and drop" functionality for writing to DVD and CD media. This incorporates DVD playback software: DVDPlayer.

The bundle also features DVD writing media."

On the front of drive you will find a headphone socket, a volume control, an emergency eject hole and one multipurpose LED - all pretty much similar to the A04 (but the layout is slightly different). The "High-Speed Logo" means that it can support HS-disks albeit at 8x speed. Two ventilation grills are also present for cooling purposes. The springs that you could adjust to hold disks in the tray when mounting the unit vertically are no longer present (there are tabs which are just as good for holding disks in place).

The L.E.D blinks according to the following rules: Abnormal Temperature = 1 Blink, Dirty Lens = 2 Blinks Other Error = 3 Blinks for errors.

Front of the DVR A05

At back of the drive you will find the usual connectors: jumpers for making the drive a Master/Slave/CS, an analogue audio output connector and a power connector. The biggest difference you will notice is that the fan has been removed.

Fanless DVR-A05 drive

Page 1 - Last Updated: 18 October 2002



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