EZQuest Boa 32x10x40 FireWire CD-RW
Company: EZQuest, Inc.
Price: $229 MSRP
This two-part review was conducted using both OS 9.2.1 and X, so please read all the way to the bottom.
One of the advantages of attending a Macworld conference and expo is the opportunity to meet manufacturers face to face. With its modest tabletop display at a tiny booth at the humble east end of the main South Hall at Moscone Center, EZQuest’s products didn’t have much curb appeal, but their silver-grey burners and hard drives shone like a beacon to your intrepid reviewer.
CEO Ebrahim Zmehir gave me a patient, thorough tour of the units on parade, and promised to send MyMac.com a 32x burner soon for our evaluation. It has arrived, and I’m enjoying the testing experience.
EAT UP, OPEN UP, SET UP
Getting ready to sit down for dinner, Barbara and I heard a bang on our front door. It was our hardworking UPS driver. I hauled a middleweight box into our living room. “What’s that, John,” asked Barbara, “not more books I hope?” I wasn’t sure myself until I saw the clever EZQuest logo on the outside. “It’s a CD burner,” I explained. “Great,” said Barbara, “because your mother keeps asking for more big band music.”
As quickly as I could eat and do the dishes, I hurried into my home office and opened the packing box and the burner’s own carton. Inside were electric power and FireWire cables, blank CD-R and CD-RW disks (one each), ToastLite 5.0.2 installation CD, another CD with all EZQuest documentation, manuals, and registration files, and a tiny Quick Setup Manual. EZQuest urges users to read its extensive PDF documents on CD, but assists impatient people with bare bones installation directions on the small printed manual.
The physical drive’s stylish silvery case is covered with attractive, moderately reflective heavy-duty plastic, having gently curving corners and well-crafted design features. A rear panel contains audio jacks (RCA left and right), a pair of FireWire inputs, fan outlet, and power switch.
The audio jacks will NOT WORK to play music directly from the EZQ drive through your powered speakers. EZQuest is working to fix this problem, so meanwhile only use your computer’s audio system for music playback.
ToastLite was already installed on my iMac DV 400, so I followed EZQuest’s written instructions for connecting power and FireWire. Switching on the juice turned on a very quiet and unobtrusive idle fan.
KING OF SWING
First order of business was burning a copy of “Benny Goodman Orchestra” CD (LaserLight #15762, time 43:08) for my Swing Era parents. Their disc is intended for demonstration purposes only, if you were planning to alert the copyright police.
Pushing a small angled triangle on the burner’s front panel opened the drive drawer. A fully shielded mechanism is encased inside. Looking past EZQuest’s trap door I couldn’t learn much about their 32x drive, except for a logo saying “BPRec.”
After inserting a blank 24x CompUSA CD-R in the media drawer and closing it, I launched Roxio ToastLite and asked it to COPY my original music disc. Toast recognized the 32x drive and offered to burn my dupe at 32x on the 24x blank, using Buffer Underrun Protection. Clicking GO, I began timing the process. It was 8:05 p. m.
EZQ’s fan remained very quiet while filling the RAM cache, then became somewhat louder while writing the tracks at 32x. Its white noise reminds me of the sound of ocean surf from half a mile away, or the rustling of palm leaves in a gentle wind.
ToastLite’s countdown was swift at 32x, though completely inaccurate with regard to actual minutes and seconds remaining in the burn. At the bottom of the Toast window the media and drive were identified as “Generic CRD – BP1600P (MMC) – FireWire.”
YOUR DISK IS READY
Nine minutes later, at 8:14 p. m. the 43 minutes of music had been copied onto my blank CD-R. I started up iTunes, which accurately grabbed the Benny Goodman title and time info from the Internet CD Database. Music sounded fine on top of EZQ’s higher speed fan. But you won’t want to use this drive for audio playback, similar to the LaCie 24x burner reviewed recently.
“This is sure easy,” I said to myself, smiling in the direction of the attractive EZQuest Boa 32 x 10 x 40 FireWire CD-RW. With more testing ahead, my initial reaction is totally positive. You can learn more about this hardware, and its parent company, at: http://www.ezq.com/1-714-694-0031/products01a.htm.
THIS IS WEIRD
Days later, I ran into trouble doing additional copying and remixing of audio CDs. Cheapo CompUSA 24x CD-R blanks were defective much of the time, giving me a real headache. Dean, head engineer for EZQuest, helped me diagnose the problems. He suggested I use brand name disks, and offered to send me ten 24x CD-R made by Princo in Taiwan.
While waiting for the Princo blanks I tried a variety of different brands, burning music CDs at a range of speeds. Revelation #1: an 8x music COPY mode dupe onto a CD-R rated at 16x or higher completes a ToastLite run at the same speed as any other burn up to 32x. I know it doesn’t make sense, but I confirm it happened every time: a 72 minute music CD copies in thirteen minutes regardless of which speed I select.
Patrick from EZQuest explained this only occurs with copies made directly from audio discs, as opposed to burns made from files on a computer’s hard drive, which can transfer at any speed up to 32X. The company recommends 2X copy-and-convert “walk away” burns for highest quality audio and compatibility with maximum number of playback systems, once tracks have been converted on your hard disk.
Revelation #2: My EZQuest drive is barely louder during an 8x burn than when in idle mode. Result: I now do all my music disc creation at 8x, and hardly am aware of the Boa’s nearly silent operation.
WHAT ABOUT DATA DISKS, NEMO?
Okay. Let’s do some archiving of my iMac’s files and folders. I’ll be right back, so please stick around.
I’m back. Here’s what I did:
WHAT’S ON THE EZQ CD?
I finally made time to study the contents of the “EZ-Startup Kit CD,” and here is what I found:
THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE
Nemo’s MacMice Rating MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5 (in OS 9), meaning fantastic product! Well worth your money and investment. The best of its kind.
I am very fond of this EZQuest Boa 32 x 10 x 40 FireWire CD-RW. It performs well, is attractive, has very little white noise, and comes with good tech support. Any complaints? Yes, that I’ll need to return it to the company once this review is published.
It is a pleasure to recommend this burner without any hesitation. Fine product, good value for money. I like it more than the LaCie, the first drive we reviewed, which received our highest rating. The choice is yours, and you can’t go wrong either way.
Nemo’s MyMac.com “Q/D/S/V Standard” for all product reviews:
Q = QUALITY, including ease of installation, performance, stability, and general happy relationship with everything on my system;
D = DOCUMENTATION, both printed and electronic, plus appropriate website material;
S = SUPPORT, in the form of email, phone, and web updates;
V = VALUE, which includes both original cost and subsequent expenses
Now David Weeks discusses how this burner works with OS X:
John Nemerovski asked me to try the EZQuest 32x CD-RW to see how well it works with OS X, and I was happy to oblige. Nemo thinks I have a knack for finding gadgets that have trouble fully cooperating with OS X.
The EZQuest Boa burner was perfectly fabulous with OS X, both on my Quicksilver dual 800 desktop running OS X 10.1.3, and the trusty Titanium G4 laptop (same OS X version).
Here are the results of my tests:
1) I plugged 32x Boa into my desktop Mac, and ran Apple System Profiler. The EZQuest proudly listed itself in the appropriate location of the FireWire bus.
2) Not waiting to fool with any vendor-supplied CD-burning software, I popped in a CD-RW disk and created a data CD in the Finder. I burned the disk without a hitch using Apple’s OS X Disk Burner software. The only shortcoming of OS X compared to OS 9 with respect to Apple’s CD handling is that you must use the OS X Disk utility application to erase a CD-RW. OS 9’s ability to use the Finder’s “Erase Disk” command to erase a CD-RW has been removed from OS X.
3) Still at the controls of the dual 800, I switched over to Toast Titanium 5.1.2, and burned an audio CD. Toast recognized the EZQuest without a restart or a re-login. Nary a burp from the Boa while burning at full 32x speed in the background or foreground.
4) Even though the Quicksilver had not broken a sweat, it was time to try the EZQuest on the Titanium PowerBook. After plugging in and powering up the drive, I was pleased to see that Apple’s System Profiler saw the EZQuest.
5) I duplicated the Disk Burner and Toast tests outlined above on the Titanium, and was pleased to find no difference in performance when operating on the laptop.
One unexpectedly nice touch was that the EZQuest recognized the Media Eject key on the PowerBook, so there was no need to use the manual eject button on the drive case.
I wish all hardware testing was this uneventful and satisfying. The EZQuest checks out perfectly for OS X operation!
Complete agreement with Nemo’s perfect score:
MacMice Rating: 5 out of 5