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Pioneer DVR-A04/104 UPDATE

Pioneer, maker of the drive mechanism in use in the FireWireDirect UltraBurn Series of DVD-R Products, announced that new high speed (4x) media specified by the DVD Forum might cause the drive to overheat, and they simultaneously announced the release of a downloadable firmware updater that is available for Windows users.

All drives sold by FireWireDirect as of 9/15 are updated to include the new firmware, but owners of existing products bought here or elsewhere might want to take advantage of this update. It pertains only to use of 4x media (whereas all current drives are 2x or less), so we regard it as a preventative measure that will aide you in the future. But still we believe the update is beneficial and we suggest you install it.

Special instructions for Mac users, and some answers from Pioneer about the update are also below.

Windows users can download the Pioneer updater from this link. From this same page you can update a CD with the same Windows firmware update files. Pioneer reports that the CD will ship in three weeks. FireWireDirect has tested these drivers and finds them compatible with our drives. Select the "STANDARD"

Mac update files are not currently available for download, but they are promised on the CD you can order from this page. The Mac update files have not been released and are not tested, but we suggest you plug your UltraBurn drive into a PC to download and install the firmware (once installed on the drive, it will be functional on the Mac as well).

If you can not gain access to a Windows computer, and prefer not to obtain the Pioneer CD or wait for Pioneer to make a downloadable version available, we will be happy to update your drive for you. If you wish to send us your UltraBURN drive, you must contact support to obtain RMA information before sending it in.

Note: The Pioneer firmware update is to correct a problem pertaining only to 4X media. The update will allow your drive to write to 4x media without overheating, but the drive is 2x, and it will not be capable of the higher speeds. There are no 4x drives available for consumers at this time, and there is little reason to use 4x media on with current products. But nonetheless, FWD recommends this free, simple update.


The following items discuss this question and other common questions pertaining to the Firmware Update.

Q. What should Mac users do to obtain the update?
A. The update installer is not available for Mac at this time, but you have several options. You may:

  • Plug your DVD-R temporarily into a windows machine to download and update your drive's firmware
  • Order the CD from Pioneer, allowing three weeks for delivery.
  • Check with FireWireDirect for updates on availability of updater download.
  • Send your DVD-R back to us asking our tech support department to do the update for you. Please contact support for RMA instructions before sending your drive to us.

Q. Will the new Firmware update allow my DVR-A04/104 to record to the new high speed DVD-R media at 4X?
A. No, the new firmware update does not enable recording beyond the specified maximum of the drives (i.e., 2X).

Q. If the currently available drives are only capable of 2x writing, and the problem identified by Pioneer in their mechanism pertains only to 4x media available in the future, why should I update my firmware?
A. The industry is moving toward faster media, and there will be a time when 1x and 2x media are not available but your drive will still be a frontline product with many years of good efficient use still in it. So, although 4x media is not currently available, we suggest the updating of this firmware is necessary for future use of your product.

Q. When will the firmware update disc be available?
A. The firmware update disc will ship within 3 weeks of request.

Q. What will be on the DVR-A04/104 firmware update disc?
A. The firmware update disc will contain both PC and Mac versions of the firmware update utility for DVR-A04/104. Note: The Mac version is for after market drives not the Mac Superdrive.

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