10x vs. 40x etc. cd-roms

i'm trying to figure out how to improve the efficiency of transferring cds to hard drive. one consideration is whether to buy a 40x speed cd drive. as audio people have found, specs. of electronics are often misleading in relation to real world performance. are some cd drives that much faster than the 10x drive i now have? is there a reliable web site or other reference that evaluates cd-rom drives? any other tips on expediting the import process?
FWIW I did upgrade my Power MAC's superdrive to a 40x CD/DVD burner. It may have slightly increased the import speed, but not by much. I do enjoy being able to burn disks for the car in seconds rather than several minutes though....

It seems most of the time my computer spends on importing is in checking the data (I just redid all my CD's in AIFF so not compression was used) I found good condition, clean disks import MUCH faster, even on my older drive than dirty or scratched disks....

Now, for my opinion.... my drive cost me $79 6 months ago, and does lightscribe as well, which is pretty cool, so if your drive is slow (10x) I would recomend you do upgrade, if not for the faster read times, which you might see some benefit (for me, burning in 600+ CD's, I was out for all the speed I could get!) to be able to quickly burn car disks, and possibly to add lightscribe... though the disks for this are more expensive..
I am ripping my CD collection to Apple lossless format via Itunes as I type this. I've got a 52x CD rom (CDR/RW etc. bla bla bla) I find that while ripping CD's the speed may go up to 44x as indicated in Itunes, but that's the limit. Interestingly the latter tracks on a CD burn faster than the first few. If I remember correctly, you only get max speed on the outer edgs of a disk. My guess is that the processor speed is the bottleneck here, not my drive. A whole CD might take 3-4 minutes at most on my main computer, up to 15+ minutes on my old Imac which has a much slower processor and a 24x CD-ROM. Get a new drive, they are cheap and if you have a lot of CD's it will save you considerable time if you processor is up to the task. If you find a drive you like, do a search for it online and you will probably find some reviews. For what it's worth, the 52x drive I am using is a super cheap $49 generic special.
I have ripped about 900 CDs now in Lossless using the built in drives first in my G4 dual and after it died, my G5 dual. I agree with Kennyt that the condition of the disk impacts the time required for error correction.

So, I have developed a little ritual for cleaning each CD before I rip it. I developed this based on the ideas on the products offered by Pierre Spey on the Mapleshade Records site...


I use the Optrix spray to clean the surface on both sides, using Kimwipes. Then I zap the little sucker with the Iconoclast on both sides and toss it in the drive. I have tried all the other treatments (Illuminator, Vivid, MikroSmooth etc) and while they probably yield benefits for those who will be using a CD player, I don't think they are necessary for ripping and they are very time consuming to apply.

I buy a lot of CDs used on Amazon and am regularly disappointed by how many which are advertised as Very Good or Like New have been thrashed, or as I have taken to saying "are covered with peanut butter"... In extreme cases I have found that washing the disc with warm water and soap, rinsing thorougly and then using the Optrix works miracles.

New CDs theoretically have the mold release compound still on them, and this takes care of that as well. Not sure if its an issue or not but this is rip once for posterity and it gives me something to do while the drive turns... You can certainly hear the difference on even the crappiest boom box - though again that is real time playback.

And yes I did go through a phase of blacking the centers etc but after making a royal mess realized that the CD reader with error correction on probably didn't care about that anyhow and was glad to stop.