CD drive improves HD rip quality?

I am on the road towards getting the maximum out of my PC based system.I always thought that HD ripping is of similar(same) quality, if you use WAV files.

Then i tried ripping with Millenium CD mat.Much better.
Now i am thinking about another drive.Drive quality could contribute to the final quality of the ripped WAV files (similar to what transport does in transport+DAC system).

I will try an external CD (not DVD) drive - connected with USB cable to PC.This way i can isolate the drive from vibration, and use a better USB cable to transfer data to Hard Disk.
The problem is, all PC CD drives (external and internal) seem very resonant and low in mass.

Question - anyone knows about any better drives or transports?Like a CD transport that is connected with PC thru USB,and can be controlled by PC's ripping software?Maybe serious companies have this kind of product?Like Wadia or someone else?

Or simply a better,more stable CD drive (for PC), made for audio use...
The Pioneer drive in my Toshiba Satellite Laptop seems to do an excellent job.

I think the main thing is that the drive be designed to rescan segments on lower quality or physically marred disks.

The Pioneer normally rips a 3:00 cut to Windows lossless format in just seconds, but can take significantly longer for some disks.

That tells me it is rescanning when needed to make sure that all bits possible are retrieved correctly.

The audible results playing back the ripped cuts off the server are amazingly consistent in terms of sounding essentially flawless in comparison to playing the original CD, regardless of how long it might take to rip a portion of any particular CD originally when problems are detected.
I was wondering the same thing - I am up to almost 3000 ripped CD's (FLAC) and there have been plenty of errors and problems. It's mostly caused by older CD's with marks, scratches ...etc. I clean and inspect everything before I rip it now ... I use dBPoweramp to rip to FLAC and I watch for errors. I have switched drives four or five times. I use Plextor drives now and rip in "Ultra Secure mode" In the dBPoweramp software you can control the read speed so I keep it at 4X and use the built in C2 error correction that is part of the drive electronics. I started ripping music a long, long time ago. The software has improved but the drive quality went down hill. You can rip a CD using iTunes in 2 minutes and it looks perfect but is it? I started out using simple easy ripping software and it looked like a piece of cake. After going through the music … I found skips, clicks, pops. I switched to CDex and then EAC and I started to see the errors. For now I like Dbpoweramp but it’s not perfect. It a lot more tenacious but some discs are just too far gone. If you have a collection of PERFECT CD’s there are far fewer problems but I buy used CD’s and some of my older discs have spent time in my car (bad idea). Cleaning them has helped … and a little car scratch remover and car wax has cleaned up some as well. I have become much, much more careful with my discs but some are far from perfect. There are now local shops that will resurface your discs but the price seems a little steep. I hear if you bring in a bunch some of the small shops will cut you a deal … maybe $1 a CD. It’s cheaper then a repurchase.

I would like to see a Krell or Levinson type, audio only, USB CD external drive. Something with three beams, designed to specifically rip audio and recover from read errors. Then match it with software that lets you know in simple terms if there are errors in the ripping process and help you catalog and inventory it all. I did some research; I ended up on a forum that explained that "home audio" CD players and computer CD drives function quite differently and that is why the computer drives have issues ripping audio when on your home unit it plays just fine. So far, so good … everything I have tested is fine but I stay pretty diligent and it takes a lot longer. I work for a large community college doing IT work so I deal with this stuff every day. Plextor used to build great drives but now just OEM other manufacturer’s drives. Pioneer was on top for a long time but I have seen their quality slip lately – along with everyone else. The old Toshiba and Plextor 4X SCSI drives were as close to what I am looking for as I can find and they are long gone. I really, really only want to perform this task ONE MORE TIME but it seems like there is always a better format or some kind of error I missed. I’m not sure there will ever be a perfect transfer but I’m not about to give up my CD collection until I know it’s a perfect rip. Ultimately that’s what I want to do – have a big fat library on harddisk, backed up six ways from Sunday and not a plastic case in sight. Don’t let the Apple guys fool you into thinking that Apple has it all figured out … I ripped a couple of my friend’s collections who roll with Apple. Same problems, but even fewer software solutions. I work with computers enough not to be platform-centric I can use a G5 just as easy as an Intel box running Windows 7 beta. It’s not a platform issue … it’s more of a drive design and quality issue. I would love to hear from anyone who has this problem solved … I mean this in the most honest sense. I don’t have the time or inclination to keep trying solutions. I am looking for a lossless format with near 100% transfer reliability that is simple to use. I wouldnt mind if it would generate an inventory list in Excel as well.

I dont mind setting up a new Apple or Linux box but my family seems more comfortable in a Windows environment and frankly, I have very, very few OS issues with any of my computers. That being said, I would like to keep the number of machines in the house down to a minimum. I think if someone would build the right drive, the setup I have now would work perfectly.


I believe the software used to rip makes a big difference in rip time and efective error handling as well.

At first I used Exact Audio copy and FLAC. IT was complicated, problematic and fairly slow. I quickly dropped it and now use Windows Media Player on the Vista laptop with the built in Pioneer drive and it has been 100% smooth sailing.

The worst problem I have is some CDs not being identified on occasion via the web based service automatically.

Also, it is a very manual and time consuming to burn my vinyl albums to CD first when needed ( I use the Denon recorder on my system for that), but I do not know anyway around that issue.
I have no experience with FLAC.I have used Lite-on DVD drive this far,and EAC.I ripped WAV files only.I didn't have any problems with pops,or bad transfer.I have tried Easy CD-DA Extractor recently,and i like the option of choosing speed of the ripping.Very slow is only slightly better than max fast,but still it is worth it.
I was thinking about a Philips or Teac drive,as i know they make audio transports also.Still not sure which to choose.
""I would like to see a Krell or Levinson type, audio only, USB CD external drive. Something with three beams, designed to specifically rip audio and recover from read errors.""

Exactly.Or at least some PC drive that looks at least a bit more serious and with more weight.Any reccomendations?
Can you read non-music CDs OK without problem using your computer cd drive?

If so, your music CDs should be fine as well. All it has to do to rip to disk is extract data correctly. There is no sound production involved at this point (that comes later when streaming to the DAC). So I don't think there is much merit to an "audiophile" CD drive, at least for consumers. Vendors might be able to turn a pretty penny marketing such a thing though!

I think the software used probably makes much more difference. Recent versions of Windows Media Player for example work flawlessly as best I can tell.
Hi Mapman,
Yes, non music Cds also work fine.
I thought exactly the same as you.But then i tried Milenium CD mat on top of the music CD in the drive while ripping.It is just ones and zeros, but the difference is pretty obvious.
Then i thought about improving on the drive.If CD mat improves this much,then the drive also could,right?I think PC audio can go a long way.
I suspect the problem has something to do with how the ripping software is configured to handle errors when they occur.

Different optical drives will have different error rates for sure, some better than others requiring less re-scan. Software has to be configured to rescan as needed when errors occur. Re-scanning will make the rip take more time as parts of the CD are read multiple times to get all the bits correct.

Its possible that the gadget reduces the error rate to a level that the ripping software can handle better as configured.

I think the key is getting the software configured to handle errors correctly. Fewer errors from the drive will help things run smoother and faster as well.

I was lucky I think in that the Toshiba laptop I use seemed to come with a good quality optical drive that matches well out of the can to Windows Media Player to enable consistently good ripping. On some disks though, it can take a significantly longer time to rip than others.

I've ripped a couple hundred disks so far. None have failed. All sound flawless to my ears. I did have one disc ( one of three in a box set) that seemed to run forever while ripping, but it never stopped trying. Eventually, I had to just stop the ripping process on that one and give that one disk a free pass. It does seem to play fine on my Denon player though. Go figure!
Denon probably has a better laser,i guess it is the same reason why some CDs can be copied with one cd drive, and the other one does not recognize them.
Similar with DVD players and PC DDVD drives...
Also,one more problem...
Does anyone know how to do THIS:
"""""""As for OS, am using XP with the device manager options selected to disable kmixer - i.e: ~"Do not map through this device"/"Do not use audio through this device"- applied to both Empirical 1.1 and the Lynx drivers.""""""""

Don't know how to find this KMIXER...

Found it here
I have seen some nice imporvements when I went from the drive in my PC (Gateway FX) to an outboard Lacie Firewire drive. Have had no errors or hiccups at all (Rip with EAC).

Other than the better quality, I think that removing the drive from within a very noisey PC environment helps.

The audio quality from playing CD's is much better as well.

I used EAC till last week.Now i use easy CD-DA extractor.With this program i can set the ripping speed to low 4x.This is a very small improvement,but still i can hear it in A-B test.
I did not find this option in EAC.
Cerrot thanks,i always thought that external drives are better.
So, exactly what is the consensus...can the actual drive make any difference - even when you are using software with "exact copy" and error correction?? Provided that you accurately transfer all of the bits, does it matter how you transferred them?
Some drives will have lower error rates than others but it is the drive and ripping software together that matters.

Higher error rates off the optical drive will result in re-reads of the same data multiple times and hence longer rip times though assuming software is configured to handle errors off the optical drive properly..

It doesn't matter how you transfer them to server disk storage, only that they get there correctly.

It does matter how they are transferred to the DAC because the source device provides the clock needed to convert the bits to sound accurately.

Some DACs will resample and reclock themselves in which case then the source device providing the bits to the DAC matters less as well.
I think that drive maters.I think that since every audio transport has (some) jitter, also a PC drive must have some.
And if it was all the same, than the Muillenium CD mat could not make any difference also...and it does.
I also think there more and less accurate bits transfers.