I've had very good success with Sony. they do have a sound of their own though, quite dynamic, full, and extended. recently I replaced as are you now, one of my sony's with an LG. The LG sounds quite good. Differing from the Sony with a somewhat more refined broadcast, yet as good sounding, but slightly different. Not as pulse pounding but a bit better sound stage recreation.
The key in ripping & burning is not as much the ROM drive, but the software you use. Slower speeds and error checking are the more important features.
I have always wanted to try a Plextor too, just never got around to it.
BTW... doing a firmware update to the LG DVD combo drive, something went haywire and it screwed up my other drive as well, a Sony - NEC unit called Optiarc... which also isn't terrible, and does burn very well... again, depending upon the software being used.... LG replaced their unit near immediately with their latest version of what I had... I've since refused to do further firmware updates at all.
The "if it ain't broke... don't fix it", philosophy seems best.
but it is the software more so than the drive IMO.
A CD rip is a (hopefully) bit-perfect transfer of the disc data, i.e. its ones and zeroes. There is no clock involved at this stage, so jitter is not a factor. This in turn means that unless data is read incorrectly (which would give gaps, digital clipping or other distinctly digital artifacts) the output from one drive is sonically indistinguishable from the other the data is byte for byte absolutely 100% identical. Hence I am inclined to believe that the brand differences Blindjim refers to are placebo.
Blindjim is however entirely correct in that good ripping software is key, and like many others I rely on Exact Audio Copy. But beyond this, drives *do* matter their ability to retrieve bit-perfect data off of the disc can vary greatly. Plextor have a tremendous reputation (and accompanying price tag) for a reason, but with my limited experience I have also found Samsung drives to generally be better at this than NEC/Optiarc.
I have many discs that can only be ripped correctly (and verified as such by EAC) from one of my three drives and it's always, without exception, the Samsung that wins. It's an older DVD-Rom though, and I can't speak for more recent DVD-RW models.
I actually have 2 burners right now, both from Samsung. They are 16xx series. When I use EAC, actually it prefers one over the other and the reason is that one of them has buffer. To my surprise, it prefers the one without buffer, which is an older model. I don't know if it's only applicable to the burning process or the ripping process. That's why I'm asking ...
I haven't checked if the files are bit identical, although I assume so.
Using EAC, I actually misplaced my two drives once, repalcing the dead LG with the neweer one... and which ever drive was set to MASTER, was always the preffered EAC choice. Switching them back, the other unit was now the preffered EAC choice... maybe it's more than buffering... I don't know.
I did find that true on one other box I own as well... who ever is set as main/master, gets the nod by EAC.
My notes on the sound of the drives was via USB out to a BC DAC3 and my main system playing one against the other as one might play two CD box players using only one DAC.
I've entirely too much time on my hands. oddly though the ripped tracks do not cary the 'house' sound of the various romdrives...
The NEC Optiarc drive is not among my preffs for anything save DVD making, and due to it's price. ... and it came with the box... the LG firmware update killed it too.
One other thought is ensure the method your pc requires for connectivity.... some Plextor are IDE only... more new pcs are going away from ATA and using ESATA for greater sppeds. With DVD ripping and vurning this is a big deal, for CDs, not so much.
Blindjim: When playing a disc in real time through a computer drive there is a clock to the signal of course, so then I fully understand that there is an audible difference. No placebo needed! Thanks for clearing that up.
I think the general recommendation ought to be Plextor. In the grand scheme of things the extra money is rather insignificant, and getting a proper bit-perfect rip once and for all is certainly worth the small additional cost.
If you get read errors in EAC and the CD looks unscratched, you've got a problematic drive and should consider an upgrade. If only visually beat-up discs give you problems, you might want to repurchase the CD instead.
I really like my outboard Lacie w/firewire. Great, accurate, noise free, bloody fast rips.
"Blindjim is however entirely correct in that good ripping software is key"
Why? I do not understand this beyond having damaged discs. If you are getting the information to file, isn't it all the same whether you use eac or windows media player or whatever?
My input was based upon my own trials.. using various burn engines, software, and optical drives.
here's the thing, the posts above reflect very good answers and exp. Choose to either try these measures for yourself, or not. ripping even brand new discs can be a problem at times with almost any software or drive. Drop outs can result from nicks or scratches you may not be able to see.
...and then there's the q about just how meticulous each software is, with how many passes, samples, it uses to define a correct burn.
The EAC ware simply makes better copies than do most other rip & burn ware do. It's simple. by how much, or how much time and effort you wish to invest into seeing for yourself is key.
The drive, if new, and of decent build & brand name is not as Key. I'd however stay away from off brands for $20-$30 bucks is all. Combo drives are the deal now anyhow. RAM DVD isn't the most popular, but if you have a Panasonic DVD player, then it's a good choice for you presently.
I just finished testing based on my 2 samsung DVD burner ... and the files are identical (Verified by FCIV). So I think for ripping it doesn't matter. I do recall EAC complains about one of my DVD burner having a buffer. I guess it only affects burning.
thanks to all!
What you want is any burner that
1) does not buffer audio;
2) has the accurate stream feature; and
3) has c2 error correction.
I can't confirm that there really is a difference but at least in theory the buffer is the biggest potential problem. EAC has a mode to compensate for this.
By the way you should confirm that the actual model you are buying has the above features with a little googling, but I highly recommend LG super multi drives. I have never checked for the above features but they are quiet, fast, and have a nice solid tray. I use them when I build high-end computers for people.
LaCie will probably do you well, although I haven't tried it. They are a bit pricey. For internal DVD burners currently in production, the only ones that are worth a spit are the "industrial" DVD burners from Teac.
There simply are no ROM drives that are usable for extraction. None of them are good enough.
The Plexwriter Premium is a very popular vintage CD burner with enthusiasts. They are considered the standard by which all others are measured. I have a Plexwriter Premium2, but AFAIK the only benefit is with the burning, which doesn't interest me. However, I wanted the absolute best, so I got it. Mankind will never make a drive like that again. They aren't cheap.
The correct way to evaluate a drive's response to low level instructions, and thus its ability to support secure ripping, is with Dbpoweramp and cachex (freeware) from cdfreaks.com.
Optiarc (Sony) and Plextor are no longer worth a spit and were once the premium consumer brands. Now they are just rebadged junk from China. Other than Teac, people seam to have the best luck with Lite-On drives amongst those currently in production. But Lite-On isn't anything special.
I haven't used EAC in a while, but dbPoweramp tests the drive more thoroughly than EAC did a couple of years ago. EAC asks the drive whether it has a read cache. dbPoweramp tries to test its size, which is where most modern disc drives fail. It doesn't do any good to have a read cache if you don't support the instructions to access it.
dbPoweramp also supports FUA, which is not supported strictly by Plextor, despite what dbPoweramp help says.
Plextor drives used to be The King, but several years ago they started being made by some other manufacturer. A current computer magazine I picked up while in the airport last week wrote up the Plextor PX-850SA. They liked it but said it was a better ripper than a writer. This is the drive I use.
I ripped a couple of hundred CDs with EAC about two years ago. All in all, I have found about a dozen audible errors just from casual listening. Re-ripping took care of a few of the errors but not all.
I've since moved to dbPowerAmp as my ripper of choice. After the small learning curve, I like it better. I've read somewhere that it is the new 'Gold Standard' (whatever you can take from that...). I prefer the more modern interface of dbPowerAmp and their suite of converter software it I have to transcode.
I have EAC setup to automatically take charge of iTunes, convert to AIFF and add files to my iTunes library. If I can figure out how to get dbPowerAmp to do that, I may use it because EAC is old and tends to hang in between tracks.
Thanks, Dnewhous and Blackstonejd,
Does it mean that the output file from different CD rippers might be different?
I noticed from EAC, the tracks aren't always 100% (reported quality in the log).