Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Music Hardware

Slashdot Asks: SATA DVD Drives That Don't Suck for CD Ripping? 330

I recently retired my ancient AthlonMP rig for something a bit more modern, and in the upgrade got a new DVD±RW drive. Since I have the new rig and a lot more disk space, the time has come to re-rip my ~450 disc CD collection into FLAC (I trust active storage more than optical discs that may or may not last another twenty years). The optical drive I had in my old rig was one recommended by Hydrogen Audio or somewhere similar for ripping CDs, and can grab an hour long album in about five minutes. My new drive, unfortunately, takes about fifteen to do the same. With the number of discs I have to churn through and the near-instaneous encoding, it's somewhat annoying. After searching the Internet high and low for advice I came up empty handed, and so I ask Slashdot: are there any SATA DVD burners that don't suck at ripping CDs? Read on for more details if you wish.

To work around the problem, I've temporarily yanked an old Promise IDE card I had in an ancient K6-2 rig (timothy found parts of it in a dumpster even) and am using the old drive, but it's approaching a decade and was pretty heavily used. What with having lots of moving parts and a laser or three, I don't see it lasting another decade, and I'd like to have a drive usable with a bus that hasn't been deprecated for almost as long. I'd also like to avoid anything that can read/write Bluray, because the hardware implemented DRM is pretty heinous.

For those interested in the gory details of the hardware I ran cdparanoia -A on both drives: ide drive, sata drive. As you can see, the old drive is way faster, and it looks like the primary difference is that it also has a cache that works with non-linear access, but that behaves "correctly." If you own a drive you want to recommend and can analyze it with cdparanoia, I'm interested in seeing the output.

A note on software suggestions: it has to be FSF-definition Free Software, and GNU/Linux is the only operating system in my house. That basically leaves... cdparanoia. I'm a bit uptight when it comes to tagging (mostly because: once I've done this, will I ever have the stamina to re-tag? Nope), but I'm not trying to start a pirate CD factory and don't really care about getting 100% frame-accuarate rips, just error-free ones.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashdot Asks: SATA DVD Drives That Don't Suck for CD Ripping?

Comments Filter:
  • HP DVD Drives (Score:5, Informative)

    by jnelson4765 ( 845296 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:37PM (#42162943) Journal
    I work in the entertainment industry, and we have to rip about 100 albums a month at work for online promotions of various sorts. The HP DVD drives work pretty well.
  • by Aggrajag ( 716041 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:41PM (#42162973)
    You might find the following list very useful. It was made by the author of Accuraterip: []
  • Sound level.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:46PM (#42163003)

    Most new drives come with a control for the sound level, which will intentionally keep them running slower so that they don't sound like they're going to take off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:01PM (#42163123)

    1. Stop using cdparanoia - it isn't very good, at all. It tests poorly, we're sad to say. The software you actually want to use is Exact Audio Copy. You want to use Secure Mode with NO C2, accurate stream, disable cache. Yes, we said DISABLE cache. Trust us on this. We checked. Very very extensively. Yes, we know it runs slowly: that is because it actually does need to physically read every sector at the very least twice - that's the POINT. Sadly EAC isn't open-source (and despite many years passing, there still is no open-source software that does a Secure Mode), and runs under Windows (although it will function in a virtual machine if the drive is passed through well, such as VMware).

    2. Use AccurateRip in that if you can. Matching the read offset is strongly-recommended-to-required - ideally, find one of the few drives that can overread into lead-in AND lead-out. You won't hear it on many discs, until you come across That One Disc that has the track transitions exactly just so and thoroughly audible if they're off (despite the Red Book standard having a truly ridiculous amount of defined leeway either way).

    3. Hardware time.
    a) Best case scenario: The Plextor Premium, which does have a (rare) SATA version as well as the IDE version. That is the best CD drive ever made, and it is the highest quality DAE drive ever made, by far. That, and the above software (especially if you set the drive to "first session mode", or use AnyDVD), will rip clean through any "Copy Controlled" discs you may have in your collection too, by virtue of sheer quality. Be warned: that drive is no longer made, and REALLY sought-after. It will cost hundreds of dollars to find one new, and any used ones will be totally clapped-out by a lifetime of ripping and burning discs in professional CD-R duplication towers, or poorly refurbished.
    b) Can't get that? The Plextor PX-716SA will do the best job of any DVD drive. If you can find one easily, grab it.
    c) OK, plan C: something else. You'll need to check up on DAE quality. Check the offset tables on AccurateRip, which might give you a few clues. Lite-ON are way, way more reasonably priced, and some models work well at this; check them. So do a few LG drives. If you get lucky, you may have some good hardware already. Be warned, however, that you may NEED AnyDVD to rip any "Copy Controlled" discs that you may have correctly if you don't use one of the few drives that are out there that can do the job.

    4. Destination: Rip it to FLAC --best. Really, you're making an archival copy, and you are probably talking about terabytes of storage to play with - why WOULDN'T you use a lossless codec that is suitable for archival, well-known, free and open source, contains an internal MD5 checksum, supported by damn near every toolchain, supports all the metadata you need, and is absolutely guaranteed to not leave you with any possible transcoding issues if you ever want to transcode to a lossy codec for portable or streaming usage at any bitrate in any codec you want in the future?

    5. No online storage is even close to trustworthy enough for archival purposes. By all means, if you want, for convenience: but buy a couple of hard drives and put it on there too, and put them away. OK, they might not work after a long time on the shelf - that is a risk. But it is still A safety-net that is less likely to fail than an online storage company which bears a multitude of risks (many of them legal ones, if they are storing people's music files for them in any useful manner).

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:09PM (#42163173)

    Just throwing some other approaches out there - I'm sure people will point to SATA drives that rip plenty fast ( is sure to have some recommendations, for what it's worth).

    Alternative A: Why just 1 drive? Get multiple. They're cheap (sub-$15 for an external CD drive that'll happily do DVD as well. And burn them. Sell them on when you're done.)

    Alternative B: Better yet, since you have so many discs, get a (semi-)automatic CD changer system. Sit back, let it rip a bunch at a time. Sell system on when done.

    Alternative C: Why even bother with it yourself at all? Go find a CD ripping service. I have no experience with these guys - [] - but at less than $1/CD and the option to have them rip lossless (yes, including FLAC) and send them a drive to put it on, perhaps it's worth it to let them deal with it and use your time and effort elsewhere. I know it's not much effort (I just digitized every single Stargate DVD between working on things, just swapping out the DVDs - each taking about half an hour), but the option is out there anyway.

    Alternative D: Piracy! Well, it's not really piracy since you already have the CDs. There's some sites out there that will happily let you submit your CD's code (either the simple code used by e.g. Windows 95's media player or a more complex one) and spit out links for getting digitized versions. I'll let you do the Googling there.

    Alternative E: Buy them. Certainly a lot (understatement, seriously) more expensive than the other options, but on the up side you should get perfect metadata, album art, etc. included.

  • by jbridges ( 70118 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:12PM (#42163205)

    That Accuraterip list is horribly outdated for new purchases.

    Almost none of the models that do well in their stats are for sale anymore.

    Most are IDE as well.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ranulf ( 182665 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:23PM (#42163249)

    The OP states he only has linux in the house. I did this exact same thing a few years back, using abcde which is an interface to cdparanoia and cddb.

    I set up an automounter script that automatically ran abcde when a CD disc is inserted. It reads the TOC in a couple of seconds and asks you to confirm the CDDB entries, which in most cases is just pressing enter twice. When it's finished it can even eject the disc for you. I'd literally just pop to the computer room every 10 minutes or so and just swap the disc and let it carry on. Probably about 10 seconds per disc.

  • Re:USB CD rom (Score:5, Informative)

    by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:44PM (#42163431) Homepage

    If you care enough about quality that you're using AccurateRip and need to check how the drive is caching, a USB interface might not work. The sort of USB->SATA chipsets used in USB CD-ROMs, which are universally cheap devices nowadays, will likely not pass data through faithfully enough to be useful for accurate CD ripping.

    That said, it is possible to find useful models if you test carefully. The external drive I'm using is a LG "Portable Super Multi Drive", model GP10NB20. LG makes many of the best CD ripping DVD drives available, and the USB chipset in this model is transparent enough for accurate ripping. At around $35, it's not the cheapest model on the market, but it's not like that's expensive.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:54PM (#42163875) Journal
    I have five LG brand USB drives which I found were much faster than IDE for BURNING. They may also be much faster for ripping. I use a little shell script which keeps them busy. All I do is swap disks once the job is started, I don't touch the keyboard or mouse.
  • Re:HP DVD Drives (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:42PM (#42164189)

    In that case you are still wrong, since it doesn't have heads in the normal sense that disk drives have heads.

    It has a laser that slides along a rail. It has a lense that jumps up and down to focus. You still need both of those even in a Read-only drive.

    Recording is serially located along the disk. Nobody records movies with random placement of blocks.
    Therefore, there is no rapid back and forth seeking involved on CD playing or burning to induce wear on
    the mechanism.

    The difference in weight of read lasers vs read and write lasers is negligible. The laser is tiny.
    In fact many devices only have a single laser, and they use higher power to write than to read.

    The only devices I am aware of having more than one Laser+Lens pair are some Blu Ray drives, which have a separate
    lens+laser pair for backward compatibility with CDs.

    I've had lasers fail, but never the mechanism. Even on the cheapest drives.

  • Re:HP DVD Drives (Score:5, Informative)

    by madprof ( 4723 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @08:00PM (#42164313)

    Just use something like Exact Audio Copy. It does all that for you. It is pretty good at mending issues with CDs and automatically uses accuraterip.comto check tracks. It'll tell you how many tracks were ripped "accurately" and, if none, it'll tell you that you may have a different pressing to the one in the database etc.

  • Re:HP DVD Drives (Score:3, Informative)

    by edibobb ( 113989 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @09:16PM (#42164805) Homepage
    There are some artificially staunch Windows 8 supporters on Slashdot, Reddit, and other discussion groups. Try making a post critical of Windows 8 and you'll see this in action.
  • Re:HP DVD Drives (Score:5, Informative)

    by harrkev ( 623093 ) <> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @09:40PM (#42164939) Homepage

    EAC *IS* a great program, but still not anywhere NEAR being considered fast. One thing that annoys me is that it rips a track, compresses it, and does not even begin the next rip until the last track is compressed. Ever heard of "multitasking?" I am pretty sure that my computer could handle a rip and a compress at the same time.

  • Re:Online storage?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @12:46AM (#42165715)

    > Nothing on my hard drive can be lost short of a fairly cataclysmic event that would simultaneous destroy
    > all copies in existence, and frankly I'd probably be dead then too, so what would I care?

    Don't be so sure.

    I came TERRIFYINGLY close to losing 20+ years' worth of files permanently last year when my SSD, my Velociraptor-300, AND my 2TB Seagate hard drive all kicked the bucket within a 3-month window of time. At the time, I had the SSD backing itself up to the Velociraptor daily, was backing up the Velociraptor (including the SSD backup) to the 2TB drive weekly, and had the Seagate drive itself backed up to a 3TB external drive once a month or so (the Seagate drive was normally stored at my best friend's house ~15 miles away).

    The problem was, as the drives failed and I replaced them, I ended up with multiple copies of recently-modified data, and ended up having a HELL of a time figuring out which was the new and which was the old copy. It took SO LONG to straighten out the resultant mess, that drive #3 ended up failing before I'd finished fully restoring everything from drive #2. And worse, because it took an eternity to do a full backup of the 2TB drive to the external drive (and 4-16 times eternity to restore it), I lost about a month's worth of stuff, and was in cold-sweat panic when I ran out to the store to buy yet another external drive to back up my last surviving copy of the data in case THAT drive failed, too.

    Yeah, 2011 was a really, really bad year for my data. In addition to the two external drives, I now also have a complete backup of their contents on ~50 BD-R discs sitting at my parents' house. It took me about a week to burn, and a loss bad enough for me to ever NEED those discs would be devastating... but at least I can sleep at night now knowing that I still have one backup of last resort to fall back on if necessary.

    After the crisis, I did a lot of soul-searching and research to find the most robust way to back up my data. What I learned (besides the fact that hard drive reliability has totally gone down the shithole over the past 5 years) was eye-opening.

    I'd argue that the SAFEST media for long-term archival backup of files is probably non-LTH BD-R media. It's phase-change magneto-optical, unlike the organic dyes that were the norm for CD-R/RW and DVD+|-/R/RW.

    For the record, "LTH" BD-R media uses organic dyes, just like older media, and anecdotal evidence suggests that data written to them has a half-life of approximately 6 months before they start getting correctable errors, and an estimated 18-30 months before they start getting their first uncorrectable errors.

    In contrast, most of the phase-change magneto-optical media made by Matsushita and Sony ~15-20 years ago is still readable today (assuming you can find a working drive), and there's no real reason to think BD-R will be any worse (fundamentally, it's the same process now as it was back then... just smaller particles and tighter laser & magnetic fields). In case you're wondering what's magic about them, it's because MO drives use the laser to briefly liquefy the substrate so metallic particles within it can move, and use magnetism to align those particles while it's liquid. Once they re-solidify a moment later, your data is basically "cast in stone" and has no real expiration date.

    Incidentally, Millenniata M-disc is basically a DVD-R that's built like a MO BD-R disc. It's one of those cool products that never existed in the format's golden era, but later became possible as a side effect of some newer technology. Kind of like some new gigabit ethernet cards & switches that can also be induced to do 100base-T4 (100mbps ethernet over 4 pairs of cat-3 cable). It was never widely supported back when 100baseT was the norm because it cost too much to add as a feature few cared about, but the technology behind it ended up being used to make gigabit ethernet. Once you have the hardware to do gigabit ethernet, adding retroactive support for 100baseT4 is basically an a

  • Re:HP DVD Drives (Score:5, Informative)

    by KickAssTunes ( 248643 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:49AM (#42166341)

    You are wrong, it rips and encodes at the same time on my computer. You need to learn how to configure your settings!

    I have Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, AMD quad core CPU, 8GB RAM, EAC v1.0 Beta 3, LAME v3.99.5

  • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Monday December 03, 2012 @05:25AM (#42166905) Homepage
    That's because Microsoft is Estimated to Spend $1.5 Billion on Windows 8 Marketing []. $1.5 billion will buy a lot of praise from say-for-pay pundits, astroturfers and shills. There will also be a small percentage of the mainstream public that will get pulled along.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern