CD-R drive upgrade??
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14


New Head-Fier
Jan 22, 2005
I use my PC as the source for my home audio system. I've just upgraded my sound card (to a Chaintech AV710) with much improved results. Now I'm thinking about the stock CD-R(W) drives that came with my computer (HP). I would think there'd be room for improvement here as well. Does anyone know of any CD drive tweaks (replacing caps, chips, etc), or if not, a better drive (for audio) to replace one in my PC?
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:47 PM Post #2 of 14
If you are worried about read errors with your CD drive a much cheaper way to ensure perfection is to rip everything properly with EAC. Do this the right way and you will have a perfect source on your hard drive (there are practically no errors when reading data from a HDD, certainly not something to worry about when playing music).
Mar 30, 2006 at 10:02 PM Post #4 of 14
I think a plextor is worth buying if you are planning to burn DVDs or CDs, otherwise you might be satisfied with a cheaper optical drive from other manufacturers such as LiteOn.

Watch out if you buy a plextor. Make sure its actually designed/manufactured by plextor, not one of those rebranded drives/transports sold with the plextor name. You can usually find out more about DVD/CD-ROM drives at this forum,
Mar 31, 2006 at 12:21 AM Post #6 of 14
Samsung DVD/CDRW drives are very quiet when they spin up, and of high quality.
I'm waiting for there new SATA version before I purchase.
I haven't seen any sound quality comparisions with optical drives.
Mar 31, 2006 at 9:04 PM Post #7 of 14
I should have stated, the CD-RW drive in my PC is a MITSUMI CR-4804TE. (My CD-R drive is not functioning). Right now I'm using my PC as a CD player, and if I understand correctly, the actual CD drive doesn't matter that much, and all the CD player mods I read about have to do with the DAC and associated circuitry, which in a computer is on the sound card. I was just going to order some Black Gates for the AV710, but after reading some more posts, I'm thinking I should go for a EMU-0404, then take it from there. Or maybe 1st get a Lite On or Samsung drive, then the 0404. What think?
PS- Is anyone familiar with the Ram Hi-Fi Link? It connects from a USB port to your hifi, bypassing the soundcard and is supposed to give superior sound quality.
Mar 31, 2006 at 10:32 PM Post #8 of 14
You should get a drive reputed for good-quality audio CD rips, then you can store stuff on the harddrive after ripping it to FLAC with EAC and you get much better error correction than when playing CDs on the fly. (Maybe the old Mitsumi will already do for this purpose, my old Ricoh MP7040A performed very well when I tried ripping stuff on it, for example.)

Before getting an USB DAC, I'd rather use the digital out on the AV-710 for connecting one. It's just that DAC choices below about $200 are relatively limited (though there are a few interesting options). Oh, and do make sure that the Envy24HT-S drivers are set up correctly, so that 44.1 kHz gets out without resampling.
Apr 1, 2006 at 1:19 PM Post #9 of 14
If you are just looking for a DVD-ROM to rip CDs into your hard drive using the EAC program,I use a BENQ 1650V from for $23 delivered.You could go with a regular CD-ROM but at that price you might as well go DVD-ROM besides you may deside to rip DVDs into your hard drive some day.
Apr 1, 2006 at 9:31 PM Post #10 of 14
I kind of thought the Ram Hi-Fi Link was too good to be true, considering the $49.00 price.
I appreciate your suggestions as to drives, but you're all way ahead me regarding burning and DVDs, etc. And by 'digital out' <<Before getting an USB DAC, I'd rather use the digital out on the AV-710 for connecting one.>> do you mean optical, which I'm not set up for. Now I am just looking for high quality 2 channel playback (though that BENQ drive makes a lot of sense). On another thread in this forum they talk about soundcards, primarily the Chaintech AV-710 and the EMU-0404, saying that, while the AV-710 is undeniably a super deal, the 0404, even at about 4 times the price, is an equally good deal, considering the improvement in sound quality, especially after modding. Has anyone here had any experience with these?
Apr 2, 2006 at 12:50 AM Post #11 of 14
Look at the Plextor drives, you won't be disappointed. I've got five of them in various machines here, and they have never disappointed me. They are quieter, faster and more accurate than anything else I've used.

Also, the speed of the drive as listed on the box isn't always the best measure of its true speed. With fewer errors, better buffers, etc., a drive that looks slower on paper will outperform ones with better numbers of lower quality.

So the Plextor might not look the fastest on paper, but in the real world, few beat it. I strorgly recommend the 712A. Unless you need to burn dual layer, then their 716A is the best choice. Also, I've gotten good results from SATA versions (yes, they make them) of these drives. Look into those if your computer supports SATA.
Apr 2, 2006 at 5:03 PM Post #12 of 14
Plextor drives are definately a "rip". For the cost of a Plextor, you can get 3-4 very decent burners from a company like NEC, Samsung, LG, or pretty much anyone else. More expensive is not always better.

And as for your audio playback, changing the drive won't improve a thing (unless you're still using an analog connection to your sound card). Every CD/DVD drive sold over the past 6+ years is capable of streaming audio through the data cable. There is absolutely no difference in audio quality when it is being streamed digitally, unless your drive is damaged and not able to read properly.

The only thing a more expensive drive might do (with regards to audio) is rip CDs slightly faster, but even so, if you stick with a known brand, there won't be much difference there if any. You can get an NEC 3550A at Newegg for $35.99 shipped.

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