Ripping CDs but need a drive...can I grab any drive?
Dec 28, 2020 at 7:34 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


500+ Head-Fier
Nov 12, 2014
I picked up some collector's edition versions of video games over the past few months, and they came with CD soundtracks, but I need to pick up an external CD drive to rip them into MP3/FLAC/whatever.

Are there specific specs I should look for in the drive, or will the cheapest drive do? I'm seeing drives ranging in price from $15 to $35.
Dec 28, 2020 at 8:15 AM Post #3 of 11
Dec 28, 2020 at 12:40 PM Post #4 of 11
Drives can't be inaccurate or the world would come to an end and the people with "inaccurate" drives wouldn't be able to survive. But that doesn't happen.

I didn't see that they discuss retry or any error correction mechanisms. I think there is more to this than meets the eye.
Dec 28, 2020 at 12:54 PM Post #5 of 11
Drives can't be inaccurate

You mean something mechanical is 100% accurate?
No wear, no tolerances, no adjustment?
Laser always perfectly aligned?
Optical disk always 100% centered correctly?
Never heard about the difference between an audio CD (bit perfect transmission not guaranteed) en CD ROM (bit perfect transmission guaranteed)?
Why has they ever invented CD ROM (sacrificing 15% of its capacity for error correction code) if the drive is 100% accurate?
Dec 30, 2020 at 6:25 AM Post #6 of 11
Not all drives read audio CD's the same. That's why you need special ripping software like EAC to read the CDs correctly.
If you use EAC and the correct settings most drives will output the exact same data.
So in the end it's a matter of speed. If a drive reads the disc accurately right away, it is not necessary to read it over and over to make sure it is accurate, thus you will gain a lot of speed.

Unfortunately it's hard to say which new drives are best. Not that many people rip CDs nowadays and interest getting lower.
Most information about audio read quality is about old drives.
Dec 31, 2020 at 5:33 PM Post #7 of 11
CD players, with a few exceptions, make one pass and extract the same digital data as a CDROM drive, but with ripping software that uses error correction like EAC or Bitperfect you usually get an exact copy, I had one CD a while back that skipped in just about every CD player I’ve had but with ripping software I eventually got a good copy, took 10 minutes to do the job as it kept going back for missing data, burned it back onto a CD-R and it plays fine, both discs now in the jewel case ...
Jan 5, 2021 at 8:12 AM Post #8 of 11
As @The Jester explained, the OS will do a CRC check and issue a reread to the disc if the checksum doesn’t match. You can use any CD-ROM drive.
I use a 30$ toshiba CD-ROM drive to RIP my CDs, just be sure to use a “secure” bit perfect Ripping software. That’s why some claim music played back after being Ripped sounds better than CD players. CD players don’t usually do error correction..
Jan 5, 2021 at 8:55 AM Post #9 of 11
As @The Jester explained, the OS will do a CRC check and issue a reread to the disc
He didn't mentioned CRC or OS at all; most likely because it doesn't work that way.:)

It is the optical drive that detect C1 and C2 errors.
It will generate the best possible value (interpolation) and will raise an error flag on the status line.
Ripping software can detect this and
- ignore it and use the interpolation (just like a CD player)
- issue a re-read (hopefully bypassing the cache). This is what most "secure" rippers do.
- re-read up to 80 times (dbPoweramp, EAC) bypassing the cache and try to determine the most likely value.

Rippers like dBpoweramp, EAC will check the results against the AccurateRip database.
This will tell you if the rip is 100% accurate or not.
As mentioned before; by design reading audio CDs bit perfect is not guaranteed
Jan 5, 2021 at 9:28 AM Post #11 of 11
Slight difference, 44.1 vs 48 both 16 bit ...
i‘d still rather store and access via a digital copy vs either for long term use ...
Optical drives do vary in read quality and using them with bit perfect ripping software should be fine for a few CD’s, if you’re looking at ripping an extensive CD collection though there used to be a list of the faster drives, I’ve had good results with LG internal DVD burners in the past ...
Also a good test for replay from NAS server, PC etc is a comparison with a reasonable CD transport via optical cable, if the transport sounds better the digital replay chain is an issue ...

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