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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive System
I had a stack of CDs that my PowerBook just didn't want to read (most of them had fairly ugly scratches on them), so I couldn't bring the contents into iTunes. Well I happened to gaze over at my IDE DVD burner that is in a external FireWire enclosure and thought I would give it a shot. After hooking it up, low and behold, every one of my CDs that was having problems is now imported into my iTunes collection. What is even better is that I consistently get ripping speeds of 13x, where my internal CD drive would be anywhere from 1.2x to 16x.

I have no idea if my PowerBook CD drive is out of alignment or picky, or if my DVD burner is better on the error correction. But now I have an alternate that seems to work when my PowerBook drive doesn't!
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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: bighead on Mar 31, '05 11:22:24AM

The newest Switchfoot CD would lock up at about 3/4 of the way through a rip on my new 1.67 GHz 15" PB. I flipped it over to my MDD G4 tower that had a flashed DVR-107 in it, and it ripped just fine. No idea why, except that the CD had the label on it that said "This disc does not conform to CD audio specifications and may not play in all devices." The flashed Pioneer probably didn't hiccup on the "intentionally corrupted" disc like the PB drive did.

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: Mac112 on Mar 31, '05 04:18:17PM

In general, build-in drives in Macs are not very good at reading problematic CDs. I always use my external CD-burner to read large amounts of data from CDs or for copying (with Toast). I once tryed to copy a Win-98SE installer CD from my Cube's internal (stock) CD/DVD-rom drive to my external burner - after more than two hours it ended with "could not verify… - use with caution…" - choosing the burner as source produced a perfect copy whitin 10 minutes…

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: dhosek on Mar 31, '05 11:31:43AM

Slot-loading drives are very picky. The older CD-RW drive in my tower will read plenty of discs that my PB combo drive won't. It's just part of life.

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: designr on Mar 31, '05 01:18:21PM

The laser in your DVD burner is a probably a lot stronger, it being newer and capable of higher speeds, and has better focus, it being designed for better data compression. Its output may also be a different frequency (color).

This is a known workaround but a good tip.

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: dshirley on Mar 31, '05 03:34:31PM

You're on the right track... The DVD laser is somewhat stronger and at a different frequency. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the error correction on a DVD drive is so much better (consider the fact that a DVD has so much more data on it, so a tiny scratch will affect a great deal more information).

It's always a good idea to try a CD on a DVD drive before giving up on it... It's quite amazing what a DVD drive can actually read!

Quidquid latine dictum sit altum viditur

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: ale2000 on Apr 01, '05 03:43:58AM

I too have noticed a few "weird" things about external and internal drives/burners...
In my experience, original CDs made using the Copy Protect technology sometimes have problems in being read or converted to mp3 via the internal drive: some get stuck if I even try to play them, some feature hideous glitches here and there.
But never once my FireWire external LaCie burner has failed in giving me perfect readings or rippings of every single disc I feeded it with.

This has happened with both my "old" G4 Tower and my new G5.

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Rip stubborn CDs via a secondary drive
Authored by: shavenyak on Apr 01, '05 08:50:26AM
That should be "'lo and behold". "Low and behold" only makes sense if you're a cow.

That said, I find that my external DVD burner is better at ripping CDs than my iBook's internal combo drive, too.

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Drive reliability for "bad" CDs
Authored by: VRic on Apr 01, '05 09:47:33AM

Here's my experience regarding drive reliability for "bad" CDs (from a related hint I'm submitting right now):

  • Slower drives are usually better (except portable drives).
  • When slower drives aren't available, try to find some software option to slow the rotation, there may be such options in some CD copy applications or in separate tools like one that was made for Plextor SCSI drives a few years back.
  • CD burners are usually better than CD players at the same advertised speed.
  • Tray-loading drives are better than slot-loading, and caddies are better than trays, but nobody makes caddies any more.
  • Yamaha made extremely accurate caddy-loading CD and CDR drives for longer than other makers, so theirs are probably the faster caddies available.
  • Since audio CDs don't include the data-integrity redundancy of data CDs (hence the bigger capacity in audio mode), most drives perform data correction on the fly like they were playing the tracks, which means they "guess" what they can't read easily (hence the checkbox in iTunes' prefs to force slower retry); only some high-end drives really provide bit for bit accuracy for audio extraction at 24x speed, and not faster as far as I know. Those drives usually come from Yamaha or Plextor.
  • The ultimate easily found best drive ever for out-of-specs CDs is Apple's caddy-loading 2x SCSI CD-300. It's also relatively small, very well made and can be bought for nothing on eBay (the one on top in the photo, the other is an older 1x Apple CDSC, which won't fit anywhere but under an SE-shaped Mac). I won't sell mine for anything though: it ripped commercial audio CDs that wouldn't play in my stereo and were so old they didn't even comply to physical specs (they were a bit thinner, about 2 mm smaller in diameter, had rounded edges, and seemed very unbalanced as they caused any faster drive to rattle horribly and fail). If you have an Apple CD300, keep it. You might even plug it to an USB-SCSI adapter if that still exists (I didn't try that because I found SCSI to USB stupid in the first place, but given this drive's data throughput that's probably the only sensible use of such an adapter).

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