Anyone know why my LH-20A1S audio extraction is piss poor?



Just built a new system, specs at bottom. One of the first tasks I tried to test the speed was music ripping and encoding. Loaded up EAC and max rip speed on this drive was about 2.3X. You could hear that the drive wasn’t even spinning up. Made multiple tries. Took 12 minutes to rip the first track. I tried several other programs including CDex, EZ-CD X-tractor…same thing. dB Poweramp rips at better speeds…up to 20X or so but its a pay trial and I don’t really want to buy it.


  • The LH-20A1S is on the Intel SATA-2 spot with IDE compatibility mode (not ACHI mode).
  • DMA mode is enabled.
  • Latest firmware revision as per LiteOn site.
  • Tried several different, non-damaged cd’s.

Any ideas? Think this is just an SATA issue? Anyone else having this issue with their LH-20A1S?

E6600 @ 3.2 GHz
2 x 1GB Micron D9
Ge Force 8800 GTS
X-Fi ExtremeMusic
Raptor 10K 150
Corsait HX620 PS


I dunno why. But mine rips so fast, iTunes doesn’t even show the speed.

I’ll have to measure it myself, but 4m30s songs were being ripped in under 15 seconds at the edge of the disk. I think even less than 10 seconds.

Mine is attached to the main controller on an nForce 4 SLI motherboard. I am using the Nvidia drivers.

Did you try turning off the overlapping reads stuff that EAC uses? Perhaps that makes this drive slow down. I guess I could turn that on in iTunes to compare for you, but I’m not in front of that machine right now.


Hi acohen100, welcome to CDFreaks! :slight_smile:

The SMART-X feature in the LiteOn drives, which is supposed to slow down the drive for quiet operation during playback and speed it up during ripping, doesn’t interact well with Secure mode extraction in Exact Audio Copy.

You can circumvent this problem by performing a fast read of the disc to speed up the drives, and then start ripping in EAC. One way of doing this is to start the Read Transfer test on the Benchmark tab in Nero CD-DVD Speed and stop it after a few seconds, another way is to read with Burst mode in EAC for a few seconds and then switch back to Secure mode.

There is no known way of making LiteOn drives rip at maximum speed in Secure mode with EAC without using this type of workaround.


Sry…the forums decided that they didn’t like my original name and password so I had to reregister…

Anyhoo…wow. I love it when they add features that makes things worse. I really don’t want to have to go through that every time I want to rip a disk. I guess I’ll have to reinstall the older BENQ for my rips or buy the dB software. Hope someone releases a firmware hack that can disable this. Thanks for the info anyway. At least I know that I’m not crazy.

PS - One interesting clue here is that all fo the programs that extract poorly also can not seem to play the audio on the disks. So EAC does not give any audio output when I try to play the tracs on the cd’s. Does that suggest a different problem?


Hmm, not that I doubt your post but I was just reading up on the SMART-X feature. Here are a few of the quotes I found on the subject:

Its SMART-X feature supports high-speed DAE and VCD extraction

The drives continue to feature SMART-X®(Smart Monitoring and Adjusting Read-speed Technology for eXtraction) function that provides the fastest DAE speed.

From the quotes one would think that this feature is intended to speed up DAE rather than slow it down as you suggest.


that’s true only in burst mode, not secure mode.


This is quite outrageous I have to say. Adding a feature that completely breaks their drives ability to work with most existing programs with no option to disable is just abominable. I will probably have to return the drive and I can say that I will be avoiding LiteOn in the future. Quite a shame. I always thought that they made good drives in the past.


SMART-X has been in LiteOn drives forever, it’s not a new feature by a long shot.

You might as well blame the EAC author for not making the software interact optimally with LiteOn drives. EAC being Freeware, you can’t really ask for your money back. :smiley:


There’s good and bad with all brands. Sorry you had bad luck.


EAC is far from “most existing programs”.

It’s the price you pay for being extra paranoid about your audio extraction. To be honest, every drive made recently has accurate audio extraction anyway, so you don’t need overlapping reads to get the data right.

So Lite-On optimized for the normal case that most people use. And they did it quite well.


I have tried several programs, the problem exists with all except one. So in that sense, EAC is typical of most existing programs. After several days of testing I have only found one program that will extract at a reasonable rate…whioch you can see in the initial post if you care to read it.

I would argue that DAE is a very common optical drive task so the fact that it is completely broken with most programs would argue that these drives are not, in fact, optimized for normal use, as you suggest, and it is very likely that most people with these drives will experience this problem.

I’m not sure how you guys can shrug off broken DAE as a “some good and some bad” type issue. How can this not be huge for anyone using this drive? This is an expected, standard feature on all drives that needs to work…and it doesn’t. Would your response be the same if DVD writing was completely broken on this drive with most programs? I don’t really get the nonchalance about this.

DAE is a key feature that I look for on my drives and apparently it’s a “no-go” with the LiteOn’s. Sorry about the rant, this is just really disappointing.


Ok I am retracting my rant. Apparently I can get full speed rips using burst mode with test and copy. From what I have read this is actually better/faster than secure mode for new, undamaged CD’s anyway as long as you review the CRC check. For damaged CD’s there is no getting around the slowdown but that should not be very often, hopefully. Guess I’ll keep the drive after all.

I really appreciate all the information here. without it I would never have figured this out.


Whatever happened to the ‘spin up drive’ option in EAC? It works pretty nicely on the older Lite-Ons.


The Spin up drive before extraction option is still there in EAC, but it doesn’t do anything useful on my LiteOn SHM-165P6S drive, in fact it only adds an additional delay, so it probably won’t help on the newer drives either.


Yah I tried Spin up, it didn’t work.

Just for laughs I emailed LiteOn tech support about it. I get replies in broken English asking me the same questions over and over and over in a neverending loop - Are you set to DMA? Do you have the latest firmware? Have you tried it in a different system?

Whenever I answer one question they email me back with another one that I already answered. Totally useless tech support. They refuse to address the issue of SMART-X (even though I have shoved it in their faces) and just pretend that the problem doesn’t exist and that they don’t know anything about it. I can’t get a direct answer on that one…they just ignore my questions about it.


The new version of EAC (0.99) seems to allow you to overide the speed.

Drive options => Offset/Speed => speed selection :smiley:

I have the LH-20A1S and set the speed to 48x. It rips CDs at 30x+ :iagree: