Best audiophile solution



Hi Guys!!

I am Antonio, from Italy! Extremely nice forum, really!!!

I was searching for some info, tried to find them in the forum, but I don’t think I succeded…

So my question.

I have a PC with a EMU 1212m soundcard and to a DENON amplifier, and I’d like to use this PC for audiophile purpose.

I mean, I would like also to use the PC as a CD-player, not only a CD ripper.

How can I choose the best DVD drive for this?

I read good opionions on Liteon drives, on Amazon I find only IHAS 124-14. What other units should I consider and why?

Thanks in advance!


Maybe my post was too complicated, then I sum up:

WHat is the best dvd-drive for audio cds?


Most any drive will suffice for CDs.


Ok! THen you mean there’s no difference like jitter or similar arising from different transport among all different DVD drives? I am sending of course data form drive to audio card in digital an not in analog, so that I use the D/A converter of the soundcard


For an audiophile, are you using a D/A converter where the output is sent straight to a vacuum tube preamp?


[QUOTE=vvvyper;2786579]Ok! THen you mean there’s no difference like jitter or similar arising from different transport among all different DVD drives? I am sending of course data form drive to audio card in digital an not in analog, so that I use the D/A converter of the soundcard[/QUOTE]

As long as the CD can be read, there should be no difference. Two different drives will read the exact same information.

Your soundcard will be the first place where any change in quality can occur.


For ripping the audio content from Audio CDs, I suggest using the utility Exact Audio Copy.

When it rips tracks, it generates a CRC check code for each track which it can check against an online database (what it calls ‘AccurateRip’) to see whether it matches. If it passes, then the ripped track is a 1:1 match of what the Audio CD contains.

If you have any CDs that are not in its database, you can run a test rip process afterwards and it will regenerate the CRC codes for the test rip. If they CRC codes match up with the original rip, this is a fairly good indication that it ripped the tracks accurately. When the tracks don’t rip properly (e.g. fingerprints on CD), the CRC code will keep changing with each rip attempt, giving an indication that the disc did not rip properly.

If you happen to have any older copy protected Audio CDs (e.g. Cactus Data Shield protected), these can be a right pain to rip as the CD intentionally has defects throughout the audio. While a Hi-Fi can interpolate the missing audio to make it sound fine, older CD/DVD-ROM drives from that time (early 2000s) could not do this, resulting in scratchy audio. Pretty much all modern DVD drives can rip these discs by interpolating the missing audio, however, just like ripping a badly fingerprinted disc, the CRC values will change from rip to rip. So unfortunately the only way to tell how well they ripped is to carefully listen to each ripped track.


Thank you for all answers! Currently I go from CD, in digital (SATA) to motherboard, then to soundcard EUM 1212M (D/A Cirrus Logic) and then in analog to a NAD C350.

My question regarding difference among drives came exaclty after reading, regarding “accuracy” this link

And then I was thinking: If I can have an errore while ripping, I could have also while “streaming” directly to soundcard without ripping…


Most audible errors are introduced because a given disc cannot be read. So, in this case, the drive has to apply error correction, or slow down, or reread. Maybe it does all 3.

It is when the drive tries to correct an error that problems may arise. In bad situations, the drive has to guess what data was there, and it may not make the same guess every time. (This is what Seán mentioned). This affects accuracy, but hopefully does not make anything sound bad for casual listening straight from the disc.

A different cause for an inaccurate rip is if the drive returns extra silence at the beginning/end of a song, OR if it cuts a tiny part of the song off. That should not be a big problem for casual listening straight from the disc, though some music players introduce a pause between tracks.

Generally, none of this affects how you hear it while it is playing back. If you hear a pop or a click, you would probably hear the same pop or click when playing it back on a standalone CD player. That is when you try to rip the CD, in the hopes that you can get a perfect copy that will work better. And THAT is where the “accuracy” matters more.


This is theoretical and many would consider nit-picking, but here goes:

  1. Audio-CDs are read back with error correction and when that fails with interpolation.
  2. CD/DVD/BD-drives differ in their ability to avoid read errors (some read bad quality discs better without errors) and in their chosen methods of interpolation (hold last, interpolate-in-between, etc).
  3. Another factor that is perhaps important to some is the playback speed (rotation speed) of the drive, which at higher speeds can cause audible playback noise from the computer.

With these facts in mind, my suggestion would be:

  • Best drive in reading back discs with lots of errors, without resorting immediately to interpolation (Lite-On DVD-drives, if you can find them)

  • Best drive in interpolation and selecting which interpolation method to use (I’d say original Plextors, only available 2nd hand now, or then perhaps the new Plextor Vinpower-modified and expensive PX-891SAF - although I have not tested the latter).

  • Best drive in terms of playback quietness (you can throttle down Pioneer drives, original plextor drives - both with additional software)

If you want to write CD-Audio discs, then I’d also consider CD-Audio burn quality which does NOT go hand-in-hand with DVD-R or BD-R burn quality. IMHO, the best were original Pioneers and some NEC/OptiArc drives (specific units). And the long since gone Yamaha (which were very finicky) Audiomaster units.

With all this in mind, my pick would be:

Pioneer BDR-209D. Reasons: it’s available, it’d decent in writing audio cds, you can throttle down the playback speed (for instance with RimHill CD-ROM Speed). You can’t control the audio cd interpolation algorithm (afaik) nor is it the best reader of scratched audio cds. But it is , imho, the best and mostly available compromise right now. If you have more money, want to tinker around, then consider getting the Plextor PX-891SAF.


note: the Plextor PX-891SAF is a LiteOn drive.