Help, new Optiarc DVDW drive doesn't like dark CD-Rs


I just got a new Optiarc DVDRW drive today, an AD-7191S. It replaced an NEC ND-3550A, I wanted a SATA drive and something with LightScribe functionality. Since both the new and old drives were from the same “gene pool” I figured it would be alright.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to find a problem.

After using the drive for a few read tests and a LightScribe burn, the drive appered to stop reading media, ignoring inserted media and responding with a “Please insert a disc” message every time I tried to access it.

After a lot of trial and error, I found a common thread. It seems that my new Opty doesn’t like media with darkly coloured substrates, and between Memorex Black, MPO Hi-Space, Prodisc coloured discs, I have a rather massive stash of dark substrate CDs.

All this stuff worked fine on the ND-3550A and still works great on my Samsung DVD±RW drive, and due to the latter fact I am not that worried.

All the same I’d like to sort this nonsense out.

Should I return the drive to the seller, or is this kind of behaviour something I should have expected? Can I fix this, or would Optiarc take me seriously if I contacted them to complain?


I’d return it and get an AD-7200-series drive. The AD-7190-series drives are rebadged LiteONs and display rather average to poor CD performance.


I may do just that, would the AD-7201S be a good choice? Would it make sense for me to exect a 7201S to deal with these CDs better than a 7191S.

Edit: I just saw on a retailer website an AD 7201S being marketed as “NEC AD-7201S,” whereas the 7191S was marketed as “Optiarc AD-7191S”

So the moral of the story is: NEC > LiteOn?

For sure.