Need Fastest CD-ROM

Hello -

I have been searching for the fastest available CD-ROM drive. I’ve seen many forum threads about this, all years old, and the common reply is “why do you want a drive so fast.” This time, I do have a valid reason -

What I do is rip Audio CDs into Mp3s for another business that gives iPods in return for a lot of CDs. I have to rip CDs in very large volumes. I have found that some of my fastest computers (Dual G5 Macs) can rip much faster than my CD drives can spit out. I have Lite-On 52x CD drives.

I can convert an AIFF file at a constant rate of around 48x in iTunes. Converting to Mp3 with my LiteOn drives tops out at about 43x, and averages around 24x on a CD. If you looked at the progression of the rip on a curve, you would see that the CD drive is the bottleneck. So, if I could find a drive that could spit out enough information as my computers could convert across the whole CD, I could effectively cut my rip time in almost half. This would be totally great : >.

I am not concerned with making sure my rips are extremely high quality. The CDs I am supplied with are all in tip-top condition and are commercially pressed.

After searching for a long time, I have found all over the internet that the Kenwood 72x multilaser CD-ROM is the fastest drive. The only constant complaint I’ve read of about this drive is that it has trouble with CD-Rs, and I’m not concerned with being able to read CD-Rs as such as fast rate.

The trouble is, I can’t find these drives anywhere today, not even on eBay. It looks like they are about 5 years old, way outdated. I am baffled why this is, and also why the technology was not pursued past 72x. Does anyone know where I can get ahold of a few of these drives, preferabbly new, but if not, used, or if there is a faster drive available?

Thank you!

That kenwood is the fastest. But it wasn’t compatible with Win2k or XP. And like you said, good luck finding one. It sounds like you are converting to MP3 correct? If so, then the bottleneck is your cpu. That is why the Mac can rip them faster, it has dual processors. If you are just ripping to wav, then having several 52x drives and several hard drives all on separate channels, then the ripping speed would be the fastest.

My recollection was that these drives were the subject of a class action suit. Something to do with optomistic specifications and drives not able to stay in alignment.

I am unclear what speed you are getting; is it 43X or 24X? I have quite a few drives and I can do some comparisons for you but I need to know what you are getting. I will try some rips with CloneCD, it gives me a fairly good speed read.

What I meant was that when ripping on my 52x drive, the rip starts at about mid-teens x all the way up to a little over 40x, and so I average that out to around 24x for a CD. This sounds pretty consistent with the speed of my drive (52x), and what people say about drives topping out at around 40x at peak (even though they are advertised at 52x).

I’m certain that the CD drive is in fact the bottleneck. It is evident in the curve symptoms I wrote about above which resemble the physics of CD reading, and also because I can convert an AIFF file on my hard drive to Mp3 at a solid 45x or so (about twice as fast as the average coming from the drive).

I read that the Kenwood can spit out 40x all the way up to 72x across the whole CD, which would totally blow other drives out of the water for my purpose.

Here’s a link to a specific review -

Also, in the drive compatibility base, people testify that this drive is generally compatible -

Also, I’m not sure how to rip two CDs to Mp3 at one time on one computer without using some third party software, especially one for Mac (haven’t found one). Any recommendations? I’ve tried using Audion and iTunes simultaneously, but Audion uses a slower encoder (maybe better quality, but not my concern), and I run into complications over which program rips which CD, and I end up ripping duplicates. If I went this route, I’d like to use a program that offered the dual-rip feature and not try to use two programs simultaneously. I am concerned that trying the two CDs at once approach could make the process even slower (correct me if I’m wrong). I’d prefer to get a single, fast drive if possible. Also, I would like to minimize the amount of data streams already barraging my server computer (I’ll have to find a better solution for that soon). The Kenwood 72x sounds ideal.

Any recommendations and corrections are (obviously) invited.

Thank you!

P.S. - Chas, do you have a Kenwood 72x? Interested in selling : >?

Sorry, no Kenwood. It only really got to 72X at the edge.

But to your problem, I avoid Mac at all costs so I am probably missing something obvious. Why can’t you run whatever program you are using in two windows at the same time. I can run two instances of DVDDcrypter, for example, with two optical drives reading data to two HDs and I get the same throughput as if I am running a single drive.

Is there some reason you cannot do the same, even with a single HD, two optical drives should be able to feed data on a Mac? We have dozens of rip programs for PC, there must be some other options available for you.