New case of audio CDs buzzing w/ 52x24x52 drive

Recently got a Memorex 52x24x52 CD-RW (model 52MAXX 2452AJ, Firmware 6WS3; really a Lite-On inside). Seems to read and write data fine so far.

When I play an audio CD, as each song fades to silence, I hear a synthesizer-like buzzing noise that gets progressively louder as the song gets quieter. It doesn’t get anywhere near as loud as the music was, but it is very noticeable.

It’s audible both through the drive’s headphone jack (with or without the rear audio cable connected), and through the PC’s speakers. I don’t currently have a way to test the drive’s SPDIF out. Happens with several different audio CDs, all of which sound fine on a real CD player or my old CD-ROM drive.

I returned the first CD-RW drive (manufacture date Feb 2003), and picked up another (Dec 2002). Same problem!

Anyone else seen this problem? Any other suggestions?

Gotta pimp the 6WS6 firmware update:

Anyways. I notice a similar noise when I turn my computer’s volume all the way up and the volume knob on my speakers down. If you rely more on the amplifier in your speakers and turn your computer’s master volume down it may help.

I know the noise you’re talking about – I’ve heard it on other PCs – but that’s not what’s happening here. Hearing it out of the drive’s headphone jack tells me it’s in the drive. Plus, my speakers are a decent set of Boston Acoustics that hasn’t made any noise like this before I installed this CD-RW drive.

Anyone know what version 6WS6 changes? Do the Memorex firmwares correspond closely to Lite-On’s firmwares (like, is Memorex 6WS2 the same as Lite-On 6S02 except for the string that says “Memorex” or “Lite-On” and the model number)?

Until I hear the manufacturer say that a newer firmware is compatible with a drive, I’m a little hesitant to load it. Just seeing newer firmware shipped in recent drives isn’t enough – you never know if the company has made small changes to the hardware that would cause the new firmware to have strange, subtle bugs in an older drive. And Memorex doesn’t appear to post newer firmware on their web site. But in this case I’ll probably try 6WS6, since I know I can go back to the original version if it doesn’t fix the audio problem.

Has anyone tried the Lite-On 6S0C FW in this Memorex drive? And when you “cross brand” like that, does that break Nero (since the CD says “software will only work with the CD recorder it came bundled with”)?

Tried FW version 6WS6, didn’t fix the audio problem. Tried a digital CD player program, no noise – confirms it’s not the sound card or amp/speakers.

Correction to my previous post: Memorex’s web site doesn’t list firmware for the 52MAXX drive – 40MAXX is the latest there as of today.

Listened to more audio CDs. Sometimes the noise goes away during the gap between songs. That is, you hear it as the end of the songs fades to very low volume, then the noise stops, then it returns during the quiet parts of the next song. On other CDs, the noise continues across the gap.

Guess I’ll try contacting Memorex’s tech support.

Was mainly checking here to see if this problem is widespread (i.e., if I should give up on this model).

well I had a lite on cd-rom and it had the same problem. never found the cause I was lucky that I sold the system now I have a lite on on my new system as well but the problem didnt show up.
Ive had friends send their computers (with other defect)to manufacturer and they would come back with the same problem.
Unfortunately maybe your one of those unlucky guys if technical support dont work try changing it again. :smiley:

Try burning at a lower speed.

Originally posted by SkYLiNe
Try burning at a lower speed.
The noise is happening when I play store-bought (not home burned) audio CD’s on the Memorex drive. Not doing any burning at all. No noise from these same CDs when played on other CD-ROM drives.

Found this post in the General Hardware Forum Asus 52/24/52 NOT FOR AUDIOFILES. Sounds exactly like what I’m hearing. And yes, when I listen closely, the whole CD sounds slightly distorted, even the louder portions. The noise is easiest to notice on the quiet sections, though.

Are ASUS drives really rebranded Lite-On drives?

If so, it’s beginning to look like this problem is fairly widespread. I wonder if a lot of people who buy these drives don’t use them much for playing back audio CDs (maybe just to test briefly), so they don’t notice the problem.

I played audio cds(store bought) ones all the time on my liteon 48@52x… never had any problems.

Don’t know if this will help… but there is a cable linking the cdrw to the soundcard… is that plugged in properly?

Originally posted by SkYLiNe
Don’t know if this will help… but there is a cable linking the cdrw to the soundcard… is that plugged in properly?

don’t think that would affect it since he said it’s also audible through the drives headphone jack.

Have you guys tried Digital Audio in Windows XP? It runs the cds through the IDE cable, and so negates the need for an audio cable between the optical drive and the soundcard.
If you want to enable DigAudio in XP, do this: Go to Device Manager,double click on your desired optical drive, click on properties, and then click the “Enable digital audio for this cd-rom device”. Then sit back and enjoy :slight_smile:

Originally posted by Bhairav
Have you guys tried Digital Audio in Windows XP? It runs the cds through the IDE cable, and so negates the need for an audio cable between the optical drive and the soundcard. …
I’m not using XP, but as I posted above, I tried a digital CD player program. The noise went away, but you loose the ability to just plug headphones into the front of the CD-RW drive. And the drive is quite a bit noisier, because the digital CD program reads it at faster than 1X. Plus it bothers me that the drives have this problem.

I called Memorex’s tech support. The guy said he wasn’t aware of a problem anything like this.

I’ve tried a third Memorex drive, this one manufactured in Jan 2003. Same problem. So much for Memorex/Lite-On.

Previously, I wondered
Are ASUS drives really rebranded Lite-On drives?
I’ve read that ASUS and Benq are the same guts, and are not Lite-Ons.

However, I just got one of the “free” (after rebate) Khypermedia 48x24x48 drives from OfficeMax, and it has this same audio problem. (I’m not imagining this, really!) I wonder if both Lite-On and Benq are using some of the same D-to-A chips/circuitry.

[Added: The Khypermedia is reportedly a rebadged Benq]

Something I kept forgetting to mention until now: the distortion is easier to hear with acoustic music. It will blend into music that is too heavily electronic to begin with. That might explain why more people haven’t noticed it. There’s just no way that by random chance I got four flakey drives in a row!

asus, benq, and liteon all manufacture their own drives. none of them are rebadges of another.

That being truly said, it would not surprise me if all of these manufacturers used cheap, lower quality D/A converters within their respective drives. The drives are first and foremost burners, second computer-oriented CD drives, and lastly audio players.

With the drives selling for so little in the first place, I suspect the manufacturers tend to cut corners where they can, and the audio playback circuitry is one area ripe for the cutting. Many users never play audio through their burners at all, or do so only through low quality PC sound systems and listen with non-critical ears. And I imagine a much smaller fraction of those users ever plug headphones into their drives (recently some manufacturers have begun to omit the headphone jack altogether).

I think the solution is to do as Bhairav suggested and enable digital audio output. That is what I do on my system (with three drives I wouldn’t have enough connectors to hook them all up using analog cables anyway). Yes, you can’t plug your headphones into the front jack, but you could still plug them into your soundcard output. And you shouldn’t have trouble with the drive spinning noisily at high speeds. Newer LiteOn drives (including the rebadged drives sold by Memorex) rotate slowly while playing audio discs whether the output is analog or digital. Try Windows Media Player or Winamp. They both work for me.