New Plextor PX-54TA CD-ROM defeats many audio protections

Plextor PX-54TA IDE-CD-ROM (Fw. 1.00) - Defeats many audio protections:

The new ATAPI CD-ROM drive is nearly as good as the old Plector SCSI drive series (12/20 Plex & UltraPlex). However, it doesn’t seem to be develloped by Plextor, because it doesn’t understand read command D8 and it doesn’t support the single session mode. In addition to that it recognizes CDS100V3 discs immediately without any problems.
Unfortunately it has problems with key2audio discs. Those can only be extracted when using the sticker or felt tip pen trick. This should be fixed by a firmware-update. The drive can cope with today’s most important audio protection CactusDataShield200 and reads these discs without any distorsion.
The drive comes up with a marvellous mount time of about 5-6 seconds.

  • CactusDataShield100 Version 3 (Right Said Fred - Stand up Maxi Single)
  • CactusDataShield 200, old version without VERSION.TXT containing only 1 audio track (W. Petry - Die laengste Single der Welt #3)
  • CactusDataShield 200.0.4 3.0 build 12a (Foo Fighters - One by One)
    M key2audio Gen. 1 (Heather Nova - Virus of the Mind Maxi Single)
    M key2audio Gen. 4 (The Curse - Innere Sicherheit)
  • DOC.loc V1a mit 10 Sek. PreGap (Helium - Vola)
  • DOC.loc V1b mit 12 Sek. PreGap (Warp Brothers - Blast the Speakers Maxi Single)
  • DOC.loc V1c mit 10 Sek. PreGap (Wolfsheim - Casting Shadows)
  • Pavement Records’ self-made protection (De Raeuber - Achtung Raeuber)

Legend: +: readable -: not readable M: readable using the sticker or felt tip pen rick

All tests were performed under Win98SE, ASPI 4.60 and switched off auto insert notification. The tracks were extracted using ExactAudioCopy 0.95 prebeta 3, Burst Mode, read command MMC1 and ‘actual’ speed setting.

DAE-Speed: 12x at CD beginning and 31x at the end.

EAC parameters:

  • Drive has’Accurate Stream’ feature
  • Drive caches audio data
  • Drive is capable of retrieving C2 error informations
    Read command MMC1 (D8 doesn’t work)
    Speed selection is impossible, you can only choose ‘Actual’.
    ‘Use First Session only’ is disabled.

PlexTools parameters:
Enable ‘Enable Single Session’ is not supported.

  • CactusDataShield100 Version 3 (Right Said Fred - Stand up Maxi Single):

The drive recognizes the disc immediately without any delay and can rip the tracks at full-speed like from a standard audio CD.

  • CactusDataShield 200, alte Version ohne VERSION.TXT mit nur einem Audio-Track (W. Petry - Die längste Single der Welt #3):

The TOC is recognized correctly without performing manual TOC detection, but you need to use Scholli’s rewind-trick in order to rip the track: Start Windows-CD-Player (analog and digital work both) and use the fast forward button until you reach position 3:00. Click on play. You should now hear the music. Rewind in 10 second steps until you reach position 0:00. Then click on Pause and start ripping. The drive rips at a reduced quadruple extraction speed automatically.
EAC reports a few timing problems but there aren’t any clicks and pops.

  • CactusDataShield 200.0.4 3.0 build 12a (Foo Fighters - One by One):

This newer CDS200 version can be ripped like a non protected audio CD. The rewind trick is not required. The drive rips at a reduced quadruple extraction speed automatically, too. There is no audible distorsion.

M key2audio gen. 1 (Heather Nova - Virus of the Mind Maxi Single):

The drive doesn’t recognize the disc because it hangs in an endless loop as a result of the recursive track pointer in session #3 (ref. to c’t 7/2003, page 146). After ejecting the disc EAC and PlexTools 2.05 do not show the proper drive name “Plextor PX-54TA” although the drive is still able to retrieve the TOC of a standard disc. After a reboot everything was all right again.
However, hiding session #2 and #3 with the help of a sticker or a felt tip pen makes the drive recognize the disc. After that it can rip the tracks at full-speed behing position 0:08.

M key2audio gen. 4 (The Curse - Innere Sicherheit):

Ref. to key2audio gen. 1.

  • DOC.loc V1a with 10 sec. PreGap (Helium - Vola):

It takes about 30 seconds to recognize the disc but then it can be ripped like a standard audio CD.

  • DOC.loc V1b with 12 sec. PreGap (Warp Brothers - Blast the Speakers Maxi Single):

Ref. to DOC.loc V1a.

  • DOC.loc V1c with 10 sec. PreGap (Wolfsheim - Casting Shadows):

This disc cannot be recognized. The sticker or felt tip pen trick don’t help. Ejecting and inserting the disc a few times also doesn’t help recognizing the disc.

  • Self-made audio protection by Pavement Records (De Raeuber - Achtung Raeuber):

The drives sees the faked TOC mit 3 audio and 10 data tracks. Detecting the TOC manually retrieves 13 audio tracks. The drive can only extract the 3 audio tracks of the faked TOC.

Xorff, thanks a lot for a very informative article (as usual!)

I am now considering buying this drive as it’s so cheap. I saw it for less than 20 UK Pounds earlier in the week.

The only problem is that I only have 2 drive bays and currently have a Lite-On 24102B and Pioneer DVD116, so removing either of these to put a Plextor CD-ROM in would lose me some functionality.

On the other hand, buying a new CD burner that handles audio protections easier would be a bit of a waste of money as the Lite-On burns 80 min CDs in around 4 minutes.

So I’m a bit unsure! Can’t justify 130 Pounds plus for a ± DVD burner, and want to wait for 8x in any case.

The problems we CD Freaks have to cope with! :wink:

thanks XORFF for very interesting info.

By any chance, do you have access to the brand new px-116? I would be very interested in seeing results of cd ripping with that drive.