Review: The Burning Experience : Plextor 401240 IDE CD-RW

vbimport

#1

I've read the review (The Burning Experience) by DoMiN8ToR of the Plextor PleXWriter 401240A IDE CD-RW drive with great interest, because I also use one. In addition, I use a Plextor UltraPlex 40 CD-ROM (SCSI) drive. Unlike the findings in your review, I have so far been totally unable to make a legit copy of a few of my copy-protected CD's. I run Windows XP PRO on a P4 PC, and my soundcard is a Terratec DMX 6Fire with, amongst others, a direct internal digital input from the PlexWriter 401240A. I also use all the latest drivers and PlexToools (v1.14) for the Plextor equipment.

I started out trying to copy from the Ultraplex to the Plexwriter, without any success. Some of the tracks copied OK and some did not, and at some point during the process it just gave up and the PC hung on me. Some tracks played OK, but others had a lot of "built-in" copy-protection sound distortion. I then switched over, using the Plexwriter to make a backup copy, but with more or less the same results.

How were the review results achieved? Is it possible for someone to post the exact settings/method that were used in Plextools to successfully copy the protected CD with the PlexWriter 401240A?

Has anybody else had any success using the same writer?

Your comments are appreciated.


#2

Why use Plextools with fabulous programs like CloneCD and Nero are available? CloneCD will take care of all your copying needs, and the some, while Nero will handle all the rest, the perfect combo.

DFourthHorseman


#3

Originally posted by dfourthhorseman
[B]Why use Plextools with fabulous programs like CloneCD and Nero are available? CloneCD will take care of all your copying needs, and the some, while Nero will handle all the rest, the perfect combo.

DFourthHorseman [/B]

As a matter of fact, I do have both CloneCD and Nero installed. I used CloneCD first and then Nero, trying to copy the disc on the fly, and both failed. I eventually ran out of options on those two. Hence the reason for using PlexTools, followed by the post to this forum.

Thanks for your input. :slight_smile:


#4

Wait what are you trying to copy? Unless its the newest SafeDisc 2, then everything else you should be able to do. Even if you are trying to copy the newest SD2, use Betablocker to edit the image made by CloneCD and just burn it, without AWS enabled. CloneCD is always the best in copying, and Nero will take care of everything else, like audio and data burning from scratch.

Hope this helps
DFourthHorseman


#5

I’m trying to copy an audio CD of mine. The problem is that not one of the programs (including CloneCD) was able to finish reading the CD correctly (not even to an image file) - they all ended up hanging, forcing a reboot.

Thanks for your interest.


#6

Go and download the latest ClonyXXL to detect the audio protection you need and give you the optimal setting you need for CCD to work properly.

Please tell me the type of protection it is when you find out,
DFourthHorseman


#7

Originally posted by dfourthhorseman
[B]Go and download the latest ClonyXXL to detect the audio protection you need and give you the optimal setting you need for CCD to work properly.

Please tell me the type of protection it is when you find out,
DFourthHorseman [/B]

Downloaded ClonyXL (English) and ran it. It found "Overburn’’??? Is this what you were looking for or something else? Where do I find the “optimal setting” you are referring to? How long will it normally take to write an image- CloneCD has now been at it for almost an hour, after it wrote the 1st 91% very quickly. It is now crawling along at 0.00 - 0.04 kBytes sec. (more 0.00 than 0.04 :)), remaining static at 92%. I stopped it at this mark and at the moment I am trying Nero again.

Thanks.


#8

Its ClonyXXL, not ClonyXL, that’s the old version, it doesn’t detect audio protections. Get the newest version here:

http://kickme.to/englishclony

BTW, run this and and use its settings to do it with CCD 4, I doubt Nero can do it.

Hope this helps,
DFourthHorseman


#9

Thanks, dfourthhorseman, I will download and try again.


#10

When you are indeed using a protected audio disc is can take quite a while for the Plextor to read the disc since it’s reading past the lead-out of the disc (I believe, not completely sure here). I have some copy-protected audio discs here ready to be tested but I’m waiting on a new version of PlexTools. Personally when dealing with protected audio discs, I prefer to use EAC to extract the audio tracks and then burn these with Nero. This way you get an unprotected back-up.


#11

Originally posted by G@M3FR3@K
… Personally when dealing with protected audio discs, I prefer to use EAC to extract the audio tracks and then burn these with Nero. This way you get an unprotected back-up.

I have even used EAC without result. It just keeps on going trying to read the CD, but eventually it comes to a standstill- requiring a reboot.

Meanwhile, I have downloaded and tried ClonyXXL with CCD4, trying to write an image file to hard disk first from a PX-40TSi CD-R, followed by a PX-401240A CD-RW. In both cases without any success. The audio CD detection profiles for the two respective drives are very different, but the CCD4 image write results were the same. (Click on the drive or software name to view the profiles). Maybe the tracks are just bad, although the original CD is brand new and plays without a hitch on various CD players. In one particular instance the image was completed within 12 hours or so and then it was burnt onto a backup CD. The last few track features all sorts of distortion, interference or whatever it is called. Earlier tracks played just fine.

Thanks for any contribution, your comments are appreciated.


#12

Have you got the newest firmware?


#13

Originally posted by adyo
Have you got the newest firmware?

Yip! The whole new worx was installed two days ago. It is only this one particular CD that is giving me ahem, headaches :Z


#14

According to ClonyXXL its just some simple bad sector and sub channel, I think. Your Plextors should be able to handle it fine, let me ask you something, can you burn normal copy-protected games ok? Like SD1, SecurROM, some SD2, etc? Also its really wierd that the CD gives off two different profiles, what music CD is it?

DFourthHorseman


#15

Originally posted by dfourthhorseman
[B]According to ClonyXXL its just some simple bad sector and sub channel, I think. Your Plextors should be able to handle it fine, let me ask you something, can you burn normal copy-protected games ok? Like SD1, SecurROM, some SD2, etc? Also its really wierd that the CD gives off two different profiles, what music CD is it?

DFourthHorseman [/B]

Never copied a game, so I can not tell. Possibly the bad sectors are just too bad for any prog to read it- even EAC failed at the same spots. It plays back just fine on any player (external and internal sources) I’ve tried it in so far, though. I think I will return it to have it swopped and the check out the new CD for any faults.

Thanks for your persistence in helping me with this. I will report back within the next day or two.


#16

No problem, but any Plextor, even old 12x models can get by bad sectors. Here’s something I have saved up from an old thread:

Available audio cd protections:

Cactus Data Shield 100 Availability: -

Cactus Data Shield 200 Availability: +

Cactus Data Shield 300 Availability: –

Key2Audio Availability: ++

MediaCloq Availability: –

SafeAudio Availability: –

Note: this list is not complete, more protections are available. Availability is mainly targeted at Europe.

How to recognize a protected audio cd:

use Clony XXl

visual inspection

Note: Clony XXL will not always properly recognize the protection because audio protections are hardware dependant protections, dependant on your reader. Your reader might not properly report/read the content of the disc in which case Clony XXL can’t determine the protection. Another factor: audio protections are still evolving and newer versions are silently released.

Cactus Data Shield 200 (Example: Natalie Imbruglia - White lillies island)

A CDS200 protected audio cd can be recognized by visual inspection as follows:

Copyright statement refering to Midbar Tech, Tel-Aviv, Israel somewhere on the front/back cover or inlay.

Availability of the Cactusplayer (= proprietary mp3-player) when cd is inserted in a cd-rom player.

Key2Audio (Example: Shakira - Laundry service)

A Key2Audio protected audio cd can be recognized by visual inspection as follows:

Warning stating ‘will not play on pc/mac’ on the front/back cover and labelside of cd.

Textstring ‘Sony Music’ or ‘Sony dadc’ on the innerring on the data-side of the cd.

A user-contributed list of protected cds around the world can be found here. Note: be aware that wrong information might be displayed!

How to copy/rip a protected audio cd:

General considerations:

Audio protections are hardware dependant protections, based on your reader. This means that when you have the ‘right’ reader, audio protections will give (almost) no trouble copying/ripping. But it could also mean that when you have the ‘wrong’ reader you won’t be able to copy/rip the cd at all… The writing part is not interesting because all available writers are able to write protected audio cds.

Tricks used by audio protections: illegal Table Of Content entries, multi-session tricks. A normal audio cd-player is a single-session device, it just reads the first session where the audio tracks are, it isn’t bothered by the extra sessions because it can’t read the extra sessions. Also, an audio cd-player expects only audio-tracks so can’t be confused by illegal TOC entries which claim that the audio-tracks are data-tracks. A Cdrom-player (or dvd-player, cd-writer) is a multi-session device, it tries to read all sessions. But these (illegal) extra sessions are purposely added to the cd to fool the cdrom-player. Also, a cdrom-player can read audio as well as data, so it can be confused by illegal TOC entries which claim that audio-tracks are data-tracks.

Because the protection is hardware dependant we can classify 3 categories:

reader is (almost) not affected by protection and just reads the cd. Plextor (all models) is a wellknown example of this.

reader is affected by protection, but is still able to read the cd using tricks.

reader is affected by protection and can’t even read the cd using tricks.

1.) You are lucky, you can copy/rip the protected cd relatively easy with programs like CloneCD, Feurio or ExactAudioCopy. You might need to tweak the advanced settings of these programs.
2.) You are still able to copy/rip the protected cd with the marker-trick.
3.) You are not able to read the protected cd, whatever you try, you won’t succeed. Only option: try another firmware which might make your reader able to read the protected cds.

General tips regarding the used software:

CloneCD v4 is the easiest way to backup your audio protected cd. Just use the audio-profile which reads only the first session so your backup is not protected anymore.
Feurio can be used to rip the tracks. Of course your backup, when writing the ripped tracks, isn’t protected anymore. Feurio is able to detect illegal TOC entries and gives you the option to ignore the further sessions and illegal entries. If you succeed in reading the protected audio cd with CloneCD you should also be able to rip it with Feurio. You might need to tweak the advanced settings of Feurio first.
Exact Audio Copy can be used to rip the tracks. Of course the protection is gone after ripping. In some cases you might need the option ‘manually detect TOC’ in order to be able to rip the tracks. The advantage of EAC is its secure reading method (which has nothing to do with the protection).

[update 2002-05-20]
Always try to let your application to close the cd-tray with the protected audio cd in it. Do not insert the protected audio cd earlier because Windows might interfere with it and ‘activate’ the protection. Programs like CloneCD lock the drive so Windows can’t mess up things. Again: don’t insert the disk to early!
[/update]
[update 2002-05-25]
In order to prevent Windows (or the firmware of your drive) to access the protected cd too early, you also need to make sure that you have disabled ‘auto insert notification’ and ‘auto play’. These options can be disabled through the device manager or the registry, depending on your Windows version. CloneCD also has a special entry in its settings for disabling these settings.
[/update]

How to copy/rip a protected audio cd if the above mentioned methods don’t work:

make a digital copy using your audio cd-player and a soundcard.

make an analog copy using your audio cd-player and a soundcard.

If your audio cd-player has a digital-out and your soundcard has a digital-in, you could connect the two and use the ‘record audio data’-option from Feurio. Total Recorder is also able to record from line-in.
If your audio cd-player has no digital-out or your soundcard has no digital-in, you could still connect the 2 the analog way. Just connect the line-out cinch-plug with the line-in minijack-plug of your soundcard. Again use Feurio or Total Recorder to record incoming audio data. The disadvantage of this method is you are copying in the analog domain, your digital data is converted twice which might degrade the resulting copy. In practice an analog copy can be very good, but we CDFreakers prefer the best, so we go for the digital copy!

I hope this helps you,
DFourthHorseman


#17

Thanks for your very, very comprehensive reply, dfourthhorseman :D. I am also going to save the information for future. Some very important hints are buried in there.

I’ll make a new post once I have replaced the CD under discussion, and checked that out too.

Cheers.


#18

Reults when reading protected audio with a Plextor PX-W4012TU (=A)

Key2Audio is no problem, CCD-Lock fails…