Upgrade from NEC 3550a


I currently have a 3550a mainly used for backing up movies (ripping and burning) on single layer and dual layer verbatim media (mcc001 and 004). I like the bitsetting provided by liggy and dee’s firmware, and the fact that there is no rip lock.

I also use it to rip music as well, and I’m thinking about copying all my music cd’s so that I will have a good, unscratched copy of them.

So anyways, I’m wondering: If you were going to upgrade from a 3550a to another drive (taking into consideration with what I’m doing with mine), what would it be?

I’m not opposed to using two drives to do things, if they are exceptional in only one area or the other, in order to get the best of all worlds.


Why upgrade unless you have issues with the 3550? The 3550 should be able to rip both audio and video materials.

Well, I was getting ready to backup about 50 movies and 100 cd’s, so I was just wondering if anyone thought that a different drive could provide a little bit better rip or burn quality.

Like if there was a drive that ripped better than the 3550a or burned better than it, but was weak in the opposite category, then I could use them in conjunction with each other.

So, I don’t really need to upgrade, I was just wondering if anyone thought that it would be a good idea to do that.

7170A maybe?

Hrmm… I take it there is no magical drive that is that much better than the 3550a.

That’s what I wanted to know.


There’s always going to be positives and negatives to any drive you’re using…

For example my PC employs an NEC 3550a and a Liteon SHW-160P6S. I didn’t realize it at first, but the combination of these two drives is priceless.

For example the NEC drive simply sucks for doing CD-quality scans in Nero. The Lite-On drive does a fantastic job, and where the NEC flags 200+ PIF errors, the Liteon may only record 4 errors max on the same disc.

I’ve recently come across some media (Philips 16x DVD-R and DVD+R both by CMC Magnetics) that the NEC burns horribly. Yes, they are readable but a quality scan reveals a very poor burn. The Liteon creates a much cleaner copy with this media (when tested with Nero).

For the most part my NEC drive has been a terrific burner (even when tested with the Liteon drive). But unless you use the same trusted, quality media verified for that drive, you will almost certainly find better results with another drive, when using certain types of media. The only example so far I’ve found was the recent 16X CMC media I’ve aquired, burns much better in the Liteon burner, otherwise it’s been comparable.

Another example is the NEC drive creates MUCH better backups when using dual-layer media. The Liteon creates acceptable copies, but the NEC fares better in the quality scan in almost every circumstance with DL media.

There are so many combinations that it’s hard to find a bad DVD-burner, some will burn good with certain media, bad with others.

So if you’re creating backups that you can’t lose and are using different types of media, I definately recommend the use of two burners. Because one will burn better than the other and vice versa, depending on the media type. And media isn’t cheap, I hate to be stuck with 100 discs that aren’t good for my burner— it’s always good to have a 2nd alternative!

LiteOn DVD burners are almost useless for CD scanning because they ignore most of the errors on the disc, reporting only E31 errors as C1 and ignoring E11 and E21 errors.

See this thread and this post.

I don’t know whether your NEC drive “sucks” for CD quality scans, but try scanning at 32x and you might get useful results as I do with my NEC 4551 and Optiarc 7173.