Optical Drive Quality differences when ripping CD's

I have a question regarding CD Rippers [Innuos/Aurrender/etc], CD Drives in high end transports and disc drives in laptops.
Does the quality of information actually captured and ripped to a hard drive vary when using these different types of mechanisms, or does the software utilized in the process make all the difference? In other words, would one be able to detect noticeable differences if using a bit perfect recording software, then playing that recording through the same system each time?
I’ve not been able to find a succinct answer to this question.

There is something called the AccurateRip Database. Most ripping softwareware uses it. If the disc you are ripping is in the database a checksum number is created for each track. When your ripper finishes a track the checksum for the rip is compared to the database entry. If the two checksums match then you got the right data and your worries are over. This all happens behind the scene but if you ever see “checksum” and or AccurateRip you know it has happened.

Having said that, there are good better and best drives. But with AccurateRip none if that matters. You may have to ask whomevers device you are using to be sure. Hopefully you can avoid the manuals!


The best answer I can provide is every modern optical disc drive incorporates some form of read error detection and correction. However, there are different approaches for error detection and correction and some improvement with more recent formats that presumably do a better job of error detection. Picket code is sometimes cited as being more advanced than Reed Solomon Code (RSC). The problem with coming up with a definitive answer is ‘goodness’ is quantified by BER (bit error rate) and I’m not aware of any citable study (somebody correct me if I’m wrong) showing a real correlation between subjective SQ and BER when BER is reduced below some threshold (which is actually amazingly good for modern optical drives).


???say what???


I had forgotten about that database. Thanks for bringing it up. I had come across it a few times but wasn’t really sure how it applied. And I totally agree with you regarding the manuals, dull reading to be sure.

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So, I guess I would be fretting about things that would have little to no audible effects. Thank you. It was a splinter in my mind that for whatever reason, I was unable to find the answers that I received here.

Life isn’t perfect, live with it. Good enough is good enough.

Notwithstanding the great information provided above, there is another thing you may wish to consider. My experience is from using the Exact Audio Copy (EAC) program. When you attach an optical drive to your PC, EAC allows you to ‘calibrate’ it in order minimize the Error Detection and Correction (EDAC) workload EAC has to do when ripping your CDs. It achieves this so-called calibration by testing against a few ‘well-known’ reference CDs, copies of which you need to have on hand (List of Included Reference CDs » Exact Audio Copy)

As mentioned above, I don’t think this matters very much if the checksums for your ripped CDs are consistant with what’s in the AccurateRip database. However, it may help reduce ripping times.

My only other comment is that of the 100s of CDs in my library that I’ve ripped, only a handful of tracks have not been consistant with the AccurateRip database. Fortunately, even for these I haven’t been able to hear any sonic flaws. At any rate, with EAC at least, you can ‘opt in’ to uploading your ripping results such that they are somehow merged with the database, supposedly helping with its accuracy.

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