Saturday, January 09, 2010

CAVS Optical Drive Test - Update

Folks, its been awhile I know. Between surviving an depressed (yes I said the "D" word) I am not totally unaffected and its hit my time for doing karaoke related reporting. old client made it easier to get on board again. So news: The drives I found from my last posting on CAVS compatible drives are of course out of date. The drive I had found is no longer being manufactured by Asus. The newer model I've successfully tested, the ASUS DVD-E818A3 as well as the Pioneer DVR-117D are also discontinued. I have 3 of the Asus drives but 2 have just been requested by this client so I have only the one which I'm keeping. I could have used this opportunity to charge as much as the used Plextor drive guys at $100/drive but that seemed wrong somehow, especially in this economy. In fact this client had already bought 2 used Plextor drives at $100/drive and one of them lasted only 3 MONTHS before it died so I felt I needed to get this out in the open. That said, if you can find Asus DVD-E818A3 its a better alternative and is likely to be new. There is another drive I'll be testing: The Sony DDU1678A. I'm hoping it does the job although the number of people using CDG disks as opposed to the newer downloadable MP3+G files is probably decreasing rapidly. It makes sense after all. If anyone wants to help out with testing drives for native CD+G compatibility here are some links to help get you started:

Karaoke Builder
Nero Tools (Note: you want to download the Nero InfoTool, direct link here: Nero Info Tool)

The Nero Info tool is a MS Windows application. For Linux users it's reported not to work, even under Wine. So Linux uses try these tools: DVD+RW Tools.

I'd love to have a central list of CURRENT drives so people know where to find info for issues like this. Its all free info after all. there is another growing problem: PATA (IDE) Drives in general are going the way of the Dodo bird. There are few PATA(ide) optical drives (or even hard drives) of any kind in Canada as SATA is now all the rage. Aside from onboard RAID issues if an optical is on the same controller I have no problem SATA; The cables are WAY smaller, and the interface is faster. So I guess it up to us karaoke lovers to update hardware and more importantly, software, to the times. Easier said then done I know. For anyone with large collections of CDG disks, get converting to MP3+G, bin or some other computer savable format while your devices are still working. They all die sooner or later and are difficult and/or expensive to repair once the motor dies (unless you are an electrical engineer). Anyway, I'll keep you informed how this Sony works and send out more inquires to the optical drive manufactures. But if you, the karaoke loving public care to download the Nero Info tool (or Linux equivalent), test your IDE drives (or even SATA) and let me know your findings, I'd love to publish them here as well as my own. Frankly I don't have the budget to buy 12-20 drives and test them all. Thanks folks.

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