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February 2002

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24X CD Recording At an Affordable Price

By Don Eitner © February 2002

That Was Then, This is Now

In 1999 I purchased my first CD-RW drive so that I could create my own music CD compilations, make backups of my data, and transport files to other computers such as those at a print shop or my work. At the time I found a great price on a Yamaha SCSI 6x4x16 (6X record, 4X rewrite, 16X read) drive, and because at that time OS/2 had no support for IDE CD recorders I bought that instead of the slightly less expensive IDE model. Since then IDE CD recorders have come down in price significantly and they are certainly easier to find than their higher priced SCSI counterparts.

I had wanted to upgrade to the new Yamaha CRW-3200S, a 24X record, 10X rewrite, 40X read drive which also uses a SCSI connector, but at the time of this writing that SCSI model has not been released, and the IDE model costs US$200. I found a Teac 24x10x40 drive with an IDE interface for half that price at and I figured I would not find a better deal.

But using an IDE CD recorder under OS/2 presents a problem -- or did until recently. The CD recording software available for OS/2 does not inherently support IDE devices. For example I use Chris Wohlgemuth's Audio/Data-CD-Creator 0.50 which works as a graphical front-end to the command-line CDRecord/2 program. CDRecord/2 only recognizes SCSI style addresses (for example, adaptor 0, unit 1 = address 0,1,0).

Times have changed, and now thanks to the work of Daniela Engert with her DaniATAP.FLT driver, IDE CD and other forms of removable drives can be recognized by the system as existing at a SCSI style address. To my knowledge this works only with programs such as CDRecord/2 which specifically look for such devices, as my IDE hard drive does not appear with a SCSI address while the CD-W524E does. In the past few months IBM has also updated their IDE/ATAPI drivers to support IDE CD-R and CD-RW drives, but I chose to use the original from Daniela as I have been very pleased with her DaniS506 generic IDE driver for several years.


The Teac CD-W524E comes with the drive, a standard 40 pin IDE ribbon cable, mounting screws, an analog audio cable to run from the drive to your sound card, some Windows software such as Roxio EasyCD 5 Basic, one blank 700MB CD-R disc rated for 24X recording and one blank 650MB CD-RW disc rated for 10X rewriting.

Installing the Teac CD-W524E drive is the same as installing any other IDE device. It came with a standard 40 pin IDE ribbon cable and mounting screws and was factory set to work as a master device. With IDE every drive is either a master or a slave and you can have only up to one of each per cable. Because I have four IDE connectors on my system's mainboard (Asus A7V) I chose to place this new drive on its own connector, separate from my IDE hard drive. Once the ribbon cable and power are connected, the drive is recognized during system bootup and becomes automatically useful as a read-only drive under OS/2.

Installing the DaniATAP.FLT driver under OS/2 is as simple as unzipping it into a temporary directory, entering that directory at the OS/2 command prompt and typing DDINSTALL. This added the line:

to my CONFIG.SYS file and a reboot was now needed before I could use my IDE CD-RW drive with Audio/Data-CD-Creator.

Hardware is Only as Good as the Software You Run on It

The first step was to be sure that Audio/Data-CD-Creator sees my new drive. From the image below you can tell that it does. You can also see some of the settings this program has, such as "always create shadows" which allows you to drag'n'drop your files into the program's main window no matter where the files are located and not have to wait while they are copied to the new location before you can begin recording the CD. This is one of the greatest features of OS/2's WorkPlace Shell interface and I am very glad that Chris provided the option within his program.

Audio/Data-CD-Creator 0.50 has many features and is really very powerful not to mention fairly attractive. It works as a modified WPS folder class so it supports all the standard drag'n'drop functionality, the easy creation of new folders within itself, sorting and view options such as single column, multiple column, details view, etc.

So after dragging and dropping files into the Data-CD-Creator window, I was able to use its simple pushbutton interface to write the files to CD on-the-fly. This means, simply, that the ancient method of creating a CD "image" before writing to the CD itself is done behind the scenes during the writing. The on-the-fly writing does require more system memory, of course, as it is making only a temporary image that lasts long enough to be copied to the CD -- if your system runs out of memory during the operation, you might make an unusable CD.

I never would have dared to try this in 1999 when my system had 1/4 of my current amount of memory and a slower processor. Now, however, with an 800MHz Athlon processor and 512MB of fast memory I felt confident to try it. Also this new CD-RW drive has a form of "burn proof" technology, which means that if the drive is not being fed data quickly enough, it stops recording the CD and turns off its laser until it has enough data to proceed. This helps to prevent bad burns which can leave a disc unusable (also known as coasters). This might help slower systems to be able to record CDs on-the-fly without experiencing problems.


No it's not a cheesy 90s action thriller, it's an appropriate description of the Teac CD-W524E drive.

CD Recording

I have blank CD-R media rated for 16X recording which probably could be used at up to 24X, but to avoid potential problems I set the maximum record speed in Data-CD-Creator to 16X. Still, the time to record a full CD has improved significantly over my old 6X recorder. In time tests, both drives have performed to their rated (or specified) speeds. As such, it can be said that 60 minutes of audio could be recorded in 10 minutes on my old drive, but with the CD-W524E running at 16X the same audio CD takes only 3 minutes 45 seconds. That is minus the time to "fixate" or close the recording session so that the disc is usable in a standard CD player and cannot be written to again. Fixating a disc takes only about 20 or 30 seconds to accomplish.

In my first day working with this drive, I recorded seven 700MB CD-R discs. I used to dread making CD-Rs because of the time required to first make the "image" on hard drive and then to record that image to CD at 6X speed. Being able to now write the image on-the-fly has greatly improved the total time, and then the 16X recording speed I have been using improves the time further. And with this drive being rated for 24X recording speed, there is still more room for improvement. I no longer fear CD recording and I have begun to thoroughly enjoy it.

CD Audio Extraction

CD audio extraction (also known as "grabbing" or "ripping") can be done with relative ease using the Teac CD-W524E drive. You must use a CDAE program, however, such as Leech or Tonigy. Tonigy is a shareware tool which actually mounts an audio CD as a normal drive under OS/2 and allows you to play the audio tracks as WAV files in programs such as the Digital Audio player included with OS/2 or to directly encode them to mp3 format using tools such as LAME and GOGO-no-coda (reviewed here in this issue). Leech is a more simplistic command-line program which just grabs CD audio tracks and writes them as WAV files on your hard drive. However Leech can be directly used from within the nice graphical interface of Audio-CD-Creator to grab your choice of tracks from the selected CD or the entire CD at once.

The Teac CD-W524E claims up to 40X digital audio extraction. However in my tests with Leech I was able to achieve only up to 7X grabbing. This is equivalent to grabbing a seven minute song in one minute, or a full CD of perhaps seventy minutes length in ten. Still, the quality was perfect, with zero jitter errors reported. Jitter errors can be caused by a CD vibrating in the drive and not reading properly. Zero jitter errors means a perfect digital copy is made, and the CD-W524E did not disappoint me.

In comparison, my old Teac 32X SCSI CD-ROM drive (not a recorder) was only able to grab digital audio at 2X speed, but it also did so with zero jitter errors. While I would much rather realize the full 40X potential, I am currently satisfied with 7X instead of 2X. It does, however, indicate that the drive's various performance ratings (one for recording, one for rewriting, one for reading) may be artificially inflated.

In Conclusion

Several conclusions need to be drawn here. First that the Teac CD-W524E IDE CD-RW drive is a solid performer and provides excellent CD recording speed as well as solid CD audio extraction quality even under OS/2 which had no support for IDE CD-RW drives prior to 2001. At a cost as low as US$99, it is impossible to deny the value of this drive.

The second is that Daniela Engert has done an excellent job in getting OS/2 to recognize IDE CD-R and CD-RW drives. Without her, OS/2 users everywhere might still be forced to buy expensive SCSI drives or to use expensive CD recording software such as RSJ.

Third, as a side note, Chris Wohlgemuth has created an excellent drag'n'drop graphical interface to CD recording under OS/2. Audio/Data-CD-Creator 0.50 can easily rank with top Windows CD-R software such as Roxio EasyCD.


Don Eitner's The 13th Floor website:
TEAC CD-W524E internal IDE CD-Rewritable drive:
The original ASPI Router 1.01:
A newer beta release ASPI Router 1.1 by a different author:
Audio/Data-CD-Creator and CDRecord/2:

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