Is that 4-pin port on my DVD-ROM drive really digital audio out?
April 5, 2005 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I just bought a Pioneeer DVR-109 DVD/CD burner (pictures). Is that 4-pin thing on the rear left really digital audio out? I can only find references to those being 2-pin.

It was OEM, and didn't come with any documentation on the subject; I haven't found any manuals on Pioneer sites. Notice that in the picture of the top of the drive where the ports are labelled, there's no label for digital audio out, and there's no label for the white 4-pin thing on the left. Also, the DVDInfoPro output they show says it has "audio play", but not "digital port 1" or "digital port 2".

If that's really digital audio out, is there a cable to connect it to a sound card with a 2-pin digital audio in port? Or can I just shove a 2-pin cable onto 2 of those 4 pins?
posted by Zed_Lopez to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
The picture of the back has a caption of:
On the rear you can find the analogue and digital audio outputs (SPDIF), the IDE selection pins, the IDE connector and the power input. As we discussed earlier, you should really use 80pin IDE ribbon cable to get the maximum performance of the drive..
So I'd say the white plug is the analog audio output, like you would find on a CD-ROM. And the black one right next to the jumpers is the digital audio output.
posted by smackfu at 11:10 AM on April 5, 2005

The black one is also 4 pin, looks just like every CD-ROM analog audio output port I've ever seen, and the label on the top of the drive implies it's the analog port.

I'm not sure the CDRInfo folks aren't just plain wrong about there being a digital audio out. Hence my question.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:40 AM on April 5, 2005

Are you sure about the model number? I tracked down a manual on the DVR-109 on Pioneer's europe site (the US one has a bad link to the manual). The white connector at the left is absent, and there is no mention of digital audio out at all. Just the normal CD stereo out, which is the black connector.
posted by splice at 12:03 PM on April 5, 2005

Also notice how the page says DVR-109, the sticker on top of the drive says DVR-109, but the box they show for it is a DVR-A09XLA. I seem to recall that certain products get a letter instead of a number depending on what country it's sold in (IE, DVR-109 is America, DVR-A09 would be Europe), so that could be part of the difference. I tracked down a manual for that one too, without any info on digital audio out. However, the manual is for A09XL, not A09XLA. Maybe the last A indicates a variant with spdif out?

That's the best I can do though. Maybe you'd have better luck phoning them and asking.
posted by splice at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2005

Perhaps the CDRinfo guys got a pre-release drive, and that white connector is a hardware debugging port. In any case, you probably won't be able to get SPDIF out of that drive, unless there are solder pads on the board for an absent 2-pin connector. And, from the large circuit board scan, it doesn't look like there is.
posted by zsazsa at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2005

Both of those ports are audio out, but neither of them are SPDIF. CD drives used to have only the analog port, but a second digital port was added as well.

Both are four pins, both connect directly to the soundcard/chipset and you'll only use one of them, depending on how new your soundcard is (most likely the digital).

Look at your motherboard (if you have integrated sound) or the sound card itself (not the metal backing plate that's exposed to the exterior of your PC), you should see an identical four pin port that you can connect to the drive with the appropriate four pin cable, it'll be labeled with something like CD1 or maybe AUX1. Some sound cards have their own custome connectors, so you'd have to get the specific cable from the manufacturer to connect it to a CD drive.

Since it's an OEM drive, you probably didn't get a cable to go along with it, so you'll have to buy one if you really have your heart set on connecting it directly.

Note that actually connecting your drive to your sound card isn't required to play CDs; most CD player apps (including Windows Media Player) have a "digital extraction" option which rips the CD audio and then just plays it instead of converting it to a MP3/WMA/whatever.
posted by nmiell at 1:46 PM on April 5, 2005

I've seen those white ports on loads of CD and DVD drives. It connects with a stubby little end, sometimes found on CD audio cables alongside the black, flat analogue connector. Newer soundcards (ie. since 1998, when I think about it...) have the connector on. In Windows Volume Control, it appears 'CD Digital' or something.
posted by armoured-ant at 1:47 PM on April 5, 2005

The DVR-109 is the OEM version of the DVR-A09.

Finally found something manual-like. It looks like it really does lack a digital audio out, and the white port is undocumented.

My sound card does have an analog input (and I do have an analog cable,) but the idea was to finally rip all my CDs and didn't want to lose quality upstream of the audio compression.

Maybe my ripping software can do digital extraction; I'll check at home.

Thanks everyone.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:37 PM on April 5, 2005

I now see that it wouldn't even make any sense for any ripping software to use the sound card. Doh.

The good news is the drive'll work for what I want. Thanks again.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:46 PM on April 5, 2005

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