I Need An External DVD Player For Music, Not Burning
August 23, 2016 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I recently purged most of my music CD/DVD collection. Now, I want to listen to what's left using an external player. Are any players targeting music playback rather than burning/duplication on the market? Should I be looking for specific attributes/brands? Needs to have a USB 3 connection. Currently have an old Amazon Basic USB 2 unit that's noisy enough to hear with headphones on.
posted by justcorbly to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In my experience, they build external disc drives for speed and physical space, not sound.

Any reason you're sticking to the dvds? You would be better off loading them onto an external portable hard drive.
posted by INFJ at 9:29 AM on August 23, 2016

> Needs to have a USB 3 connection.

Why? USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Since you're not ripping data through the connection, you'll get no benefits from USB 3.0

> Currently have an old Amazon Basic USB 2 unit that's noisy enough to hear with headphones on.

Most external DVD drives for computers are made for portability for laptop users, so less plastic and metal between you and the spinning disc. I'd say if you're going for an audiophile experience, a dedicated stereo CD player is what you want, but maybe the Amazon drive is particularly noisy. You could try this LG drive, which one reviewer claims is quiet, or you could rip your music to your computer drive and eliminate the spinning disc from the equation entirely.
posted by bluecore at 9:31 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @bluecore: Will be used with an Intel NUC that has only USB 3 ports. I know USB 2 will work, and if that's fast enough not to degrade things, that's fine. Yes, ripping makes more sense, but laziness is a factor. I'm not an audiophile, just an occasional listener.
posted by justcorbly at 9:50 AM on August 23, 2016

Just for reference: CDs hold 700mb of data and AFAIK listening to one requires ~150 kilobits per second (or .15 Megabits per second) of bandwidth. The USB 2.0 bus provides 480 Megabits per second of bandwidth, but according to wikipedia ~280 Megabits per second in practice due to bus constraints. So more than enough bandwidth from USB 2.0 (reading a blu ray disc is 36 Megabits per second, still within USB 2.0 specs) so that's probably why you'll see a lot of USB 2.0 drives listed for sale. USB 3.0 would seem to only benefit drives where you're ripping the data off as quickly as possible and not listening/watching.

The only benefit I can see for you would be if the external CD/DVD can run solely on bus power without requiring an extra power adapter. USB 3.0 provides 150mA, an increase from 100mA for USB 2.0.
posted by bluecore at 10:43 AM on August 23, 2016

I recently bought a LiteOn EBAU108 external usb drive. I've no audio CDs, so can't say what's it like spinning audio disks, but when I watch DVDs I don't hear a peep apart from the initial spin up. Only uses one usb connection, which rocks.
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:54 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Any USB 2 optical drive will work for your purposes, as even when doing music playback the optical drive is only transferring data over the USB cable, and your computer is handling the digital-to-audio conversion. You might find this this Wirecutter review of external optical drives useful.

When you say the drive you have is noisy, do you mean that the noise it makes when it's spinning up is too loud, or that you hear line noise over the headphones themselves? The first problem might be solved with a different drive, but I doubt the second one will.
posted by Aleyn at 10:01 PM on August 23, 2016

I really can't see a good reason here to not just rip them and get rid of the discs. How many discs are you talking about here? An external CD drive costs about $20. For the same money, you could get a 128 GB flash drive that holds 2500 CDs worth of music.
posted by dmd at 5:53 PM on August 24, 2016

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