This is an enclosure designed for Internal 5.25″ CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray drives. It uses a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection to transfer files faster than when using USB 2.0. This mainly applies to Blu-Ray discs since they can have a very high transfer rate when compared to CD or DVD, hence having a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection allows us to benefit by having faster transfer speeds.
The enclosure comes in a simple box where when opened, we see a box that contains the power and USB cable as well as the screws needed to mount the drive:
We then see the enclosure below:
It comes protected inside a plastic bag:
Once we take it out of the bag, we can see the shiny metal enclosure:
On Friday, I got a used LiteOn iHAS124 A delivered. This model use the SF-DS19L OPU that all LiteOn iHASx24 use (x being a number from 1 to 6).
The LiteOn iHASx24 series are all the same, except that the iHAS224, iHAS424 and iHAS624 has the hardware for LightScribe burning, while the iHAS124, iHAS324 and iHAS524 doesn’t. Other than that, the hardware is identical but they have different firmwares. The capabilities between models are the following:
LiteOn iHAS124: Base model.
LiteOn iHAS224: LightScribe.
LiteOn iHAS324: SmartErase.
LiteOn iHAS424: LightScribe and SmartErase.
LiteOn iHAS524: LabelTag and SmartErase.
LiteOn iHAS624: LightScribe, LabelTag and SmartErase.
Basically they have a different firmware enabling LightScribe, LabelTag and SmartErase depending on the model you have. Even if you have a different model, the firmware can be crossflashed by using some tools and firmware. I will not be covering that here, but it’s good to know if you’d like to add some features to your drives. The only feature that depends on hardware is LightScribe.
My LiteOn iHAS524 has been with me since 2010, and it’s probably the best CD and DVD burner available given its ability to overspeed 16x media to 20x. It also has HyperTuning, Online HyperTuning and SmartBurn, which are essential features to burn media with great quality. This is why I still count on this drive as sometimes I like to store data on optical media.
The drive had its optical pickup unit changed to the SF-DS1XD some years ago because one CD broke inside the unit, damaging the original SF-DS19L. I also didn’t use DVD+R DL media, so everything was fine, until last week. It turns out that the OPU had problems burning the discs. Specifically, it had problems focusing on the second DVD layer, failing at 50%. This is why I brought the used LiteOn iHAS124 A drive.
Because this unit is an A revision unit, the hardware between the iHAS124 and iHAS514 is the same. I did changed the iHAS524 disc mechanism to the one from the iHAS524 C revision, with the exception of the OPU:
On both photos, the iHAS524 is on the left while the iHAS124 is on the right.
Here we can see the disc mechanism from the iHAS124 unmounted:
And the Optical Pickup Unit taken out of it:
I’ll be using this OPU in the original iHAS524 mount, so I placed it there:
And finally, here’s the disc mechanism attached to the iHAS524:
The OPU started working immediately. It is now loading discs faster and wasn’t making weird noises. I was also able to burn some DVD+R DL media without issues. I’ll be talking about that on another post, but for now, this is it.
On Saturday, I received the LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray Writer Drive. This is my 3rd Blu-Ray writer and it will replace my LiteOn iHBS112 which was causing several bad burns. The other drive is the Panasonic UJ-260, which is a slim drive that burns discs successfully.
This drive is one of the cheapest Blu-Ray XL writers available on Amazon. It is also able to read and burn CDs and DVDs.
Here, we will see the drive unboxed and teared down.
The drive came in this simple box:
There’s no branding. Just a box with the part number printed on a label.
Opening the box we see the drive:
Just the drive. No cables or software are included.
The drive is protected in bubble wrap:
Also also comes inside a plastic bag:
Taking it off we see the drive itself:
Now, let’s take a look at the top, where we will find some useful information:
The drive is the WH14NS40, with SVC code NS50. It was manufactured on January 2020 and comes with firmware 1.04:
Finally, this is the drive with the tray opened:
We will begin the teardown by removing the 4 screws on the bottom:
We can then remove the bottom cover:
Let’s take a closer look at the drive chipset:
It is using a MediaTek MT1959HWDN chip.
Let’s now see the Eject Button, LED and Tray Motor board:
A look at the bottom tray mechanism:
The internal tray loading mechanism and Optical Pickup Unit:
A closer look to the Optical Pickup Unit:
And finally, here’s how the drive looks in my Desktop PC:
This Blu-Ray writer can be crossflashed to the WH16NS60 16x variant. In fact, that was the first thing I did.
The drive is identified as HL-DS-ST BD-RW WH16NS60.
Here is the drive capabilities according to ImgBurn:
So far, I was able to successfully burn a BD-R with media code RITEK-BR2-00 and a BD-R DL with media code RITEK-DR3-000. Both discs were burned with ImgBurn and verified successfully.
Look forward as I test Blu-Ray media with this drive!
In the past few days, I brought a LiteOn iHAS524 C DVD drive on eBay. This drive is quite rare and was being sold as used, but the unit seems to be in good conditions.
The reason to have this drive is due to its unique LabelTag feature. This allows you to create labels on the data side of a CD-R and DVD+/-R. It, of course, will consume space, but the advantage is that you don’t have to manually label the discs as long as there is enough storage. It can also be created as soon as the data is burned given you use Nero Express with the LabelTag software present.
I also currently have the LiteOn iHAS524 A, which had its optical pickup unit replaced with the one used in the B revision. They are compatible with the A units and have been working great. However, the C unit laser is NOT compatible with the A unit, and I guess the same is true with the B units.
Here, I’ll present you with a side by side comparison of the internals as well as its exterior photos.
LiteOn iHAS524 C External Photos
We start with the front of the drive:
As is usual with DVD drives, you get to see the CD and DVD logos; and because this drive also features LabelTag, it has the logo in the front too.
Here is a closer look at the top:
And the back:
This C unit was manufactured on August 2012.
LiteOn iHAS524 A Exterior Photos
Now, let’s take a look at the exterior photos of the iHAS524 A. This drive has been with me since its release in 2010, so it doesn’t have the same condition as the iHAS524 C:
Again, we see the CD, DVD, and LabelTag logos.
Here is the top:
And the bottom of the drive:
It has a missing screw which I lost some time ago when I replaced the drive optical pickup unit. This drive was manufactured on June 2010.
Here, we will see the internals side by side. We will start with the top cover interior:
Now, a look at the drive’s inside:
Both drives looks almost identical, with a few diferences.
This is the iHAS524 B Optical Pickup Unit. The part number is SF-DS1XD. It is compatible with the LiteOn iHAS524 A and is the one it’s using.
And here’s the iHAS524 C Optical Pickup Unit:
The part number is SF-DS1X1. It doesn’t have the small potentiometer on the lower left. Other than that, it looks almost the same.
The back also looks similar. The board from the A model is a bit bigger than the C model.
Here, we see both drives internals with the disc tray opened, giving us a better look at the reader mechanisms.
Unfortunately, the iHAS524 C Optical Pickup Unit is not compatible with the iHAS524 A. The drive refused to turn on, but it seems that what really happened was that there was a short circuit. This caused the ribbon cable to burn:
The iHAS524 A didn’t suffer any damage other than the burned ribbon cable. The SF-DS1X1 laser didn’t get damaged and the iHAS524C was able to work fine. After I made sure it worked, I placed its ribbon cable to the iHAS524 A and it started working with the SF-DS1XD OPU again. Phew!
Long story short, the SF-DS1X1 OPU is not compatible with the iHAS524 A. Use the SF-DS19L (The one that should be used in the A revision) or the SF-DS1XD (For B units, but also works with the A units).
This is the SF-DS19L Optical Pickup Unit which I replaced with the SF-DS1XD:
If you need one of these Optical Pickup Units, you can find them on AliExpress.
I didn’t realized this, but it seems to be a plant manufacture problem. I opened another of the 100-pack I have and it have the same problem.
The problem is that the data was burning fine, with no errors on my Lite-On iHAS524, but it failed to verify on some parts of the disk, as it was approaching the end. I was burning them at 24x, the maximum speed it supports on the writer.
I decided to use the Optiarc AD-7561A drive I have to see if it would burn fine with it, since slim drives usually burns at a lower speed.
When the CD is inserted in this drive, it is detected as a 10x media:
I burned the CD with this drive, where it was able to both burn and verify successfully. It also seems that the drive burned surface is a bit darker than with the LiteOn drive, so maybe that makes it handle the bad surface better.
I burned 2 CD’s with the Lite-On drive where both burned successfully but didn’t read fine. One was able to read completely, but lowering the read speed at the bad section. The other one failed with unrecoverable errors.
Let’s see their quality tests with the LiteOn drive first, followed with the Optiarc drive:
CD #1 – LiteOn
This is the CD that was able to read completely but lowers the speed. When playing it back, it pauses while reading the wrong area. It can be ripped, but will struggle in the bad area. The ripped file appears to be fine, but EAC reports timing problems. Listening to the track didn’t revealed any issues.
You can see the excesive amounts of C1 and C2 errors.
CD #2 – Optiarc
Here is another burn of the same data, burned with the Optiarc drive and tested on the LiteOn drive. You can see that it only reports a maximum of 10 C1 errors and no C2 errors. The quality score is 99%. Same media, but burned on a different drive, at 10x speed.
CD #3 – LiteOn
This CD failed to test properly. Once again, you can see the excessive amounts of C1 and C2 errors. The positions of the C1 and C2 errors seem to match the ones of the previous LiteOn burn.
CD #4 – Optiarc
Here is another burn of the same data of the previous burn. You can see this time it was successful, with only a maximum of 8 C1 errors and a total of 19. Again, the quality score is 99%, which is the same as the other Optiarc-burned media.
As seen from the above tests, it seems the Optiarc AD-7561A drive can successfully burn these discs if we intend to use all of its capacity. Maybe it is because of the slower burning speed, or because the optical laser can burn them better than the one on the LiteOn drive.
The LiteOn drive can only burn these CDs at 16x and 24x, while the Optiarc can only burn them at 10x. I’ll test burning a disc at 16x at a later time and see if it works. If not, I’ll continue using the Optiarc drive, which has proven to burn them correctly and without any issues.
Yesterday, I received some Pocket/Mini CD-R I purchased on eBay, which were being sold for cheap due to them not being branded or not having their specs listed.
The seller was selling 3 packs of 100 unbranded silver surface Mini CD-R, and since the price was lower compared to other branded media, I decided to buy all 3.
The discs were wrapped with no spindle.
The discs have a silver surface:
Here we can see a single CD-R:
They have the usual light green color on the data side.
The disc loaded fine on my LiteOn iHAS524 drive. I launched ImgBurn which says that the discs are made by Ritek. Their media ID is 97m15s17f:
They also have a capacity of 210MB or 24 minutes and a maximum write speed of 24x.
This is the first Mini CD I use with this LiteOn drive, which has the unique LabelTag feature to add labels to the data side. The software detected the disc and a label can be created:
I burned some of these CD-R with Nero Express, which allows the creation of the label on the same run. I also burned them at its maximum speed of 24x without any failure.
I ran a Disc Quality test using Nero DiscSpeed. Below you can see the results of those tests. I limited the test to the first session of it, as the second one is the label produced with the above software and contains unreadable data. This makes the test fail. By limiting it to the first session, we can get the actual data track quality.
The first test gave us a maximum of 14 C1 errors with a total of 58. The average was 0.11. There were no C2 errors reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
This test was perfect! No C1 or C2 errors were reported, making the Quality Score be 100%.
This disc had a maximum of 9 for the C1 Errors with a total of 13. The average was 0.07. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 99%.
This final disc I burned had a maximum of 13 C1 errors with a total of 27. No C2 errors were reported. The Quality Score was 98%.
These blank CD-R media seems to be good to write small amounts of data. This could be an MP3 album, some photos, or software you’d like to archive. The burns seem to be of good quality and the 24x burning speed is adequate. This sure was a great find on eBay!
This is a slim External CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, which is quite interesting, given that most units today are DVD writers. This one just reads and writes CD-R/RW, and reads DVD’s, but can’t write them.
The brand is unknown, too, but it was on sale a few days ago and decided to get one, just to have just in case one of my other drives goes bad. While CD/DVD usage has degraded over time, I do have music CD and I listen to them sometimes, so having a drive is handy to listen to them.
Let’s start with the box:
It is pretty colorful, and has a description of what it contains, as well as its features.
Opening the box we find the drive inside a bag:
We then find that the drive is wrapped in bubble wrap, and that there are some cards inside:
We can see that the faceplate of it is generic, with no CD or the actual DVD logo.
Taking off the bubble wrap, we see the DVD drive:
On the back, there is the USB cable:
The USB cable contains a USB-A 3.0 plug as well as a USB-C plug. Both can be used depending on the device you wish to use this DVD drive.
The documentation included is a manual, a thank you card, and another card telling to send an email to get a free 32GB USB drive.
Once the drive is plugged in the PC, I’m able to open the tray:
The drive is detected as a TEAC DW-224E-C drive:
The following is a screenshot of the capabilities of the drive as shown in ImgBurn:
As we can see, it reads most major CD and DVD formats and can write CD-R and CD-RW. Interestingly, it reports that it can’t read double-layer DVD+/-R. I’ll need to test this to confirm if this is in fact true.
I tested the drive with my Music CD collection and it reads and plays them fine. This is really great, and will be my main usage for it.
You can get this External CD-RW/DVD Combo drive on Amazon here.
On Thursday, I received the DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade Audio CD. This CD was released in 2003 and contains 8 remixes from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade and it was released exclusively in Japan.
The remixes included in this CD are really worthwhile. Once you listen to this, listening back to the original Main Street Electrical Parade track may be boring, and you’ll want to continuously listen to this CD.
The track listing for this CD is the following:
Main Street Electrical Parade. – KONISHI yasuharu
Main Street Electrical Parade. Influence du jazz mix – Sunaga t Experience
Main Street Electrical Parade. Swingle Hoedown mix – YOSHIDA tetsuto
Main Street Electrical Parade. DJ JIN Back-in-the-dayz Remix – DJ JIN (Rhymester)
Main Street Electrical Parade. CAPTAIN YTR mix – YOU THE ROCK & TAKAGI kan
Main Street Electrical Parade. Electro Parade mix – IKEDA masanori (Mansfield)
Main Street Electrical Parade. *cbsmgrfc calypso mix – CUBISMO GRAFICO
Main Street Electrical Parade. yukihiro fukutomi remix – FUKUTOMI yukihiro
Track #4 (Main Street Electrical Parade. DJ JIN Back-in-the-dayz Remix – DJ JIN (Rhymester)) is also featured in another CD called Breaks & Beats Disney, also released exclusively in Japan. That one is another great CD.
I’d love if Disney in the United States release more albums like this, but they seem to be always released in Japan for some reason. That said, you can purchase them at Discogs, where I got this remix CD.
Today, I did a quick experiment using a relatively new Open Source Lossy audio format called Opus, by the Xiph.Org foundation. I downloaded the opus-tools package from the official Opus Website and tried a tool called “opusenc.exe”.
Wow! I was really impressed by the sound quality! I like to listen to my audio CD music collection, and I personally have them ripped to the FLAC audio format, which is a Lossless Audio Codec, but being Lossless means it consumes a lot of space, but less than what would use an entire Audio CD if no Lossless compressed codec is used.
Enter Opus. This amazing audio codec provides amazing sound quality that easily beats other lossy formats like MP3 and AAC/M4A. What I did was start at 128kb, and then gradually getting the bitrate down to 64kb. I went ahead and ripped a CD to 48kb/s, but at that bitrate, you could hear artifacts in the audio which aren’t heard at 64kb/s, so I chose 64kb/s to rip my music CDs.
The tool I’m using is called Exact Audio Copy, which looks like this:
To use Opus as our encoder, we need to go to the EAC menú, then to Compression Options…
You’ll see this:
If you’re not in the External Compression tab, click it. Then, we will choose “User Defined Encoder”. We’ll also enter the “.opus” file extension which is the one used for Opus files.
Next, we need to browse for the “opusenc.exe”. If you went above and downloaded the “opus-tools” package, you should be able to extract the “opusenc.exe” executable to a place you desire, and then you should browse for it, or copy and paste the path. If you haven’t downloaded Opus Tools, you can download the latest builds for the 1.3-rc version which is currently in development here: https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,116059.100.html
Next, we need to setup the parameters. Copy and paste this in the “Additional command-line options” field:
–music tells it to encode lower bitrates for music instead of speech, –bitrate is pretty obvious, you can change the bitrate of the audio file by changing the “64” above to anything you’d like. Feel free to experiment!
The next arguments are related to the file metadata, were if will add the album artist, album name, track title, year, genrge, comments, picture if it has a cover art, and lastly, the source file and the destination file.
Once you’ve setup the encoder, press “Test encoder” to test that everything is ok. If it is, you should see something similar to this:
Now, press OK and then OK again. Now, you’re be able to rip your music collection to Opus!
Once the rip is complete, you can see that the file size is really small!
Impressed? Go experiment with the Opus audio codec right now! You can use foobar2000 to play back the files or use a compatible hardware music player like the Hiby R3