I/O Magic 22X External Disc Drive

Another update: problem solved:

The disk drive is now able to copy disks.  The fix: hp CD-R Lightscribe disks. This is one of the disk types recommended by the manufacturer, oddly enough. (I have added a photo of the box with the other supported formats at the end of this epistle.)  And yes, contrary to what is written elsewhere on the web, it runs on XP.

In retrospect, all my problems were caused by bad advice from the Staples sales clerks.  New disk drives may be compatible with all types of disks, as they told me, but google tells me older disk technology may not recognize all disk types; you may actually have to read the package and use the types recommended by the manufacturer.  Also, CD+R is not the same as CD±R, as I was told; wikipedia lists it separately.  The number after the X is apparently just a speed indicator and may be safety ignored.  But dealing with Staples  is a bit like walking into an XKCD cartoon.  If the kids say a disk drive is broke because it isn’t compatible with all disk types, then that disk drive becomes broke for that very reason, even if it works the way the manufacturer says it will.

Today is Aug. 21; I first published this post on Aug 12. How many people are willing to continually work on a problem for that long, returning  disks, researching the problem on the web?  When television first came out, there was one repair shop in town, and when a TV was in the shop, it stayed there for months.  Today we want instant fixes.

Note: If you are thinking about buying this disk drive, go to the  Staples page for this product and read their many, many negative reviews. Basically everyone has the same problem I’m having.  It doesn’t work in XP; and it burns one disk, the one that come with it, then refuses to recognize any more disks in the device.

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Last spring I bought the I/O Magic 22X External Disc Drive to process some photos and videos from a family event. I am just now getting around to opening the box. Besides the family videos, I also want to use it to back up a rare audio CD album, and possibly download an audio CD from an online vendor.

The disk drive is probably long out of warranty, but fortunately there were no problems with it.  I plugged in the A/C converter and plugged the other end into the DC 12V input.  The cord wobbles back and forth in the jack, but the electrical connection itself seems secure.  The USB cable also connects in the back and is only about 42″ long, fine if you have desk space, or if you want to move the drive every time you use it, but not long enough if you want to keep it on a shelf.  There is a power switch on the back, also a small fan.

The disk drive came with a Nero 8 Essentials CD, a blank Philips CD-R 52x Lightscribe Disc, and a Lightscribe Direct Disc Labeling CD containing four programs for drivers, software, and templates. The guy at the store (Staples) recommended Memorex DVD+R Lightscribe 16X to use with it. [Bad idea, as it turned out.] They are a muted gold color and Teh Google tells me they print in grey scale, so no danger of not being able to tell that disk apart from an original.

Note: There is an installation manual available on the manufacturer’s support page.

I turned on the disk drive and used it to install the Nero 8 software.  The drive worked on power-up (on Windows XP) without installing additional software.  The Nero software took several minutes to install, but not the hours reported in some online sources.  It installed one, not three or more icons, as reported elsewhere, but although I did a custom installation, I must have missed unchecking some boxes, because once it was installed, my music wouldn’t play on Windows Media Player any more.

The Windows Media Player has been making me unhappy lately, overwriting with Chinese characters the track information I have painstakingly edited, and separating CD’s that belong together in a set so that I have to go searching for them in various sections of the alphabet, apparently assigned at whim.  If I change the album title to make it show up in the part of the alphabet I want, it loses the CD altogether, and I can only find it again by going back to MyMusic in the Start menu. Still, I’m used to the Windows product and don’t have time to learn the new Nero system right now.  Who knows, I have Roxio installed as well, but have never used it either; maybe in the end I would prefer that program.

The Nero program uninstalled cleanly (through the control panel), again contrary to what has been written elsewhere.  The Lightscribe programs also installed without fanfare, although they do have to each be installed separately.

So now everything is connected and I can just burn some disks, right?  No.  I just found out that the files I have been ripping to my music folder are not the same quality as CD’s, they are in some compressed format, not as compressed as MP3, but not CD quality either. So now to get the recoding formats sorted out.

As an interesting sidelight, there is a curious format, no longer used, called Mini Disc. It is a higher quality than cassette, but not as good as CD, and is used in Japan for transferring cassette and LP recordings to CD, also there is some application for direct recording, for those who are into the performing arts.  Ebay has a few minidisc items for sale, and there are some fan sites with information, largely outdated, like this one and equipment lists like this. Apparently you have to plug it into the audio output of an external amp to use it–does anyone still have those?

As far as CD quality, looking at the dropdown box for the Windows Media Player, a CD can be ripped in several formats (but is burning different?). Windows Media Audio is apparently the default.  Its two lossless formats appear to be Windows Media Lossless and WAV. Likewise, online music stores vary in quality; WAV appears to be the only lossless format. There can be  DRM issues with online stores as well.

In the end, I’m going to have to just put a disc in and try it.

Image below: side of box with list of supported formats.

6 Responses to “I/O Magic 22X External Disc Drive”

  1. Canehan Says:

    Typical Windows nightmare (though I am no Mac user). Did it work?

  2. Nijma Says:

    No.

    Oh, I’m googling the error messages, but I just spent 4 hours talking to Calcutta for an unrelated problem (are s and f really pronounced the same in Hindi?), and I firmly believe some days one is meant to snack instead. Right now the error messages are telling me either that there is no disk in the drive or that Windows Media Player is incapable of burning a disk. To me that says “potato salad with barbecue sauce” loud and clear, or maybe “mango-pineapple popsicle”.

    Did you see Mark Liberman’s thing at Teh Log about inserting the weekday into the middle of a sentence?
    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2555
    It sounds like perfectly good reporterese to me, but someone in the blogosphere has taken exception to it.

  3. Nijma Says:

    HA.
    Disk incompatibility. I used the disk that came with the drive and it started copying right off.
    CD backup
    For some reason it used Roxio, though. And when it was finished, told me my library was corrupted (!)

    I like the way they fixed it so we can put images in the comments now.

  4. Nijma Says:

    The saga continues….

    I returned to Staples where I bought this and they exchanged the Memorex disks for hp DVD+R 16X disks. Same thing. I put one in the external disk drive, (after ripping the disk to the desktop in WAV format again and re-entering all the track data, then recopying it to my portable hard drive, which already had the track information I had so painstakingly edited reverted to “unknown”) and it won’t recognize the disk. So just for kicks, I put the same disk in my laptop, the one I’m supposed to return to BestBuy before the warranty runs out in a few days, and copied the disk just fine using the “Windows Media Center”. Except that the computers see a Windows data disk with .WAV files. And a regular CD player won’t play it at all.

    … so this is all very frustrating, and tomorrow I must take some time away from disk-burning to take care of “the necessary” for work, but after that I suppose it’s time to install the software that came with the drive, The disk that came with the drive is the only one that has worked so far, maybe the software will be the same way.

    At least I now have one good backup of this rare, out-of-print CD.

  5. Noetica Says:

    I don’t understand such problems with straightforward copying of a standard audio CD. Sure, many of the numerous programs for achieving this have very poor documentation and counterintuitive procedures. But this should be easy, really. If it’s not, perhaps you’re trying to do something harder and more tailored than most people do. Choose the very simplest copy-whole-disk option. Then no question of types of file, nor anything in the slightest arcane, should arise. If that fails, start again completely from scratch, with a completely different program. All sorts of mere utilities can copy a disk, can’t they?

  6. Nijma Says:

    Nero, Roxio, and Windows Media Player can all copy disks, but that’s not the problem (but thanks, your comments are much appreciated). The problem is when you put a disk in the drive and then it tells you to put a disk in the drive, over and over. All fixed now. My “new” disk drive apparently is using dinosaur technology and will only recognize disks with certain formats, in this case CD-R.

    I now have two copies of the disk in lossless WAV format.


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