External optical drive recommendation

I’m on an iMac 2019 running Mojave. A few months after I purchased the computer, I bought the LG - 8x External Double-Layer DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperMulti Blade Drive. My primary use was to rip CDs into iTunes but I’m afraid it’s not very dependable. Often times the CD will rip, but playback in iTunes reveals an occasional skip here and there (the CD is fine when played elsewhere). Another issue I’ve had with the unit is having CDs suddenly ejected - often during the ripping of the last track on the disc.

Could someone recommend a more dependable drive? I thought of buying the Apple Superdrive, but it looks as cheap as the LG, and I’ve heard similar complaints about that one also.

The only other option I’m aware of are the drives sold by OWC. I’ve purchased many times from them in the past, but I’ve found their support less than stellar which concerns me if an issue should arise with a unit purchased from them.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Before trying another drive, first use another ripping program and see how it works with that. I use iTunes 10.7 first to obtain the metadata and use it for an mp3 rip. Then, I use XLD for an AIFF rip which is CD quality and that program can check against its database to determine if the results match which should indicate an accurate result. The program is available here:

This is the LG drive that I use which is also a Blu-ray burner. It’s no longer made but I have found it to be reliable and trouble free. I don’t know if they have a newer model. I did get a second one on eBay in case mine dies since it works so well. LG drives have decent reviews so maybe your drive has issues or some of your discs might be scratched or have residue which can confuse iTunes as it is not as good a ripper as XLD or similar programs that check against a database. You can also just use XLD to get the metadata and then rip but for consistency, I use iTunes first so that both rips have the same metadata.


Thank you for those suggestions. I’ll definitely give XLD a look into!

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Do you have “Use error correction when reading Audio CD’s” checked? It is not enabled by default, but is available in both iTunes and Music import settings. It warns that it may be slower, but, versus doing it again? It is even harder to find in Music.


Good point and one that I use in iTunes now. But when I started ripping discs many years ago with version 2 under OS 9, there was no setting for that and I don’t recall when that feature was added.

The nice thing about XLD and similar programs is you will see a log when finished that reports the results of the rip. If it shows that all tracks were accurately ripped, then it should be fine. That is not to say that iTunes cannot do the same thing but there is no log of the results and if you have a disc with scratches or imperfections, it may rip with errors under iTunes. It only happened with a few of my discs but that is one reason I use XLD for AIFF rips which can then be converted into something else if needed, such as Apple Lossless for same quality with smaller file size.

I do recall what you’re saying about the Music app as the CD import prefs are now in a different spot. I don’t use that app but I set it up in a Monterey VM some time ago just to see how it looks and it is under Preferences/Files/Import Settings for anyone who is looking for that option.

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I definitely have error correction check on in iTunes. But thank you for mentioning it - sometimes stuff like that is easily overlooked.

I downloaded XLD, but unless I’m not understanding how to use it I still have to rip the CD via my LG unit first to then use the XLD app - correct? But in instances where the CD gets ejected during the rip, then I’m still stuck.

I saw a drive at OWC that looks similar to yours:
16X OWC Mercury Pro Super-Multi Blu-ray/DVD/CD Burner/Reader External Optical Drive with M-DISC & BDXL Support. With regard to their return policy, I was told I could get a refund if I buy one and find I’m not satisfied, so I’m mulling it over.

In the meantime what I’ve been doing is ripping my CDs on my HP laptop which handles anything I throw at it and transfer them to my iMac on a flash drive.

I bought the Apple DVD/CD player a few years ago. It’s fine. Plextor used to make some very good external units.

Robert -
Is that the SuperDrive that I see for about $79.00? I thought about that as a replacement, but I read a few reviews where people reported having the same issues I have with the LG, so it left me skeptical. I never had a problem with my old iMac that had the optical in it, but then it was also inside a machine that weighed quite a bit. That’s why I was drawn to a model with a little more heft to it such as the one jk2gs has. I somehow got it in my head that these CD/DVD newer units being so compact/lightweight was somehow part of the issue.

I would certainly rather spend $79.00 ($72.00 on Amazon) than $150 at OWC. If you have not had any issue with yours, I will consider that option as well. If an issue crops up, Amazon would be a lot easier for me to make a return to than anywhere else.

Yes, the SuperDrive. I should add that I don’t use it much so it doesn’t get heavy use. I’ve only really used it to transfer CDs to iTunes. I’ve had it a few years and never had a problem with it.

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No, you use the XLD app to rip the CD in your LG drive. XLD can retrieve the metadata from a couple of different databases. I let iTunes get the metadata first, then quite out and open XLD so that the metadata is already there and will be consistent since iTunes uses the Gracenote database I believe. There is an option to save in your iTunes Library but I always add the files later in iTunes by using the Add to Library under File because I save the XLD files on a different hard drive than my iTunes mp3’s. The program is not that hard to use but can look complicated if you’ve never used it. It works well for me.

I see the model you mentioned and since it has the LG stamp, they are just using the bare drives which are sold from a lot of vendors and using their own case which should be fine. You have the lighter model which is probably similar to what’s in a laptop and I have a few of those as well but don’t use them much since my larger LG works so well and can do Blu-ray also. Those models should work fine but they do read/write at slower speeds. The Apple SuperDrive is not capable of playing or recording Blu-ray discs so that may be an issue if you ever want to use that option.

That might be something for me to consider in the long run. My LG now does not pay Blu-Ray discs either, but I do have a Blu-Ray player hooked up to my TV. Would I want to play Blu-Ray disc on my computer? Possibly. My primary goal is to find a player that rips my CDs to iTunes in one shot and is reliable in doing so. So in that respect, Robert’s recommendation of the Apple SuperDrive would save me some cash. However, you make a good point about having the extra capability of having the Blu-Ray option available, and now have me considering the OWC player so as not to regret passing up that option later on.

One other thing, to start the ripping in XLD after you set the parameters such as mp3, alac, aiff, etc. then you have to go to the File Menu, select Open Audio CD, then to the right it should show the name of the CD if you obtained the metadata, then select that disc. It will say Audio CD if there is no metadata. It takes a few seconds to read the disc, then the track titles will appear, and then you will select Extract and another window will open to the right and the process will begin.


Thank you! I haven’t loaded it yet, but that clears up a little misunderstanding I had of how the app works. Will have to give it a go later today - I’m anxious to try it out.

The only issue playing Blu-ray on the computer is you need a player app since Apple doesn’t support that. There used to be a few free ones but some have a cost. I don’t use the drive so much for playing discs but for recording files from my Over The Air DVR which records regular television channels. VLC can play Blu-ray discs I think but only the main movie. Maybe OWC bundles an app with that drive so you could check on that.

To be honest with you, it’s been so long since I bought a DVD I don’t think I own a single one that is Blu-Ray. So I can play my entire collection with VLC at the moment. I don’t see any mention on OWC site about a Blu-Ray app. If VLC only does play Blu-Ray but only the main movie it still might not be too much of a concern for me being as I have the a player connected to my TV if I want to watch additional content.

I just was playing around with XLD and ripped a CD. Great app. I really like seeing the log afterwards confirming how the rips went. I wish I had the last CD that I was trying to rip that kept ejecting on the last song. I returned it, got another copy and it did the same thing so I returned it again. That would make for a good test. May have to buy it again and see. Anyhow - many thanks again for recommending XLD!

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I bought a SuperDrive back when they were brand new (for use with my Mac mini). It’s never given me any problems, but it is a slot-loading drive, which you may not like. (I personally prefer tray-loading drives). Also, it uses an Apple-proprietary violation of the USB spec in order to draw enough power from a single USB port, so it won’t work when connected to hubs or non-Apple computers.

In general, macOS should work fine with any USB drive made, whether or not it is designed for Mac use. You may also prefer to buy a 5.25" SATA-USB enclosure and install an internal drive in it. It’s not hard to do.

The only downside to a non-Apple drive is that it macOS may not directly support disc burning on it. You may end up needing a third-party software package like Toast. Or maybe not - I’ve seen plenty of third-party drives work just fine without any special software.

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Glad to hear that it works. XLD does have a lot of options so it’s a great utility for ripping.