Creative Infra52x AudioXcel

The drive has a rated speed of up to 52x for CD-ROM performance, and can rip CDs at a speed of up to 20x. It also contains an error checking mechanism that's designed to cope with scratched and dirty discs.

The Infra52x comes with a credit card-sized remote control which allows you to play your music CDs from a distance of up to about 5m. With the supplied software you can remotely control virtually all functions of the drive, and you can also use it to launch applications.

This drive talks to you! An eject command instigates a comment of "tray out" from the sweetly toned female voice. Likewise, when you shut down Windows, you will hear the words "goodbye, and have a nice day" - thankfully, this can be changed! The voice feature can also be completely disabled if you don't like it.

The drive's performance lived up to its specifications. Ripping 10 audio tracks from a CD using an evaluation copy of Audio Catalyst took seven minutes in normal mode. When special mode was triggered, the same 10 tracks ripped in five minutes, with Audio Catalyst indicating that the drive did indeed reach the quoted ripping speed of 20x. The sound quality was good, too, with no skipping or popping.

The supplied ripping software is Digital Audio Centre, but it's not a full version, and will only rip CDs at a quality rating of 96Kbps - not good enough for discerning listeners.

Creative Infra52x AudioXcel

Price: AUS$129

Distributor: Creative Labs Australia

Phone: (02) 9666 6100

URL: australia.creative.com

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