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TS-H653 DVD writer - distortion with certain audio CDs

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TS-H653 DVD writer - distortion with certain audio CDs

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OK, in the hope that this proves useful information for others. I have an Inspiron 560 with Windows 7, purchased just a few months ago. This came with the TS-H653 DVD writer drive. Like other people posting to a thread on the Desktop section of this forum at:


I was puzzled that certain CDs in my purchased audio collection would consistently not play without distortion. A forum member called Timmyo mentioned Led Zep CDs not playing correctly...yep, same here with my copy of LZ1. Check out the links above for plausible explanations why this happens. Here's how it's worked out for me:

I have CDs which play in my car, in regular CD players, and even on other Dell PCs we have in our home. But they do not play on this new Inspiron system with its original DVD drive without distortion. If I copy to ITunes, the distortion copies too. If I play through headphones (ie, not using my speakers), the problem remains. Sound from other CDs is fine. So I now know - without doubt - that a portion of my bought CD collection cannot be listened to on this new PC with the original drive installed.

Dell technical support got me to:

- run various system diagnostics (done - problem remains)

- reimage Windows 7 (done - problem remains)

- completely reinstall Windows 7 (done - problem remains)

Dell then sent me a replacement H653 DVD writer. Obviously, the problem remained. I explained the situation to a tech person (I've been in contact for the last three weeks or so), and said I'd found the above thread. I even sent the URL to a Dell technician. Dell seemed to 'get it' at that point, and promised to send a different DVD writer model. Unfortunately they did not have in stock the model (GH50N) which people have reported as solving this problem.

What they then sent was a DVD ROM drive. The CDs which do not play using the H653 drive sound 100% fine on this drive. But, hey, I wanted a rewritable drive, not a read-only drive, and that's what I paid for.

So I rang Dell (again...lost count how many times overall I've phoned), and once more Dell seemed to understand the problem. A replacement model of DVD writer was promised. A new drive arrived, and...

...it was ANOTHER H653 drive. Ridiculous. Needless to say it had the same problem (I tested it), even though I notice it is a slightly different version with a manufacturing date of Jan 2010 (as opposed to March 2010 on my other two H653 drives).

I rang Dell again, and spoke to a tech person and his manager. I was told:

- Dell no longer sees this as its problem, and I should buy a DVD drive from a local shop

- I should not expect that all my purchased CDs should play on any DVD drive, because of the different technologies used in manufacturing etc.

This was obviously unacceptable, and I spoke on July 15th with a Dell legal/customer relations person. We settled by agreeing that I would purchase a replacement DVD writer from a local shop, and send a scanned copy of the receipt to Dell for a refund of the cost. Yesterday I bought an LD DVD writer, and hey presto, problem solved.

So, here's the issue as I see it: the TS-H653 drive Dell is using on some of its machines cannot play certain audio CDs, so don't waste time reinstalling Windows etc!

All Replies
  • Hi Blues_Runner,

    There have been reports all over the internet (including this post in the Dell forum) of audio discs from Warner Bros. with this same problem. Can you check the discs you are having trouble with?

    The easy solution, it would seem, is to keep the existing burner but add a ROM drive for playback.

  • Thanks Osprey4

    Yes, I've seen some of these threads, too. Some of my affected CDs are Warner Bros, but not all - and some of the posters elsewhere on this Dell forum site also have non-Warner CDs affected. I'm sorted now, but this strikes me as being an issue that needs resolving by Dell and/or the drive manufacturer asap. 

  • My personal solution is to use my old XP machine to perform a lossless rip using EAC (e.g., to FLAC), then burn to CD-Rs. This is perfectly legal.

  • Hi Blues runner- my experience with dell seems to be a carbon copy of your own except I've yet to haggle with their legal people. Not being very knowledgeable can you tell me which LD rewriter you bought so i don't get the wrong thing thanks

  • Hi Peteshep

    Sure: it's an LG GH22 SATA drive.


  • Hi,

    Probably doesn't make much diffreence but I just want to add my voice as I have exactly this problem.


    The TS-653 DVD Rewriter in my brand new XPS Studio 8100 (bought Feb 2010) will not play Warner CDs properly (mine are some Van Halen remasters from 2000-2002 and a Tom Petty Remaster from 2002)..

    There is a horrible crackling that makes them unlistenable.

    They work fine in my old PC, my neighbours PC, and in my 15 year old stereo.

    I have been sent round the houses by tech support but it seems like the only fix is to replace or add in a drive from a separate manufacturer...

    Additionally.. the same problem occurred with , Samsung SE-S084 external drive for my net book.

    If Dell think that isn't reasonale for a customer to expect their £1000 PC to play a disc that my 1990's £100 JVC portable stereo can... they really are mistaken.

  • Hi Yusuf_M,

    You could try a bit of searching to find that this problem is not unique to Dell.

    My suggested solution is to rip the discs to lossless format and reburn the tracks. Most of us audiophiles typically use only copies (or ripped files) and keep our originals in a safe place. This is a simple work-around.

  • Hi,

    Thanks for the reply,

    I am aware that it may be a problem accross other manufacturers and that makes it more disappointing.

    Further investigations have shown that the drives cannot play SACDs either even though these work fine on very old tech.

    I appreciate your suggestion of a work-around but having to borrow a friends PC to do a very simple job is not what I would expect from my expenditure.


  • I am afraid that my recent experience has been depressingly similar to that reported by blues_runner.

    I bought an Inspiron PC with Toshiba TS-H653 DVD writer in April this year.

    I discovered that the sound on certain CDs (eg Joni Mitchell - Blue : Charles Mingus - Pithecanthropus Erectus : Led Zeppelin III) was seriously distorted. I had a look on the forums here and saw the same problem reported here


    I reported the problem to Dell and referred them to the above link. I thought that the problem was sufficiently well documented that they would just send me a suitable replacement drive straight away and that would be problem sorted.

    Instead, without apparently bothering to read any of the thread, they got me to carry out various system checks, all of which seemed pointless to me, and none of which assisted one iota.

    Finally, as long ago as 14th June, Dell agreed to send me a 'replacement drive'. Foolishly, I thought that, in the light of the correspondence, they agreed that it was Toshiba TS-H653 that was defective and that they would replace it with a different model.

    But  no, the replacement drive when it arrived was Toshiba TS-H653. I contacted Dell and told them that they had apparently missed the point, but they insisted that the replacement drive would work. I confidently predicted that it wouldn't.

    It didn't.

    After numerous phone calls I finally persuaded the new Dell person dealing with me that TS-H653 was the problem, and he said he would send me a replacement 'Hitachi' drive.

    A week later the second replacement drive arrived - it wasn't a Hitachi - it was another Toshiba TS-H653

    More emails and phone calls - the Dell person said he would personally ensure that a Hitachi drive was sent to me.

    Further delay ensued, allegedly caused by me 'living on an island' (I don't).

    2 days ago replacement drive number 3 turned up - it was another Toshiba TS-H653.

    I now have 4 of these drives (the original + 3 replacements), and of course none of them work properly.

    Email and phone calls - the Dell person that I had been dealing with told me that he didn't believe that I hadn't received the Hitachi drive that had been sent out. Rather humiliatingly I had to take photographs of the 3 replacement Toshiba drives, with close-ups of their serial numbers, and email them to Dell, in order to demonstrate that I was telling the truth.

    In response, the Dell person now told me that it had been 'escalated' to his supervisor. When she came on the phone, the first question she asked was "What makes you believe that the Toshiba drive is defective?" Oh no - we're back to square one. Dell don't accept that there's anything wrong with the Toshiba drive. Of course, the supervisor has never bothered her shirt to read the correspondence on this forum, most of which I had repeated at length in my emails.

    Finally, the supervisor told me that they had tried to send me a Hitachi drive on several occasions without success (frustrated each time by their despatch department changing the instruction from Hitachi to Toshiba to match my original purchase of the Inspiron PC - apparently the bureaucracy within Dell cannot devise a way to overcome this - such as, for example, putting a Hitachi drive in an envelope and sending it to me).

    In these circumstances her suggestion was that I should 'buy a drive locally' and Dell would re-imburse me to the tune of £17.

    My 'local' computer retailer is 140 miles away - which is why I bought online in the first place.

    In any case, reimbursing me with £17 because (a) they installed a defective drive in my expensive PC and (b) they are administratively unable to do a very simple thing in sending me an adequate replacement, just seems wholly ludicrous.

    Dell should get a grip. I will certainly never purchase anything else from them in future. But their continued pretence that there is no issue with the Toshiba drive in the face of the evidence on this forum and elsewhere is wholly unacceptable.

    I'm just going to buy a new drive on the internet  - it isn't the money - it is the principle. Prospective purchasers should, however, know what Dell's attitude is.

  • Gosh, that sounds like an ordeal!

    I decided avoid a stage where Dell offered to send me a replacement as I feared that they would find it difficult to send any other drive than that of their prefered supplier.

    I purchased the LG-GH22 DVD rewriter  for £25 at my local PC world and it works just fine..

    Just to reiterate for new readers of this thread... there is no software fix or firmware update that will cure the problem.

    You have to by a replacement drive that isn't made by Toshiba/Samsung. The same problem occurs with the Samsung family of USB DVD drives.


  • Hi Yusuf_M,

    Well, glad to hear it was a fairly inexpensive solution. Having two drives I find to be very convenient for copying purposes, so hopefully the benefits will outweigh the cost.

  • I imagine you are quite knowledgeable and have a firm understanding of computer technology, but some of your suggestions sure do lack much common sense.  I suppose if for every problem a manufacturer shrugged their shoulders on, or worse turned a cold shoulder, the solution is buy more equipment to replace the equipment that is supposedly r&d'd so they compliment the whole rather than become a weak link.  Following that scenario I would eventually have a house full of redundant appliances that didn't work and a yard full of automobiles that didn't operate properly.  I mean seriously, if consumers can find the solutions to the manufacturer's bad judgement and lack of testing, the company building the faulty product should fix them or take them off the market.  And why should I be required to hunt down a replacement drive that was sold to me as being just what I needed.  Dell offers how many different DVD/CD combo units for their various models of computers, if they know some have a problem, don't offer them.  If they know certain ones work than they should stick those in our computer and forget about the others.  I had the TSST and had the distortion problem with Warner Brothers cd's that were pressed and sold in Europe.  They replaced the first TSST drive for an unrelated problem, than replaced the TSST with a PLDS model and it would not even recognize the cd's at all.  Talking with a tech half way around the world that is speaking English as a second language does not make explaining the problem very easy.  Come on Dell get back to your roots, a great product offered at a great price with outstanding customer support and service.

  • Hi Golfingdude,

    Sorry to hear about that.