Reply 20 of 24, by SirNickity
That's baffling that some manufacturer would go to all the trouble and expense of populating a header when there's no DAC. Or maybe there is a DAC but the firmware doesn't support the audio playback functionality -- which is even more perplexing, since that's even more BOM cost for absolutely no purpose. I've never heard of this before.
Not all drives support playing audio digitally, though usually it's the older stuff. The Creative / Panasonic MKE drive would, but I remember only getting it to work with a special DOS utility. (It's only useful for ripping audio CD tracks to .wav files.) Then, I upgraded that PC to a Creative / Panasonic Hex speed IDE drive and that didn't support ripping at all. Finally, the HP CD-RW I got next would rip discs. Most of them. It had trouble with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, right in the middle of the swing craze.
Anything more recent than that support digital playback / ripping pretty much obligatorily. Although, nothing beats a good Plextor with C2 error notification and EAC or CDParanoia. Again, this is really only relevant if you're using it to extract audio, not for real-time playback. Technically it's the same thing as far as the drive's concerned. It's just what you do with the CDDA data once it's read from disc.