Cinema Product Reviews

Toshiba 4X drive (for use with DTS players)
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Grade:  D
Reviewed April 2000 by Joe Redifer

OK.  I just have to review this.  I know this is hardly an interesting product, but nevertheless it deserves to be bashed.  When DTS released their DTS-6 unit, they mainly included Toshiba drives like the one pictured.  It really depends on when you purchased your unit.  But boy oh boy, do these drives suck!

They will work for a good two years or so (just long enough for the warranty to expire) and then they will start pooping out one by one.  There are some that will actually last longer than this.  So far, over the course of two months, I have had 12 of these drives fail permanently on me.  You can get them to work again intermittently, but they will always fail again in a matter of days, if even that.

What are the solutions?  Well, one is to get the DTS upgrade kit.  This consists of 3 TEAC drives (either 16X or 32X), a new SCSI card for the faster drives, and a new board with the proper firmware in place to use the drives.  This will all come in at around $700!  Another solution is to go to a local computer shop and pick up drives that meet the same spec and speed of the Toshiba's.  We found some generic ones (they say Panasonic on them if you look really hard) for $15 each.  Keep in mind that all drives in a DTS unit should be of the same type and brand.  A DTS unit with the $15 drives installed is pictured below.

This seems to be a big problem.  In fact, a tech for UA out here recently purchased 20 cases with 20 drives per case just so he could keep up with all of the failing DTS drives.  It almost seems like a Y2K problem, but I just think it is a quality control issue.

Bottom Line:  Even an excellent product like DTS can have problems.  But judging by the TEAC drives now in use, DTS has learned from their mistake.

-Joe Redifer
DTS can be contacted through

Joe Redifer has been a projectionist for the last few years.  He learned at Mann Kipling, went on to the UA Greenwood and finally spent 2 years at Mann Chinese.  At the Chinese, Joe performed most of the daily maintenance on the equipment.  Joe is not a technician and has no test equipment, but is an experienced projectionist.  These reviews are representative of the performance of the equipment/services from his perspective.

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