Trouble in Paradise
The entire concept of the True-X technology looked wonderful on the surface. Who could argue with faster CD-ROM access speeds and a competitive price? All was not well in technology land however, and shortly after the True-X hit the market, waves of consumer complaints about the drives began to appear in internet publications and print magazines alike. These complaints concerned not only immediate failures of the drive, but also the supposed business misdoings by Kenwood and Hi-Val, who were both producing True-X based drives.
Some reports stated that the drives would fail to read the disc, usually creating a lot of noise in the process, or the disc would read partway and then fail in the middle. Still others complained that the drives were not consistently being identified by the system (presumably due to a failure of the controller to identify itself), and yet others complained that the drives failed to read "burned" CDs. Many noted that drive failures would be accompanied by a horrible grinding noise. Even angrier complaints arose when users that returned the drives for warranty replacement found that the replacement drives would fail in the very same manner as the original.
At the height of the aggravation, Hi-Val jumped ship, and dropped manufacturing and support of their True-X based products. They would no long sell or support them, and if you had one, you were out of luck. Users were told to contact Kenwood and get a replacement from them because Kenwood was the actual manufacturer of the drives. Kenwood in turn refused to support the Hi-Val branded drives since they were not sold under the Kenwood name.
The troubles that plagued the True-X drives have been traced to a design defect, and have since been corrected. One user that has owned True-X drives since they were first released has confirmed to me that the newest 72X True-X drive that he received from Kenwood as a replacement for a failed drive has been working perfectly. He states that it is much faster than any other drive he has owned. It should be noted that the True-X drive is available in both IDE/ATAPI and SCSI interfaces. It has also been reported that Kenwood is now offering end-user support to Hi-Val customers as well.