Almost all high speed drives are going to sound like that. Try using This program to slow it down. It only works with some drives but it will allow you to set the speed. I use somewhere from 8-20X since it is usually fast enough while very quiet.
I just bought a 56x Acer here. I haven't used it much.....just to install os and various drivers/software. That was all on 1 day and I haven't used it since bring up that system. It didn't seem loud to me and I had no errors/faults while doing any installs.
Liteon is pretty good, but their rather loud.
Asus is decent, but nothing more.
Sony drivers are solid, as are LG drivers. Personally I'd lean towards LG as it's much quieter then most high speed CDROM's. I've got a 52X LG here and have been quite satisfied with it.
There are 2 versions of the 50X ASUS drive. The old version (which you can no longer purchase) is much louder than the one currently on sale.
I do agree that if the ASUS drive can't read it, nothing can. But I have found that sometimes they can be slow recognising CDRWs....they can take a while to recognise and spin up....much longer than the Sony drive.
I would prefer the ASUS 52X over the 50X, since the 52X is a slightly newer design....the firmware might have the CDRW recognition bugs worked out of it.
Having said that, you can't really go wrong with any of the drives listed.