CD recorder questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeff lam, Aug 7, 2001.

  1. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I have about $2-300 MAX to spend on a CD burner. Now speed is not an issue but quality is. Should I get a burner that works with my PC or a single audio unit? I have a laptop so it will need to be an extrernal unit if I go PC route. I don't know much about CDR's yet and just want to make my own CD's to play in my car. I want them to sound just as good as the original. Like I said before I will sacrifice speed for quality and price. Any suggestions? Brands? Model #'s?
     
  2. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Alot depends on where you get your originals.
    If you're just planning to copy store bought discs so you have a backup copy in your car, then a stand alone unit is probably your best bet.
    Especially since you said you're using a laptop. Most external USB or parallel burners are extremely slow and tax your system to it's max, making the computer almost unusable while burning a CD.
    With a seperate unit tied into your home system, you won't have any of the problems with this.
    If you do any music downloading, then of course, you'll need the PC burner, but in your case, it sounds like the seperate unit will be fine for you.
    I'd suggest looking at Philips dual tray burners. You can usually find pretty good deals on those online. I haven't heard much bad about any of their units.
    Harmon Kardon makes some dual trays as well.....I've heard good and bad about those, so I can't tell you much.
    The only experience I've had is with the Philips, so I can tell you they're pretty good.
    As for a model #.....not much help there. The ones I've used are older, so you just need to check to see what's out there. They don't make many dual tray models, so you're choices are pretty low per manufacturer.
    As for price. I'd try to stay around $300. Give or take a little.
    Check some of the larger web stores. Sometimes they have closeouts and overstocks of these at really great prices.
     
  3. RoyGBiv

    RoyGBiv Stunt Coordinator

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    I think that the source material will be the biggest decision maker about what to get. If you are making CDs of tapes or LPs, it will be a lot easier to do it from a burner attached directly to your audio system. But, you can connect a tape player or LP to your PC through the sound card (in the case of an LP you would need a pre-amp), and then the quality of the CD depends a lot on the quality of the sound card. On the other hand, most CD burning software on a PC allows you to do a lot to clean up the sound of the source material, i.e. it can remove some pops from LPs and some hiss from tapes. How well this software works is variable. An audio CD burner won't let you do this at all. My experience is that laptop soundcards give the worst results sound wise, while a good sound card in a desktop PC can give good results. The last consideration is that an audio CD burner adds a copy-guard code, so you will not be able to make an identical copy of any CDs you burn yourself. The PC will have no such restriction.
    SMK
     
  4. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I'll only be using CD's as the source. I don't have LP's or tapes anymore. I know I can get PC burners now for under $100. Does it justify the cost to get a dual tray stand alone unit?
     
  5. Mickey Brown

    Mickey Brown Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are going to be burning CD's, you have got to go with a CD burner. No question about it here. You are transferring digital to digital. There is no 'audiophile quality' CD burner. As long as the 1's and 0's get to the cd, that's all you need.
    Get a nice CD burner and a big hard drive for $250. That way you can put your favorite CD's on your PC in .wav format, WITH NO COMPRESSION scheme. You can then drag and drop to create your favorite CD's, and keep a digital archive in case you lose your originals.
    Don't let anyone tell you a stand alone unit will burn a cd better than a pc burner. Or make a better sounding CD..
     
  6. Alan Curry

    Alan Curry Agent

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    Personally, I would go with the PC burner. In the long run it might be more flexible for you. I currently use my burner to create data, audio and video (VCD) cds.
    Just my .02
    Alan
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeff, I prefer to use a stand-alone component CD burner for dubbing complete CDs to CD-Rs or CD-RWs. For this purpose, I use a Harman/Kardon CDR 30. It is a quality component. It dubs at 1x, 2x, or 4x speed. I've never made a coaster at 4x speed, but I will copy at 1x if I have the time just to be safe. Either way, I feel copies sound great.
    From my personal experience, I would recommend a Harman/Kardon deck over one by Philips. Last summer, I bought a Philips CDR 775 and had all sorts of problems making good copies. I made many coasters with it. After about two weeks, I exchanged it for the Harman/Kardon CDR 2, which was much better. Still, I had some reliability problems with the CDR 2, as I would get coasters every so often when dubbing at 4x speed. Harman/Kardon acknowledged to me that there were occasional reliability issues with this first-generation unit. I decided to replace it with the CDR 30, which is Harman/Kardon's third dubbing deck (the CDR 20, which is still available, came in between the CDR 2 and CDR 30). Again, the CDR 30 has performed flawlessly.
    As for whether you should get a dubbing or single-well deck, it depends on what you want. If quality CD playback is very important, you might want to get a single-well deck. I have read that single-well recorders such as the Pioneer PDR-609 tend to be better for CD playback than dubbing decks. This is along the lines of the long-standing belief that single-well cassette decks are better than dubbing decks and that single-disc CD players are better than changers. That said, I find my CDR 30 to be a good CD player, but not outstanding. Now, I haven't compared it to single-well recorders, just to other CD players I have. However, I only used the CDR 30 sparingly for CD playback when I first got it since that isn't what I bought it for. I only use it for dubbing now to reduce wear and tear.
    If you only want a CD recorder for recording, then why not get a dubbing deck? Dubbing decks offer the convenience of high-speed dubbing. They often cost more than single-well decks, but I feel the added cost is worth it to be able to dub at high speed.
    I bought the CDR 30 from OneCall (1-800-340-4770) for $450 back in February, which is an excellent price considering that it retails for $600. Crutchfield, by comparison, sells it for $600. OneCall is an authorized dealer. Alternatively, J&R Music World (1-800-221-8180) should be competitive with OneCall. J&R too is an authorized dealer.
    Despite my enthusiasm for a stand-alone dubbing deck, I use a computer-based burner for making mixes on CD-Rs. The advantage of using a computer burner for making mixes is that you store each song as a file on your hard drive as you go. This is convenient in the event that you make a coaster. When I've made coasters with my computer burner, I've always found that one track was not extracted properly from the source CD. That is, the program made a mistake when writing the song to a .wav file, which manifested itself as an audible blip in the middle of the song. The nice thing about using a computer for making mixes is that you can simply delete the bad file and extract it from the source CD again. Once you have determined that you have a perfect file, you can simply burn all the songs to a CD again. With stand-alone component burners, if one song is copied incorrectly, you have to start all over again since you cannot store files.
    So, both computer and stand-alone burners have their place. Sorry for the long post.
    ------------------
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    KeithH: Saving the Home Theater World Before Bedtime
     
  8. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Will any cheap PC burner do the job? Are there certain brands that perform better than others? Ex: Are Sony and Yamaha better than Phillips or HP etc...
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I have an HP external burner that works very well. It's an older model (bought in November '99), so current models might even be better (faster, etc.). However, people always seem to speak highly of Plextor burners.
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  10. Mickey Brown

    Mickey Brown Stunt Coordinator

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    Plextor is probably the cream of the cd burning crop, but I have used OEM $100 burners from Sony that worked great too.
    The ONLY time I've ever made a coaster using my cd burner was when I tried websurfing, listening to mp3's, and a couple of other things with my pc while I was burning a cd. Now I just start a CD, walk away from the PC and haven't ever made another bad cd.
     

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