Stand Alone CD Recorder...Worthy Purchase!!!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jerome Grate, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Here's my quick review of my purchase and use of a Stand Alone Audio CD Recorder.
    My Local J&R Clearance Department (NYC) is selling the TDK DA 5900 refurbished for 129.00. Some of the products specs are: Dual trays, one for playback one for recording, Digital inputs and outputs Coaxial and Optical as well as analog inputs and outputs, Record level with indicators, 4x dubbing speed and of course copy protection to prevent the dreaded recording of Digital Material through the digital inputs.

    Why buy a stand alone audio cd recorder, for years I've been using my computer to download music and burn cds after converting the MP3s to wav. files and recording analog material (tapes and vinyl) with the software Get it on CD by saving the music as a wav. file and burning them on CD at 2x speed. The problem I was having was that the computer (6 years old) would accept the file but when I modified the file to enhance its sound with noise reduction, stereo expander (for surround sound), the final cd would suffer gravely with skips and run ons burned on to the cd making it annoying and not a good quality cd. Finally I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to divide my mixed cds with tracks. After pondering the purchase of a CD Recorder, the price made it simple, just get it.

    I asked the salesman a few weeks ago where are all the cd recorders and his response was, the fact that most computers come with a cd burner, there's no real market for it and therefore we only carry the top line CD Recorders that run from 500.00 to 800.00 (there was only two models they carried). Yes I could have upgraded my computer's memory drive but my concern now was the DACs in the computer that may not be as good as a receiver's DACs of course depending on the receiver.

    Here's my opinion on the TDK DA 5900 I just bought. For analog recording this was clearly a worthwhile purchase and in three days I Recorded 5 cds from my mixed analog tapes. I use to D.J. in the early days and still have all my albums (1000) and most importantly mixed audio tapes. Hooking up the DA5900 is quite simple, through the receiver or directly from a tape deck (note: for a turntable it has to be from the pre-amp or receiver that accepts a turntable). I chose to connect it directly from the tape deck for now. So far the cds recorded from the audio tapes sound absolutely great. Of course it's as good as the source and most of my tapes were well preserved in cases and in dry areas. Some dropouts occur but that's the norm with analog tapes. The sound quality and convenience is what makes this a worthwhile purchase I plan to record on cd all my tapes and some vinyl. The DA5900's ability to make the cd louder or lower to increase dynamic range really allows you to make a new digital master on cd. Using the tape decks Dolby B & C really helps with distortion that accompanies taped analog sources, but the DACs in the DA59000 does an excellent job with the final cd master.

    One of the biggest factor for me was the ability to create an new track on the cd for each mix. One tape I recorded on cd had 31 track mixes on a 80 minute cd. Another feature of the DA5900 is when you reach the capacity of the CD, it fades out the last few seconds of the song to really make it sound like a professionally mixed recording. The final step in making the cd is called finalyzing (no suprise here) and that takes just a minute or two. The DA5900 records on CDRs and CDRWs but those discs that for Digital Audio only so you can't record on data cds. Each copy I made played in all the DVD players (3) in the house as well as the cd players and again sounded great. Going back to the sound, when I recorded these tapes I added a touch of bass, and highs with greater emphasis on the bass for those booming car systems or for that dreamed night when the DJ of a night club didn't show up and I popped in a tape and saved the night [​IMG] . I also prepared my tapes for those house parties and believe me my friends got some free d.j. service from my tapes and in many occasions I got work from them. The DA5900 made a great sounding copy and when I played the cd in my wife's 2004 Jeep Liberty (really good sounding stock radio) the bass was felt through out the vehicle and I noticed in some lots people were looking and some were bopping their heads to the music. The DA5900 recorded the bass and highs enhancement and again the DACs on the DA5900 did an excellent job in creating quality sound. The ability to go back to a mix with a flick of the track seek button is just great. Pause ability on the DA5900 is just like a tape recorder which allows you to switch tapes or records at the source then continue with recording. However every pause you do creates a new track and delays it for about 3 seconds. The LED readout unfortunately is not real time like a tape deck or the ones on my JVC 7600, but it gives you an idea on how loud you are and it has the dreaded red zone to keep away from. Pretty much I love this machine and I had it for only a few days. My dislikes are small but enough, the LED not in real time is a tough because you can't see if you are in the red zone until it flashes and by then you don't have a real sense of when it occured. You are not able to raise or lower recording level during recording. You have to set your levels at time of pause and observe where your LED indicators are stopping again the LED lack of real time adds to the problem. I also would like to record on DATA cds so I can use the DA5900 to dub 4x speed my newly created master mixed cds and give them to my friends and family (yes I still get requests). The answer to that is go back to my computer and use it for dubbing of my new cds.

    In closing, I first apologize for being so long but if you have a ton of analog tapes, albums or even MDs or other CDs, let a stand alone recorder do the job for you and save the computer for those fun websites or even for DVD recording. The DA5900 hooks up like tape deck, works like a tape deck and most importantly records like a tape deck. Satellite t.v. (directv) has those great music channels and I plan to use the DA5900 to get excellent music and when I get the new satellite receiver with optical out it's going through the DA5900 to make those digital recordings all with out any degradation that so plaque analog audio sources.
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I spend 8 hours a day chained to the computer. While I did burn some CD's, it was always a PITA, having to deal with B.S. PC problems, crashes in mid burn, etc. Music to me is to be enjoyed, and I don't want to become an IT guy to be able to make a CD.

    So, as soon as I was able, I bought a standalone recorder (Pioneer 509, IIRC), and have never looked back.

    One thing I will mention, and that is many stand alone CD recorders are fussy about blank media. My particular machine just hates Memorex (well, it did when I bought it). Once I switched to TDK, I quit making coasters. Once you find media that your machine likes, stick with it.

    BGL
     
  3. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    So far, TDK and Sony has worked quite well. I remember those days, well late nights getting this stuff on the computer and then going to bed while the cd is being created. I can't even count how many times I got up and one of two observations would occur, first the disc draw not opened and the red record light on the computer stays on and the green light flashing indicating the computer has frozen or crashed which also meant the ctr/alt/del proceedure had to be done. Take out the cd and your right drink coasters especially with CDRs. The second observation was and opened tray, message says cd creation successful then when I try to play it. Nothing recognizes the cd. Not even the computer that spit it out. Frustrating days I hope no more.
     

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