CD recorders

Bobberman

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I Don't know if this has been covered before but even though we Know CDs are a dying format there are a few of us still using them I entered into the CD recorder era a little late in 2004 my first recorder was a cheap RCA ( aka Thomson consumer electronics who owns the old RCA electronics arm) which lasted until 2007 followed by a Sony CDr 500 which was discontinued a few years later but lasted until 2 weeks ago and currently it's replacement is the Tascam CD-RW900MKII professional today tape replacement is no longer the reason but it enables me to remain Employable in my various radio activities as CDs can be ripped easily into computers but thanks to the previously mentioned models they served me well and during the pandemic lockdowns they enabled me to keep my program on the air remotely and they enabled me to preserve a huge collection of cassettes I had over the years and tons of irreplaceable material on them is still usable and also on my main home computer so now I open this thread to you my fellow Cornerites who have used or are still using CD recorders today What have been your Experiences both Pros and Cons Good and Bad. And I will add it's nice and Handy to be able to record my trumpet and Flugelhorn playing Experiments to CD just for fun and when friends (especially those who known me almost all my life) ask me to send them copies.
 

Harry

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I started out back around the Y2K time with a Phillips CD Recorder. This was one of those with the "door-trick" feature. Basically, it allowed you to place an expensive music-only CD-R blank disc in the drawer and let the machine do its OPC to verify that it was the right kind of disc, and then you flipped open the drawer and used your fingers to pull out the drawer-tray manually, remove the "good" disc, and replace it with the same-length cheap CD-R blank disc. That trick always worked, but it didn't allow for any start/top/start later options. Once you started one of these, you had to finish it and finalize the disc.

I used that one for a good ten years, making all sorts of CD-Rs from mostly LPs that were never issued digitally. Sometime after we moved south in 2010 - could have been a few years, the thing started to die. It would reject discs, not record on them, make bad recordings, etc. By that time, I was using it to record on CD-RW and then porting that disc to the computer for clean-up and editing.

That's when I found the professional TASCAM recorder online and I've been using that ever since. It's built like a tank and you can record any kind of disc on it. I still use it mostly for recording on a CD-RW, cleaning the files up on the computer, and either writing the files back out to regular CD-R, or sometimes just leaving the cleaned-up WAV file on my computer. (I need to go in and either write some of these out to CD-R, or just delete the work files - I've been bad about that.)

The world keeps telling me that CDs are dead. Well, they're alive and living in my house, and they'll stay there until I'm either six feet under, or stuffed in a jar. I don't mind digital files on my computer, but I'll never adapt to streaming music as a main source of entertainment. I've always been a collector-type, and with streaming, you don't own anything tangible. I still find treasures waiting on old CDs with original recordings and mix versions that are more thrilling to me than some reprocessed file emanating out of a speaker.

Call me a luddite - I've been called worse - but CDs are the perfect format for me. No need for anything further.
 

Rudy

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I had a dual-well Sony that would copy a CD to a CD-R in 2x time. It was handy during the CD era but I haven't touched it in 18 years and like anything else Sony I've owned in disc players, it's probably dead now anyway. That ship has sailed. Today's digital recorders like the TASCAM DR-05, DR-40 and other models up to the DA-3000 (along with similar recorders from Zoom) are what are commonly used today--they record to SD cards and work at higher resolutions, meaning the sound file can be edited without degradation (CD-resolution files should never be edited due to rounding errors), and they can be burned on bog standard optical drives in any computer. Recordable CDs for the home audio recorders are not as easy to find as they used to be, and parts for the recorders are unobtainium.

One loophole is to find a professional CD recorder that does not need the lead-in data on the blank CD that home audio recorders needed--any blank CD-R can be used. Studios use them to send the performer(s) home with a demo of whatever music they are working on. TASCAM still offers one on their site, but stock is low (two units left), making me wonder if it is on the way out.


I don't trust CD-R for longevity. It is not a long-term storage medium. I have some that still play, where others no longer play at all. It is certainly not the way to store or backup valuable data or recordings. That is one of many reasons it has fallen out of favor.
 

Rudy

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I have many that are unusable now. Or had. Dye failure (or rot?), delaminating, etc. were the issues. Thankfully, nothing important was lost.

The primary reason I used them was to create copies or compilations for the car, as I was tired of ruining good CDs in car usage. No matter how careful, I was finding CD getting scratched, a few on the label side which made them unplayable. (The pits in a CD are alarmingly close to the label side.) I used them for trading also, as many of us did back in the day. (Anything I've received from others has been saved and backed up by other methods, or replaced with an original CD when one became available.) Aside from a couple of exceptions, all needle drops went straight to the computer for cleanup and track splitting. And at least there, when I burned to CD, I could easily run off another CD-R if the first one got damaged or became unplayable.
My favorite software back in the day was CD Architect, and I made some great compilations with segues where songs could overlap slightly. Unfortunately thanks to time, some of those became unplayable and it wasn't worth duplicating them.

What I really miss is the one CD-ROM drive I used to have in my computer. It has been the only CD drive that was able to read damaged discs perfectly. I rescued a few that were lost causes, like a couple that had hub cracks that started extending into the data, or damage (seen or unseen) that no other player or CD-ROM could read. My mistake was using that Exact Audio Copy program to rip a few discs--that program is very hard on drives (it often grinds away for a long time on what it thinks are "bad" sectors on the CD it is reading), and it made the drive overheat and become reliable after a handful of uses.
 

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
I bought my Phillips cd recorder in the late 90’s. Same kind of experiences as Harry had with his. It finally started acting up, and recording strange sounds, or like it had bad connections. I used it about 6 months ago, and actually got about 45 mins. of vinyl recorded to a disc. I kind of had forgotten what a pain it is to use though. I bought an Acer laptop around 2008, and the CD burner works great. The computer not so much. It’s old and slow. Takes awhile to get going. Anyway I’ve made probably 500 plus compilations from it, and they all still play fine. I have over 20,000 songs on my iTunes, so plenty to choose from. Several 100 are on there more than once, as I rip complete CDs to the list, few downloads from iTunes. I love playing them in the car, or gifts for friends and relatives sometimes. I’m a huge fan of the cd format still. My house is overflowing with them. My big concern now is they no longer put CD players in cars. I don’t care for Bluetooth that much. It sounds compressed to my ears. Even with eq settings. I’ve read there are usb plug in players for cars. Any suggestions for me? I’ll buy them as long as the format exits.
Thank you.
 

Rudy

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There was an offshore-brand under-dash CD player that could plug into some types of USB ports--namely, the USB ports that could accept a memory stick for playing music, vs. a port just for phone data or charging. It had firmware that made the player appear to be a memory stick to the factory system. There is no major name brand player out there, though, that will add on to factory systems. Aftermarket head units still offer disc playback, both for CD and DVD (while parked, you can watch video) but even there, the move is towards units without disc players since the units are more shallow and easier to mount in custom installations, especially since they use the touchscreens everyone wants these days.

If I can find a link to one of those players, I'll post it here.

I agree, Bluetooth isn't all that good, even the allegedly "high resolution" variety. And when playing back lossy music files, it adds lossy on top of lossy, making the whole experience miserable. I'll admit that my Bluetooth ear buds sound fairly good, but there we're only talking about one lossy conversion vs. two (my offline library in Qobuz is lossless), and only as background in noisier environments (and, they are used for notifications and phone calls in addition to background music). Automakers assume everyone streams music from their phone these days--the masses don't care what music sounds like anymore, which is a shame. Some manufacturers will include USB playback from a memory stick as an afterthought (and even there, the head units are often fussy in the bitrate of the files, the file format, how they are named, how they are organized, etc.).

I think there's a huge market void for higher-end audio systems we can use in a car, that can operate from a memory stick or SD card (or via a USB port, an optional CD player), which also still utilizes some of the car's electronics and speakers if an owner chooses to. All I really want is a way to play FLAC or DSF files from a memory stick or SD card. Not one single manufacturer offers that.
 

Rudy

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Same kind of experiences as Harry had with his. It finally started acting up, and recording strange sounds, or like it had bad connections.
My guess is a dirty or weak laser. But I doubt parts are available to repair it.
 

Rudy

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This is what I had in mind for an add-on car CD player. NOTE: I have seen these for far less money, more like $100 or so. This is just the result of a very quick search.


It has no controls other than Eject--the controls you would use on your factory radio to navigate through a USB memory stick will operate the CD player.

In fact, another search on AliExpress shows the same unit for $54.99 with free shipping. If you don't mind 1) ordering from China (I prefer not to) and 2) delivery taking a month. This is one of those items where you might see dozens of sellers offering the exact same product--usually the physical appearance is identical, with nothing other than visible branding changed. (That's the way of "offshore" items these days.)


Also beware of some stores selling "Car CD players." Essentially, they expect you to buy a portable CD player and plug it in via the 3.5mm auxiliary input jack. Not the same!
 

Harry

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I suppose if the day ever comes when I get rid of the 2007 Maxima and will have some sort of USB thingy that plays thumb drives or mini data cards, I'll easily adapt to it. Since I own all of the CDs already, and most of the ones I want access to are ripped to the computer, it'll just be a matter of copying the data over. I don't desperately NEED a CD player. It's nice to have when you go to a store and buy a CD and want to listen right away.

But "store"? Selling CDs? Doesn't happen very much these days.

One advantage to being a senior citizen is that I've already got most of the music I ever wanted. The only things that come along these days are the rare new albums from Herb or Richard or ABBA. Or the discovery of some rare old album that I never knew I needed. I'm not much of a new music seeker.
 

Rudy

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I'm on the move musically, so I'm always on the hunt for new sounds. That is one area where streaming around the house means 1) I spend less on music, since I'm not buying duds anymore (being able to listen to them beforehand and decide if they are worth buying) but, 2) I then spend more on music since I'm discovering more things I like. Can't win! 🤣

The best we can do for CDs these days is buy used ones from a Discogs seller if it's something we can't find by other means, or 2) order a new CD through Amazon and wait the couple of days it takes to get here. However, there are still a small number of mom and pop stores that sell new CDs, albeit for a dollar or two more than the big box stores. Many have transitioned mainly to vinyl (used and new), but some still offer CDs. Might be worth seeking out a good store and supporting them. Last time I went to one store near me, they still had a sizable selection of new CDs (and it was not all mainstream titles, so they had quite a wide variety), but would no longer take in used CDs since they were not selling.
 

Harry

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I have to travel about 30 miles to any nearest record store. There's one in downtown Lakeland, and one up in Orlando, not places we get to very often. So all of my acquisitions come from Amazon, Discogs, and eBay. On RARE occasions, a new release will be available at Target, and it's usually one of their special issues with different packaging or extra tracks. But even that happens very seldom these days. In the past year, I think I bought a McCartney III disc there, and maybe the ABBA VOYAGE special packaging.
 

GDBY2LV

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I was at Target today. The newest one here, in a pretty affluent area. They have about 30 titles on cd now. Maybe 100 on vinyl. It’s a joke. So Amazon, and EBay are my main sources for new music. Sad, but I prefer the actual cd over a download when possible. I buy maybe 1 a month now, unless someone on EBay has some good inexpensive imports.
 

Rudy

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I have to admit that downloading has its advantages--so many older titles are now being released that the downloads make it inexpensive to purchase what was formerly a rarity, perhaps released in Japan or Europe only. Some of those Japan CDs might be $30, $50, even close to $100 based on rarity, where the same download is probably $10-$12. It certainly takes the bite out of many purchases.

For other titles, especially foreign releases, CDs are the only way to find them, and I find I will wait months or a couple of years to wait for the right deal whether it's new or used. At times it feels like a waste to buy a CD, rip it, scan the booklet if needed, then store it away forever, but that's the only way I can get the music. None of what I buy can be found in the big box stores anyway, so it doesn't pay to stop at a Target to pick something up.
 

Mike Blakesley

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All of my CD recording has been done using CD burners built into Dell computers. I don't even know if they offer that as an option anymore, I haven't computer-shopped in about 5 or 6 years at least. I'm due to replace the one I'm using now, though... I inherited it from my mother-in-law when my office computer at work took a dive, and now this one is starting to show its age too.

I can still remember the feeling of marvel when I played my first home-made CD (a Sergio Mendes compilation) in my vehicle's stereo.

Currently I have a couple of other computers with optical burner drives in them, plus a little Sony USB-plug-in BluRay burner that I use mostly for ripping movie files off of BluRays to play in the theater for kiddie matinees and private shows (it's cheaper than having a hard drive sent in).
 

GDBY2LV

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I’m having a hard time finding an inexpensive laptop with a cd/dvd burner built in. It’s mostly discontinued to make them lighter in weight, and cooler on your lap. I hardly use my old laptop anymore, except to make CDs. It’s so slow to start up, and get going anymore. I think most just download everything now, and of course don’t buy CDs.
 

Rudy

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I’m having a hard time finding an inexpensive laptop with a cd/dvd burner built in.
If you have a USB port, you can get an external optical drive that will burn BluRay, DVD and CD. And they are cheap commodity items--if you're near something like a Micro Center, they would have a few to choose from and of course, plenty are available online. New laptops do not have optical drives anymore. I used to treat that as a must-have for laptop shopping, but I realized on the laptop I purchased in 2013, I have probably used the drive only half a dozen times. (When I was still burning CDs, I always did it at my work computer, so all of the software was loaded there vs. the laptop.) Yet the SD card reader got used a lot more, as I was loading photographs from a DSLR SD card into the computer.

One neat thing about ripping CDs is that I use dBpoweramp for ripping CDs, and they have a batch ripper that will utilize multiple drives simultaneously. I'm able to keep up with two drives ripping (and could do about 40-50 per hour), but found I was falling behind when using three. I put a BluRay burner in this computer when I built it, but dug out my DVD burner from a previous build, just for ripping.

I don't even know if they offer that as an option anymore, I haven't computer-shopped in about 5 or 6 years at least. I'm due to replace the one I'm using now, though... I inherited it from my mother-in-law when my office computer at work took a dive, and now this one is starting to show its age too.
One thing I've noticed about computers these days is that gains in processing power are not what they used to be. A computer several years old really isn't much slower than a new one, unless you go to the bleeding edge with the latest Intel Core i9 processor. And even there, in everyday use, there isn't much difference.

But, if you are using an old spinning hard drive, drop in a SSD, load a fresh copy of the OS, and you'll notice a huge improvement. Bump up memory to at least 16GB--that also clears a bottleneck. Yeah, the parts do get old, and I had the Ethernet port on my motherboard get screwy on me, and I installed a separate Ethernet card instead. I also installed a graphics card, but use the computer for editing video and photos, so I needed that boost. You can still keep your old hard drive attached, but as a second drive for storage, and to retrieve files from it.

I put a SSD in my laptop when I bought it in 2013. Just days after I bought it. What a huge improvement, since laptop hard drives typically spin at 5,400 RPM to save battery power. The SSD uses less power, but is multitudes faster. My battery life was spec'ed at the factory as somewhere around four hours, yet I used to get 5½ when I switched to the SSD. And even today, things still load quickly.
 

tomswift2002

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I’m having a hard time finding an inexpensive laptop with a cd/dvd burner built in. It’s mostly discontinued to make them lighter in weight, and cooler on your lap. I hardly use my old laptop anymore, except to make CDs. It’s so slow to start up, and get going anymore. I think most just download everything now, and of course don’t buy CDs.
Nowadays if you want a built in optical drive (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray) you really need to custom order the computer.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
I've never had a CD-R become unplayable or unreliable.
I've only had a very small amount become unreliable or unplayable in the early years mostly because of poor quality CDRs and or I recorded over 70 minutes on an 80 min disc so I limit every recording To 60 to 65 minutes max it gives the disc some breathing room.
 

tomswift2002

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Laptops don't come with optical drives anymore.
Not the standard ones. You can still get standard off the store shelf laptops with optical drives.

But you can still get custom ones.
 
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Rudy

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I've only had a very small amount become unreliable or unplayable in the early years mostly because of poor quality CDRs and or I recorded over 70 minutes on an 80 min disc so I limit every recording To 60 to 65 minutes max it gives the disc some breathing room.
I had no issues taking them out to nearly 80 minutes. But playing back ~80 minute CDs in general could sometimes be an issue. I had a test CD (not a CD-R) from an audio magazine that I think was right at the 80 minute point or maybe even a slight bit beyond, and the last couple of tracks wouldn't always play in all of my players.

The coolest CD-Rs were the black ones. Those I never had an issue with, although I did not own too many of them. I also had an assortment that were in various colors and those worked well. The "vinyl" CD-Rs were fun, though--the recording side was standard CD-R, but the label side had a bit of an embossed design like a record.
 

JOv2

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CDs are the perfect format for me. No need for anything further.
Agreed. All things considered, it is by far the most enjoyable: it whips LPs in the quality-consistency department; and in deference to their "coldness" relative to LPs' "warmness", my system and music room surely help matters. I've done numerous head-to-head comparisons: CDs have a "different" sound than LPs, but by no means is it disagreeable. Two my friends are repelled by CD sonics -- all I can say is: thank God I don't have that kind of wiring in my brain (although both of them have conceded that CDs sound "damn good" on my system).
I've never had a CD-R become unplayable or unreliable.
Same here. I have some from 15+ years. They all play fine.
One advantage to being a senior citizen is that I've already got most of the music I ever wanted.
I'm kinda in that boat. Focusing on '50s/'60s and having zero interest in contemporary music, I only focus on Western art music (i.e. "classical"), and those odds-and-ends that I spend countless hours researching and digging up...
I have to admit that downloading has its advantages--so many older titles are now being released that the downloads make it inexpensive to purchase what was formerly a rarity, perhaps released in Japan or Europe only. Some of those Japan CDs might be $30, $50, even close to $100 based on rarity, where the same download is probably $10-$12. It certainly takes the bite out of many purchases.
Agreed. I've been compiling a Christmas list of expensive CD releases that I plan to purchase (at the opportune time), download, and then dump to CD-Rs...
 

Bobberman

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I Myself being now in my mid 50s I pretty much ignore most of todays contemporary music with a few exceptions but like Harry I'm at the point where almost every kind of music I wanted and searched for I now have in some form sometimes though a few surprises pop up now and then
 

rbisherw

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I had one of the Tascam CD recorders from early 2000 until around 2015. It worked well until it didn't! The biggest drawback on the Tascam was the DAC as it was not very good for playback.

At that time I worked for Taiyo Yuen so I often received spindles gratis! As far as I know all of mine play/rip fine.
 
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