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5-1] Which CD recorder should I buy?


This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (fadden@fadden.com) with numerous contributions by others.

5-1] Which CD recorder should I buy?


There are no absolutely perfect recorders, but some drives are better than
others. The best are listed below, and the risky propositions are
identified with "CAVEAT EMPTOR" warnings in the individual sections. In
cases where a unit is built by company A and repackaged by company B, the
warnings are listed with the original manufacturer (company A).

http://www.storagereview.com/ has links to reviews of storage devices,
including CD recorders. http://www.cdrlabs.com/ has reviews of both
hardware and software products.

This section used to list specific models that were highly regarded.
The manufacturers are coming out with new models so quickly that it's
impossible to keep up in an FAQ that is updated monthly. The list of
older models is below. See section (8-4) for a list of sites that carry
news articles about newly released products.

As of late 2001, the most commonly recommended manufacturers (in no
particular order) were:

- Plextor (5-1-21)
- Sony (5-1-2)
- Yamaha (5-1-1)

Many manufacturers resell the units made by these companies. In some
cases the reseller will do nothing more than change the decal on the
front, in others they may rewrite the firmware.

If you have specific needs, you should verify with the manufacturer that
the drive will do what you want. All computer-based recorders can create
audio CDs and CD-ROMs, but some have additional features and some are just
plain better at it. If you want a drive that works well with a specific
piece of software, e.g. CloneCD (6-1-49), then you should check the web
page for that software to see which drives they recommend.

Some older models that would be worth having are listed below. As of
October 2001 this list is no longer being updated.

- HP 9700
- HP 9900
- Sony CRX1600L
- Yamaha CRW2200
- Sony CRX160E (often as HP 9500/9600)
- Plextor PX-W1610TA
- Sanyo CRD-BP1400P
- Teac CD-W512E
- Yamaha CRW8824
- Yamaha CRW2100
- Plextor PX-W1210T
- Plextor PX-W124TS
- Ricoh MP-9060A
- Sony CRX145E (often as HP 9300i)
- Sony CRX140E (often as HP 9100/9200)
- Ricoh MP-8040SE
- Ricoh MP-7060
- Plextor PX-R820T
- Plextor PX-W8220T
- Plextor PX-R412C
- Yamaha CRW-8424S
- Yamaha CRW-6416S
- Sony CRX120E (often as HP 8200i)
- Sony CRX100E (often as HP 8100i)
- Sony 948S
- Teac CD-R56S
- Panasonic CW-7501/CW-7502/CW-7582 (often as Matsushita or Compro 7502)
- Sanyo CRD-R800S (often as Smart & Friendly CD Rocket 8020)
- Ricoh MP-7040A
- Ricoh MP-6200/MP-6200I/MP-6201S (also as Philips OmniWriter/26 and /26A)
- JVC XR-W4080 (also as Creative CDR4224)
- Goldstar CED-8042B
- Philips CDRW404
- Yamaha CRW-4416
- Yamaha CDR-100/CDR-102 (also as S&F 4000/S&F 1004)
- Sony 920S/940S (also as S&F 1002/2004)
- Teac CD-R55S
- Teac CD-R50S (a/k/a Teac 4x4)
- Philips CDD3600 (also as HP 7100/7200)
- Yamaha CRW-4001/CRW-4260 (also as Smart & Friendly 426) and CRW-2260
- Wearnes CDRW-622 (also as Memorex CRW-1622 and Dysan CRW-1622)
- Ricoh RS-1420C (also as Turtle Beach 2040R)
- Philips CDD2600 (also as HP 6020i, but w/o packet writing)
- Philips CDD522 (also as Kodak PCD225)

Computer-attached recorders are discussed in the next few sections.
Stand-alone audio recorders are discussed in section (5-12).

The model numbers are important! Sometimes the older or newer models from
the same manufacturer aren't as good. The units listed were considered
independently from the software that they were bundled with, and it may be
necessary to buy additional software to get the full value from the drive.

External drives were traditionally preferred to internal drives because
of heat problems, but this is only a minor concern for current models.
External models do have the advantage that they can be moved between
machines, and even between platforms. Most if not all SCSI models will
work on both Macs and PCs, as should USB recorders.

I'm not currently listing stand-alone recorders like the "CD Blaster" or
"CD Dupe-It", which are boxes with a CPU, CD-R, and hard drive that can
duplicate CDs without tying up a full machine. Most of these low-end CD
production boxes are off-the-shelf hardware and software packaged into a
single unit, so listing them separately doesn't make much sense. Besides,
they're not of much interest to the average user. Interested users can
find some relevant URLs in (5-19).


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