CD-R Discs for Audio Recording
Which Blank CD-R Discs to Use for Stereo CD Burners
Murray H. asks:
I'm not sure if you have the type of CD-R disc I need. My burner is part of a stereo system, not a computer, so a CD-R for general use with a computer won't work. Do you have what I'm looking for?
Murray, it just so happens we have exactly what you're looking for!
To clarify the situation for you, you need a blank CD that says "music" or "audio" on the jewel case or box, like these Maxell CD-Rs or these TDK CD-RWs. They cost a little more than standard data CDs that are for use with computers, but they won't bust your wallet.
The extra cost comes not from any difference in quality, but from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA assumes that if you're buying a blank CD to use with your stereo system, it's probably because you're going to digitally duplicate some copyrighted music. Therefore, a surcharge is added to all blank music or audio CDs. That surcharge gets collected by the RIAA and, supposedly, distributed to record companies in some form or another.
By the way, if you also own a computer with a CD burner, you CAN use music CD-Rs to burn data or any other files from your computer.
You might be scratching your head and wondering why anyone would want a CD burner that's part of a stereo system. Computer-based burners not only use cheaper discs, but also burn CDs faster than most stereo-based burners. Additionally, if you like making your own mix CDs, it's easy to create mixes from a large library of digitally stored music on a hard drive. To do so on a stereo-based burner is like recording onto cassette -- you've got to do it one song at a time.
And that's actually what I like about stereo-based CD burners. I grew up making mix tapes, and I often prefer the "hands-on" experience of going through my CD collection and burning a mix song by song. Recording in real time to CD is not an option with computer burners.
Beyond enjoying the old-school experience, it's also much easier to record to CD from a non-digital source like an LP or cassette. Rather than having to buy new software or components to let your computer record from analog sources, you can use the stereo equipment you already own. I've found that it's also easier to set levels and fade or edit individual tracks on a stereo-based burner.
Now that I've piqued your interest, here are a few great CD burner/duplicators to use with your stereo or home entertainment system:
The Microboards CopyWriter Live has two recordable drives that let you duplicate CDs at up to 20X speed. You can also record from external analog or digital sources, including mixers, cassettes, LPs, MP3 players ... you name it.
The Marantz CDR632 only accommodates one CD, so disc-to-disc duplication requires another CD player, and it has to be done in real time. However, it does have great pro-audio features like pitch control, level dependent sync recording, analog/digital/optical input and output, and integrated sample rate conversion.
Marantz also makes the portable CDR300, which you can take on the road for recording live to CD. It even includes a built-in condenser mic and a built-in speaker for playback. Of course, you can also connect it to your home entertainment system for digital duplication or recording from analog sources.
Check out more of our blank media, and have a look at stand-alone digital recorders while you're at it.