New Onkyo CD Recorder Will Debut at CEDIA

CD recorders are the hottest ticket in audio at the moment. Philips and Marantz once dominated the category, but other manufacturers have recently jumped on board with their own versions, among them Pioneer and Harman/Kardon. Onkyo will introduce its DX-RD511 dubber later this month at the 1999 CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis. The machine is expected to arrive in stores in October—just in time for the holiday season.

The $700 twin-transport machine offers several features not found on other recorders. The DX-RD511 not only records on any type of blank CD, but its two transports can be used in "DJ mode," which lets users cross-fade between songs. A random-play feature will mix up the order of tracks on two discs, providing almost 2½ hours of uninterrupted music. Random play is especially useful for parties: Dub some of your favorite tunes onto a couple of blanks and let 'em spin.

Of great interest is the DX-RD511's ability to write to CD-R and CD-RW (re-writable) discs. Early CD recorders allowed the use of only CD-audio recordable blanks, which are several times more expensive than computer-grade CD-Rs because of the music industry's tariffs on CD-audio discs. The extra fees are justified as compensation for revenue supposedly lost to home recordists. (Harman/Kardon's new recorder, as reported here recently, was the first machine from a major consumer audio manufacturer to allow the use of CD-Rs.) CD-R discs are available in bulk at computer stores and via mail order for less than $1 each. CD-RWs are considerably more expensive, but offer the advantages of making perfect segues and level matches. With CD-R and CD-audio discs, recordings are permanent—if you make a mistake, you throw the disc away.

Other manufacturers have announced plans to produce CD recorders, among them Kenwood and Aiwa. Consumer audio-disc recorders are still pricey compared to their computer counterparts (usually called "CD burners"), but they may be easier to use for people not fully comfortable with computers. CD burners can be found for less than $300, and are not hampered by multiple copy restrictions. A good online resource for them is Essential Data Inc.