Simple is beautiful! Just ask Microboards Technology, Inc. Its new Orbit II ($2,495) CD-to-CD copier is an inexpensive CD duplication system designed for users with moderate amounts of copying tasks. A fairly complex issue from a technical point of view, but from a user’s perspective, duplication does not come any simpler than this.
Product PointsApplications: Studio, postproduction, educational, multimedia
Key Features: Simple user interface, 50-CD hopper
Contact: Microboards Technology, LLC. at 800-646-8881, Web Site
The Orbit II is just a little bigger than a typical breadbox and at first glance can be mistaken for some new-fangled breadmaker. The unit records both from audio and data CDs to CD-Rs. It is aimed squarely at applications in desktop publishing, pro audio and software development among others. Its user-friendly operating system offers as much programmability as can be expected from a standalone unit. Current dupe speed is up to 24X with a 40X drive to be available soon.
It sports four openings – a hopper for unrecorded discs on top of the unit, a tray for the master CD on the front and an “accept” or “reject” port on either side of the machine. The hopper will hold up to 50 CDs. The ultimate destination of a completed CD is dependent on an ingenious moving belt system powered by a logic-controlled motor. Accepted and rejected CDs end up in their own baskets that extend from within the unit itself. In its literature, Microboards claims reliability of up to 10,000 hours of usage.
Microboards appears to have employed the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach to the design of the Orbit’s interface. It is the essence of simplicity itself. The unit sports a one-line LCD display and a pair of “Yes” and “No” buttons. These also serve as increment/decrement buttons. The No button also allows the user access to various operating parameters while the Yes button is used to execute functions selected. Users can select between Copying Functions (Copy CD to CD, Copy and Compare, Compare CD) and System Setup with functions like Copy Speed and toggling an alarm on or off.
So how does it work? The user begins the process by stacking CD-R blanks in the hopper. Upon powering up the Orbit’s LCD eagerly asks “Copy CD to CD?” Upon answering “Yes”, it will then ask for the quantity of copies to be made. This is the only awkward stage in the process because the Yes key increments double-digit numbers while the No key counts up from zero to nine. This scheme takes some getting used to and it is possible to select an undesired quantity accidentally.
The tray holding the master CD then opens up. Upon hitting the Yes button again, the duplication process begins. The Orbit II appeared equally home with data and audio CDs, cheerfully spitting out finished discs every 4 minutes.
Microboards touts the unit as being “designed for the traditional office unit.” Expect to see it popping up in offices that require a journeyman copier. Based on its utility and its bulletproof and disarmingly simple operation, this unit will also likely find its way into the hands of legions of small studio owners and audio professionals whose duplicating demands rarely exceed a few hundred copies every now and then. And Microboards now offers a DVD version of the unit.