As blank CD-Rs drop in price, those shiny silver discs have become the de facto 16-bit format of the recording community. Forget DAT and cassette – we are in the era of the throwaway CD-R.
Product PointsApplications: Studio, broadcast, event/live sound recording
Key Features: CD-RW support; AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital I/O; sample rate conversion; 5-second audio buffer; parallel and infrared remote; Apogee UV22 encoding, footswitch jack
Contact: Yamaha at 714-522-9011 Web Site
+ Apogee UV22 encoding
+ Built-in sample rate conversion
+ 5-second audio record buffer
– Abrupt auto-fade curves
– Auto start/auto ID functions not separable
The Score: With a solid set of pro features, the Yamaha CDR1000 CD recorder is a class act for any studio.
Along with the plummeting costs of blank media, there is a proliferation of standalone CD recorders hitting the market. One of the latest is Yamaha’s CDR1000, a full-featured CD recorder that is staking out the higher end of the price range.
The CDR1000 ($1,799) is clearly targeted at professional recording applications. It has a rackmount chassis, XLR analog I/O, AES/EBU and S/PDIF digital I/O, word clock input and a connector for a hard-wired parallel remote control. The unit is very deep (15 inches) and heavy (18 pounds).
A large control/display area dominates the front of the CDR1000. A pair of 16-segment meters and a nifty 12-character text display is at the heart of this area. The fluorescent display always seems to have something important to say, be it Wait, Fade Out, Finalizing or any other of the numerous, useful prompts.
The recorder’s stereo meters offer two different response speed settings (set within the utility menu), as well as a continuous peak hold button. Myriad other displays and indicators grace this section of the recorder.
The loading tray is on the left of the CDR1000’s display/control area, and the analog input level controls, headphone output and volume control, and power switch are on the right, as is a footswitch jack for easy toggling between record/play and pause.
The CDR1000’s analog inputs can be switched between -10 dBV consumer and +4 dBu professional levels with a small switch located on the back panel; analog outputs are fixed at +4 dBu. The CDR1000 uses 20-bit A/D and D/A converters.
The addition of Apogee’s renowned UV22 process is a nice touch, allowing 16-bit recordings to retain much of the sound quality of 20- or 24-bit sources. A dedicated button on the CDR1000 makes it easy to turn the UV22 process on and off.
A built-in sample rate converter (SRC) converts any incoming digital audio signal between 30 kHz and 50 kHz to 44.1 kHz. It will also convert the recorder’s AES/EBU output to match the sample rate of the word-clock input. This allows you to use the CD recorder running at 44.1 kHz in a digital system running at 48 kHz.
The Yamaha recorder has several other noteworthy features. One of the best is a record buffer designed to ensure that you do not miss the very start of a tune. This buffer, which holds up to five seconds of audio, lets the CDR1000 capture audio that passed before you pressed the Record button. While skip-resistant portable CD players have been buffering more audio than this for many years, the inclusion of this recording safety zone is welcome.
Auto-start lets you set a signal level threshold at which the CDR1000 will automatically begin recording. If levels fall below this threshold for more than three seconds, and then pass above it again, the auto-start feature automatically generates a new start ID.
The CDR1000 can automatically fade the beginning or end of your recording (or both). You can select independent fade times for fade-in and fadeout in one-second increments between one second and 10 seconds.
The CDR1000 even helps you time-shift manually entered start ID or index markers. Push the button to create one of these during recording and the CDR1000 automatically shifts them back in time 300 milliseconds to compensate for the slow finger-brain link.
The CDR 1000 can record to CD-RW discs. The erase button allows you to erase the last track you recorded, or the whole disc. You can also initialize a previously used disc for recording, which takes about 18 minutes at 4x speed.
The CDR1000’s Finalize button wraps up a CD-R or CD-RW disc so it can be played on the majority of normal audio CD players. The CDR-1000 will play unfinalized discs and will also unfinalize CD-RW discs to allow more recording.
Using the CDR1000 is a no-brainer, with clearly labeled controls and an intuitive interface. Buttons and controls all have a solid, quality feel to them – just like the rest of the recorder.
Dedicated buttons predominate on the CDR1000, with just one multilevel menu. This utility menu includes settings for auto-start threshold, audio delay, fade times, meter ballistics, clock source, digital output mode, copy bit status, IR remote on/off and SRC on/off. The only problem with this menu system is that the buttons used to change values (Prev and Next) are not labeled on the face of the recorder. Oops.
The only other interface complaint I have is with the CDR1000’s auto-start and auto-increment features. These two sit on the same button, which means having the Yamaha start recording automatically also means it will be tossing in a new start ID at the end of every three-second gap. I can think of many instances when a person would like to use one but not the other.
The CDR1000’s footswitch jack is a great feature, especially in live situations. Plug the CDR1000 into a live mixer, give yourself a few seconds of grace with the RAM buffer, and catch each song with the push of a footswitch. Performers who use backing tracks from CDs will also appreciate the footswitch for starting a song at the exact right time.
I like that the CDR1000 offers fades with adjustable times. Unfortunately, I don’t like the fade shape at all – even relatively long fades transition very abruptly. A five-second fade-in, for example, seems to come roaring in during the last two seconds. I think smoother curves would have been worth the additional R&D time.
From its brushed-aluminum faceplate to a whisper-quiet cooling fan, the CDR1000 is a quality pro unit. Sonically, the CDR1000 will not disappoint.