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Pioneer PDR-609 CD Recorder - Product Review

Record Your Vinyl To CD

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Pioneer PDR609 CD Recorder

Pioneer PDR609 CD Recorder

Robert Silva
Do you have a vinyl record collection that you never seem to have enough time to listen to? If so, The Pioneer PDR-609 CD Recorder can preserve your vinyl records to CD, providing more flexible listening options.

Overview

I love my Vinyl Record collection. I love my 10+ year old Technics SL-QD33(k) Direct Drive Turntable. Its Audio Technica PT-600 Cartridge has served me very well in the listening of my favorite record albums. po[ However, I would also like to listen to my vinyl recordings while working as well. I could move my turntable into the office; however, since I would have to turn the records over every 40 minutes or so, this would interrupt my work flow.

The answer to this dilemma: why not make copies of my vinyl record collection onto CD? I have a CD-burner in one of my PCs; however, the process of downloading the music from my vinyl records into the hard drive, then burning them on CDs, then deleting the files off the hard drive afterwards and repeating this process just takes to too long. I would also have to remove the turntable from my main system. In addition, I would need an additional phono preamp to connect the turntable to my PC's sound card line input.

The solution: a standalone audio CD recorder. Not only could I make CD copies of my vinyl records, but I could just integrate the CD recorder to my existing main system. In addition, the CD recorder not only will generate copies of my records, but since choice records in my collection are no longer in print or on CD, I can use this method to preserve my recordings in case my turntable malfunctions or the records themselves become damaged, warped, or otherwise unplayable.

Having decided on this approach, which CD recorder to choose? CD recorders come in several varieties, single well, dual well, and multi-well. Since I already have a dual-CD drive (CD/DVD player and CD writer) in my PC, capable of duplicating audio files at 8X normal speed, I didn't need a dual-well deck.

Also, since I am not planning to mix-and-match cuts from several CDs at once, I didn't need a multi-well deck. All I needed was a good single-well CD recorder that was up to the task and easy to use. So, I set out to a local retailer to pick up an audio CD recorder. My choice: The new Pioneer PDR-609 CD-R/CD-RW recorder. The price was a very reasonable $299, on sale. I also picked up a ten-pack of audio CD-R disks to get me started.

SETUP AND USE OF THE PIONEER PDR-609

Upon arriving home with the unit, I proceeded to open the box and integrate the CD recorder into my system. The Pioneer PDR-609 comes with everything you need to get started: the recorder, a remote control, instructions, and two sets of AV cables. Although the PDR-609 has both digital-coax and optical in/outs, you need to purchase those cables separately. Since I would be using this unit with the analog source of my turntable for the time being, this was not an issue.

On the top left side of the unit, there is a large sticker explaining to the user what type of blank CD media the PDR-609 is able to use. Although this is a CD-R/RW recorder, you do not use the same type of blank CD-R/RWs you would use in a computer. Blank CD media for use in CD audio recorders must have a "Digital Audio" or "For Audio Use Only" marking on the package. The differences in the laser pickups and data requirements for Computer CDR/RW drives make this distinction important.

Installing the PDR-609 was a breeze. All I had to do is hook it up to my AV receiver's tape monitor loop, just as I would an analog audio tape deck. However, recording with this unit is a little different than recording from your typical tape deck; you just don't press the record button.

The PDR-609 has features that you find on a high-end audio cassette deck and then some. There are several interesting set-ups and options that make this unit very flexible, especially in the recording of vinyl records.

First of all, I like the fact that it has a standard headphone jack and separate headphone level control. Secondly, in conjunction with the Monitor switch and both Analog AND Digital input level controls (as well as a Balance control and two-channel LED level meter), you can easily setup the input sound levels. One cautionary note, you want to make sure that your loudest peaks do not reach the red "OVER" indicator on the LED level meters, this will cause distortion on your recording.

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