Tascam has long been known by broadcasters for value, and the new CD-RW750 is a good stand-alone CD recorder for the money. Built as an updated version of the CD-RW700, the 750 adds the feature of CD titling.
On unpacking the CD-RW750 appears heavy. It weighs 14lbs, much of that weight being the end brackets that have rack mount ends formed into them. These can be removed if they are not needed. The front panel is uncluttered, with controls laid out in the same fashion as a tape deck. Most of the secondary functions — for example, enabling the Auto Track Advance — are accessed through a simple command menu using a rotary control to scroll through the menu, then pressing the rotary knob to enter that change. There are no skip or search buttons on the front panel. They are present on the wireless remote, however, as are all the secondary menu functions.
The unit will record on CD-Rs (intended for one use) or CD-RWs (designed for reuse). Some CD players, particularly older consumer units, may not read CD-RWs. Partly for this reason, we do not use them in our facility and only CD-Rs were used for our testing. The manual did not specify any brand of media, so our testing was done with unlabeled and unbranded CD-Rs. This was not a factor in our testing as all of our discs burned and played.
Performance at a glance
Records CD-R and CD-RW media
Automatically converts 32kHz or 48kHz
digital signals to 44.1kHz
24-bit A/D and D/A converters
Automatic track advance
CD track label feature
Wireless remote control
Analog (unbalanced) or digital (S/PDIF) inputs
Front-panel headphone jack with volume control
Take the test
Our first test involved rate conversion. The recorder automatically senses and changes a digital sampling rate, making it possible to do digital transfers from MDs, DATs and other digital signals that are sampled at 32kHz or 48kHz. Using the S/PDIF digital input, we used a DAT tape recorded at 32kHz and fed it into the S/PDIF inputs. The bar graph VU display tracked the same as the ones on the DAT machine. The digital signal level is adjustable, but only from the menu commands and not from the front panel. Because the level was OK we started recording. We then repeated this process with DAT recorded at 48kHz. This disc was then finalized and played on one of our house standard CD players. A side-by-side comparison revealed that there was no audible difference between the resampled CD copy and the DAT originals.
Our next test was to make a digital dub of an hour-long DAT that had been pre-indexed into cuts for mastering. We used the direct digital input feature, which bypasses the automatic rate sensing/changing circuitry. We also used the monitor feature, which provides a loop of the A/D converter through the D/A converter for real time confidence monitoring. The first cut on the DAT was 1:06, and we listened and watched the display as the indicator changed automatically from track 1 to 2 at that precise moment in the program. The final disc was indexed perfectly, and the client was happy.
Track labels are assigned using the jog wheel and display.
The new feature in the CD-RW750 is CD text. Each track can have a name 23 characters long in the display window on the recorder or on any player or computer enabled to read it. Using the selector knob to scroll through all 26 letters upper case, all 26 letters lower case, 10 digits and a dozen symbols, and pressing the knob to advance the cursor each track can be named. We found this to be a cumbersome process and gave up after two cuts. We did not test the synchronized record feature, which uses a silence sensor with an adjustable level to start and stop in the record mode. We also did not test the timer function, which allows you to start the machine in record or play when the ac main power to the line cord is turned on with an external timer. We didn't see the timing function being used much in a broadcast studio. The synchronized recording may be useful to some.
The Tascam CD-RW750 is an easy-to-use, moderately priced CD recorder that would fit the bill for many tasks in the production and on-air studio. It is the ideal replacement for analog cassette and DAT tape machines. The cost savings in media when switching from DAT to CD-R would be favorable. It is simple, straightforward and substantial.
I will note that our first demo unit did not work out of the box, but it was a demonstrator unit. Who knows what happened to it before arriving here. Tascam had a replacement unit to us a week later. Aside from the CD titling, the CD-RW750 is cosmetically and functionally the same as the CD-RW700.
Landry is a maintenance technician at CBS Radio Network, Westwood One, New York.
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