During the transfers from CD to hard disk and back again, the front-panel display kept me fully informed, showing the data - with track numbers and times - "moving" from one medium to another. The other recording modes operate about as simply as the duplication process, and the editing features are a snap, too. Here's a nice touch: the player displays the used/ available recording capacity of the hard drive in hours and minutes instead of gigabytes or megabytes.
Of course, a fundamental requirement for any CD recorder is the ability to make audibly identical copies. I listened carefully to the original Dire Straits disc and my copy of it, and I could hear absolutely no difference. Both sounded superb (testifying to the quality of the player's D/A converters). To verify that the recorder was making bit-accurate clones in its digital copying mode, I duplicated a 5.1-channel DTS-encoded CD of Sting's "Brand New Day." The copy played fine through my DTS decoder, which couldn't occur unless it was bit-accurate, which also explains why my copy of the two-channel Dire Straits CD sounded the same as the original.
I had selected my vintage, well-worn Dire Straits disc precisely to test how the recorder would handle the inevitable errors; it seemed to do just fine, and the copy I made didn't have any glitches. However, the Sting dupe did have an audible dropout. When I tried it again at a slower copy speed, all was well. One final note: the CDR-HD1000 has more than a few computer circuits onboard, and such circuits are notorious for causing noise induced by radio-frequency interference (RFI). In this case, they're well shielded, and I didn't notice any RFI problems while using the deck in my home theater system.
When a company introduces an innovative product, it's customary to put a nice, round number in its name - like "1000." And the prefix CDR-HD also hints at the deck's normal application and most special feature. So CDR-HD1000 really says it all: this is one innovative CD-R/RW recorder that stands apart from the pack with its own hard-disk drive. Sure, for a similar price you could buy a personal computer with a CD burner that can perform all of the same copying tricks and do much more besides. But with its ease of use, drop-in integration with the rest of your A/V components, and beyond-reproach fidelity, the Yamaha CDR-HD1000 stands apart from any PC or Mac, too. If you have a supply of "music use" blanks and you want to rip, edit, burn, and play in full-fi mode, this extremely impressive recorder is ready to rock. Next time José stops by, he might not get a Last Thing I Reviewed box.
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