Anyone who has followed these columns for a little while will know that I'm quite a fan of CD-R recorders. If you're a PC user, the cheapest way to start making your own CD-Rs -- known as 'gold discs' -- is to add a drive such as the Yamaha CD102 to your existing computer setup, but this may not be appropriate if you work in a busy professional studio with tight time-scales or need to do a lot of small-run CD duplication. Why is this? Well, the problem with burning CDs from your PC is that the machine is completely tied up during the whole process of creating the gold disc -- one of the 'features' of CD creation is that you can't interrupt the Write process without destroying the disc. This means that even with a double-speed writer you would need to tie up your PC for at least half a day to produce half a dozen CDs. If your PC is the heart of your studio, this may mean that you can't do any other work while you carry out the duplication process.But there is a solution to this dilemma: enter the Marantz CDR620...
A stand-alone CD-R recorder such as the Marantz has the huge advantage that it will let you perform the CD duplication off-line. In fact the CD-R620 gives you the best of both worlds, as it can operate as an autonomous CD-R recorder, as a peripheral CD-R drive via the built-in SCSI-2 interface, or even in tandem with another unit for double-speed copying via SCSI. You can even use the CDR620 to perform basic quality control on blank media, because it checks the pre-groove when you insert a CD into the tray and will reject any discs that don't meet the specification.
The CDR620 looks like -- and is designed to operate in the same way as -- a traditional tape-based recorder, but with additional buttons to give access to the extra functions required for creating CDs. So you could, for instance, copy your master to DAT and then simply stream the digital audio into the CDR620 whenever you need to make a CD copy of the material. If you need to do a lot of small-run CDR duplication then it might even be worthwhile to buy two machines and use the double-speed copying facility. The CDR620 isn't just a stand-alone unit, though: it can also function as a computer peripheral CD-Recorder. To use it in this way, you simply connect the unit to your PC via a SCSI-2 port and select SCSI mode from the front panel. The CDR620 emulates a Phillips CDD2000 CD-R drive, so it should be compatible with almost all the currently available CD-R mastering software and software/hardware setups (such as TripleDAT, Gear and SADiE, for instance). Under SCSI control the unit supports a wide range of CD formats including CD-ROM(XA), DC-I, Photo-CD, Video-CD, CD-Plus and, of course, CD-DA (Red Book digital audio).
The unit is pretty simple to operate and has a large fluorescent alpha-numeric display which gives an extremely clear readout of the operating modes and levels in a wide range of ambient light and viewing angles. The back panel holds the connectors for the analogue audio (XLR), and the digital audio (AES/EBU XLR and S/PDIF RCA phono cinch), as well as SCSI-2 (high density D-type), the remote control interfaces (D-type), and a standard IEC power connector. Here you'll also find a set of four DIP switches for setting the SCSI address and termination. The only connector on the front panel is a standard stereo jack socket for headphones. One convenient feature is that the unit has built-in sample-rate conversion circuitry, so the digital inputs can take a wide range of input sample rates (from 32kHz to 58kHz). As the CDR620 can be operated in monitor mode, this means that you can use it as a real-time sample rate converter for other digital equipment in the studio. In fact, as the CDR620 uses 20-bit converters and has automatic de-jittering, it can be used as a quite high-specification external analogue-to-digital interface for an existing hard-disk recorder.
While it's relatively expensive compared with CD-R drives designed to be connected directly to a computer, the CDR620 has a number of advanced features that can only be implemented in a stand-alone unit. The comprehensive remote control functions mean that the unit can be installed in a machine room, and the independent copying and recording functions could be a real boon in a busy facility where you don't want to tie up a studio when you need to perform these mundane tasks. The ability to operate independently also gives the unit applications in live recording and logging applications for which a computer-based system wouldn't be suitable. In short, a versatile machine with lots of uses.
The basic CDR620 with remote controller costs £3,519.13 (inc VAT) -- which may seem pretty expensive compared with a computer CD-R drive, but by the time you've added up the equivalent cost of the additional features it starts to look like quite good value for money. For more information contact SCV London on 0171 923 1892 (fax: 0171-241-3644).
If you fancy getting your name onto the World Wide Web but don't want all the hassle of setting up your own web site, the Classified section of the Music Network may be just the thing. This service gives free global exposure to musicians and bands who want to get their talent across to a potential daily audience of over 60 million Internet users. The Music Network will display a brief CV, together with a photograph, contact details and a 40-second audio clip -- and it doesn't cost a brass farthing. The company reckon that today's professional musician can't afford to ignore the Internet, or the employment opportunities that the Internet can present, whether you're a soprano or a voice-over artist, a string section or a bass player. Potentially, advertisers can expect to receive enquiries from all over the world for auditions or bookings. The Music Network is trying to compile a definitive collection of musicians' contact details and present them to the public via the World Wide Web -- and at a later date on CD-ROM. And this all makes the Music Network web site a more vibrant and interesting one for people to visit, which I guess is the whole point of the exercise.
The free entry consists of 40 words of text, one image (a photo or logo) and a 40-second audio clip. If you're more ambitious you can buy extra space for more text, more images, a longer sound bite or even a 15-second video clip. To find out more about the service, call the Music Network on 0171 625 8758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to check out their web site, use the URL: http://www.music-network.com/.
GET YOUR CIX ON ROUTE66
If you want to look at the screen shots for the items in this column or link to the Web sites listed in this (and previous columns) point your web browser at the PC Notes area on Route66 at...
Still not started surfing? If you want to find out how to get access to the Internet (and thus the World Wide Web) from anywhere in the UK at local call rates, call CIX on 0181 296 9666 or email Click here to email.