The new CDR770 from Marantz is one of the cheapest CD recorders on the UK market, and features a new writing technology known as APC. APC stands for Advanced Power Calibration and, put simply, it means that the writer laser power is not only calibrated to the blank media before burning (which is how all normal machines work), but also it's dynamically fine‑tuned during the burning process, based on light reflected from the disc's surface. This results in an improved error rate and, because audio CDs' clock information is part of the data stream, reduced jitter too.
In most other respects, the machine is conventional, with unbalanced phono analogue connections, coaxial S/PDIF in and out, plus an optical S/PDIF input. Its 2U case is designed for stand‑alone applications, though a rackmounting kit is supplied. An included infrared remote control provides access to some of the programmed playback features as well as the basic operation of the machine. CD Text is supported, sample‑rate conversion is built‑in to facilitate digital recording from non‑44.1kHz sources, such as MD, and there's the choice of fully automatic track indexing from both analogue and digital sources. The four main recording modes are Record Disk, Record Track, Record Manual and Make CD, the latter automatically making a synchronised recording from a suitable digital source. When Auto Track is switched on, track numbers are automatically incremented during recording (analogue sources require a pause in excess of 2.7 seconds to indicate a new track). Finalising a finished CD takes around two minutes. The machine strips SCMS at the input, so can record from any source, and it automatically adds the SCMS bit to the burned CD.
Ergonomically, the CDR770 is straightforward, with the CD drawer over to the left and a very large display window in the centre. The rotary encoder is used to navigate through the tracks, to select menu settings and to adjust the recording level — its function automatically changes depending on the operating mode currently selected. The styling is rather nice, in a consumer kind of way, and all the buttons have a positive action.
Recordings can be made to CD‑R or CD‑RW, and the machine also doubles as a player for pre‑recorded CDs. Because of the APC calibration system, good recordings can be made on a wide variety of CD‑R media types, though the manufacturers recommend that, for best results, you should use media designed for single‑ or double‑speed burning.
During my tests, the CDR770 turned out to have no obvious vices. The sound quality is good and the operating system offers useful prompts. As a simple‑to‑use, low‑cost machine, the CDR770 is hard to beat, especially with its APC feature.