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What Is a CD Recorder Turntable?

By Marty Paule
Updated May 17, 2024
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By answering the need of consumers seeking a simple way to convert their vinyl record collections to digital media, the CD recorder turntable has become a popular solution. Combining a turntable, speakers, analog-to-digital (ADA) audio converter, and CD recorder all into one unit, the CD recorder turntable is a user-friendly, all-in-one approach to transferring the music on phonograph records to CDs or other digital audio media formats. Some models also include a USB port for connection to a personal computer, plus a cassette tape player allowing the user to convert recordings on audio cassettes to digital media. Other common features include an AM/FM tuner, headphone jack, and auxiliary input and output jacks for connection to external audio equipment.

Converting a vinyl record to a CD using a CD recorder turntable is quite simple. The user places a blank recordable CD (CD-R) or rewritable blank CD (CD-RW) in the CD drive, and then puts a record on the turntable. With most models, recording begins when the turntable is activated. Note that some of these devices require the use of audio-grade CDs designated as CD-DAs, which can be harder to find and more expensive than conventional CD-Rs.

Built-in software helps the CD recorder turntable to detect the individual song tracks on long-playing (LP) recordings. Manual overrides are usually available to help the user set the beginning and ending points of individual songs when automated track definition does not work well due to low sound levels. Most of these devices also permit creating a digital file of each track that can be then played with a digital audio player or edited using digital audio editing software. Options usually include conversion to MP3, WAV, and other digital audio formats.

While the CD recorder turntable offers the advantage of not requiring a computer or advanced software knowledge to transfer records to CDs, in some cases, the resulting recording may not offer all the dynamics and sound quality of the original vinyl. This is usually due to the relatively low-quality ADA converters used in all-in-one CD recorder turntables. Audiophiles seeking the highest fidelity vinyl-to-CD conversions will be better served by using a standalone turntable and a separate, high-quality ADA converter that connects to a personal computer. The software employed for this type of set-up usually gives the user more control over track definition and sound quality, as well the ability to edit out the pops and clicks on scratched records.

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Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Oct 07, 2014

@Soulfox -- What you want is something that will allow you to edit files before they are put on CD, converted to digital files or whatever else. If you don't have a terribly expensive analog to digital filter to convert everything, then you will wind up with a recording that is deficient for a lot of reasons.

The solution? Master the tracks by adding bass or whatever after the conversion process before you produce a final file.

Time consuming? Sure it is, but if you are a music lover than you will spend the time to produce music that sounds great with your equipment.

By Soulfox — On Oct 06, 2014

These setups are notorious for giving mixed results. Most of them record just OK, but the fidelity leaves something to be desired. For some reason, a lot of these seem to lack decent bass response.

A word of advice? Do a lot of research before purchasing one of these setups. If the sound files sound awful, what is the point?

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