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First audio CD recorder costs $20,000

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
 

Simple gray rule



First audio CD recorder costs $20,000 


By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1991, The Syracuse Newspapers

Good news for hi-fi fans: A CD player that makes its own recordings stepped closer to your local audio store this month.

At the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, a major Japanese company showed off a new compact disc recorder. The CDs it produces can be played on any CD player.

But the bad news is the price: The recorder, made by Denon, costs $20,000.

Denon demonstrated the new recorder, the DN-770R, to broadcasters in an attempt to get radio stations to buy the system.

The company has no immediate plans to sell a consumer version, but may use some of the technology in the DN-770R to develop a home-recording system in the next few years.

Blank discs aren't cheap. They cost $40 and can only be recorded once. Unlike tape recordings, which can be erased and rerecorded any number of times, Denon's CD recordings are "write-once" discs and cannot be erased.

This means the DN-770R cannot be used for typical studio recordings, which depend on tape editing.

But studios and broadcasters could use the Denon recorder to make demonstration CDs or to copy hour-long programs for distribution to other radio stations. A compact disc recording will play for at least 63 minutes.

Besides being too expensive, Denon's CD recorder is too limited for home use.

Consumers expect all recorders to be able to erase and record again, and no device that lacks that capability can be sold successfully on the consumer market.

But Denon and many other companies are working on consumer CD recorders that will be able to erase discs as well as record on them.

Record-and-erase CD players probably won't be introduced until mid-1992 or 93, although it could be even longer before the technology of such recorders is refined enough for home use.

One problem has been the need to avoid using powerful lasers that would be outlawed by U.S. and Canadian regulations that cover consumer electronic equipment.

Erase-and-record CDs could revolutionize home audio recording by ending the 50-year supremacy of magnetic tape, in both standard and digital formats. Laser recordings last longer than tape and are almost impossible to damage in normal use.

Laser audio recorders have another attraction. They are certain to point the way toward tapeless video recorders, probably using 12-inch video discs at first. VDRs (video disc recorders) using standard-size discs, slightly larger than 5 inches in diameter, probably will be marketed also.

The smaller discs could hold as much video as the larger ones if video-compression techniques were used.


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