Yamaha CDR-HD1000 CD/Hard-Disk Recorder

When José, the Fed Ex guy, rings my doorbell, the transaction is well scripted. He gives me the box containing the Next Thing to Review, and I give him the box containing the Last Thing I Reviewed. One glance at the Next Thing box tells me which link in the audio/video chain I'll be scrutinizing for the next few weeks. Like I said, it's highly choreographed.

So when I saw this Yamaha box, I thought, "Cool, a CD recorder - they're always fun." Little did I know just how cool it would be. Not only does this beauty burn write-once CD-R and rewritable CD-RW discs, but it also contains a 20-gigabyte (GB) hard-disk drive that lets you edit your recordings before burning them to disc as well as save recorded playlists so you can make multiple copies.

A quick glance at the CDR-HD1000's tidy-looking front panel might persuade you that it's simply another CD recorder. There are all the controls you'd expect to see. For example, a button selects the optical or coaxial digital or the analog inputs, and a knob adjusts the analog-input recording level. You use a jog wheel to select the recording mode, call up various menus on the display, adjust the digital recording level (±12 dB), and make other settings. The Finalize button is used to write the Table of Contents (TOC) to a finished disc so it can be played in conventional machines. (But not all players can read all recordable discs. Some DVD players balk at CD-Rs while handling CD-RWs just fine. And while virtually all CD players can play CD-Rs, most older models don't like CD-RWs). You'll also find all the usual transport controls as well as a headphone jack with its own volume knob. The controls all have a crisp, taut feel that gives a user confidence.

In The Lab