IS THIS DISC OKAY?
According to the manual shipped with the unit, the CD-RW700 is fussy about discs. You can only use “music-grade” CD-Rs in the CD-RW700 that are identified by the words “Digital Audio” under the Compact Disc logo. Likewise for CD-R/W discs — according to the book, “CD-R and CD-R/W discs designed for use in computing systems will not work with the CD-RW700.”
In addition, the manual warns against using discs that have a “stabilizer” (which I’ve never seen and don’t know about), and also warns against using discs that are printable.
As I discovered, reality is somewhat different. I was able to record audio, via both analog and digital inputs, on standard computer-grade, “printable” CD-Rs, which after finalizing played back just fine on a number of different CD players. I suspect the folks at Tascam may have realized that they were selling lots of these to professionals who don’t copy commercial CDs, but do chafe at paying the higher price for music-grade CDs.
In any event, test recordings with Mitsui and TDK CD-Rs played back without incident after finalization. This includes discs with a printable surface.
An interesting side-note to the above — I downloaded the PDF version of the CD-RW700 manual from Tascam’s web site, and the note I quoted above, about computer-grade discs not working, has been removed from the online version of the manual. Hmmm....
THE FINAL ANALYSIS
The Tascam CD-RW700 is basically a consumer product with a lot of pro features. It is a capable CD recorder that definitely has application in the production room. However, there are several pro features that are missing, including balanced analog I/O, word clock sync, and a reasonable scheme for automatically setting track IDs.
Having said that, the unit works well with many different brands of media, supports CD-R/W discs, and is very inexpensive. And the CD-RW700 sounds pretty darned good, thanks in part to its 24-bit ADCs and DACs. Although I didn’t have a chance to really thrash it over a long period of time, on the surface it looks as if it will stand up to some abuse. And Tascam has a reputation for producing a workingman’s product that holds up well.
If you’re in the market for an inexpensive standalone CD recorder, you’d do well to audition the CD-RW700.
The Tascam CD-RW700 carries a suggested list price of $699. For more information in the US, contact TEAC America, 7733 Telegraph Road, Montebello, CA 90640, (323) 726-0303. For more information worldwide, visit www.tascam.com.