I paid £80 from Ebay for this machine and it worth every penny.The recording is superfast and copy disc sound identical to the original cd even when use a high end HiFi system to play back.The music play back is properby the weak point here. It's not bad by any mean but don't expect the sound that you generally get from a dedicate hifi cd player.All the buttons are clearly labels with both analog and digital inputs on board make it the most simple way to archive all your favourate songs from rare vinyl to cd....highly recomended.
I picked up the Philips CDR 775 a few months ago on an ebay auction, at just £50! i admit I was taking a bit of a chance on whether it would work 100% and left hoping that I would be able to use it for what I intended, which was transfering tapes and vinyl to cd.
The recorder is fitted with two separate cd drives, left hand side is a CDR recorder, the right hand side is a CD Player. Its a wide bit of gear, 435mm wide, 310mm deep and but just 88mm tall, making it as slim as a standard cd player in a hi-fi stack. Do take care you have a wide enough stand, its a bit tight in my own hi-fi stand. Id also advise you ensure it gets reasonable ventilation above, after burning a few cds, it will need a little bit of space to breathe.
The Philips CDR 775 is not going to win an award for a sleek, minimal look, having a long line of buttons running across the face of the machine. But in fairness, it also avoids being completely full of buttons to the point that it looks like it should be on some NASA space mission! Its looks tend to grow on you, and it fits nicely into any stack and blends in with the crowd of other hi-fi separates you might have, provided they are black too! As obvious as it sounds, the buttons are there for a reason and you will find that you use most of them frequently, so its tough to complain about them when they are present on all CD recorders and Minidisc decks for that matter.
The display is very clearly, logically laid out with what you need to know. CD recording can be complicated when you are recording from possibly 4 different sources, so the displays clarity is very helpful in keeping the information hidden that you dont need to know ALL the time. It also displays just the cd recorder drive details or the cd player drive display, you can choose which to display. Its a good approach to avoiding a huge display which would look like a mini Blackpool at night if you had both sets of display details displayed simultaneously.
The most important aspect to any recorder is its usability to get your recordings exactly how you like it. Its finest asset is its ease of use. It really is straight forward to use, it wont take you long to figure out how to get your recordings just how you like them. When recording from one cd to another, its as simple as a tape deck, it puts all the tracks in for you, you can either record fast at twice speed or record and listen at the same time. It is not particularly fast recording, but its a small price to pay if you like a good recording. Unlike PC CDR drives, the final recording doesnt EVER skip. Ive noticed that other cd players find it easier to search through a track on a cd recorded in this machine than on a PC. Analogue recording from tapes and vinyl is a little bit more tricky at first, the key is to get your recording levels right, which you will soon figure out.
When you record, you can decide where you start a new track, when to pause, stop recording etc making it as simple as a tape deck. You can also let the machine do the work, putting in the tracks when recording from an external source like a cd player. However, if youre recording from analogue sources, you are best advised to insert the tracks yourself. it tends to misunderstand slight gaps as new tracks. It takes a little time to get used to the features, but after about 3 cds of recording, youll have it down to an art and find it easier than a tape recorder.
Believe me, its very straight forward once you do it in practice, if youre reasonably good with hi-fi stuff youll have no problems. When you run into trouble, often you've forgot to do something like finalise the disc beofre using it in another player.
The remote is clearly laid out, but lacks some of the features that are on the machine. But it could do with a display button to switch between the time of the current track and the time left on the cd on which you are recording, a minor niggle, but it is a little bit frustrating if you are stood with your record decks on the other side of the room wondering how long you have left to burn on the cd.
You might have to venture into the instruction book, which is reasonably clear and accessible if you are not confident in knowing how to use the device. A lot of reviews say the instruction book is a "monster" but they obviously didn't open it as the English section is only 20 odd pages, most of which are common sense such as "press play to start the disc".
The CD Drives
The CD recorder drive itself records wonderfully, Ive stuck to relatively cheap Maxell CDR Music discs, and theyve really worked well with the machine and the recording quality has easily surpassed my expectations. Im yet to have a problem from the drive, it always records, does whats expected and has not let me down.
The CD Player on the right hand side of the player is another story however, it really does seem like it was an after thought It struggles to find tracks quickly and with the same level of the cd recorder drive. Its adequate... But just not as good as the cd recorder drive is for playback. Id advise retaining your CD player separate, as it will invariably sound better than the player drive on the 775.
A Word on Interconnectors
It really is important that you use good quality interconnectors for your analogue recordings, the cheapskate ones you'll be supplied with are like putting a caravan on the back of a Ferrari, not good at all! Just spend a reasonable amount on two sets of interconnectors for the CDR drive. The CD Player drive has its own connections, but you can play it through the same connectors as the CDR drive so its not worth wasting a channel on your amplifier for it, especially as its not very good anyway.
The one thing you need to remember is that this will NOT use the CDRs that your PC uses. It requires the CD-R music discs, or CD-RW music discs, NOT the PC ones, as they will not work. You may think bummer but the CDR music discs are 50p each in places like www.richersounds.com.
The CDRW Audio discs, well, they are hard to get hold of, but there are places on the internet. I have managed to buy them for £4.99 delivered for 3, which is plenty as you just burn from the CD-RW to the CDR and erase the orginal CD-RW for reuse.
Overall, this is a wonderful piece of equipment, its simple, easy to use, good sound with a good, clear display. The only downfall is the CD player drive, which lacks the quality youd expect. This tolerable, given the huge pluses of the cd recorder drive.