Home theater musings--Yamaha's CDR-HD1000 and Energy Connoisseur C-7s. (Equipment).

Tivo offers videophiles a classic way of recording video classics and favorites. I suggest that Yamaha's CDR-HD1000 compact Disc Recorder is a candidate for a CD recorder with classical qualities as well. I am, frankly home theater universal remote something of a neophyte recorder. My older brother had a portable disc recorder that weighed almost 300 pounds. It cut grooves on thin floppy discs that haven't held up to the test of time. I never could shift the recorder from one place to another and while I may have tried to cut a record or two on this machine, I didn't want my fingerprints to show up on his equipment. Even if Yamaha has a platoon of super ninjas to deal with anyone who violates their technology, I would rather face them than the wrath of a sibling. Since my brother no longer reads my column, I feel safe making my confession.

I learned how to sharpen cactus needles to play the heavy shellac discs. I even learned how to use a device that cut bamboo bits into very sharp points as scars on my fingers indicate even after half a century. I recorded on wire recording media and on one of the first domestic tape recorders. As a professor, I used an Ampex recorder that was state of the art. I've been a senior systems analyst and anticipated few problems with a state of the art digital recorder.

The Yamaha CDR-HD1000 compact disc recorder ($499) in a black (or silver) finish looks like a modern cassette deck. I managed to make some excellent CD to CD recordings. I had a wild-eyed notion to copy all my cherished LPs to a hard disc and bid farewell to my ancient collection. It would only taken me a few months to do the transfers. I gathered that these machines are still in limited supply and that others wanted to review them.

I read the owner's manual diligently from end to end. The range of languages accounted for the total of 64 pages and the languages that I could read were lucid and detailed, without being overwhelming. Jack Valenti and Hollywood need have no fear of me flooding the market with digital copies of CDs. I should have known I was out of my depth when the book began to discuss three kinds of compact discs.(recordable, rewritable, and text). I was glad this machine didn't do anything with DVDs.

It was possible to record from a CD to the internal HD. Having done that I could then record an external CD but the Yamaha CDR-HD1000 is carefully designed to preserve the copyrights of recorded material. Trying to decipher the strategies to prevent unauthorized copies taxed the limits of my technical prowess. I fear that I lean toward unfettered copies because bootleg copies are endemic if rarely worth serious attention. Why penalize honest folk who spent ready money to secure a master copy and let the brigands mess about and corrupt the market.

This machine makes splendid digital recordings as one would expect. However, the days of plugging in the recorder and pushing a button to make a copy are behind us. If you want memorial copies of the golden wedding or Mary's christening, simpler machines may serve very well. The materials tend to be less expensive and less open to disaster. Moreover, most modern children can operate these conventional machines with hardly a second look.

I categorically assert that I managed to make recordings with this machine better than I've ever made with any other equipment. Mind you, after my first instinctive copy, I began to get more and more befuddled by the range of option that this machine offered. When Yamaha began to make gentle murmurs about needing the sample machine returned, I packed it up and shipped it back.

While this is the first of its kind that I'd seen, I think it qualifies as a sensible choice. The construction was first class and one could make out the clear labels on the switches and knobs. I don't feel defeated by this new technical innovation but I miss the neat little spirals being cut out of the grooves on the disc. Novelty can be a problem for the old and sentimental.

The CDR-HD1000 compact disc recorder weighs 18 pounds and 5 ounces. It comes with digital optical out and digital coaxial out. The remote control is svelte and sensibly arranged. Indeed, had I used the remote rather than the switches and buttons on the machine's front panel, I might have been quicker at mastering this machine without murmuring to the gods under my breath. I suspect that I shall miss it more the longer it is no longer present.

Now, on to some speakers of the floorstanding variety. When I developed a lust for good audio gear, some 45 years ago, I had mixed feelings about speaker cabinets that weighed more than I did or nearly given my scrawny arms. Now that I have reached a somewhat advanced age, I no longer fear the taunts or jeers of my housemates when I juggle a delicate piece of equipment. I do fear the anguished screams of PR people when a priceless piece of equipment bounces off the floor or my foot. When I arranged to review the Energy Connoisseur C-7 ($1,000/ pr), my nearest and dearest relatives and my physical therapist stated firmly that I was not to even think about it.

It took forever to assemble a team to take the speakers out of their boxes. But once that was done, it was simple enough to assemble and to power them up. I don't accept that the wait was worthwhile, but the sound was well worth the delay. The boxes contained two slim towers and some assorted hardware. The speakers use stabilizing feet that fit at the bottom of the cabinet to offer increased stability.

Having listened to several semi-mini systems, the Energy C-7s have reminded me that big boxes can provide lovely broad-spectrum sound with no sense of strain or obvious favored bands of sound. I came dangerously close to wondering about listening to movies in Dolby stereo sound. Certainly many of my stereo discs took on a new luster with the detailed placement of instruments in the broad sound stage.

Just after I got the C-7s hooked up, UPS delivered an Onkyo receiver with seven Dolby and DTS channels. My purist intentions wavered and then vanished. Having a receiver that handled all manner of signals with digital accuracy. I will deal with the Onkyo in detail later but what it did for my home theater setup can hardly be exaggerated. A video of baby tigers had the family dogs laying back-to-back in the living room and muttering to each other about these dubious sounds in a house with four cats.

Suddenly, some of my quietest DVDs manifested a wide sound stage with haunting grace notes. Moreover, the separate bass channel blends the subwoofers into the system with great power but no obvious distortion. Turner's Gettysburg demonstrated a score as epic as the subject and the cannons made the dogs very quiet.

I am passionate about the human voice both singing and speaking. I live with a trained coloratura (who will periodically sing `country') and I have been able to rationalize a number of great vocal recordings for testing purposes. One of my favorites is Franz Schubert's "Mille cherubino in coro" recorded by Jose Carreras at Rathaus in Vienna, December 23,1992. The C-7s allow the tenor's voice float over the chorus and fill the space seamlessly. I heard Roland Hayes do a concert of art songs and spirituals sixty years ago and the impact of his voice remains with me to this day. He sang lieder, and while I didn't understand German, I felt he was singing to me and that I could understand what he was saying. Hayes had a gift for singing Handel that was unmatched by his peer. Any serious student or lover of tenors should hear the Smithsonian's Art of Roland Hayes (RD 041). The delicacy of his attack and his sustained pianissimo is ravishing.

Robert Shaw's Festival Singers of the Ohio State University (Telarc CD-80325) are captured in a wonderful pure digital recording that frames the voices with clarity and passion that we must pray didn't disappear with Mr. Shaw. I felt surrounded by the blended and individual voices as the came from the C-7s. I planned to audition Robeson, Alfred Deller, Kenneth McKellar and a host of operas and operettas but my review time was sorely limited. I decided to end my vocal auditions with Legacy CD 333, Irish Traditional Songs, sung by Mary O'Hara. This delicate and ravishing Irish soprano has a very wide and lovely range. Her high notes have stressed more than a few of my visiting speakers. I could fill my ears and my room with her voice without a hint of stress. Bravo, Energy! Her harp gets full sonic reproduction as well.

Finally, I listened to a wonderful recording of Sir Alec Guiness's A Positively Final Appearance, a Penguin Audio book that I picked up on my last trip to London. I felt he was as much in the room as when I heard him live. Again, the unadorned human voice can be the triumph or the downfall of speakers. Rest assured, these lovely speakers did justice to the much-missed Knight and Companion of Honour.

As I write this on my computer in the relative quiet of the dog days (the dogs sprawled on the cool linoleum in the hall), I put on the Delos Music Surround Spectacular DE3179. The dogs pointed their ears at the excerpt from Also Sprach Zarathustra. Even an unadorned piano correctly recorded is enhanced by surround sound. And the texture of orchestral and ensemble work is greatly clarified. Now I wouldn't swear that was because of the C-7s because the decoder and amplifiers play a significant role in surround sound as does careful setup. The Shepherd's eyes got very big during the sound effects, but after six years, she tries to be blase. The Springer reacts to trains running through her living space and offered to kill me when a BBC recording of a train included a cow mooing on mike in what she took to be the middle of her living room. They both hate good bagpipe recordings.

When I played the sound effects, I ignored the warning about very loud passages. Unless you can cavalierly ship your speakers back to the makers, don't do that. The Energy C-7s came through with flying colors. Moreover, with my aging ears, I don't want to do injury to what remains of my hearing. I take everything over 8K on faith and when those member of the family who can hear, complain, I offer to let them fix it.

On balance, the Energy C-7s are sleek compact, and modern looking. Their sound is very good indeed as is their modest price. Audition them if you get the chance.


COPYRIGHT 2002 Sensible Sound

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.

Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Are Generally NFL Basketball Basic safety Mitts Important Or Otherwise Not

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