The 6 Best CD Recorders and CD Recording Systems of 2020

Listen, record, and enjoy

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"Whether you have a vast music library that you want to make backup recordings of, or are an audio recording professional, the Teac CD-RW890MK2 is the best recorder available."
Runner-Up Best Overall:
Tascam CD-RW900 Mk. II at Amazon
"Tascam offers a solid runner-up to the Teac model with their CD-RW900MK2 recording unit."
"The Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Multimedia Center is the perfect audio recording, playback, and transfer device for anyone who has a very diverse music library."
"This unit features a very compact and lightweight design that is easy to carry from room to room, and it also has flexible wall or battery power options if you need to make transfers or recordings on-the-go."
"For anyone looking to digitize their CD collection, but don't want to spend a fortune on a recording system, the HP external disk drive is an affordable option."
"The Tascam CD-RW901MKII is built from the ground-up to be the ultimate studio recording system."

The best CD recorders and CD recording systems are designed for both music collectors and audio professionals. If you are looking to convert your physical music library into digital files that can be easily searched and better for travel, there are recorders made with vinyl turntables and cassette decks so that you can digitize a variety of mediums. For serious vinyl collectors, many turntables are compatible with both LP and 45 RPM format records, and there are even a few that can play 78 RPM recordings; these options are best for anyone who has very old or rare recordings from the early days of home entertainment. If you're an audio professional, the top-tier recording systems are designed specifically for mastering studio and live recordings for the cleanest, most true-to-life music possible. 

They also have robust anti-shock protection to prevent recordings from getting ruined by occasional bumps and knocks when recording in live venues. For anyone who is looking to make physical copies of digital albums, there are simple, external disk drives available that allow you to quickly and easily make backup copies of your digital library or custom mix CDs for road trips and personal listening. Many of these systems are available at very affordable price points, often under $100, so that even casual listeners and the most budget-conscious customers can find a CD recorder to fit their needs. We've rounded up our top picks to help you decide which CD recorder or CD recording system is right for you.

Best Overall: TEAC CDRW890 Mk. II CD-Recorder

What We Like
  • Auto stop/start

  • Auto track number assignment

  • Anti-vibration design

What We Don't Like
  • Very heavy

  • No on-board cassette deck

  • Limited input/output connections

Whether you have a vast music library that you want to make backup recordings of, or are an audio recording professional, the Teac CD-RW890MK2 is the best recorder available. It's capable of both analog and digital recording, so everything from vinyls and cassettes to older CDs can be copied and transferred in high-fidelity recordings. The centralized disk deck features anti-vibration construction to reduce mechanical noise and "buzz" for clean, crisp audio transfers. Along with intuitive, and simple push-button controls, the unit detects audio signals to automatically stop and start recordings or transfers when the signal begins and ends. 

It also takes the guesswork and tedium out of labeling track numbers by automatically detecting silent intervals and assigning track numbers to active audio signals. With an easy to read LCD display, a quick glance is all you need to know how many tracks have been recorded or written, and how long your new CD will play for. A headphone jack is built into the front of the unit so you can privately listen to your new recordings or monitor audio while you transfer music.

Runner-Up Best Overall: Tascam CD-RW900 Mk. II Professional CD Recorder

What We Like
  • Analog and digital recording

  • Custom track divisions

  • Mountable design

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Limited input/output connections

  • No onboard cassette deck

Tascam offers a solid runner-up to the Teac model with their CD-RW900MK2 recording unit. Like the Teac, it's capable of both analog and digital recording and music transfers so your vinyls and CDs alike can have high-quality copies made as backups to your library. The unit itself is designed to be either placed on a table for easier movement around your media space or mounted on a shelf for permanent installation in studios and better anti-vibration protection to prevent poor recordings and transfers. 

The unit uses an advanced audio codec as well as wide dynamic range technology to capture every note and rich tone, keeping your transfers true to their original recordings. The front panel features intuitive controls for custom volume levels, track divisions, and even the ability to insert silence between tracks for easier distinction between songs. There is also an LCD display for accessible information on recording time, track numbers, and other information you need to make quality recordings and transfers. The built-in headphone jack lets you privately enjoy professional quality audio or monitor your music while you transfer vinyls or cassettes to CD.

Best Built-In Speakers: Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Multimedia Center

What We Like
  • 8-in-1

  • Remote included

  • Cool aesthetic

What We Don't Like
  • Very heavy

  • Can't replace phono cartridge

The Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Multimedia Center is the perfect audio recording, playback, and transfer device for anyone who has a very diverse music library. It can play vinyls, CDs, and cassettes as well as FM radio stations, and connect to your phone or computer via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable to play and create MP3 files. For vinyls, it not only plays the more common 33 and 45 RPM recordings, but it also can play 78 RPM recordings; which is great news for anyone with very old or rare vinyls from before WWII. 

The front of the unit has all of the controls you'll need to switch between playback formats, radio stations, and control volume or playback. It also comes packaged with a remote for more control options. The hinged top opens to reveal the vinyl turntable and closes to protect the unit from dust and damage, as well as to complete the vintage radio look of the unit. The multimedia center comes in a variety of colors so it can blend in with almost any decor. 

Best Portable: Roland CD-2u SD/CD Recorder

What We Like
  • Battery or AC power options

  • SD card reader

  • Can make custom karaoke tracks

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Has a steep learning curve

If you don't have a set media room in your home, the Roland CD Recorder is the perfect way to digitize or make backup copies of your music library. This unit features a very compact and lightweight design that is easy to carry from room to room, and it also has flexible wall or battery power options if you need to make transfers or recordings on-the-go. The LCD display can be set to one of six languages for ease of use and shows all the vital information you need when making mix CDs or copies of vinyls. 

You can not only write CDs and create MP3 files on your computer, you can also transfer music files to an SD card via the built-in reader to playback on your computer if it isn't available at the time of recording. If you want to make your own, original music recordings, this unit has a built-in metronome and controls for changing music keys and playback speed to create custom tracks. It also has inputs for XLR microphones with 48V phantom power so you can record vocals wherever you are. If you and your friends are karaoke fans, this unit allows you to create isolated instrumental tracks to your favorite songs for custom karaoke playlists.

Best Budget: HP External Portable CD/DVD Read/Write Drive

What We Like
  • Under $100

  • USB power/data transfer

  • Mac and PC compatible

What We Don't Like
  • No way to digitize vinyls or cassettes

For anyone looking to digitize their CD collection, but don't want to spend a fortune on a recording system, the HP external disk drive is an affordable option. This unit retails comfortably under $100, so it will fit all but the tightest budgets. It connects to your Mac or PC-based computer via a USB cable to transfer data as well as provide power, eliminating extra cords and cables that can clutter your work space. 

It features an incredibly slim and compact design that is perfect for tucking it in a drawer or on a shelf when not in use and keeps more desk space open for other work when you are using it. It is compatible with a wide range of disk formats, including DVDs, so you can create custom mix CDs for road trips or personal listening or make MP3 backup copies of your music library. With fast read and write speeds, turning your CD collection into an organized, easily searchable digital library is quick and easy.

Best Studio: Tascam CD-RW901MKII

What We Like
  • Onboard memory

  • Fade in/out settings

  • 4-second anti-shock protection

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  •  Steep learning curve

Professional musicians and audio engineers need a CD recording system that has all the features they need to create master recordings. The Tascam CD-RW901MKII is built from the ground-up to be the ultimate studio recording system. It features a variety of inputs and outputs for microphones, speakers, computers, and other recording equipment you may use in a session for both analog and digital signals. It also has improved firmware and codecs for seamless track markers to create continuous live recordings with minimal interruptions or dead-air as well as an advanced chipset to help create crystal clear, true-to-life recordings. 

The front panel has controls for stopping and starting recordings, volume, fade in/out settings, and even playback pitch and key controls for custom vocal recordings. The CD tray features anti-shock protection up to four seconds, meaning that errant bumps and shocks won't ruin your master audio. If you need to take a break during your session, the unit has onboard memory storage to save your recordings so you can pick up where you left off after lunch or the next day. 

The Teac CDRW890MK2 is a great CD recording system if you want professional-quality MP3 files of your vinyl, CDs, and cassettes. It features simplified inputs and outputs so even novices can quickly digitize their library. The LCD screen gives easy-to-read information so you know exactly how many tracks have been recorded so far. The Tascam CD-RW901MKII is designed specifically for music and audio professionals. It has more complex inputs and outputs along with specialized functions and controls for creating master recordings of both studio and live performances. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for Lifewire, Digital Trends, TechRadar, and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.