The Best CD Recorders and Recording Systems of 2023

These digital audio recording systems can help preserve your music

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The best CD recorders and CD recording systems can help you recover and preserve some of your older music stored on mediums that are incompatible with newer technologies. Since almost everything has gone digital, listening to music stored on records, cassettes, and older mediums is difficult.

CD recorders and CD recording systems will do something called ripping, which essentially converts the music from an analog format into a digital format, such as an MP3 or AAC file, stored on a CD. Once the content is on a CD, you can listen to it on any CD player.

You can also convert the files into a digital format to upload to other media devices, like your phone. In some cases, you may even be able to store those files on a flash drive for playback on modern audio systems or upload them to a music service.

Best Digitizer

HopCentury Remote-Controlled Music Digitizer

HopCentury Remote-Controlled Music Digitizer


What We Like
  • Works with virtually any medium

  • Convert CDs, cassettes, and records to digital formats

  • Includes remote

What We Don't Like
  • No built-in CD player

  • Supply your own storage

While it’s not solely a CD player or recorder, this HopCentury Music Digitizer will capture audio signals and save them in a digital format, such as MP3. You can use a USB flash drive or SD card to capture the audio. Later, you can take those storage devices and transfer music to a computer or another drive or upload it to a cloud service.

Ultimately, the system allows you to preserve and digitize your music collection, even on older mediums like records or cassettes. Recorded files are stored in 128Kbps 44.1Khz dual-mono format, equivalent to CD-quality audio.

The remote makes it easy to start and stop playback and begin recording. The digitizer features both an RCA input and a 3.5mm audio in (AUX) port and a separate 3.5mm line out so you can listen in.

Speeds: N/A | Inputs: RCA, 3.5mm (AUX), USB, SD card reader | Outputs: 3.5mm line out | Dimensions: 2.59 x 2.44 x 0.91 inches

This is a more affordable and versatile option for those who already have the perfect audio recording or playback setup and don’t want a whole new system.” — Briley Kenney, Tech Writer

Best Pro-Grade

VocoPro CDR-1000 Pro Single-Space CD Recorder

VocoPro CDR-1000 Pro Single-Space CD Recorder

B&H Photo

What We Like
  • Professional-grade standalone CD recorder

  • Includes RCA, digital, and headphone ports

  • One-touch erase for CD-RWs

What We Don't Like
  • Advanced specs unavailable

  • Meant for a rackmount

This standalone CD recorder is designed to slide into an existing rackmount, taking up 1 RU of space. In real-time, it can burn to and playback CD-Rs, CD-RWs, 8cm CD-Rs, and 8cm CD-RWs; no additional equipment is needed. However, you will need to connect the audio equipment you wish to record from.

Erasing CD-RWs for reuse is quick and easy and can be done at the push of a button. The same is valid for finalizing CD-RW burns. Inputs include RCA and XLR audio, as well as digital coaxial. There’s an RCA output and a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen in during recordings. Advanced specs are limited, including sample frequencies and audio recording quality.

Speeds: N/A | Inputs: S/PDIF coax, RCA | Outputs: 3.5mm AUX, RCA | Dimensions: 22 x 18 x 8.5 inches

If you have a professional rackmount with enough space, this CD recorder is a solid choice.” — Briley Kenney, Tech Writer

What to Look For in CD Recorders

Inputs and Outputs

You want to ensure your chosen CD recorder will be compatible with your existing equipment. Does it include an input to hook up your current player, whether a record player or cassette deck?

Recording Formats

True to their name, most CD recorders will record audio streams directly to a disc. However, some also record in digital formats like MP3 or other mediums. Consider what you need your recorder to do, and go from there.

Live Monitoring

You can always listen in with headphones to ensure the recording is going well, but the CD recorder or system must support it. If you want to do this, look for a headphone or AUX output you can use to listen live.

  • What Mediums Can a CD Recorder Extract from?

    It’s all about the inputs of the CD recording system. With an RCA input, for example, any devices that support or have RCA out can be plugged in, with the audio recorded and burned to CD. As long as the devices are compatible, you can record outbound audio (inbound on the recorder) to a CD. 

  • Do CDs support lossless audio formats like FLAC?

    Yes, they do, but because lossless files have higher fidelity, the digital files are larger, so you cannot fit as much music on a CD. FLAC files are about six times larger than MP3s.

  • How do you consolidate your music collection?

    If you have a lot of CDs you can use a computer and ripping software to convert them to a digital format. That would allow you to upload the content to streaming services, or store them on a phone or portable media player.

    If you have a lot of older mediums, like records, cassettes, or even eight-track tapes (Stereo 8) you’ll need to convert them using a recorder, much like the CD recorders listed above. You will also need to connect the original media player(s) into the recorder because they’re usually not directly compatible with older formats.

  • If your player cannot read your CD can you still convert it?

    It depends on the physical damage that the disc incurred. Sometimes you can get lucky, but it’s safe to assume that if the CD won’t play in a home theater system or CD player, then a recorder is not going to be able to extract the audio.

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