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Roland's line of CD based digital audio recorders has a long history of solid quality and many useful features.  The new Roland CD-2i digital audio recorder shares a very similar visual design to it's predecessor, the CD-2e but replaces the old slot loading CD drive with a tray based drive and a greatly improved navigation system including larger, illuminated buttons.  Still, the CD-2i remains a mostly practice and rehearsal oriented recording and playback device due to some missing features that are describe lower in this review.  Selling for around $600 at retail, the Roland CD-2i has a mid-range price tag for this type of table top digital audio recording device but is it worth the money? 

To compare this portable audio recorder with other similar recorders from other companies please visit our Portable Digital Audio Recorder Buying Guide or our Desktop Digital Recorder Buying Guide


Major Features of the CD-2i:

  • Tray loading CD burner
  • Supports SDHC media cards
  • Quickly transfer music from SD to CD
  • Built in internal mics
  • Phantom power for external XLR mics
  • Karaoke mode
  • Large, illuminated buttons
  • Easy navigation and customization of settings

 

  • Guest - Chad Criswell

    Interesting Features of the Roland CD-2i Digital Recorder<br />One of the first things that stands out when you first use the CD-2i is the easy guide button sitting just above the main volume knobs. It allows you to quickly flip through all of the different modes of the device including advanced recording mode, erasing the media card, moving music from SD to CD, backing up CD’s, playing music in karaoke mode, overdubbing onto existing musical tracks, and rehearsal mode where the unit automatically sets the input levels for recording when a more advanced setup is not required. <br /><br />In addition to the easy guide functions the CD-2i also boasts a handy remote control which not only allows the user to start and stop recordings but also to change the key, adjust the playback speed, and turn the internal metronome on or off as well as adjust the tempo from across the room. In playing around with the unit for several days this reviewer also felt that the karaoke mode was well done, allowing the user to remove the center channel from playback in an attempt to remove the vocals from the song being listened to. <br /><br />Recording and Playback Quality of the Roland CD-2i<br />The Roland CD-2i has several different methods of recording using either the built in microphones or external mics. One big drawback that was noted was that while the unit has stereo inputs for two different ¼ inch microphone plugs it only has a single, mono, XLR plug. While this XLR jack does offer phantom power, the inability to record in stereo from an XLR source could be a problem. The quality of the recordings made with the CD-2i were quite acceptable when using the internal microphones but the unit did much better with higher quality external recording microphone sources plugged into it. <br /><br />On the playback side the CD-2i has a decent pair of speakers on it that are more than powerful enough to fill a practice room. The tempo adjustment and pitch adjustment features are easy to use but tended to produce a lot of audio artifacts when slowing down the tempo on certain kinds of music. There was no noticeable problem with the pitch change functions.<br /><br />Other Thoughts Regarding the Roland CD-2i Digital Audio Recorder<br />Compared to earlier models the CD-2i does make some significant improvements in both usability and quality making it a perfect addition to the practice room but falling short for larger venues like a rehearsal hall or for those that require stereo recordings using XLR microphones. In general though, the price tag and comparable features built into the CD-2i makes it a very attractive option for most home users seeking to purchase an easy to use, portable recording device that also can not only record to flash media but also burn those files to a standard CD when needed. Other nice features like the karaoke mode and CD backup mode are icing on the cake.

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