Harman Kardon CDR 20 CD Recorders/Players

CDR 20

Dual-Drawer CD-R/RW Recorder

The 4x-speed CDR 20 enables you to preserve your vinyl or tapes in the crystal-clear, durable CD format. The CDR 20 can make recordings from external analog or digital sources, or can dub entire discs or a programmed mix from one deck to the other. The two decks can function as either a 2-disc changer, or dual sources in a multiroom application. The 96kHz/24-bit AKM D/A converters preserve the sonic quality of original recordings. Front-panel digital input and headphone jacks offer the level of convenience that you have come to expect from Harman Kardon.

User Reviews (32)

Showing 1-10 of 32  
Marzbonfire   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 29, 2015]

Not happy, all I get now is disc error on my left tray so I have to use the record try to play my cd's which renders recording and the unit useless to me, If anyone knows a solution please let me know.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
3
Patrick Case   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 08, 2012]

Oh well, I hate giving bad reviews but here goes. I thought that this deck would be a great idea because I had a huge project in mind - the conversion of all of my vinyl to CD.

For about one year, I diligently used the CDR20 to record my precious vinyl to compact disks. Then while surfing the Internet, I came across the Music Hall brand off CD player. So I bought one.

About two months into my ownership of the Music Hall, I devised to run a comparison between the two machines, the CDR20 and the Music Hall. OMG what a difference. It's hard to express how unbelievably superior the Music Hall was in terms of simple musicality. Everything was suddenly just there with the Music Hall - everything that had been muted, yes muted, by the CDR20.

Soon after running the comparison, my son came over for dinner and I told him about the "test" that I had conducted. Until that time, his attitude had been the same s mine - how could there be any difference between digital music players?

While running the comparison for my son, his jaw literally dropped. He couldn't believe the diffence in musical experience between the two machines.

I'm not saying the the CDR20 is a "bad" machine. My first CD player (one f the first produced) was a Harmon Kardon. I am saying that there is a wide difference between players and that you get what you pay for.

As I am about to divest myself of the CDR20, I reflect on the folly of slavishly following every new tech trend. The CDR20 offered the opportunity to give new life to old vinyl and to invigorate existing CDs. In the end, it's revive was sturdy but mediocre. Given a second opportunity, I wouldn't buy it.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
amclaussen   AudioPhile [Jan 29, 2010]

AVOID IT. Avoid any dual deck Harman Kardon CD recorders at all cost! Those are badly designed and assembled, will work for a few months at best, and then start to trash top quality Music CD-R's of several brands. After a couple of years mine also started to skip when playing perfectly good best quality CD's also!

Problems frecuently start when trying to "Finalize" recordings, the units display a "Disc Error" message, or the newly recorded disc does not play or read at all on other units... damn, even on the left side of the same Harman Kardon recorder! Mine is NOT the only one that failed, several other I have seen have similar behaviors and sympthoms. General consensus is that a huge lot was defective, but the extent of the defective units suggests design or construction problems. Now, when it worked (about 20 to 30% of the times initially) it produced good copies of CD's, but some times those were playable only in the same unit. Lately, even the left side deck (the player only) started to skip badly. A Lemon, a piece of crap, nothing more.
I will NEVER buy another Harman Kardon unit at ANY price. (unless it is a vintage, before 1980 unit, when Harman Kardon was a respectable company and not the bandits run group it has become). amclaussen.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
Tommy121   AudioPhile [Nov 30, 2005]
Strength:

Works well as CDR

Weakness:

Isn't the best CD player you can get, or even close, but then it does a sufficient job in this sphere for most people I imagine. Build quality!!!!

Purchase price in £ Hmmm. When I opened the box, I frowned at the (relatively) miniature dimensions and slight weight of this unit. (my MF amp weighs 40 KGs combined and my speakers 50 KG each...) It didn't look especially promising either. The CD drawer mechanism is crap a really tinny plastic affair... Hooked it up (with misgivings) to the amp wondering what it would make of the CDP aspect of this item. Or rather, I wondered what my Thiel CS 3.6's would make of it, since my amp tends to be quite forgiving, unlike the speakers which show every flaw possible of any piece of equipment (amp, speaker cables, badly recorded cd's etc). Well I was quite impressed. For its price this player wasn't bad at all. For sure its soundstage was far from perfect, lacking definition (despite help from a forgiving amp). But it was listenable to... and for the price I paid I really couldn't complain at all - it had decent musical characterics with good treble, mid and bass. After all this isn't really a CDP & obviously isn't going to outperform a dedicated CD player at 5x its original list price is it? As a recorder this unit is perfectly acceptable - the CD quality does depend a bit on the quality of the disks used though. With good disks (and recorded at 1x speed - leave it working while you're at work) it did a very good job. Which is what I bought it for. That's fine then.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Phil   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 29, 2003]
Strength:

Sound quality is excellent

Weakness:

none

I first reviewed this recorder in September 2001. I have been using it since then and am very happy with it. Initially, I was having a problem with some of the copied discs skipping when played on other recorders, but that problem seems to have worked itself out (knock on wood!). I have made many discs over the last two years and the sound quality has been excellent. I have made copies of LPs that have also been excellent.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
jim mezz   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 16, 2003]
Strength:

Great sound, easy to use.

Weakness:

Simply would not play properly. I tried two units--both malfunctioned. Nothing but a tepid apology from the manufacturer.

Sorry, but my advice is, avoid this product. The first unit I received malfunctioned, and when I exchanged it for another unit, that one also malfunctioned. The problem was with the lefthand player, the one that plays but does not record. With certain tracks, the unit would skip twenty seconds ahead at the start of the track. This happened with a variety of CDs, old and new. To make sure it wasn't the CDs, I played them in the righthand player, and there was no problem. When I received the second unit, I had even more of a skipping problem, with more of my CDs. Again, I could play the CDs in the righthand player without a problem. The company rep's response was that it might have been a bad batch of units. I realize these are mass-produced, but I wasn't very impressed with this response. This was my first experience with Harmon Kardon, and it has been a totally negative one. I returned the unit and got my money back, and I definitely don't plan on trying any of their products again. The player did sound great--regular CDs and the ones I recorded, both digitally and analog (turntable). And it was easy to use. I was new to CD recording, but the manual was clear and the whole process was a snap. As a matter of fact, I came to view the unit as being somewhat schizophrenic--the righthand, player/recorder unit never gave me a problem, the lefthand unit was like the Bermuda Triangle. I guess if I was using another digital source for recording, it wouldn't be so bad, but I bought the unit precisely to have an all-in-one player. I appreciated the recording level graphics, and especially liked that they always appeared, regardless of whether you were recording--made it easy to match recording levels. I was a bit disappointed in the fit and finish and general ergonomics of the unit--I had a Sony unit previously, and it was just more of a pleasure to use. Specifically, the buttons were all kind of small and a bit chintzy. The analog recording level knob especially--I absolutely loved having such a feature, but the button itself was cheap plastic and wiggled a lot. But for me, all of this is irrelevant, because the thing just wouldn't work properly. Of course, if the digital source of your dual-deck CD recorder doesn't work, your digital recording options are greatly limited. Too bad, too--the unit sounded so good. A real disappointment.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
k_man   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 09, 2003]
Strength:

Relatively easy to use. 2 trays makes for easy copying. Plus digital and analog outputs.

Weakness:

Constantly breaks!! What a piece of junk. Sorry I ever purchased..

I bought a new factory refurbished unit - CDR20. Thought, what the heck, for $200 bucks, when normally $499, it appeared to be a deal. How wrong I was... Unit worked perfectly for about 3 months. Then I noticed that it recorded skips into the copies. The source material was a brand new cd. So I sent back for repair. That is when the odessey started. It took 8 weeks to get back from HK authorized repair shop. To summarize, they gave me the runaround. The authorized repair shop finally, after 6 weeks tried to fix it but it still would not work! Very incompetent and lazy customer service people and repair center. Finally, they send me a DIFFERENT unit, since it took so long to fix. That unit worked like a charm for about 3 months. Then I noticed it recorded hiss into the copies and the unit itself started making a wierd clanking noise. HK begrudgingly agreed to pay for shipping this time to the repair shop. Similar to before, it took 9 weeks to fix. Thus far it works... Very sorry I purchased. Soured me on the company.. Luckily my Infinity speakers work flawlessly, I would hate to think of sending 70 pound speakers back and forth to repair centers!! Experience - thus far 2 players have mal-function. Customer service was incompetent..

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Boor   Audio Enthusiast [May 10, 2003]
Strength:

Ease of use. (After figuring out the features and steps...be patient!!) Very nice copies off vinyl.

Weakness:

Some cd's don't want to record at the 4x speed. ???

Purchased remanufactured unit on ebay. After figuring out what all this machine can do and how to use these features, I must say that I am VERY pleased with it. If recording vinyl to cd is what you have in mind than I would highly recommend this unit. I suggest recording on a cdrw first so you can edit as you go and then recording the finished version onto a good quality cdr. (The manufacturer lists suggested brands of blanks to use) The editing feature allows you to erase one song at a time or the entire disk. Very handy when the need to correct any booboo's comes up. I have had NO problems getting ANY of the copies to play in a range of different players including car,home and/or portables.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
adamblue   AudioPhile [Dec 28, 2002]
Strength:

CD's created by the CDR-20 do NOT play on about 25% of CD players....even CD players that are capable of playing CDR cd's.

Makes good copies if you only use it at home and play the copied CD's on the Harman Kardon itself. CD's created or copied on the Harman Kardon CDR 20 only play on about 75% of other cd players. MANY car stereo systems will NOT play CD's created on the CDR-20.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
Astrol   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 17, 2002]
Strength:

Sound quality, recording quality at all speeds, remote, build quality, attractive fascia, manuals

Weakness:

Similar to everyone elses: headphone implementation

This is a very capable CD recorder in all respects with excellent quality. And, as a personal bonus, I'm pleased to say I am extremely happy with the playback sound of this player/recorder. I have found the detail and control in bass, mids and treble provided by the CDR20 to be at least the equal, if not superior to, anything I've yet tried as a player. Admittedly this list does not include anything as capable as say, the AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 but then nothing surpasses the sound of tubes IMO. Copies at 4X are virtually indistinguishable from originals. The ease of dubbing or making a compilation is something I really appreciate. Several previous reviewers have already commented on the heightened analog sensitivity for LP and/or tape sources. Factor in the excellent remote, the very readable manual and quick start guide and finish with the very good build quality (yes, the deck transports are a wee noisy at spin-up) and this is altogether a very satisfying package. I use the H/K 510 and 310 in my systems and simply love the 'musical' sound that H/K delivers. The AKM DAC's in the CDR20 did not disappoint me and I continue my preference for using the analog path with this unit. I guess my ears just naturally prefer the extra detail, especially in the mids-highs, over the smoother sound of digital. I ordered my CDR20 through HarmanAudio.com for $200 and got the original warranty to boot. So far my collection of several H/K remanufactures spanning one and a half years has a perfect operating record. I highly recommend them as a source for quality at a great discount. The current 20 is now being offered as the new CDR26...essentially the same machine. If you need a very capable recorder and prefer to buy new, give this unit a look-see. You might just find as a bonus a more than capable player lurking underneath.

Similar Products Used: JVC, Philips, Marantz, etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 32  

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