We want to record our services - should we use Cassette Tape or Digital Media?
If you are adding new recording equipment, now is definitely the time to record on a CD or Solid State recorder instead of tape.
Here are some reasons why:
1) Very few people can play tapes. A few years ago, people used to say " I want a tape so I can play it in my car". Now they say "I want a CD so I can play it in my car". Even seniors are saying they can't play a tape, only a CD.
2) The quality of Digital recording is far superior to cassette tape.
3) The life of a CD is far longer than a tape. Tapes deteriorate with age and use, CDs don't seem to.
4) The cost of a CD is lower than the cost of a cassette tape.
5) The cost of a CD duplicator is less than a cassette duplicator. In fact, I don't think you can even purchase a Cassette Tape Duplicator now.
6) A CD duplicator will copy a CD faster than a cassette duplicator will copy a tape.
7) Cassette tapes are almost extinct. When is the last time you saw tapes for sale in a music store? There are very few consumer cassette recorders made now. A professional Cassette recorder is almost as expensive as a CD recorder with similar features.
What is the difference between a CD Recorder and a Solid State Recorder?
In many respects Cassette Tape, CD and Solid State Recorders are very similar. In all cases, you simply connect an audio output from your mixer to the inputs on the recorder. If you already have any of these devices, you can simply disconnect your existing one and plug in the new one. The difference lies in the internal recording process and final product.
A CD Recorder produces a digital recording on a CD-R which can be played on almost any CD Player (some very old ones may have trouble). It can be Duplicated on a CD Duplicator and imported into a computer for editing, processing, duplicating and uploading, The quality of the recording is far superior to cassette tape.
A Solid State Recorder gives you the same quality of digital recording, but instead of recording on a CD, it records on a Solid State Memory card such as Compact Flash (CF) or Secure Digital (SD) card. This recording can then be transferred to a computer by simply connecting the Solid State Recorder to your computer using a USB cable and copying the file.
Which is better - a CD Recorder or a Solid State Recorder?
It depends on what you want to do with the the recording once you have it. Either device can produce the same final products, but the process of getting there is different. The significant difference is that a CD recorder can only record up to 90 minutes on one CD (in standard audio format) while the Solid State unit record time is virtually unlimited.
If you plan to simply record your service and save it on a CD, loan it out, or duplicate CDs from the master, without doing any editing, and if your recording is less than 90 minutes, then the CD Recorder is a serious consideration. Since you are not using a computer for any of this process, the steps involved are minimal.
If however you will be using a computer to edit, process or post the audio on a web site, you should probably go with the Solid State Recorder. This will save you money and reduce the time and steps involved. Once you have the file copied to your computer, you can do almost anything with it including CD production.