DVD recorders, Lite-On recommendation, Axiom Audio update

Week of April 23, 2006

Q:   When my sister and I would visit my parents’ house we used to love renting VHS movies and watching them together as a family. Then the video stores converted to DVDs. It would seem to be a simple solution – buy a DVD player.   However, my mother insists that she wants a combination VCR/DVD recorder.   This is because she has a vast library of recorded tapes and she wants to make DVDs of them     Mom feels it’s necessary to research which recorder is best.     Can you recommend which one you think is best so we can get it and go back to watching movies?

-Lori Malinsky, Minneapolis, MN

A:   I’ve been through a couple of DVD recorders myself and can offer my experience as well as   some choices.

From an image quality standpoint units from Panasonic and Sony are probably the best.   I myself bought a DVD recorder a few years ago and ended up selling it on eBay because it was so awkward and counter-intuitive to use.   When the columnist dumps the product, you know there are some issues with it!   My experience was typical.   Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show it was revealed that component DVD recorders had a 60% return rate… so for every ten the store sells, six would come back.

Last year I tried a   Lite-On DVD recorder and was very pleased with it.   It was much easier to use than any other recorder I tried, and it could record video on any recordable disc- even CD-Rs (though at lower resolution).   The image quality is a bit behind the big-name recorder I had and it can be noisy at times, but it made making DVDs fun and easy, making it well worth the trade-offs.

So if your Mom is an electronics whiz, I’d recommend a Sony or a Panasonic.   To make DVDs easily, I recommend a Lite-On.   They can be seen at www.liteonit.com

Axiom Audio Update

Readers of the column know that I am a big fan of Axiom Audio’s speakers,, given their excellent sound quality, wide range of offerings at reasonable prices, excellent service and support, and great value for the money. Readers who have purchased Axiom Speakers on my reviews and recommendations have been universally satisfied.

I mentioned Axiom in print last week and visited their website and see if there was anything new.   What I found was the “Custom Shop”, one of the coolest online configurators I have ever seen.   It is sure to be a boon to those trying to achieve a certain look or to match speakers to room décor.   (That would be 100% of married guys!)     Getting the wife to approve of new speakers can be a battle sometimes.   The Axiom Custom Shop should help you win the battle and get some real speakers, instead of   teacup-sized ones chosen for their unobtrusiveness rather than their sound quality.

Usually a speaker company offers at most two to three finishes for a particular model of speaker.   Axiom now provides more choices than any other speaker manufacturer, with a degree of customization I have never seen before.

There are two sections to Axiom’s Custom Shop- one section with 15 new vinyl finishes, one section with custom wood finishes.

Some of the vinyl finishes, such as Sorrel Pear and Russian Maple, were unique and especially attractive.   Grills can be chosen to match the chosen finish.   Don’t scoff because it is vinyl- Axiom’s vinyl is outstanding in both its appearance and its durability.

When specifying wood, you choose the type of wood, then the stain, then the finish (gloss or semi-gloss) then the grill… the options are almost endless.   I spent a lot of time on the site trying different combinations- it was fun!

Even taking into account the cost for the custom wood finish, the speakers are still a great value at their price points.   See the Axiom custom shop at www.axiomaudio.com.

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