Best/Cheapest/Easist Way To Burn CD's?

I've heard audiophiles put down CDR's. I honestly don't know why burning a copy of a cd can yield something less than the original, but that appears to be the case based on what I've heard.

I'm looking for an easy and relatively inexpensive way to make copies of CD's that will yield EXACT COPIES. In my research, I was told that downloading "Exact Audio Copy" was a great approach, though I must say that after downloading it, I was completely baffled on how to use it effectively. I looked for instructions online, and only found 50 page PDF instructions. This is just beyond my ability (or more likely patience) to pull off.

So now I'm looking at stereo component cd recorders. I actually bought a Philips CDR785 for $400+ when it came out 8 or 9 years ago or so, and it worked like a charm for about a year or so before the burning part crapped out on me. I'd get it repaired, but I'd rather spend the costly repair money on a new machine.

Now, that said, am I really going to get a higher-quality burn from a Marantz as opposed to a cheaper Sony or other model? I'm not talking about a unit to play amplified music through for enjoyment, but JUST for burning/recording purposes.

What are people's experiences in this whole area? What's the least I can spend to get an exact copy without going insane trying to use complicated burning software? Is there a school of thought out there about computer burners vs. stand-alone stereo component cd recorders? Does the brand of cdr REALLY matter? Will any name brand do or does it have to be Matsui or some really expensive brand?

Any input would be gratefully appreciated? I need to buy something that will fit my criteria soon...
Having heard many recordings created with many different recorders over the years, it's silly to put down CDRs in my opinion.

I've used a $600 Denon cd player/recorder for over 2 years now and can easily recommend this device without reservation as a way to achieve essentially perfect reproductions for very reasonable cost.

The Denon works reliably every time and the recordings sound every bit as good as the originals, even on my reference system.

I've also used computer-based CD recorders in the past....these were very much hit or miss.

Many audiophiles do not care for the sound of CDs compared to vinyl, for example, so its not surprising I suppose that many also would not take to CD recording.

I record mostly vinyl albums to CD-R. The result is essentially perfect reproduction of the sound of the vinyl but now on a CD. I can even now even have some of that vinyl sound that so many love in my car!

When recording from CD to CD, nothing is lost that I have ever been able to detect...and I am always listening for defects or imperfections in my recordings.

Shunning CD recording is really like looking a gift horse in the mouth, in my opinion.
The $600 Denon unit in my system makes perfect recordings every time. I can easily recommend it. I've used Fuji and Maxell CD-Rs with it for over two years and have never had any problem getting perfect recordings.
Exact Audio Copy is not that difficult to use. I would go through whatever setup it has and use the default settings until you understand it better. You just need to make sure you know where you are saving the music files on you hard drive so that you can find them to burn. EAC rips your cds to your hard drive and then you can use any burning software you want to burn cd-rs.

Don't give up on it yet. I think figuring out how to use it would be much easier than buying a copier.
I dunno where you got your info many argue that burned cd's actually sound better (I think the Black CD'S do sound better) and some argue no difference but I have never heard sound worse as long as done at regular speed and not compressed.
I know of units as low as $79.
Chandiz - you said you know of units as low as $79. Please do share what/where/how? Thanks muchly, and please continue to respond people as I'm appreciating the info I'm getting...
How about downloading a free version of i-tunes. Burn the CD into i-tunes and make your copy. Its also very easy to change the setting from MP3-to a wav copy. If you have a computer you have everything you need.
There are plausible theories as to why recorded CDs sound better, not worse, than the original. I don't remember the technical explanation, but I remember reading about it in Stereophile about ten years ago. There's a fair amount of information on the topic. I often hear that recordable CDs don't have the longevity of regular CDs, but that relates to the phuysical disc, not the quality of the audio on it.

Good point. The book is still open on the longevity of recorded CDs. I haven't had problems so far, but have only been doing it for 5-6 years now.

"Burning" in a lossless manner to file/server storage is an interesting approach as well, but there would be risk of losing the files somewhere down the road, I would think, unless they are also securely backed up to some media somewhere that the owner has unrestricted access to, like CD-Rs, so you are back to the issue of having persistent, accessible storage somehow or else you must trust others to preserve your stuff and always make it available for you as needed.
Use your computer to burn your cds. If you want to make an exact copy you can use a program from Slysoft called "Clone CD". Otherwise EAC, which I use, or dBpoweramp CD Writer, allows you to make compilations. Both work very well.
I bought a RCA double deck at Rat Shak 4 yrs ago but gave it away to a friend who helped me move, he didnt have a PC and it easy to use mine to rip and burn, I used Exact and although I dont understand it fully it works just fine.
Ok, let me ask this question specifically then, since it's info I still haven't seen answered.

Is there a general audiophile school of thought of burning cd's via computer vs. burning cd's vs. stereo component burner? is there one that's better than the other in any way in terms of quality, or is it just personal preference?
Here is an EAC tip:

Go to drive option, select "secure mode" under "extraction method" tap. that's it, it should extract every single bit of info from your CD out.

I use EAC for copying, but use iTune for ripping to my computer. EAC can easily take over an hour to read a CD, can't afford that when I need to rip hundreds of CD.

I would not think it possible to assert that either computer burning or stereo component burning is categorically better or worse. The technology required to do a good job is similar in either case and I'm sure there are devices that do a good job and others that do not do it so good on either side.

In general, a product from a company whose business is built around good sound quality rather than just software and hardware technology, should produce a good product in this category as well.

I chose the Denon based on the value, reputation of the company and stellar reviews it received by many on various web sites.

Generally, if see many positive reviews of a good value product by a good company, whose business is quality audio/video, like Denon, for example, you should be golden.
Exact audio copy is not that hard to figure out - just put the CD you want to copy, and press on the "wav" button on the top left, and specify where to save the file.

If you ask any computer savy friend, he/she will be able to help you out with that.

There are better sounding CDRs to use as you mentioned - Taiyo Yuden is a good sounding one that's not expensive like Mitsui - although Mitsui gold sounds a little better to me.

Also, burn it at the slowest speed for better results.

By the way, how do you like your music now, with all new gears? I hope you are enjoying it.

Well this interests me because I copy lots of cd's and I just use the Sonic DVD/CD burning program that came with my computer. I put the original cd in one drive, the blank in another, and make a direct copy of the cd. Since I am not ripping the cd to my computer, compressing files etc... I assume I am getting an accurate reproduction as long as the original is in good condition. Am I incorrect in this?

Might want to check this out...
Well I downloaded the software and came up with a dud as Fuerio can't recognize the cd writer in my 2 yr old Dell and I can't figure out how to configure them so that it does. I can rip copies using Exact audio, but then I have unusable wav. files that need to be converted to CD-A files. Does anyone have another suggestion other than buying software such as FX Magic Music?