The best AUDIO wireless controller?

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Postby zamiel » 03/11/10 08:08 PM

Hi. I have Extreme Entertainment and it recommends getting the Virtual Soundman 7. However I noticed that there are a variety of these wireless controllers on the market now. I'm wondering what the top five are and if anyone has experiences with them and what you think about them? It appears that I will be spending a littler ofer a grand on which ever one I choose, so I just want to make sure I get the right one. Right now I do a lot of children's shows and am very successful with those. I imagine having one of these would make my show run a lot smoother. Thank you for any information!
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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/12/10 01:19 AM

Sorry to tell you this, but Virtual Soundman is out of business. That leaves you with three options:

1. iPod with remote RF control. Insert a blank track in between music cues to keep the iPod from sleeping. Inexpensive, works well. Make sure to get an RF remote, not an IR remote. RF does not need to be pointed at the receiver, it uses radio instead of infra-red.

2. Laptop with remote control, using a variety of software. With netbooks now small and inexpensive, this is a good option for the right show. I put up a website explaining how to do this ten years ago (yes, in 2000, before there were iPods). http://remotelaptop.tripod.com/ I explain it using Winamp, there is more sophisticated software available if you want to run lights, fog machines, etc. This also gives you the advantage of a really big screen which will display text showing you what track you're on.

3. The best purpose-built controllers are by Kerry Pollock, who started this whole thing. http://www.theceswebsite.com/ Check out his MP3 Tech, it's a very nice little unit. His customer service is regarded as superb.

And that's it, there really aren't any other options. It is possible to use the iPod technique successfully, I've tried it, and the laptop option works very well too.

Jeff
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Postby SteveP » 03/12/10 03:59 PM

I see a lot of people jumping onto the netbook option. I did as well. I had an iCue and wasn't happy with it and fortunately was able to sell it before the company went under.

My current system is a Dell Netbook - about $250 and I'm using WinAmp as the media player. It's controlled with an RF remote control that plugs into the USB port:

http://www.krubow.com/Products.htm (second item on the page)

It's $65 for the controller. The great thing about this controller is that it's completely customizable so you can determine which buttons do what. The controller looks larger in the photo than it actually is. It's less than half the size of a deck of cards and can either be worn on your belt or can work in your pocket.

WinAmp is really a great mp3 player because it too is customizable. You can either make the fonts very large to see the tracks or use your own custom album art to show the track number. There is a free plug-in for WinAmp that will advance to the next track upon stopping the current track. It already has a fade option. So by hitting "Stop" you will automatically fade out and advance to the next track in one action.
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Postby zamiel » 03/12/10 08:44 PM

Wow this is great news! I was expecting to have to pay over a grand and I wasn't going to be able to buy anything till the end of the year. Looks like I can start right away! Thanks a lot guys!
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Postby NCMarsh » 03/12/10 10:40 PM

I use the MP3tech in every show, and find it a superb solution. The service and support are outstanding, it allows for hands-free cuing with the ankle switch (which has been a big deal for me in a piece where a sound cue is critical and I am holding a prop with both hands), and takes up very little room in the pocket (and is easy to operate through the cloth)

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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/13/10 12:07 AM

I forgot about a couple of other options in my post above. To be complete...

iPod: Alex Hecklau has a book on how to use an iPod with a wireless transmitter and a wired remote.

Cesaral Soundmaster: Another purpose-build unit, the difference here is that it's designed to give you random access to any one of 100 sound cues. In other words, if you have a playlist in Winamp or on an iPod, you hit the "Next Track" button and go to the next track. If you have a routine that needs one of several sound cues, and you don't know which one you'll need until you're in the routine (reacting to a spectator, etc) then Cesaral's unit lets you push a button to trigger specific tracks.
http://www.cesaral.com/Cesaral%20Soundmaster.htm
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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/13/10 12:19 AM

Zamiel, the key thing is that all of these options work. The least expensive is the iPod and RF remote, but you give up some versatility in exchange for the low price and small size. It's a good choice if you're starting out and are just doing kids/family shows. Just make sure to get the right RF remote for your iPod, since there are so many versions of the iPod now it's possible to get a remote that wasn't designed to work with a specific model. Usually with kids or family shows you need a small or medium speaker and then you Velcro the iPod to it. If the speaker is battery-powered then you're good to go, just walk in, set it down and turn it on.

The netbook option is great and if you have the time to set it up at the show is very versatile and gives you a lot of control with a big screen for your cues. I haven't used the Rubow RF remote but I've heard good things.
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Postby SteveP » 03/13/10 11:59 PM

Jeff Haas wrote:The netbook option is great and if you have the time to set it up at the show is very versatile and gives you a lot of control with a big screen for your cues. I haven't used the Rubow RF remote but I've heard good things.


You really don't have to set up a netbook at the show. It's like anything else, you just turn it on. It takes me 5 minutes to set up my sound system. I'm using a Passport system with a wireless handheld Shure PGX SM58, a Dell netbook and the Rubow remote. Plug the Rubow receiver into the USB port, turn on the computer, place the speakers, plug in the speaker cables, turn on the Passport, plug in the mic and everything is ready to go.

All I have to do to the computer is turn it on. WinAmp and the software that runs the remote launch automatically. From power on to show ready is very fast. If you don't have a bunch of things on your PC to slow it down, they are ready very quickly.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 03/16/10 02:32 AM

Steve, thanks for the info on your setup.
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Postby Cesaral Magic » 06/06/10 05:37 PM

We developed Cesaral Soundmaster in order to be the best one ever done. It has many usefull features and remote controlling options.

Here you can read about it and see some demo videos:

www.cesaral.com/CesaralSoundmaster
...with the followings user/password (Be careful to type exactly this):
user: cesaral
password: soundmaster


I hope this helps

Cesar Alonso (Cesaral Magic)
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