Showtech Review

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Josh Jay » 08/25/02 12:06 AM

This is my first post on this site. I felt compelled to write in response to David Olivers article, Cue the Soundman. David is a good friend, a seasoned pro, and Im a fan. However, I respectfully disagree completely with his take on the Showtech by Wireless Wizardry (Kerry Pollock).
I swear by my Showtech. It has served me well. Contrary to Davids article, I (as a Showtech user) have never, ever had a technical problem with the unit. Sure, I had to learn to use it, but I would be nervous performing in a venue without it.
I just got done doing a run of nine 90 minute shows in the same theater. In all nine shows, I had absolutely no sound problems. I did all the cues myself with a remote about the size of a silver dollar. I pressed the buttons on the remote through my trouser pocket.
Ill also share one mis-hap. During my opening sequence (close-up magic at a table), the candle I use for several flash appearances of coins went out because of a draft in the theater. With the tiny remote in my pants pocket, I simply dipped one hand into my lap Slydini-style, hit the pause button, lit the candle again, and started the music. Certainly no sound man in a booth could have corrected the problem so smoothly. There was no overt sound cuing: the music mysteriously stopped, the problem was fixed, and the music started again. And, while I know nothing about the unit David uses and compares the Showtech to, he describes the remote as being clipped on the belt. The difference between getting to a unit on a belt and casually pressing a button through your pants is, to me, huge.
Also, David contrasted the remote units, claiming that the showtechs small remote has buttons close together that are easy to confuse. I disagree. Perhaps its just a preference thing, but the smaller the better! The versatility of a small remote is that it can be placed in a pocket in addition to cards, coins, and other stuff that might need to be stored on your person. And, Ive NEVER hit the wrong button. I have, at times, pinned the Showtechs remote at the base of my jacket so my fingers can curl under and hit it. And, at times, Ive used the ankle switches included with the unit. I see a smaller remote as a major, major, major plus. I simply wouldnt use a unit that clips on the belt. When I hit a sound cue, my fingers barely touch the front of my pants. The action is totally invisible.
As far as complaints about the showtechs reliability, I can only speak for myself. And again, since I dont own the Virtual Soundman, I cant compare. I will reiterate, however, that I just did nine shows, 90 minutes each, with just over 25 sound cues. I turned the Showtech on an hour before the first show of the evening (7:00), and turned it off as I left the theater (11:30). The Showtech never went to sleep as Davids friends described. I also used several other wireless devices in this show and have worked with others who have used devicesnever a frequency problem.
While Im sure the Showtech mis-haps David describes happened, Im not convinced there is no more to the story. Perhaps the users didnt know their equipment. Perhaps the power blinked off and back on. There are lots of other explanations.
Like David, I know a lot of the industrys top professionals use Showtechs. If the system is unreliable, why are they still using it? I cant answer that question for others, but I must assume its because it works. Anyone willing to invest 2400 dollars in sound cares about quality. For me, controlling my sound is one less person I have to depend on during a performance. Ive learned, through experience, that I can depend on the Showtech. And unlike the article in the September issue suggests, I think you can too.

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Postby Brian Marks » 08/25/02 07:51 AM

Hey Whats up Josh?

A 90 minute show is quite an accomplishment. I would love to have seen it.

The system works well for you. Thats important but if other system is cheap enough to buy two at the cost of one Showtech than you may need to investigate whether the MD system also works for you. If you rent out a theater, promote your show and buy all the necessary props for your effects, the show will be quite expensive. Should the Showtech break, get lost or stolen your in hot water. If both systems work well that you could use either, than is the extra money worth spending for the Showtech. Personally a $1200 system sounds better than a $2400 system if bith do the same job and sound is what were looking for. Just food for thought.

P.S. I dont do stage work and have no experience with with either system. I have not been paid by anyone to endorse a system but if you would be willing to do so...
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Postby Kurt Lee Flickner » 08/25/02 09:53 AM

I too disagree with the article,, I have been using the show-tech for about 7 years, and have not had the problems that the article implied to,,, I also did check out the virtual soundman, it had its limits, and did not offer all the posibilities and flexibility as the show-tech does.
Yes, the virtual soundman is a lot cheaper, and it is a nice option for those who do not want to spend the money to get the best, most versatile unit available.
Like the writer of the article stated, I too, also own 2 units, but mine are the show-techs, and I would not depart from either.
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Postby Guest » 09/01/02 11:14 AM

Hello Genii Forum,

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to Richard. I tried to post it in the Feature Articles section, topic: sound adivice. This is now locked up until Oliver responds. I will repost it there when Kaufman reopens it.

Dear Richard,

You and I have been friends for a long time and I know that had you known the facts about the music cueing systems inaccurately by David Oliver, that article would need to have been rewritten or never made the press.

I felt that the article was an unprofessional and unfair review. Comparing ShowTech to VSM is like comparing a Mercedes to a bicycle. Comparing the VSM with Wireless Wizardry's MiniTech would have been a more fair comparison. The ShowTech is a system that has many more features and is a Pro product. The MiniTech is comparible in features and price to the VSM imitation. (MiniTech was on the market ---- years before the VSM.)

I have been using music cueing systems from Wireless Wizardry since 1988. I was one of Wireless Wizardry's first clients. Kerry's technology never lets me down. I depend on my ShowTech for hundreds of performances each year. My ShowTech is a workhorse. I do a show where my ShowTech is responsible for twenty-three music cues, eight banner drops, and firing two confetti cannons. It all happens on time, on cue, every time. I never have a miscue.

ShowTech has a learning curve. What in our art that is worthwhile doesn't? The instructions are clear and the support from Kerry and Tim is top notch.

Kerry is a real performer and has created a product that is only limited by my imagination. Most professional performers are always evolving their acts. The ShowTech has helped me and many other pros raise the bar in our art.

Wireless Wizardry's ShowTech and MiniTech have been available for many years. Over ten years ago the MiniTech was called the ProDeluxe. I think it is a wonderful thing for us to have our own opinions and to be able to express how one feels, however Mr. Oliver needs to do better research before he makes these inaccurate reviews.

It floors me when people jeopardize the brotherly friendship which should the spirit our rare association as magicians. Oliver needs to apologize, the record needs to be set strait and lets get back to the professionalism and the love.


Giovanni Livera

Postby Brian Marks » 09/01/02 03:07 PM

David Oliver is a top notch professional with a stage act that fully relies on music. I have see the music in his act unexpectantly stop twice due to the failures of a soundman. In both cases David handled this with the utmost professional attitude. I am sure the MD system he uses works well and will probably suffice for most acts. The article is not the most well balanced or well witten articles. I know many you may disagree with the article or Richard publishing it but lets keep it the article.
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Postby Kurt Lee Flickner » 09/01/02 03:14 PM

Brian Marks
Member # 109

posted September 01, 2002 03:07 PM
David Oliver is a top notch professional with a stage act that fully relies on music. I have see the music in his act unexpectantly stop twice due to the failures of a soundman.
And since he admidted to never having personally used the show-tech or the mini-tech himself, we know he was using neither when he had those failures.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/01/02 03:45 PM

Listen, I closed the damn topic for a reason. I'm locking this one too. The next person who addresses this subject in another thread will get kicked off the Forum.
End of story.
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