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Old 12-13-02, 07:47 PM   #1
Zack!
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Post Remote Controlling Your Sound Cues

OK...there are three contenders here.

(1) Kerry Pollacks Show Tech and mini tech.
(2) The Virtual Soundman
(3) The Cuemaster Pro

There's also a guy here who built his own, using an off the shelf remote and a laptop:

http://www.members.tripod.com/remotelaptop/index.html

The showtech is prohibitively expensive for me. It does have the benefit of being able to control ANYTHING. However, Fog machines, lasers and strobes can be easily fitted to a simple on off remote. I see benefits to having multiple remotes in that you can put them in whatever prop you are handling during the cue. You can buy on/off remotes at www.X10.com

I want to set off a fog machine and a strobe during a floating table routine, so it makes sense to put those remotes IN THE TABLE, since both my hands will be busy.

OK heres what I see as being the benefits to buying an off the self system like the VSRC or Cuemaster.

1) RF remote as opposed to IR. THis means that the signal is broadcasted over radio waves, so it doesn't have to be aimed...the remote can be fired from your pocket...your lapel, anywhere. I THINK that you can get a mini disc player that comes WITH an RF remote.

2) Very good range. Majiloon claims the VRSC has 150 feet. The remote in the above link has only 100. (See the remotes homepage at http://www.l3sys.com/index.html)

3) An interface that is specifically designed to be operated by the performer on stage. However the cuemaster uses a standard garage door opener "keychain" remote. This has the benefit of being small and concealable. The genii guy liked the large remote on the VRSC, however, since it was easy to find the controls, and he claimed that it rode unobtrusively on his belt.

A couple of things.

(1) How much range do you need? Does the Player (CD, MD, MP3, whatever) have to be in the sound booth? If they can wire a microphone, they should be able to wire a small cd player to the stage. Then your player can be easily hidden in your propcase or on top of the speaker. I believe that there are cd players that come with RF remotes…then its just a matter of training yourself to manipulate the remote without looking (This may be easier said than done). You could also pipe your laptop out to the speakers and use the PC remote. If the playback device is on stage with you, then you only need the range to be as big as the stage.

(2) I suspect that a large amount of the expense in both the cuemaster and the VSRC is the software…this is a strong argument for the laptop solution. (Of course, if you don’t have a laptop, then its more expensive, but the laptop can be used for other things.) A laptop might get stolen at the venue, but then so could a cd player.

With additional off the shelf software and midi cables, you can control your lights, fog, etc from the laptop. A palmtop would be even better, if you can find a PS2 adapter for a palm.

X10 also makes a PC remote that is much cheaper. Its at http://www.x10.com/products/x10_mr26a.htm#

However, I’ve heard that people have had problems with x10 stuff. It may not be reliable at that price. Also, I was not able to find out if it would work with the small keychain remote, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t. But then I know nothing about this stuff.
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Old 12-13-02, 09:44 PM   #2
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You could just use a cordless mouse. They come in both IR and RF versions. Setup your software to trap and count mouse clicks to playback your audio.

Non obtrusive foot switches might be useful as well.

Be warned, the more complex the system, the harder the fall when it crashes. It's a high price to pay having your music shut down for a couple of minutes while you reboot in the middle of a set. Man, I hate it when the music doesn't work right...

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Old 12-13-02, 11:35 PM   #3
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I am using foot switches to set off the pyrotechnics in my show.
Call me old fashioned, but this is something a don't WANT to be able to control with a belt clip remote.

I checked out the link on that magic forum... man and I thought street performers were bitchy!!! Anyway, someone made a good point that just because you can do EVERYTHING with a tool doesn't mean that it is right for you. The VSM is just what I need for now. It controls my music in a variety of ways, it can control my pyro, but I won't let it.

etienne
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Old 12-14-02, 08:39 AM   #4
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I used a very low tech answer this summer in Harvard Square. I burned a CD of my music and sound effects in show order. I glued a small nut to the play button of a $19 CD player and plugged it into my amp can. It worked a treat for me, but I do magic and it was fairly easy to be in the same spot when I needed to cue the sound. In order to pause between sound effects all I had to do was step on the switch again. I know this probably isn't practicle for a lot of you, but if you have the freedom to walk around it isn't a bad work around not to mention dead easy. I will probably keep it as a back up. Because WHEN stuff goes wrong, you gotta' do sumthin'.

Best,

Dan-
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Old 12-15-02, 02:00 AM   #5
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I don't get it, Danny. What did gluing a nut onto the thing do for you? How were you clicking it? with your foot?
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Old 12-15-02, 02:05 AM   #6
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There was another low tech solution proposed on another board:

Get one of those teeny tiny MP3 players, and a "Y" splitter and run it through your wireless mike transmitter.

What do you sound guys think of this one? Will it work to put two audio signals through the same transmitter? Or will you definitely get feedback?
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Old 12-15-02, 02:07 AM   #7
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Also found a resource on building your own PC Remote:

http://www.wd5gnr.com/rfrem.htm
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Old 12-15-02, 07:59 AM   #8
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[quote]Originally posted by Zack!:
<strong>I don't get it, Danny. What did gluing a nut onto the thing do for you? How were you clicking it? with your foot?</strong><hr></blockquote>

It is one of those small "walkman" type players. The play button and the pause button are the same button. Gluing a nut on it made the button higher so it would be the first thing my foot would hit while stepping on the player.

This way I was able to play/pause with just a step. I burned a CD on my computer in show order. So all I had to do was to step on the nut to cue the sound and to pause it.

I have no forward or back control. Just play and pause. My show is only about 20 min. long so it worked out rather nice for me. I would imagine that a person doing a bigger show would not find it half as useful, but one never knows.

I also have it 'hard wired' to my amp can with a 12 foot cord. VERY low tech.

Best,

Dan-

[ 12-15-2002: Message edited by: Danny Hustle ]</p>
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Old 12-15-02, 03:57 PM   #9
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MP3's downloaded from the net have variable sound quality. You may not get feedback, but the volume could be at different levels for different songs and there will probably be a layer of static underneath the music.

You will have the same problem with MP3's ripped from your own CD's unless you use a ripper that has a high bit rate (256k+). Most of the stuff you see on WinMX and Kazaa is 128.


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Old 12-27-02, 12:29 AM   #10
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The y connectors were one of the first things I tried. Used an MD player, for the first attempts. Was not working at all. Finally started asking around in music shops, and was told I wund need a inline mixer or I would end up harming the transmitter. Bought a IR remote controlled mp3 player instead and found the directional issue too annoying. Still checking out other solutions.

Stickman

[quote]Originally posted by Zack!:
<strong>There was another low tech solution proposed on another board:

Get one of those teeny tiny MP3 players, and a "Y" splitter and run it through your wireless mike transmitter.

What do you sound guys think of this one? Will it work to put two audio signals through the same transmitter? Or will you definitely get feedback?</strong><hr></blockquote>
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Old 04-13-03, 04:10 PM   #11
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Before I shell out for the Virtual Soundman, I thought I'd re-open this thread. Any new developments in starting and stopping the music by remote control?
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Old 04-13-03, 04:49 PM   #12
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I had this theory about a top end palm top computer and Voice recognition software...
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Old 04-14-03, 01:08 AM   #13
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I use the MD remote system developed by Kelly Duro (aka The Virtual Soundman) www.Majiloon.com ... it seems to have all the bells and whistles of the Show Tech at about one fifth the price ... it seems to work well (though I have an old model) ... I use the battery powered one for street and an AC one for indoors ... I've had some problems with the thing shutting down when I ad lib too much but I think there are ways around that I haven't explored.

[ 04-14-2003: Message edited by: Butterfly Man ]</p>
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Old 04-14-03, 11:26 AM   #14
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Hey Robert,

You used to have a little foot pedal trigger for your music... did you use that with a Minidisc or Cassette player? What was the setup for it?

Thanks - Kim
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Old 04-14-03, 11:29 AM   #15
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[ 04-14-2003: Message edited by: Kim ]</p>
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Old 04-14-03, 01:46 PM   #16
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Hey Kim,

Yeah, I remember that footswitch pedal thing ...unfortunately, that was before I switched to a minidisc, so it was just a cassette tape on/off switch ...

... come to think of it, I've been on the street so looooong that I remember using a reel to reel when I first started.

... somebody shoot me ... please.
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Old 05-07-03, 03:42 PM   #17
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I bought a $200 4 channel mixer 100 watt PA system and one of those rechargeable portable power supplies. (17.5 amp hour battery, charger and 300 watt inverter, all in a plastic case, $150) I'm going to plug the PA and my wireless mike into the AC outlets on the power unit. The power supply unit also has a ciggarette lighter outlet for DC power. For $80 I can get a car stereo CD player that has pre-amp out RCA jacks that should go right to the RCA jacks on the PA system and I can plug the car stereo into the DC socket on the power supply. The car stereo has a neat little wireless remote and I should be in bizniz.......right?
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Old 05-15-03, 07:32 AM   #18
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Bunny

I've been toying with the idea of buying a Boss Sp 505 Groove Sampling Workstation.

Pluses:
1. Big number key touch pad. Hit it once... bam! music instantly... hit again. Bam! Stops.
2. Fairly small about the size of small portable computer.
3. Can add more music with memory cards
4. Lots of other effects and whatnot
5. Simple design.

Negs:
1. Have to plug it in.
2. Doesn't store much more than 5- 5 minute long songs... (that might include some memory, but MY memory is faulty)
3. Lots of potentially unnecessary features.

The best part is that the music comes on instantly. Which is a major drawback to MDs.

I just found this link... I don't know about this store... but there is an image so you can see what I'm talking about.
http://www.zzounds.com/item--BOSSP505

[ 05-15-2003: Message edited by: AirJaiR ]

[ 05-26-2003: Message edited by: AirJaiR ]</p>
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Old 05-25-03, 12:45 AM   #19
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The Groove sampler thing is cool but it doesn't have a remote, so it seems like an expensive way to go just to get rid of the pause before the sound comes on. Anyway, the set up that I describe in my last post is working perfectly. The portable power supply has plenty of juice for me to do four 20 minute shows. It powers the 100 watt PA, the car stereo and the wireless mike reciever. I got Mp3 editing software for $20 and cut and pasted fanfares, drum rolls, TV themes and the sounds of The Stooges abusing each other. I have the car stereo remote clipped to my vest on a little retractable real and I can start, stop, switch tracks, control the volume, pause, mute and Bob is indeed my uncle.
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Old 05-30-03, 03:09 PM   #20
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Already responded, but can't delete. Fourm leader over here. Grin

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