Escient introduces the ultimate CD source with TuneBase 100. Housed in a stylish and compact chassis, this entry-level configuration allows you to easily find, select, play, and control your entire CD collection with the simple touch of a button. TuneBase 100 comes equipped with a fully integrated IR receiver and a hand-held IR remote for smooth sailing through Escient's latest graphical user interface on a normal TV or display device. TuneBase 100's enhanced graphical user interface shows off a vibrant color scheme that makes it even easier than ever to find and listen to CDs. As with all TuneBase products, you can simply connect the controller to an existing or new system as you would any other video source component such as a VCR or DVD player. And don't worry-Escient's unique disc-recognition technology still operates behind the scenes, keeping TuneBase in a class by itself, and you fully in touch with the music!
There is an annoying delay before the data comes up on the touch screen. Menus are confusing, user-unfriendly. This thing is not fun to use. If the keyboard is on top of a counter while the base unit on on a shelf below, the wireless doesn't work. I had to remove the keyboard from the shelf and bring it in front of the base so it would work and I cant hold the keyboard and type at the same time. Some information about a disk was saved, I tried to erase it but couldn't figure out how and the system locked up and said "updating please wait" after waiting an hour I restarted the system. Don't waste your time with this system. Get an iPod with dock for a third the price, it does the same thing. Everyone has a computer already, how many gigs do you really need? 60 gigs holds more songs than you'll ever need.
If you have a large CD collection of over 300 CDs, then this is a great product to help revisit all those CDs that you just never get a chance to pop in the player. These were pretty expensive when new, but second hand units can be found on eBay for under $300.
System: The Tunebase 100 is just a managment system. It provides an Internet connection to identify all CDs and songs just like MP3 music managers do, like iTunes. It allows you to organize your music into categories and playlists, and provides an automated connection to multiple CD changers to play the music. The system can be used with the supplied remote, the supplied wireless keyboard, or an optional touch panel. The system also integrates with AMX and Crestron via RS-232.
- The unit looks good and fits right in your rack with the rest of your equipment. Good set of connections on the rear, though lacks component outputs if you need them for an HD pre-amp or display.
- Interact with your CD collection on your TV screen. Now you will listen to CDs that you had forgotten about and have gathered dust in your collection!
- The graphic interface is nice. It gives you the ability to access CDs by cover photo, individual songs, artists, playlists or genre.
- If you can afford the touch panel (Escient ETP-1000), it works very well with the system. Definite coolness factor. The panel was made by ELO, and you may be able to get versions on ebay that work with the drivers built into the Escient for less.
- Autobuild works great. It correctly identified and cataloged almost 100% of my collection which was mainly rock, pop, soundtracks. Uses CDDB (Gracenote), just like iTunes, so accuracy will be better, since Escient applies some fuzzy logic to the process as well to increase its accuracy, from what I have read.
- Graphics and lettering are large for easy visibility... of course the downside is that less informtion is displayed on the screen.
- This is not an MP3 type device, so you listen to the full bandwidth sound from your changers. No audio issues or running out of hard drive space issues with this unit.
- The user interface was definitely tailored for use with a touch screen panel. Trying to use the cursor buttons to page up/page down gets a little tiresome. The alphabet bar is good for searching by name, but again... really only works well with a touch panel.
- If you have a large collection, searching by cover is tedious since only 9 covers are displayed at a time. Searching by Titles is not much better since it can only fit 3 titles on the screen. Recommendation is to create the play lists, hit random play and just listen to music for days.
- Noise. This unit is actually a PC with a hard drive and cooling fan. Just like all the other PC based convergence products, you get disk noise and fan noise. Not any worse than other components, but if you like your home theater quiet... put this behind glass in a cabinet, or in a rack in the closet.
- The Internet connection is a dial-up connection, so you need a phone line for the unit to connect to the Internet, just like all the Tivos and DirecTV units out there. The connection is a free 800 number, so no charges. It would have been nice if they would have included an ethernet connection.
Changers: Up to 3 changers can be supported. Both Denon (discontinued) and Sony CDP-CX changers can be connected. Sony changers are definitely the way to go as they are easy to get and cheap. If you connect 3 CDP-CX455 changers, you can store and play 1200 CDs through the Escient system.
- Very easy connections to the changers with absolutely no issues. Definitely stick with the Sony changers... the connection cable is a standard mono cable available at any Radio Shack, and fully supported by the supplied SX-300 Sony S-link adapter. If you need longer cables so you can place your changers away in a closet, you can get them cheap and easy on the internet.
- Supports disc cueing on Sony changers, so that if the next song to play is in a different changer, the system will cue it up so there is no delay. Note that the delay between CD changes is dependent upon the speed of the changers, not the Escient system. I think my Sony CDP-CX355 changers average 10-12 seconds for a CD change at max.
- The Sony SX-300 adapter is not integrated with the unit, but connected to the unit through an RS-232 cable, and requires separate power. Requires a bit more thought about placement, and creates a nice mess of cables behind the unit. Once installed, it is difficult to remove.
- Audio needs to be run from each changer to your audio system. When using multiple Sony changers, you can daisy chain the audio, but this is not an audiophile's dream system.