Escient Tunebase 200 CD Recorders/Players

5/5 (1 Reviews) MSRP : $1495.00


Product Description

The latest in the line of state-of-the-art music-control systems, TuneBase 200 enables users to instantly access their entire CD collection through a simple, yet powerful, graphical interface, which can be displayed on any standard television and is compatible with touch panels and leading industry control and audio distribution systems. The product provides the most convenient and technologically advanced CD access and management available today, at an accessible price point.


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User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by brunob00 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2004

Bottom Line:   
This unit is the updated version of the TuneBase 100 CD Management system, and what an update it is! This a 100% improvement over the Tunebase 100. These units were expensive when new, but second hand units can be found occasionally on eBay or Audiogon for under $500.

The user interface is very similar, if not exactly like the Fireball. The major difference is that the Tunebase 200 does not support any MP3 or FLAC music file management. Consider it a CD-only version of the Fireball, which manages CDs AND electronic music files. Given the movement to MP3s and other electronic media, this may be the best and final version of a CD-only management system.

SYSTEM:
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The Tunebase 200 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, an optional wireless keyboard, or an optional touch panel. The system also integrates with AMX and Crestron via RS-232.

Pros:
- The unit looks good and fits right in your rack with the rest of your equipment.
- The graphic interface is beautiful. Much better than competitors Xiva (iMerge, Marantz, Sonance, etc.) and Audio Request. Lots of information. Intuitive menus and movement. Access CDs by cover photo, title, songs, artists, playlists or group/genre.
- The touch panel (Escient ETP-1000) works great. The display changes slightly to require fewer touches. Nice feature. 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.
- Escient taps CDDB for music information just like iTunes, and a separate database for cover art. It correctly identified and cataloged almost 100% of my collection which was mainly rock, pop, soundtracks. The cover art hit rate is near 100% for pop and rock, but 60% or less with soundtracks or other compilation CDs. The user interface does give you the ability to tweak the Artist and Title information (spelling, wording, etc.) to get the right cover.
- This is not an MP3 type device, so you listen to the full bandwidth sound from your changers.
- Searching is easy. Use the remote to specify a letter and the Titles scroll right down to that letter. One key flips between Title, Cover, Artist, Song views. Easy access to groups (Rock, Pop, etc) is much improved over Tunebase 100.
- Group and Playlist management is much improved over the Tunebase 100.
- Allows look-ups by slot range. If you add 10 CDs in slots 190-200, Autobuild can run on that range to save time.
- You can perform all functions from the standard remote.

Cons:

- Noise. This unit is actually a PC with a hard drive and cooling fan. If you like your home theater quiet, put this behind glass or in a rack in the closet.
- The Play Mode, which allows you to pick random, sequential, or repeat play is on a second screen. Should be available on the primary screen.
- The screen saver option displays the current playing cover and song title in random spots on screen. Visualizations or other types of screen savers would have been nice.
- Speed. Some functions slow as you max the system. If any one has upgraded one of these units, email me.

INTERNET:
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- The free 800 number that was available with the Tunebase 100 for dial up internet is gone. Now you need to provide your own ISP dialup. A pay-per-minute connection to BAM-NET is offered for those without an ISP.
- No direct ethernet port is provided. You need a USB ethernet adapter. Escient doesn't make any suggestions due to continual changes by the manufacturers, so you are on your own to find one that works. I tried a Belkin 10/100 adapter and it works great.
- HPNA is supported. If you have it in your house, this system will plug right in.


CHANGERS:
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Up to 3 changers can be supported. Sony is supported through 3 built in S-Link ports. Other brands that can communicate through RS-232, though you are limited if you want a touch panel or AMX/Crestron controller.

Pros:
- Integrated S-Link connections for Sony changers! No more outboard adapter. The Sony changers give you bigger changers (up to 400 CDs) + disc cueing, so that if the next song to play is in a different changer, the system will cue it up so there is no delay.
- Integrated audio. Three digital inputs and a single digital output to your pre-amp or receiver. The Tunebase 200 does the switching and makes sure the right signal gets you your system.

Cons:
- Support for the Powerfile changers Escient created and sold with Powerplay DVD management systems would have been great.

** Escient - please build an S-Link to Firewire adapter so we can use the MC-201D changers! Just 3 S-Link inputs, 3 firewire inputs, and a firewire to SPDIF/Tosklink converter to connect to the Tunebase and Fireballs **

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002




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