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Majiloon
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Hey, thanks Jeff I'm sure that will be helpful.

I cannot however pull that site up on my new Mac, but that’s my problem. I'll get my wife’s PC up and check it out. I'm glad to see helpful attitudes, I guess it makes a difference when you deal with professionals.

I really don't use much special effects anymore. Occasionally I will use some of my experimental stuff. That's how the VSM was born and your idea about pneumatic is dead right on. I have been developing some stuff with pneumatic, semi pneumatic, and muscle wire triggers for about 3 years already.

When I develop something in the field, it takes about a couple years before I bring it out. The VSM 7.5 took $65,000 for everything; research, engineering, prototyping, field testing, tooling, inventory, upstart, ads, that's a lot of commitment. That is why I get a little worked up when people trample on my work without knowing what they are talking about.

The ideas and improvements come from my customers and folks just like you guys, over the years. I just have a knack for making them become real! But I am not ready to tell you about the pneumatic stuff yet. Sorry Jeff

Salazar, I really don't know how the Mini tech ankle switch works but I have developed a switch by talking to customers over the years (how I do everything) and I coach the customers over the phone on how to best use one.

So far I think it works fine. It's a matter of how you position the two sides and how you stand or walk into the actuation. I won't go into detail here now but maybe later. In any event, the switch itself is perfectly matched with the right shape and strength magnet. That took a couple years to research and I am satisfied with it and so is most everyone who goes with it.

If you are satisfied with your Mini Tech- then stay with it. In the mean time, just keep yourself in touch with my web site, and you may eventually see an advancement you think worthy of switching to. I am always developing something and the VSM is not finished, but it is pretty good right now.

Cheers, keep it real
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Salazar Magic
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Quote:
Salazar-- I really don't know how the Mini tech ankle switch works-


On the Minitech, One ankle has the magnet, the other has the remote. It's exactly like the other keychain remote with working buttons. Except it will pause and play your music when it contacts a magnet.
Majiloon
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Hi Salazar,

I was afraid of that (the switch is inside the key fob opposite the magnet on the other ankle). I am pretty sure that this is a problematic configuration, generally speaking. From an engineer’s standpoint, having a magnet in close proximity to a transmitter while it is expected to send a signal is actually a bad idea.

I will tell you that the magnet will create an interfering field (magnetic as one pole is opposing the opposite) if this field comes in close proximity to the antenna it is possible for the magnet to reshape the signal generated from the key fob.

There are invisible waves encircling the magnet and the size a shape depends on the strength and material used in the magnet. This invisible field has to come close enough to trigger the Reed switch that is embedded inside the key fob. The reed switch is what closes when it comes close to the magnet momentarily this mimics the pressing of the button for Play to pause- or visa versa.

However, since this reed switch is inside this very small transmitter, then it will be within a small fraction of an inch from the embedded antenna, which will inevitably come close enough to the path of the magnet in order to trigger the reed switch. I hope you are following me. So in effect, the magnet will actually help create an obstacle for the transmitting signal thus not being fully recognized at the receiver once it finally gets there it will literally be hit or miss.

Magnets are used to erase videotape, programmed chips, and believe it or not- if you place a magnet close to a battery long enough, it will kill the battery completely.

Some people will have no problem at all- with this key fob configuration and think that I am nuts but they are probably inadvertently facing the key fob in such a way to eliminate just enough magnetic fields to work proficiently without even knowing it.

The best way (and this is how I have been doing it all along) is to have a short 2 conductor wire come out of the key fob. A short lead into a separate reed switch i.e. in the case of a key fob, you could have 2 straps, one at the calf (for the key fob) and the other at the ankle (for the reed switch).

Or one strap with the key fob on the
outermost side, and the reed switch on the inside of the ankle, to meet up with the magnet coming from the opposing inside ankle.

Hope that helps. It’s late and I don’t know if I spelled everything right or made sense. As an engineer/inventor- sometimes it is difficult to talk tech. Fortunately I am also a creative type and can key in on what you need to know visually.
Cheers!
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Salazar Magic
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So, What would have happened if we BOTH had a VSM? Would it have interfered?
glodmagic
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My favorite all around PC RF remote for MP3 computer control is the RemotePoint by Interlink.

Click Here!

You can program the many buttons to do PC functions (like controlling your MP3 software). It is a standard in corporate Boardrooms which is where I learned of it while perfoming a couple of years ago. Excellent radio frequency performance. USB or PS2 interfacing included.
Remember ANY of your posts here can be Googled by your customers and Clients. Just entering your name in Google can bring up your negative comments that stay for years!
Jeff Haas
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Glod,

That's huge compared to the one I've been using:
http://www.l3sys.com/keyrf/keyrf.html

See my web page about configuring it to trigger cues in Winamp:
http://members.tripod.com/remotelaptop/index.html

Jeff
Majiloon
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Salazar,

Every RF unit comes with it’s own frequency- the American standard is 418 MHz- but- every RF device has it’s own decoder- there are probably 3 most commonly used in the field we are talking about- Motorola, Toshiba, Holtec, and they are not intractable. I use the Holtec- which is the most expensive, and least used.

If someone is using the same frequency as my 418 MHz, and the same decoder- then the last line of defense is the Key… figuratively speaking- it is called an ‘address chip’ This is like putting a Zip code on your letter to ensure that the letter gets to the right place and not some else’s by mistake. The ‘Address chip’ has between 300-13,00 different combinations to work with. Both transmitter and receiver are set to the same address. So the chances of your VSM interfering with another VSM are very unlikely to say the least.
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kenscott
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I must say like I said in earlier post that I have had my showtech for almost 11 years. I bought it in 93. I confirmed this with Kerry that he was indeed making them then and the minidisc was available then.
I speak only on the showtech that I am confident in the machine to control my music. In fact I have two showtech's units.

In regards to the AM / FM. The showtechs are made with AM with MUCH smaller remotes. I have read that you cannot go far with the AM remotes and this is just not true. I have since upgraded my remote since I bought the unit in 93. I put the unit in the back of a 2000 seat theater and have NO problems with my unit being that far from me.

As far as the smaller remotes I create magic with music my controlling my music and having all the controls in my hand with the remote. I have seen the larger remote that is FM and it was clipped on the belt of a peformer. When he wanted the music to start he would go to his belt. So everyone knew how the music was started. My question what else do you need in a remote? My "AM" remote can start, stop, pause, go back to a track, go forward, and control the volume all in one small remote that is concealed.
There was also a problem that I saw in which you had to stop the music after each track.

Now in my show it is important that I stop/pause the same track and press the button again to continue where I paused the track. Can someone tell me if this can be done now with the VSM. Yeah, I wished the unit was cheaper in price. But I am using this in ALL my shows and it helps me make money and generate business just by adding music to my show.

Since I started lecturing 3 years ago I am happy that I have turned people onto the showtech or the mini tech. I have seen guys that have bought these units and they have taken their shows to the next level of professional.

David Kaya aka Silly Billy and I did a column together in magic some months back. And have heard from many that have the VSM and swear by it, which is great. But we have also heard from guys that have the showtech and love it. We also heard from people that have had problems with both the VSM and the Showtech. I think it is great that people have options and can choose which to buy.

Just my 2 cents.
Ken Scott
magicguy22
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Thanks for reinforcing the good fortune that you have had with your AM Showtech! I agree that part of the 'magic' of any performance is the seamless/ >invisible< control of your music.

Whether that control is by a real sound-tech or by the performer using a remote system, like the Showtech, it must be >invisible< to the audience to be magical...or at least not take away from your presentation.D.C. uses this line of thinking. His lav mic is completely hidden >beneath< his clothing.

I also agree that "palming" the Showtech remote [size 2.2" x 1.7"], is easier than reaching for the VSM remote, [size 2.8" x 2.2"], on your belt or trying to hide the VSM remote in your hand.

Just my opinion/ thoughts. Whatever that's worth.

seeya
Majiloon
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Hello, Salazar, FM TRANSMITER SIZE?

I understand your perception of the size of an FM transmitter I get this a lot! However, I can make it smaller, but it is simply not practical in all of my surveying, canvassing the industry and self-testing through the years.

In this same research I have found that there is a definite crowd who believe the smaller the transmitter- the better. I can exhaust this topic with several turns in both directions, but I won't belabor the topic here more than I have to.

I don’t want people to take this thread into that direction, as it would be counter-productive. However, my viewpoint has never been addressed here so I will take the time to carefully outline my perspective with regard to answering your question.

What it comes down to in the end is “Preference”. Some feel that hiding the transmitter suspends the ‘magic’ of the show. I contend that if you have to reach for your front pocket for a “small transmitter”, your chances of fumbling is more than having a transmitter anchored in the open. Which, where upon the audience recognizing this ‘pocket fumbling’ will inevitably become distracted? Defeating the purpose of having a wireless remote control in the first place.

They may also, and rightly so, assume that ALL of your magic is done by hidden remote control. But then again who says that the FM transmitter has to be in the open? It does not. And can easily be hidden and can operate with an Ankle switch just as easily as the smaller key fob, So you may actually not even touch the FM transmitter the entire show. This is so for me, and many others.

One main reason that this “hiding the remote” became popular may be because that is how it first came on to the scene. AM remotes galore for every effect under the sun and you don’t want to expose the “magical” remotes. They are only magical if you treat them so. Otherwise it is a discrete utility just as your wireless microphone.

Nobody in their right mind watching a large show actually is fooled into thinking that you have the ability to magically make your voice come through the speakers without the aid of a microphone, and whether it is hidden or not, you're still using one and every one takes it for granted and ignores it, unless you are fumbling with it.

When in reality, in all the years that I have been using remotes, and mine in particular, the audiences do not care nor do they know I am operating my own music. I have occasion many times to demonstrate the operation to certain audience member’s afterwards and they are still amazed.

I could paint the FM transmitter red with White polka dots and they would still not know! Whether I reach to my belt or to my pocket is a matter only in the mind of the performer, which brings me to my final and most important point.

The point that I eventually have to make (interestingly enough is always to magicians) is that the only thing your audience cares about is that you don’t take you eyes off of them. (If you catch my meaning) That is why I have decided to keep the FM transmitter just the way it is. It is easily hand accessible and ergonomic to the touch, so that your hand moves over the surface intuitively, so you never have to take your eyes off of the audience to know what to press.

The longer you are in this “show business” the better you will come to understand that it isn’t about the effects but about what’s inside of you. Your audience wants to know that you love them (sincerely and undistracted. The ‘act’ of performing should be a mutual attraction and if you shine from the inside, they won’t want to take their eyes off of you, even if you were unfortunate at birth to be ugly. And you know who you are.

If you think that the FM transmitter would be distracting, have you thought about just how many other places in your act that are distracting? The size of your transmitter may be the least of your worries. Please don’t be offended I am just trying to shape the argument in a way to get you out of your head.

If the transmitter is distracting, it is because it’s in your head when you should be wearing your ‘heart (skillfully) on your sleeve’ so as to entertain your audience. Charisma comes from the heart, not the mind, and certainly not from gadgets no matter how small. In my humble opinion, and respectfully,
Cheers
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kenscott
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In regards to fumbling the remote. I NEVER Fumble the remote. The remote is apart of me. And yes I think it would be a distraction to have to go to your belt to hit a button.

Could you imagine if you where watching David Copperfields show and the sound guy was on stage or in front instead of in the back how that would look? I my opinion there is magic using music and concealing the remote and yes keeping eye contact is important.

I had asked a couple of questions about the VSM in my last post? One is the remote, why so many buttons? The AM remote stops, starts, reverses, forwards, fades out, volume control. Can the VSM pause on a track and start again where the music was paused?

Ken
Renaldi
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Ken,

I agree that the invisibility of the remote is very important. The Show Tech unit shines in this regard.

I do not believe that the VSM can pause on a track and start again where paused. That is why your question has most likely been ignored by the manufacturer of the VSM.
Just my opinion.

Cheers.
Salazar Magic
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Quote:
I have the Music interrupt button on the transmitter so it can be toggled On/Off during the show, I also use that same button to turn off the auto advance- so the music can stop in place instead of advancing to the next track.
Partizan
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Let me tell you how I would approach this problem of triggering sounds...

1 x laptop with a good sound card.
1 x wireless keyboard and mouse
1 x strong stomach (used to handle the butchery about to happen on the KB)

Dissasemble the keyboard.
Remove the board used for RF TX.
Get a CB from a video/cassette/old tv. that has switches small enough for use and with wires still attached to all vital parts.

attach the switches to the RFcb. See what controls (ascii) values you have control of.
Use the ascii signals to trigger soundcard/MP3 player.

By getting the smallest keyboard you may be abel to use the Fkey strip as your buttons.

All I'm saying is. strip a RF keyboard down to what you need. There are many websites that cover the wiring of keyboards and other external devices.

PS. most laptops now are bluetooth active. This is another method of control.
Look at circuit boards used in wireless control (Maplin/Radio spares). They do have bluetooth CBs to experiment with, but you do need a good background in electronics.

Also. Look to understand SOUNDFONTS (creative soundcard). this will give you great sample playback.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
Jeff Haas
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Partizan,

No need to do all that. I found an RF remote that emulates a keyboard and is re-programmable.

See my page that describes how to use it to trigger Winamp (or other software.)

http://members.tripod.com/remotelaptop/

Bluetooth...interesting. But doesn't it usually have a limitation on how far it can work?

Jeff
Partizan
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Bluetooth...interesting. But doesn't it usually have a limitation on how far it can work?
----------------------------------------------------
Yes, but you can improve the power with a basic knowedge of radio amps.

Nice work around on your page. Souds like a good method for a trigger.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
RKappe
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Wow! This will be my first posting. I logged on to get some feelpngs on the remote sound control stuff. I build Radio control magic that has been marketed. Internationally. From very simple analog to coded PLL. My first sound commander, I built myself for my personel use. I have been using radio equipment since I was 11. From AM CB to commercial FM. The fact is folks, regaedless of the size of the transmitter, FM is the cleanest signal. Cell phones are FM, Police radioes are FM, Family Radioes are FM, and the best car sounds are FM. I stumbled across an ad for the Virtual Soundman two years ago. No offense to the SHOW Tekkies but I was thrilled to see FM. I too, cringed at the size but took the plunge. I have never been happier. Adding this type of versatility to a performance catapultes your professionalism. I have shown clients how I controlled my music and they're amazed. I've re-booked many times after this demo. It also satisfies the "HOW DID YOU DO IT'S." I've found the belt placement of the transmitter perfect for me. It's a matter of preference.
Now for all the fighting. There is no need to fight so much. The Show Tec is expensive no doubt. The VSM is too big and the Stage Cue is too small. The best way to control your music is with a well rehearsed, sober sound Guy. He can even wear a foil helmet to avoid EMF!!!
I just wanted to ask If anyone saw the new Virtual Soundman with the built in led display? It looks cool and the price seems reasonable. Maybe that Majiloon is responding to customer feedback. I noticed he offers a small keyfob remote now. Take a look. I'm really curious. I wanted to upgrade to see my track displayed and it was too expensive up till now. It seems like a less painful(FINANCIALLY)option. I perform full time
This is my business and I need dependable stuff. You can also place the AM receiver on alarge square of foil 2' suqare and create a ground plane to enhance reception.
Thanks for any comments.

http://www.majiloon.com/
Decomposed
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"The simplest method to work music on stage is to do what Duane Laflin does. Run a long line to the Minidisc player on stage. Then put the minidisc player where you can just push the buttons yourself! (I talking about the buttons on the unit not a remote.) While it doesn't give you the freedom of the a wireless remote, it's pretty foolproof. "

Michael,

This is where I am now after using a Panasonic DVD player with a remote. The player skipped badly but the remote was awesome.

I now have a discman attached to my Amp via a 16 foot wire. Not great but beats no music at all for now.

Candini

When I turn off and back on my Sony Discman, I believe it starts from the same point.

This may be a cheaper alternative and please, if anyone could comment on this $25 IR remote from the Shack, I would appreciate it. If it would cue my disc when I plug it in, that may solve my problem for now.

http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?ca......=61-2667
Majiloon
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Hello, (Candini)

No offence- but this mentality is prevalent with those who refuse to acknowledge the truth about their finances. You know you need it but you justify spending less by tinkering with a cheaper way to do the same thing.

It reminds of the guys who say that they would rather spend $30 for a pair of pants instead of a pair that is much better made and will look better longer. He wears his cheap pants until they rip a hole in the crotch live on stage! Then he wonders if he made the right choice, by then its too late.

Or the time I decided to build my own computer, thinking that I knew what I needed, and I could customize it myself. So I buy all the parts during a 3 month period- get it all together, with the updated Modem, turbo cooling fan, 8X writable DVD drive, 200Gb hard drive, Wireless LAN, Blue tooth receiver, 17 inch .23 pitch monitor, and so on. When I get it all finished- after 3 months of scavenging, I see an add in the paper for the same set-up, with updated hardware I could not find- but for $1900- and I look at my Amex bill and it says $2900. Great- now I will be paying for outdated machine that never worked right especially after I installed Windows XP.
I ended up dumping the computer in the trash, and buying a new Apple system all in one, and the only reason I am looking back is that I have an Amex bill that I am still paying for 3 years later!

Hello?!

I know Duane Laflin and he is a likeable guy, and I have seen him perform with his persistent walking to turn his music On/Off- or (getting his props)… And this idea is no different than people have been doing for years. No offense, but this extra walking bit is a distraction for audiences, and his idea or copying it is not progressive.
Look, buy a system- I don’t care if it’s mine- or Kerry’s, but get one, and improve what you do now, and make it more powerful. Give yourself the ability to make invisible commands without distraction, control fading; navigate to proper tracks undetected, adjust volume, give your self automatic pauses, and add music to areas of your show that are slow, or weak. But don’t try to re-invent the wheel!

If your are making $1 dollar for your presentation- you must either have the mindset that you owe it to your audience to give them more than they expect, or you are a cheapskate- and you career will be filled with misery for shorting your customers.

If someone is thinking that ‘I cant afford the good stuff’ anyway- then you need to grow up- and re-evaluate your spending habits, and re-prioritize your finances, or consider a career change. Because, What’s worse than seeing a clueless clown using the music from the movie ‘Psycho’ while performing a sponge ball trick?

Answer; Magicians overcharging for a poor performance while not knowing that the crotch of his pants are split open.

Cheers
Kelly Duro
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truthteller
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Allow me to add my two cents, please.

I have many friends who swear by the show tech. I have also been to many of my friend's shows and seen the system fail. Excuses always abound, but they still preach the merits of the Showtech. I think it may be an attempt to justify in their minds the price they paid.

Having said that, I have TREMENDOUS respect for Kerry Pollack, and have seen him perform many times all without fail. So, clearly his system does work. In fact, it was the system I was going to buy just based on my faith in Kerry.

Than another friend told me about the VSM. He showed the unit to me and I was totally unimpressed. It was basically a little plastic box and a remote.

Then I saw him perform. Here was a magician, a consummate amateur, who I don't think ever made it successfully through a full performance, BUT his music cues went off without a single problem. I found that interesting.

Then, a used VSM 6.0 became available at a good price and I thought I'd try it out.

Let's just say that within 3 months I upgraded to the latest model and will tell anyone who is interested in adding music to their performances that the VSM is the most incredibly reliable, simple to use system available. It may appear simple, but it is deadly in its effectiveness.

There is a certain peace of mind in aving a competent, trained sound man at your disposal (notice the two preceding adjectives). But there is a tremendous peace of mind knowing that the music is under your control, and should you need to deviate, you can do so with ease. The VSM gives you a peace of mind that is priceless.

As to walking across the stage to turn on one's music, it is VERY unprofessional in appearance. If you are performing at your high school talent show, it would fly; but if you are working for a real audience - show them the same respect "real" theatrical productions deliver, please.

Brad Henderson
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