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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » F/X » » Virtual Soundman iCue² disaster (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Christopher Starr
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OK that got your attention.

I was at a show Saturday at a university, so we had the luxury of a stage AND a small tech crew. I am setting up my iCue² with the sound guy, and everything initializes perfectly. I go down to the stage, and cycle back and forth through my playlist. I even run through the Origami routine while the set sound and light levels, etc. Fine.

I then walk downstairs to our dressing room, and change. I attach my remote to my coat, and return to the stage. It was getting close to showtime, and I remembered that my playlist was holding in the pause mode about midway through the show playlist. So through the closed curtain, I begin to cycle back, and then hit play to quickly hear where I'm at. Problem is, I don't hear anything. I keep clicking, and nothing is happening. I grab one of my daughters, and have her move out onto the edge of the stage, and aim at the receiver which is plainly viewable from the light booth. It won't change track numbers!

I then take the remote, run around the back of the stage to the front, go through the ticket line, smiling at the kiddies, and make my way up the stairs to the booth.
Even 2 feet away, the receiver isn't changing tracks. In desperation, I decide to pull everything apart and start from scratch. I go through the steps, only this time, there's no blue initialization light! It refuses to sync together!

I'm screwed.

I try and try and try again, with the same results. (I believe that Einstein is quoted as saying that this is the definition of insanity - repeating the same steps hoping for a different outcome). The sound kid asks me "Do you think it needs a new battery?" to which I reply maybe, but I don't have one. The lady in charge then comes back, asking if we are ready to begin. No, I say, just another 5 minutes....

I then ask the sound kid if he has a cable that I could just connect my iPod directly to the board with, and he runs off to find one. I then tell my daughter, look I know that you've never done this, but you're going to have to do the music cues for me.

The sound guy returns with the necessary cord, and the show goes on with only minor music cue glitches considering.

I get home with the accursed iCue², and stare at it wondering what it might fetch used. But then I reconsider, because it obviously doesn't work!

So I hook it all up. And what do you know - it initializes right up. WTF??

I have since learned that I had the necessary cord for the sound guy to use, it is the same one that comes with the iCue². Duh. Couldn't think straight in my panic.

And I also learned that there is a small, sliding button on the side of the remote that will lock the buttons to prevent accidental use. Double duh! I honestly was never aware of it's existence until that moment.

So it just goes to show you, that the answer to your problem is often a simple one. My iCue² works just the way it is suppose to, no need to trash it just because. True, there are better, more reliable units out there. But I sank the $750 into this one, and I haven't gotten my mileage out of it yet. And frankly, when it works, it does just fine.


Do any other Virtual Soundman owners have a similar story to share? I'd love to know how you overcame your problem with the unit.
Stevethomas
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The "small sliding switch" to which you referred doesn't lock the remote. It switches to an optional set of functions. Eventually, VSM was going to devise and build a "funny box" with sound effects. Never happened.

I was once at a library, getting set up, Chief Roadie (my son, Ryan) was doing props and I was setting up sound. Library crowd for this particular library is always in excess of 500 people, so the sound is an absolute necessity. I go to sync up the iCue2 (might have been my Soundbox PA, can't remember which I was using that day), and NO BLUE light. So, with 30 minutes to show, I left the roadie there to complete setup, while I ran for another remote battery. Got back, on a whim, put the old one back in and VOILA..worked fine. Probably the connection to the battery. No biggie. Never another problem out of it.

Steve
Christopher Starr
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You are absolutely correct about the sliding button on the remote, Steve. However, my manual states that the sliding button was originally placed there so as to be able to alternate between two different receivers, as in one for music, and one for effects! Cool idea. It goes on to state:
Quote:
If using only one VSM product, the switch may be used as a button-lock-out by sliding it to the secondary position in order to deactivate the buttons.


At any rate, the sliding switch is low profile enough that I was unaware of it and what it could do to me!

There is simply no substitute for thoroughly familiarizing yourself with your equipment.
David Garrity
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Chris,

This is actually one of the features that I like best about the iCue2. Very often I am performing larger props or illusions in the show and I slide the AB switch over to avoid accidental miscues during the show.

Glad you didn't trash your unit thinking it was broken!!

Sincerely,
David
Christopher Starr
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David, you don't know how close I was that day of doing just that!

I had wrestled with the set-up when I 1st received the unit. One of the 1st shows that I ever used it on took me about an hour of precious pre-show set-up time trying to remember exactly how the unit sets up. And the QuikStart instructions are printed right inside the case! How much easier can that be? I had even written to Steve Thomas privately about my troubles, and he didn't understand - it worked just fine for him! Then this incident happened with my latest show, and I was livid! The d*MN thing had been working just fine, until right before showtime! Imagine the horror of wondering how you were going to present 3 illusion segments with no music, a Vanishing Bandanna with no soundtrack, etc. Ouch!

Anyway, I shared this incident with everyone to illustrate that it is not always the fault of the equipment. The VSM stuff has been bad mouthed to death. But the company is gone now, but there are still a lot of good, working units out there. My story can be summed up by these classic words of wisdom: "When all else fails, read the instructions".
g0thike
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Chris,

I highly recommend that you also buy a ABT IPOD remote
and learn about the 20 minute silent track.

VSM Icue are known to eventually fail.

G0THIKE
David Garrity
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Quote:
On 2009-03-15 22:50, g0thike wrote:


VSM Icue are known to eventually fail.

G0THIKE


Well, EVERYTHING is known to eventually fail. As Tyler Durden says, "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Smile

Sincerely,
David
Stevethomas
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Aside from the one issue with my remote, my regular iCue2 AND my iCue2 Soundbox PA have never failed, and I've been using the regular model for almost 3 years.

Steve
Christopher Starr
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Quote:
VSM Icue are known to eventually fail.

G0THIKE


I agree. It will eventually, sooner than later, just quit working. Simple laws of nature. But we've always been at the mercy of our current technology. Back in the day, it was reel-to-reel tape. That would break or crumple at the worst possible moment. Then it was cassette tape. That would work just fine, until one day for no reason your show tape would bunch up and tangle in the machine - or someone else's machine. For no apparent freakin reason. OR, someone comes along to "check" and make certain that your tape is in the machine, takes it out to verify the label, ya, it's yours, then flips it upside down and places it back in the machine, with the "B" side cued instead of the "A" side. Been there - suffered that! Then it was compact disc, or DAT, or whatever. Each with its own inherent flaw that would rear it's ugly head at the worst possible moment. Murphy's law will always make an appearance at our shows sooner or later. I try and employ the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

Chris
Bairefoot
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I finally changed my battery the other day. Have used the orignal one that came with the remote for a few years. Never once did it go dead it didn't die this time either. I was just getting worried because everyone else says it goes dead. I love mine.

Bairefoot
Ms. Morgan
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The thing to learn from all this? Never leave for a show with only one way to play your music.
I don't care what you plan to use, virtual soundman, MP3 play..what have you. Always have something else packed. It cost so little to have a cheap, walkman type, CD player and the 4 or 5 cords and a set of adapters to cover most sound set-ups you'd run into. Pack this, 2 copies of a CD with every bit of your show music you can fit on it, into a small rubbermaid box and put it under the seat of the car you drive to shows. Never leave without it. Sure the music on the CD isn't in show order, but if you have to use it you'll have time to write a cue sheet. Why a CD player and not something "newer"? CD players are simple and almost anyone can work one. If, most of the time, you cue your music you'll have to grab whoever you can find, simplicity of a CD player will help in this case.

Morgan
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hugmagic
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Morgan is correct. Backups are an essential part of the show pack up.

I worked a convention in FT. Smith, ARK. At that time, I carried a cd, cassette tape and mini disc with recorder and patch cords. Well the soundman broke the cd, he did not have a tape deck and did not know how to run a mini disc. So what to do. Simple, Andre Kole was there and was kind enough to run my music on the mini disc for me.

A cheap cd player can save you in many ways and it lets you listen to the music for phantom walk throughs.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Christopher Starr
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Quote:
On 2009-03-17 21:13, Ms. Morgan wrote:
The thing to learn from all this? Never leave for a show with only one way to play your music...
Morgan


OK Ms. Morgan, I've learned my lesson! Smile A backup cd player AND cd will be with me always.

Chris
ClintonMagus
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Speaking of backups, I once had to give a PowerPoint presentation for some of mu company's VPs and AVPs. Knowing that I had to be prepared for all eventualities, I had the presentation on CD and floppy, as well as printed color and black-and-white overheads and handouts (six versions, total).

About six slides into the presentation, the lamp went out on the LCD projector, so I went to the overheads. The lamp was very dim on the overhead projector, so the color slides didn't show up well, and I was forced to use the B/W transparencies. When the presentation was finished, they all wanted copies of the presentation, so I used the paper copies to make one for each of the attendees.

Against all odds, four of the five backups were used, so now I never go anywhere important without multiple versions of anything.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
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