CD changers again

Posted by: michael_d

CD changers again - 01/02/06 01:48 PM

Considering buying another CD changer for my two channel system and using my Integra for DVD playback upstairs. I will not need (or want) to listen to DVDA’s or SACD's. Possibly some ripped CD’s from time to time, but mostly just regular CD’s.

Are there any changers that have Brown Burr DAC or similar quality? Doesn’t matter to me if it holds 5 CD’s or 400. The mega changers do look convenient though…….

Posted by: Ken.C

Re: CD changers again - 01/02/06 02:14 PM

Say, you don't want to listen to SACDs or DVD-As? Guess you don't need that Integra after all... hint hint.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/02/06 04:10 PM

I was going to buy a new 3910 DVD player, but have decided to wait a few months and see what other technology comes out. So now I’m just going to use the Integra for DVD’s because it has a much better picture than Toshiba 6200 that I’m using. Which means I need something to play CD’s on the two channel system. Those mega changers are fairly inexpensive, but I haven’t ever heard one, so I have no idea if I’d be disappointed or not. I may just try to find a Rotel changer to go with my other Rotels.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: CD changers again - 01/02/06 11:03 PM

Yes Mike, the Sony 400 disc megachangers have Burr-Brown or similar quality DACs(since almost all modern DACs are of similar quality)and the convenience factor is very significant.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/03/06 03:05 PM

Hi Mike - I really enjoy having two Sony carousel changers. In order to daisy-chain them together (and provide seamless transition with no disk-changing wait while on random play), you must use the DAC's in the players. However, they also do provide SPDIF connections, so you could use the DAC's in your Integra. Personally, I could not discern a difference. I love having such ready access to my entire collection, and am amused regularly by what I hear.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 11:33 AM

The mega changers are looking like the way to go. I’ve got around 400 CD’s, and my girlfriend has close to that many herself.

Johnk, I don’t understand your comments regarding Brown Bur, please explain? What type and how many bit DAC do they have?

Tom, I’ll be moving the Integra upstairs, so it will not be available to use with this system. – this is my stand alone, stereo listening system. I’ve got the boob tube upstairs in the loft. If I get two of these changers, how else can I hook them up to play random without pause? I’m running a Rotel 1070/1080 pre / amp to my M80’s.

Will these mega changers sort by type of music? Like, can I store the Blues CD’s in their own Genre and play them randomly?

Posted by: EddyZ

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 11:57 AM

Try this for an explanation of Burr-Brown DAC's.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 12:41 PM

Mike, you just daisy-chain them using the RCA connections.

One is master and one is a slave. You route the RCA/analog outputs from the slave to the master and then the same type of cables to your preamp. They are also connected to each other via a 1/8 inch mono plug (for serial communication). I think it comes with the player.

My point was that one of the reasons why I had resisted these devices for so long was the very long lag time between disk changes (10-12 seconds?). However, when you use two of them together, one plays while the other one loads the next selection, so there is no lag (assuming that your sequence - whether random or not - can alternate between the players).

However, to do this, you must use the DAC's of the player rather than sending the digital output to the DAC's of your Rotel. Like I said, it sounds fine to me, but your ears, equipment, room, karma or harmonic balance might be better than mine.

This scenario invites a bit of strategy as to how you load your disks. You may not want to have all of your similar music on one player, for instance. Also, be sure to note that it is very important to balance the loads within the changers (don't put everything in slots 1-300 and leave 301-400 empty).

You can assign each disk to one of 8 groups of your choosing and then play just one group, or all disks. You can't play everything except one group, however. I think there are others here with similar setups (BrotherBob, Capn_Pickard, others?).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 01:48 PM

me.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 07:02 PM

Sorry, Mark. I don't know how I could have forgotten you.

I guess since the question didn't involve wretched room acoustics, you didn't spring immediately to mind

Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 07:27 PM

Ummm, the word is "sucky". Not "wretched.



"Sucky".




Posted by: JohnK

Re: CD changers again - 01/04/06 11:15 PM

Mike, that comment was simply to point out(as Alan and others have done)that DACs are now a mature technology and although slight measurable differences still exist, they aren't of audible significance. So, the mystique about the quality of Burr-Brown(now a division of Texas Instruments)DACs, which may have been justified 10 years or so ago no longer has a factual basis; they're just one of several chip makers who supply similarly excellent DACs to receiver manufacturers for as little as $1 each in large quantities. It should be a non-issue.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/05/06 12:26 AM

Thanks John. These mega changers are sounding like the way to go! Shoot, I've been looking to either build or buy a CD cabinet that'll cost me more than the changer! And I've got plenty of boxes for the empty cases. So I'm gunna buy one and call this a win win.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/05/06 06:20 AM

In reply to:

My point was that one of the reasons why I had resisted these devices for so long was the very long lag time between disk changes (10-12 seconds?). However, when you use two of them together, one plays while the other one loads the next selection, so there is no lag (assuming that your sequence - whether random or not - can alternate between the players).


Mike, one MegaChanger is quite an addition to your system, two of them daisy-chained as Tom suggested is well worth the extra cost due to the flexibility added. In the all song/CD shuffle mode the 10-12 seconds between songs that Tom is referring to can get to be quite annoying after a period of time but with two players daisy-chained we have the capability to shuffle through every song on every one of our 400+ Cd's without ever having any lag time whatsoever, and can even adjust the fade-in time if we choose.

No more than what these players cost, I'd certainly consider buying two of them from jump-street.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/05/06 11:30 AM

Richard, you are not a good influence! First it's dirt bikes, then subwoofers, now CD changers....... You're costing me thousands!

OK, I'll buy two........
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/06/06 05:31 AM

Well I guess it's a good thing you bought a new truck not too long ago Mike, the wife gave me the go-ahead for a new one this year...woo-hoo!

I believe you'll really enjoy the two Mega Changers daisy-chained, they're neat as beans.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/06/06 12:29 PM

Attemptatsubliminalimprinting………sierradenali……seirradenali…….seirradenali……seirrradenali…….

http://www.gmc.com/sierra/index.jsp click on denali tab. sweeeeeetttt truck. I'm loving mine. All but the Bose system that is, but it's pretty good for a vehicle.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: CD changers again - 01/06/06 02:29 PM

14MPG? Holy crap.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/06/06 02:40 PM

No, I'm getting 17.5 if I keep it under 65. No idea what I'd get at 55 - 60. That's with a custom tuned PCM (powertrain control module) that I had burned for $160. Prior to the tune, it would average 16 mpg.

And that's driving over a mountain range from sea level to 3500' and back down to see level again.

Considering it comes from the factory with 345 hp (380 with the custom tune), all wheel drive and a 4.10 gear ratio, 17.5 is amazing gas mileage for a 5500# crew cab pick up.

Around town / city driving is a different story......it sucks.....more like 11 mpg. It might get better, but I'm not known for driving very mellow. I drive and ride everything like I stole it!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/07/06 12:34 PM

One more question.........

Can these Sony's be daisy chained to CD players other than Sony for uniterupted play? I've got a Kenwood 7 disk changer collecting dust.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/08/06 08:49 PM

Sorry, Mike, no. The Sony serial interface is proprietary.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 11:42 AM

Onecall.com has the 455 (400 CD capacity unit) on sale today for $196 and they have the 355 (300 disk capacity) on sale for $155. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I’m still just not getting the whole D/A conversion thing. I understand the standard that Burr Brown has set, but, what does it mean when some specs say 1 bit, others are 20 bit, and others are 24???

The 455 and 355 spec sheet says 1 “Hybrid Pulse D/A Converter”.

The 955 (universal CD/DVD 400 disk capacity unit) is also on sale at Onecall today for $299. It’s D/A spec is “192kHz / 24-bit”.

At these prices, I’m going to go ahead and get two. But am wondering which two? The I’m a frugal (cheap) SOB is telling me to just get two of 355’s cause a hundred bucks here and there starts to add up. And, two 300’s would have plenty of storage capacity for me. But if the 955 is going to have better sound processing to the point that one could tell a difference, I’ll get one of those. If I did, couldn’t I use it’s D/A converter as the master and one of the others as a slave? I dunno??? What do you guys think I should do?

Oh, yeah, can you plug any of these into a lap top for music sorting and cataloguing ease? I know you can use a keyboard, but those screens are pretty small to me and I do not have a TV anywhere close to this particular system.

Posted by: Capn_Pickard

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 12:34 PM

I'll drop my 2 cents in for good measure, if anyone cares.

I jumped into the mega-changer forway about a year ago. I have a 400 disc player daisy chained with a 200 disc player. While I enjoyed listening to all of my pcds on random, often the mix was just too random to be enjoyable... I also never got around to making up groups so that I could listen to different types of music on random.

I like the IDEA of the megachanger, but I don't like its application. I find that I rarely, if ever, play a single cd through anymore. Mostly, because it is too difficult to locate the cds. Also, I never take any of the cds out and put them in the car to listen to, which I liked to do periodically. Its just too much of a pain in the butt to reload the discs when it is all done.

Recently, I've been researching buying a 120 gig hard-drive and an inexpensive pc, with capability to hook it up to my TV. I plan on eventually getting rid of all of my cds and going all digital. That day has yet to come. It also, is not without its problems (Not looking forward to spending several weeks ripping all of my cds).

Anyway, the mega-changer is a great solution if you take the time and energy to set it up properly and learn how to use it. For the more casual user, it might be more of a burden than it is worth.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 03:02 PM

That’s one reason I asked if the Sony’s could talk to other brands. I too like to pull a few CD’s for road trips and load up the changer in the truck. I also just like to pop in a CD every now and then, and the tray (mini) changers are very easy to use. – I haven’t so much as touched a mega changer, so I have no idea what its ease of use is.

You know what would be cool, is PC interface with the mega changers. Just hook up a cheap old lap top and use your favorite software as the jukebox control. No ripping, no big assed hard drives and easy to find or sort the CD’s. Plus, no searching through shelves (or boxes in my case) for that particular CD you get the itch to listen to.

I’ve got most of my CD’s on the computer already. I screwed up when I ripped them though. I used WMA format and find that it is very lacking when I burn a CD and listen to it through the home system. I don’t like any ripped music, other than standard lossless and that takes up way too much hard drive space. But I sure do like the jukebox software………

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 04:31 PM

Well, Mike, it does exist. BrotherBob and I recently exchanged some messages on this topic. I do not know how his implementation is working out, but my experience has been mixed.

There used to be something called a Slink-E, I think by a company called Nirvis (it is no longer produced). I found a similar product called a SAVR, manufactured by Black Box Designs. They are both serial interfaces; they plug into the AI II jack on the back of your Sony player(s) and into the serial port of your computer.

You also need software (there are links on the Black Box page). My understanding is that Panther Studios bought out Titletrack (which was a Mac engineered product). I got my SAVR and the Music! software from them. HOWEVER, it appears from their website that they are no longer selling the hardware device. You may wish to contact Black Box directly to see if it is still in production. William C. McCain still seems to be selling them, but I would ensure that he actually HAS THEM before ordering. I honestly do not remember why I went with Music! instead of McCain's product. It may very well have been completely arbitrary. I might buy his software some day just to see if I prefer the interface to the one I have now.

You can probably see that both Black Box and the software developers are pretty small outfits.

The software is fully-featured; you can sort things any way you want, and have playlists and just about anything you can think of.

As I said, my experience has been mixed. It "works" but is not all that elegant. The software works fine and the developer at Panther has been really gracious and responsive. Primarily, my problem is that I have to turn on too many devices and wait for the PC to boot up before doing "anything". And my PC is not IR capable at the moment, so the mighty MX-700 doesn't give me any love. My problems may very well be insignificant to your system.

It is pretty damn cool, though. The Music software searched the players, and found and loaded all the titles, tracks and most of the lyrics and cover art from the internet. It is fun to be able to see that stuff on the screen. Another problem I have (that you probably do NOT have) is that the OSD for my PC is hooked up to a standard def TV, so the resolution is not as legible as I'd like. Running the HTPC to a HDTV and using this kind of interface could be pretty darn sexy.

It did take some time to manually update the database with unrecognized disks and cover art, though. One other thing that the SAVR/Music combo allowed me to do was upload the results to the changers themselves. That is, now that the computer knows the title of a disk, and that information has been uploaded to the changers, even if I'm not using the computer, I still get the CD text on the players (not at the Track level, however). That helped a lot, and might be worth the price of admission by itself.

The one quandary that I continue to struggle with is the connections. Developers of the software that guides the SAVR devices are emphatic that you "should" connect each player directly to the SAVR, and I do believe that doing so improves the functionality and reliability of the software. But there are additional costs and consequences. Namely, you MUST buy and install some kind of mixer device (either an audio mixer or a digital switch of some kind) to sum the outputs of the two players into the one input on your receiver or preamp. Secondly, since the players are connected to the SAVR and NOT TO EACH OTHER, this configuration completely loses the "no delay" slave/master functionality natively built into the Sony. They become independent devices except when controlled by the software/SAVR thing.

So, to get optimal functionality from the SAVR, you have to abandon the Sony linkage and introduce another device between the player and the preamp. Personally, I was unwilling to do that - partly because I could not find a cost-effective digital switch solution and I was unwilling to add yet another analog cable (and cost) to the chain between the disk and the amp. Consequently, I cannot do fades with the SAVR and have had intermittent problems with shuffle functions.

Likewise, I have a (basically crappy compared to most folks) Denon 1804 receiver. With the DVD and DirecTivo using the optical inputs and the HTPC using the coax digital, I have to use the DACs in the CD player. I'm out of ports. Furthermore, the Denon inexplicably does not pass digital signals to its zone2 amplifier (which I am currently using to power speakers in the kitchen). I want tunes in the kitchen. I do not want to buy more stuff. So, there it is. Again, I do not believe that using the DAC’s in the Sony degrades the audio quality, and I certainly don’t believe that doing so could provide lower quality than ripping them to a lossy format.

Until I can get my PC built to the point where I can press about three buttons and get music to happen, the SAVR is not my every day solution. I am not an expert in this area, so understand I am not saying it can't/shouldn't be done, it just poses some challenges for me right now.

I have all my disks assigned to groups, but most of the time, if I am not listening to something specific, I just play the whole damn library on full random (no delay between players) and just hit skip if there is something I don't want to hear at that moment.

It kind of depends upon how closely interfaced your computer is with your HT. In my case, I have not yet taken the time to work out all the operating system nuances to make it convenient enough to use on a daily basis.

I've got to say, I LOVE having all my CD's loaded and ready to go. I listen to stuff now that I had not heard in years.

Despite the software and SAVR device, I still maintain an Excel spreadsheet with the catalog in it. I make changes and print it out as necessary, and have it in a small folder in the living room. Sometimes, a pencil is the right tool for the job.

I believe Escient makes some devices that use real CD player technology to manage disks, but that they are expensive.

I can't imagine having the time to rip ~600 CD's to MP3 or FLAC or AAC or whatever. And I am skeptical that I would savor the results. I like the disks.

I did a lot of research on this, but found that ultimately, the world seems to be going to MP3's, so there is not a lot of technical support for what we are discussing here. It seems like there are the vinyl people, the one-disk CD people, the MP3 people and a very few megachanger people with this vision.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 11:00 PM

Holly crap Tom!

I've got to digest that one for a while. Thank you for the informative reply.

So what do you think about DA bit difference between the two 400 disk units?

I did a count on my CD's and need to go with two 400 disk units. We've got close to 1000 CD's.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 11:03 PM

>>> I did a count on my CD's and need to go with two 400 disk units. We've got close to 1000 CD's. <<<

Looks like you just may have to go with three of the 400 disc units then Michael.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/09/06 11:23 PM

>>> Attemptatsubliminalimprinting………sierradenali……seirradenali…….seirradenali……seirrradenali……. <<<

Didn't the Denali have the all wheel steering? I'm curious to know if GM discontinued this option or is it still offered in the new trucks.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/10/06 01:04 AM

Well, about a couple hundred or so are the little lady's damn movie soundtracks. They wont get loaded. I hate sound tracks.......

The quadra steer isn't available with the Denali package. They dropped it when they put the LQ-9 engine in it. I don't like the looks of them anyway, looks like a fat chic's hips. And them stupid cab lights.....yuck.
Posted by: alan

Re: CD changers again - 01/10/06 10:08 AM

mdrew,

Stop worrying about whether there are "sound quality differences" in D/A converters. There aren't. Nada. DACs and ADCs from any of the competent manufacturers are indistinguishable. The ones used in the Sony mega-changers (I have the CX-355) are utterly transparent. I've compared D/A converters costing between $20,000 and $100, and when you run duplicate CDs, synced to each other and at identical playback volume, and switch between the two units, there are no audible differences with music programming.

I agree with Capn Pickard on the annoyance of extracting CDs from mega-changers to use in the car. I hardly bother or I keep a stack of recent favorites just for the car changer.

However, because of my eclectic tastes in music, I love the surprise factor when you play in random mode. Yesterday, my CX-355 went from a Ray Charles track to Louis Lortie playing Ravel, to a symphony by Jongen for organ and orchestra to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, then to Thelonius Monk, and finally, Renee Fleming doing an aria from the opera based on "Streetcar Named Desire."

If the shift in musical genres is too jarring, I just hit the "next disc" or next track button on the remote and it cues up a new random selection.

Regards,
Posted by: mwc

Re: CD changers again - 01/10/06 10:56 AM

In reply to:

Stop worrying about whether there are "sound quality differences" in D/A converters. There aren't. Nada. DACs and ADCs from any of the competent manufacturers are indistinguishable




This is probably true for most solid state equipment. However, all bets are off when "fire bottles" are thrown into the mix.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/10/06 11:47 AM

Thank you Allen.

It’s hard to not buy into the hype when it’s touted to the degree that it is. I went ahead and ordered two of the 455’s. I’m certain that there will be pro’s and con’s. And the con’s will irritate the crap out of me from time to time, but to think that I’ll have 800 CD’s loaded and ready to fire is very attractive to me. I too have some rather eclectic tastes for music. From raw Celtic, to blues to head banging metal.

Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/22/06 06:53 PM

So I'm loading these suckers up with CD's and getting them to work as slave/master.

The instructions tell me I need a mono P2 connector. One did not come in the box and RCA connectors obviousely do not work. What is this cable that I need?
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/22/06 07:45 PM

Mike, do you mean a 1/4" mono cable for the trigger between the two units? That's what I use on my two 300 disc units for an interface cable.


Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/22/06 09:53 PM

It's just a tad bit bigger than RCA, and there are two ports side by side. I doubt the 1/4" will fit. But yes, it is for the controls.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/22/06 10:28 PM

The manual reads: Connect monaural (2P) mini-plug cables in series to the CONTROL A1II jacks on the back of each component.

Oh, and the Canadian versions come with the cables, go figure.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/22/06 10:55 PM

Mike, I don't know if this will be of much help or not....but the above pictured 1/4" mono plug cable is exactly what my two units are interconnected with and they are supposed to be interchanged and interconnected with all Sony (including the CX-455) components that utilize this function.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/23/06 08:16 AM

Mike, after reading through page 8 under the 'Connecting Another Player' in your product manual for the CDP CX-455 the 2p cable is exactly the cable I showed you above. I have the CX-355 and the 455 manual shows it interfacing with the 355 so I believe if you get the 1/4" mono plugged cable and make all connections as stated in the manual you'll be in megachanger daisy-chained heaven!


CDP CX-455 Manual.
Posted by: Capn_Pickard

Re: CD changers again - 01/23/06 10:22 AM

on my cdp-cx450, connected to the cdp-cx230, I use a smaller mono cable that is no-where near as large as a 1/4" plug (like one used on an electric guitar). I used a much smaller plug that is the size of the headphone jack on an ipod. It was the only one that woudl fit. Maybe I am misunderstanding the above posts, or maybe the specs have changed - but I thought the mini-P2 plug was quite small.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/23/06 11:59 AM

Ya, the 1/4" guitar plug most definately will not fit. They are quite small. A RCA plug will slide into it, but it's just a [cencored] hair to small.

I reckon I'll just swing by radio shack on my way home tonight and see if they have anything that will work.

I've got one unit full of CD's. What a bitch!! And I don't even have them identified yet. I just wrote down the artist and title and slot #. Data entry later........after I'm done loading the second player.......ugggg

The good news is that Allan was write. These things sound wonderful. Every bit as good as my overpriced Integra did.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/23/06 02:13 PM

If it is like mine (I think I have the CD455 and 355, not the DVD version), it uses a cable with a mono 1/8" plug on each end.

I just keep a little spreadsheet with the slot assignments.

btw, it looks like Escient has recently introduced new products that, while not cheap, integrate their systems with Sony megachangers. That might be the ticket if you've got the cash.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/23/06 08:44 PM

Oh man....I apologize guys, I should have stated 1/8" instead of 1/4" for the size of the plug. Thanks for setting me straight, my mind certainly gets in the 'disengaged' mode at times and obviously this was one of those moments.

Sorry about that Mike, Adrien and Tom ... my bad.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/24/06 08:23 PM

Aw hell, don't worry about it Rick. We realize your getting up there....

The 1/8" mini plug cable worked. Don't know what I was thinking and bought two. Then it dawned on me that two ports are needed to daisy chain several Sony components.

Started to load the second unit. Dreading inputing all CD info into the machines. UGGG What really scares me is to take all that time, and then loose power for a day and all the data. - we have power outages here from time to time and it's a real possibility. Or worse, I may move some day.

But, I'm really liking the thought of having around 12,000 songs at random. Just loading these things I'm finding soooo many CD's that I haven't heard in years.
Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - 01/24/06 08:32 PM

>>> We realize your getting up there.... <<<<

Getting there Mike? I've been 'there' for years ... that is a 'good thing', right?

I don't believe you'll lose any of your stored data with a power loss Mike. I've unplugged my units, gone through power outages for days (hurricanes) on in and have never lost one single alphabet of stored data. Loading the data can be a tedious job, but well worth it in the end. Must drive you ADHD folks crazy, huh?

Have fun ... youngster!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/28/06 01:34 PM

Well they’re loaded. Tried them last night in no-delay mode. I’m very impressed. I’m going to absolutely love these things.

I put all the disks on Excel, and after four hours of that crap, I now know that I will not, not ever, try to load the info into the changers. I’m going to give that PC interface software a try. I spent some time at the Panther web sight and the other links you provided (Tom). I’m a little confused though…….

I hate to keep bugging you about all this, but please help me understand how it all ties together and works. The changers don’t have an RS232 port that I can see. But that interface gizmo is RS 232.

Which package should I get? I’m running XP. What else?

By my silly questions, you can probably tell that I don’t read instructions very well.

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - 01/28/06 01:42 PM

The Black Box SAVR thing has an RS-232 port to go to the computer, and then it connects to the changers via the same type of cable you used to connect them to each other (1/8" mono plug cable). Each changer has two of the Sony AI II (of whatever they call that proprietary serial interface) ports on the back. So, mine are connected to each other, and then the "master" is connected to the black box which is then connected to the computer. You have to have BOTH the software and the SAVR device.

Still, it was worth it to me, even though I mostly use the changers without the playlist computer software. Having the software look at each disk, look it up, download the tracklist, artist, album title, album art, etc. was cool. Being able to then upload the artist and album title information to the changers was worth the price of admission to me. If not for that, all my disks would still say "Disk **123". I do enough data entry everywhere else in my life.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: CD changers again - 01/28/06 02:04 PM

Links?

Never mind...Googled it!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - 01/28/06 03:01 PM

Thanks Tom.

$200 for the box and software. Man, his proud of his software.....
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: CD changers again - 01/28/06 03:02 PM

That's just about enough to make me really interested in one of those big changers. Unfortunately, none of them are universal. So no dice.

Anyone know if Onkyo's planning to update the DV-CP802 anytime soon? I'm having a hard time finding the thing online. Not that I can buy it right now, but I'm curious.
Posted by: coltrane

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 08:54 AM

Hey gang,

I just bought two CX-355s and daisy-chained them together. I did this so I could random play single tracks from my entire collection loaded on both units so one unit plays while the other shuffles. It works great when I let it run undisturbed, however when I try to advance (skip over) a track that's playing the system doesn't switch to the other player but instead makes me wait while it shuffles to a new CD on the active unit.

Alan writes..."I just hit the "next disc" or next track button on the remote and it cues up a new random selection.

That's true with my setup, but it doesn't switch to the player that's ready to go. I'm running "no delay" and "all discs shuffle."

Does anyone know if I can get around this? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 11:55 AM

I noticed the same thing the other night and haven't figured out what to do about it. But then again, I still haven't read the instructions.

One other gripe I have (that reading the instructions might cure), is when I shut them down after playing all disks / no delay, and then power them back up, it defaults to single disk play.

Hey Tom,
One more question (you tired of hearing that yet ? ). I'm going to get that panther software and the black box. My G-friend has donated her old laptop to the cause that we can leave hooked up to the changers. But, the closest LAN connection for my home network is a good twenty feet away. And no, I don't have wireless, and don't really want to either. Will this work? Do I need to be on the net while plugged into the machines for the software to recognize the disks?

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 12:04 PM

Mike and 'Trane,

I understand about the skip button going to a new disk in the same player instead of to the other player. I experience the same thing. If there is a way around it, I don't know what it is. I think the "trigger" for the machine to switch players is the end of a song, so you could fast forward through it instead of skip, but that doesn't really work well.

Mike, when I turn my machines off, they stay on "all disks - shuffle". I only turn off the master unit (which then powers down the other one). I power on the main unit (which again, powers up the slave), and then hit No delay - Play and I'm back to all disks shuffle between the two players. It could be because you have nicer, newer units than I do or some other nuance between the model numbers.

As far as the SAVR and software, you only have to have it connected to the internet when you are doing an inventory search. The software will sequentially load the disks and search for and download information about them. After you do this (which will take a very long time - queue it up to run overnight) and clean up some data entry, the only time you'll need to be connected to the internet is when you want the software to "recognize" a disk that was not previously loaded into the players.

After you have the database set up on the laptop, you can tell the software to upload the artist and album information to the players.

So, you'll need to be connected for batch mode updates, but not for everyday use. Make sense?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 12:08 PM

One more thing about the SAVR and Music! software:

For it to run, you must have the players set on all disks - Continue. Seriously. This is important. You'll want to kick the crap out of me and major appliances if you forget this step.

Brotherbob was pondering getting this setup as well, but I understand he packed his gear away I don't know if he got the Panther software or the McClain software. Panther Music! is okay, but it's not perfect.
Posted by: coltrane

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 12:58 PM

Mike and Tom,

Thanks for the replies. I was really frustrated when I found out that I couldn't skip over a track without a delay. This almost negates any benefit of daisy-chaining for me. Tom you are right, holding FF "works" because I tried it but doesn't "work well" as you state.

Regarding Mike's problem on shutdown...the manual states "even if you press stop or turn off the player during ALL DISCS shuffle play, the player remembers which discs or tracks were played and which were not." Like Tom, I think my units also remember the play mode when I power back up - I just got them yesterday so I'm not sure.

Does anyone know how to rip a CD from Windows Media Player so the "CD text" is also on the CD so these changers can recognize the tracks? My entire CD library is already in Media Player complete with all the necessary track/album info. Thanks again.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 04:33 PM

I started checking into Toms software, then saw in big red letters on the site that they have stopped development on the eSAVR software. Thinking that was what Tom was referring to, I figured they were on their way to going out of business! I guess the eSAVR software is different than the SAVR software, though!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 04:53 PM

Hey Tom,

“One more question”….lol

The Panther package comes with their ‘latest’ software and the SAVR2. They have two choices for software. TitleTrack Jukebox package for $209, and the Music! Jukebox! package for $149

The William C. McCain package is $75.00 for the SAVR2 and software.

Quite a cost disparity between these. Is one better than the other. They all look as if they have the same functionality to me.

Both also claim to not have that lag between players you mentioned earlier. Maybe they fixed the problem? Or do you have the current software?

Which one would you recommend?

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 06:57 PM

Titletrack was purchased by Panther from the original developer. It was Originally only for the Mac. That's why I did not choose it.

I have had decent if unspectacular support for Music!. These are not companies, but individuals.

Frankly, I'd buy the cheap one from McCain. The cost disparity was nothing like that when I got mine (6 months ago, maybe?)

Remember, they are all going to try to get you to hook up your players using a mixer and connect them independently to the SAVR (rather than daisy-chained like you have them now). This means that you cannot use the native Sony network (No Delay, etc.) controls anymore - and that you must always use the SAVR Player software to do any multi-player operations. You might inquire with McCain whether his WILL WORK using the daisy chain method. I know that Music! will work this way, but that when I complain about anything, the answer is always that I should have the players hooked up independently instead of daisy-chained.

You have no idea what my hourly consulting rates are, do you?
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 08:27 PM

Consulting fee? You mean the joy of helping out a fella mega-changer-ite isn't enough.....? LOL

Here's the response I got back from Bill.

-------------

Bill,

I have two Sony’s daisy chained together and use them ‘no-delay’ setting.

Will your software work in this configuration?

RE:

Hi Mike -

Yes.

However, the ‘no-delay’ setting of the CHANGER is irrelevant when our
software (Disc Library or Music Library) is controlling the changer. We
control both changers -- they must NOT be operated in "mega mode" as
that will conflict with OUR control commands.

Out software provides its OWN equivalent of the ‘no-delay’ setting.
When playing in our "shuffle" modes, we automatically alternate
selections between changers, and pre-cue them for ‘no-delay’ operation.
Also, when editing a Play List with our software, you can click on an
"Alternate" button, which re-arranges the selections so that the
alternate between players. Play Lists are also run in pre-cued
‘no-delay’ mode, whenever the next selection is from a different CD changer.

Because we operate all changers directly from our PC software, it is
preferable to NOT daisy-chain them, although it is supported (as long as
they are not in "mega mode"). For best performance, it is better to
connect each CD changer directly to a separate "S-Link" port on the
adapter (SAVR2 or Slink-e). This minimizes the "bus contention" and
optimizes the performance.

Bill

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/31/06 11:46 PM

Of course it is, Mike.

Sounds like you're good-to-go. If you like that software, I might get it, too. Keep me posted.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 02/01/06 11:39 AM

Just ordered it. I'll give an update when I get it all set up.

I suspect that I'll just use it once to store the data in the machinces, then maybe on rare occasion when I have the patience to boot up the lap top.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 02/15/06 03:29 PM

A quick update.

I did order and receive the McCain software and the SAVR2.

First off, if you do buy one of these critters, make sure you’re computer has the right comm. ports. I had to blow another 40 bucks at Radio Shack for a serial to USB cable.

The McMain software requires you to be on-line while it retrieves data from the CD. Another 20 bucks for a 25’ cat 5 cable to reach my nearest LAN connection.

It took about six hours to download all the CD info from 800 CD’s. Not too bad. Unfortunately, the changers only show the album name and not the artist or Genre. The software is too frustrating to figure out how I can change this. Play lists are not automatically populated (not even by artist or genre), you have to do it manually, and it is a down right PITA. Total waste of time and money for my situation.

It also does not automatically download cover art. You have to use a utility program to do this……for every single album, one at a time. F-that!!!

To Bill’s credit, he is VERY responsive and helpful. I’m just not putor’ literate enough to get this software to work the way it most likely could.

The software itself is very basic and not all that user friendly. I don’t recommend it. I’m most likely going to download the new version of Panther’s software. After reading the user’s guide, this software is vastly better and much more user friendly. But at $109, it damn well better be. Bill’s is about half the cost.

At least I know what album is playing by just glancing at the changers, which is a plus. I can also export the data and print.

Posted by: Wid

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 02/15/06 05:08 PM


In reply to:

At least I know what album is playing by just glancing at the changers,




I can do that just by listening no software needed.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 04/02/06 12:43 PM

Update:

I gave up on the Music Library software. I found that it just wasn’t user friendly enough for my limited software skills, patience and general dislike of computers. The way you configure the changers and the SAVR seamed to be problematic as well. The software tried to ‘assist’ the changers instead of taking complete control. The software and changers just seamed to fight one another. There may be ways around this, but again, I’m not patient enough to screw with the software.

So I figured after dumping this much time and money into a PC controlled system for these changers, I might as well try the software from Panther Studios. They have two versions that they sell. Title Track Jukebox and Music!. A few emails later, I found out that they are discontinuing the TTJ software and recommended that I try Music! Plus, Music! Is on sale right now for $75 down from $109. A few minutes later I had it downloaded and installed on the laptop.

I had horrific troubles with the installation. Come to find out, I had three worms on the laptop and the Trojan Horse virus as well. I was being cheap and didn’t update my virus software, figuring that the laptop wouldn’t ever be used for email and that my router would block any hackers. Guess I was wrong. I had to spend a few hours killing worms and viruses, updating windows, cleaning the hard drive……blah, blah, blah……things I just hate to do. I then had to un-install the music software and re-install it. But, I had to go into the directory to manually remove some files that the un-install program wouldn’t remove or got corrupted because of the viruses. It was a long day. Lesson learned – keep the virus software up to date. Two days later we had the software up and running. My laptop troubles made things pretty weird and Dean (Music! software writer) worked with me to get things straightened out. He had me in the RegEdit and cd.. directory installing / deleting things. – I know nothing about this part of computer use, really. Don’t want to either….ever. I can’t say enough about Dean. If I was him, I’d have given me my money back just to get me to quit asking questions.

We are working out another bug that for some reason or other, I am getting error messages when I try to download the cover art. Dean is thinking it has something to do with my earlier virus problems and is going over error log files. He is confident that we will resolve the issues and I am confident that he’ll figure it out. If I have to, he has offered to work on the laptop in person if I send it to him.

Other than the cover art thing, the software is very, very cool and easy to use. The manual is very helpful and the software is updated all the time with new features. It’s pretty close to Windows Media with similar interface. I can fade in / fade out, drag and drop song, artists, and albums into play lists, or play the pre-populated genres, albums or artists.

Posted by: RickF

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 04/02/06 04:57 PM

Thanks for the update Michael ... I've also been looking into something for the control over the megachangers.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 04/03/06 12:22 PM

I got the new version of Music! also. Since I am trying to use my SD RPTV as the sole display in this room, the fact that they went to a higher minimum resolution (1024x768?) did NOT help me. I'm going to have to move a monitor into the living room now. Fortunately, I have an Nvidia card that can run two monitors.

However, Mike's comment about the service is appropos. The owner/developer kept several emails from me that I had sent months ago, and regularly corresponds regarding suggestions and comments I've made. Mike, are you using an audio mixer between the changers and your pre-amp, or do you have them daisy-chained including the analog audio out? Did you tell Dean I sent you?

Mike, I'm sorry to hear about your system troubles. I have NOT had any installation or configuration problems with this software. It really seems pretty darn stable to me (running on XP Pro). I have wired DSL to that box, and it did not locate ALL the album art, but really did a pretty fine job. The missing ones were easy to fill in; I looked up the albums on Amazon or other sources and cut/pasted the image directly from the browser into Music! I can't see how it could have been any easier.

It's not a perfect convergence solution, but for those of us who are not yet willing to invest the time for ripping hundreds of CD's, it's not bad. Sometimes I use Music!, and sometimes I just put the whole library on full random between the changers. It can be amusing to get Nickelback, Ella Fitzgerald, BB King and Yes in sequence.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 04/03/06 04:27 PM

Dean recommended a “mixer”. But I already had bought Y-audio connectors. I do not have them daisy chained. I will most likely buy a mixer later, but for now, all is working just fine.

I still can not download cover art. I continue to get error messages and the program stops after about ten disks into the process. I can’t drag and drop, cut / copy and paste either. There is something going on that I can’t fix.

I’m most likely just going to send Dean the laptop. I just don’t have the patience to kill bugs. It needs a faster processor and more memory anyway. I’ll see if he can do that while he has it. Plus, I'll probably get a third changer before long. I'm down to 20 slots left.

No, I didn’t mention your name. I will next time I chat with him. Seams to be a great guy though.

Posted by: JCrew

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/24/07 04:16 PM

How’s this for resurrecting a dead topic months later? I have been doing some research on megachangers and jukebox software in anticipation of setting up a system at home and ran across this thread.

I am more or less starting my software system from scratch, but do have four Sony 400 disc changers I plan to use. I will also be using my 42” HDTV as a monitor for the computer since all of the components and the TV are located in one entertainment cabinet.

So, what I am considering is whether to use a Mac and the TitleTrack software, or a PC and the Music! Software. From what I have observed, both here and at the Yahoo Panther Studios discussion group, the Music!/PC set-up seems to be supported in a responsive way, but there do seem to be numerous glitches. Does anyone have any experience using a Mac/TitleTrack set-up to know if it runs more smoothly? I’m guessing there may be fewer operational glitches, but then I’m not sure if it is still being developed and supported. Also, has anyone tried using the wireless remotes with the TitleTrack system that are referred to on one of their site pages? On paper, it all looks like an excellent solution for my needs, but I don’t have any interest in becoming a part-time software de-bugger and, since I will be using the system in my living room, I’d like to have the ability to at least control the basic functions via remote rather than keyboard and mouse.

Also, for those of you who have been using this set-up for some time under any variation of software and computer, what’s your impression now?

Thanks.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/24/07 05:32 PM

First post in a 2.5 year old thread. Not bad. Now hijack it and you'll fit right in.

I have Music! and a PC. It is a pretty decent package, and has the significant benefit of still being under development. My understanding is that Panther Studios owns BOTH products, but that they have no intention of updating TitleTrack.

I think you could get Music! to work with a remote, but you might need something like Girder, IRA or Sage or some program like that to interface with the IR receiver on the PC. I've not done that; I just have a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. The true HTPC guys would know more about this than me. I have the Gyration compact keyboard and mouse and am satisfied with that so far. I just didn't want to deal with the programming necessary to implement Girder, et. al. I mean, you've got to have a keyboard for the computer anyway.

But, you know, the Mac guys will be along shortly to set you straight.
Posted by: JCrew

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/25/07 02:49 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I have since verified through Panther Studios that the Mac TitleTrack software was developed elsewhere and purchased by them, and does not receive the same level of development or support that their Music! software does. That being the case, I’ll be going with the Music!/PC set up.

Next question – I see where you had resolution problems trying to run the video to your SDRPTV (assume that’s “standard definition ‘something’ TV” ?). Would I be correct in assuming that a VGA to component/HD adapter/converter would resolve that issue, at least as long as I’m using a HDTV as the “monitor”? Anyone around these parts experienced with that issue?

Thanks again and will report in once all is up and running.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/25/07 07:29 PM

Oh, yeah. You'll be fine. I have an old Standard Definition, rear-projection TV. Music! likes a pretty high resolution (I think 1024x768 is about the minimum useful), and my poor old 480 line TV just mooshed it all up. So, I set a 15" monitor out there, too, and run the same signal to both the TV and the monitor off my video card. Bingo.
Posted by: JCrew

Re: CD changers again - Alan's post - 01/30/07 10:47 AM

Thanks, again, Tom. As it turns out, and at the risk of now hi-jacking the topic, I’m having a devil of a time getting this video part worked out. Worked out on paper anyway, I haven’t yet started messing with the hardware. Here’s the dilemma, I am being told that a simple VGA to component adapter will not get the quality of video that I need to the 42” screen. However, when I look at new video cards, they have only S-Video, VGA or DVI output. Neither the S nor the VGA will support the level of resolution I need and the DVI apparently is not formatted such that I can just slap a DVI to Component cable on it and be done.

As near as I can tell, what that leaves me with is either just getting out the screwdrivers, rolling up my sleeves and using trial and error with a combination of video cards, gadgets and cables, or buying a new Denon AVR 4806 with built-in DVI/HDMI video switching capabilities. The latter my be a tough sell with the missus, since I’m already nickel and dime-ing this project to death trying to keep it under the budget radar.

This is the fun part though, eh? As always, any advice would be appreciated.