CD player?

thebikingtechie

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Aug 25, 2006
I couldn't find a previous post that was asking this question so though it's similar to some past posts I couldn't fin one close enough to be of help.

Anyway, I just started at a new school, that has an excellent drama department. All the production class is new this year as the tech in the past has for been done for the most part by actors. I have the most experience in general, though most of it has been with lights. The director has asked me to help improve the sound in the booth.

They are currently using a Sony dvd player, which of course has absolutely terrible pickup times. Can anyone tell me what a good theatre cd player would be? It doesn't necessarily have to be rack mountable, but it might be nice in case they actually get a rack. I'm guessing we'll be on a little bit of a budget since it's high school, but the director is well known as an amazing director, so I think she might be able to get something high quality.

I know there are some dj type cue systems but I think that is getting too fancy, basically what I'm looking for is a CD player, that has a fast pickup time, possibly with mini disk if that will make it faster.


Thanks
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
Interesting question, and I am sure you will get lots of different opinions so here goes:

If you really want to have it a CD player, I do think that you should look at the dj units, prices have come down, you can get rack mount dual deck units, with a lot of features that really do help in a theater environment and you get the advantage of the pricing of a large market.

IF you look at where things are going, even in the DJ space then hard drive based is the way to go, and IMO the Denon Media Player DN HD2500 is an interesting unit, and it has the ability to control two cd decks as well, not overly cheap, but interesting.

For some situations, I have also use the Alesis Masterlink, mainly because I like the recording ability, and also the playback side with the built in hard drive.

For probably beyond what you are looking for, but suprisingly inexpensive if you troll on ebay, is the Alesis HD24. I started using them for the recording side of things, with 24 track digital and built in analog line in and adat in, removable hard drives. BUT once you have worked with a multi track playback system with all the flexibility it gives you it is hard to go back to a simple two track system.

Of course the other option is always a pc or notebook, but a case can be made that for live i cannot live with a BSD in the middle of the show, the standalones are hard to beat.

Any of the above is going to be around a grand

Sharyn
 

jkowtko

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Redwood City, CA
DJ players have fast pickup and auto-cueing, which is what you want for playing sound tracks or FX. They also have pitch bend, which is something you may want depending on the specific show.

Along the lines of DJ CD players, I bought the Stanton C.500 and it's been working perfectly for my needs, and for $199 is a great bargain. For $299 I think the C.501 has mp3 playback capability as well.

You're probably going to hear similar comments on American Audio, Numark, and maybe Gemini (but Gemini is pretty low end).

I'm sure you can spend hundreds more on a good CD player, but you don't have to. $200 should do it.

PS: if you're looking to build a complex sound cue program for a play or musical, you should consider getting a PC program such as Sound Cue System and plopping it on an inexpensive used P4 machine. I think there are other posts on that topic. There are also Mac versions of sound cueing software as well. And this is much, much easier than a CD player for running any kind of sound.
 

soundlight

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If you are going to use CD's, get a Stanton DJ unit, as mentioned. Gemini isn't worth it. Numark is also an option. American Audio works, but I prefer Stanon or Numark.

If you're using a PC, get one of the sound cue programs (like sound cue system) and use that. You might also want to get a better PCI audio card with this option.

If you're using a Mac, get Q-lab - it's free. The add-on packs with more features cost money.

If you take the mac route, you might want to also think about getting a firewire audio interface for your recording input and the output.
 

pacman

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Atlanta, GA
I'm using two Tascam CD01U-Pros & they are pretty nice. On bid for a school, a unit should run not much over $500. The CD01U (without the Pro designation) will be around $100 less & you'll loose balanced XLR outs. One nice feature is the ability to speed or slow the playback (like pitch), but maintain the key; best of all, I rarely get digital glitches. Handy for slowing playback to learn dance steps, speeding up to fit a too-long track in a shorter amount of time, etc. It is a single space rack mount unit.

Denon has anew one similar to the Tascam (single rack space) that has network connectivity to play whatever stuff it finds on your network. Don't know much else about it. My building orginally had a nice Denon CD player, but it died & finding Denon service looked to be both difficult & more expensive than just replacing it.

I also have the Alesis Masterlink someone mentioned. It's a nice piece in that you can record to disk then burn to CD, but it is not a good choice for most theatre playback situtations (from CD - playback from the hard drive is nice) . When the disks sits in pause for some length of time, the drive spins down. When you hit play, it will take several seconds to spin up, read the track & pump out audio.

I would suggest staying away from Gemini. I bought one rack mount unit on sale just cause I needed one quickly. It had several operating annoyances and within a year, the start button went wacky & would only start if you punched it on the very left edge of the button. Maybe some contact cleaner would have fixed it, but I just bought the Tascams instead.
 

avkid

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That's a 5th on staying away from Gemini.
When they fail, they go all out.
Our spare literally started eating a thin layer of the last cd it played before I sent it away.
 

avkid

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My personal favorite is the Denon DN-4000.
 

Van

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I've worked with the Denon units in several venues. They seem sto be a real workhorse for the industry.
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
I use the masterlink but store all the stuff on the hard drive.
In a school environment, or on the road, chasing down the cd, finding that it has gotten scratched up, etc etc, causes a lot of grief, SO IMO get the stuff and load it on the hard drive.

Sharyn
 

thebikingtechie

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Aug 25, 2006
Thanks for all your suggestions, I think I'm going to suggest the Stanton 501 to my director, I think she'll say yes.

One more question I have is what's the height of it? We have a little rack case, and I need to know if we need another rack. I looked at the stanton website, but the measurement they have (88.8 mm) seems abnormally small. It looks like I now have a tight deadline if I want to get it soon, so if someone could reply by tommorow it would be awesome.

Thanks
 

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avkid

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Those are a pretty killer deal... how well do they hold up?
They've managed to keep all the picky pros at PSW Lab satisfied for years.
I just got my first one(a pop-up for the PV-14) and it's great.
I plan on replacing my cheap Hybrid when funds become available.
Their mic cables are also cheap and very durable.
 

Stoldal

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Coming from high school theatre i have used everything from a portabe CD player, to $2000 CD/DVD player, it was a very nice unit. i wish we could buy two more of those units. But a CD player for you, i use http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Stanton-S250-Tabletop-CD-Player?sku=800345
for may day to day uses, it does the job and it was cheap only $99. But there is better, like http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Denon-DNS5000-Tabletop-DJ-CD-Player?sku=808017, that is the unit i use for the theatre productions.
I also prefer table top over rack mount, but that is just me
 

avkid

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I absolutely don't recommend a tabletop player for any kind of rough environment.
One good slam and the cheap ones are done for, anything else under several hundred bucks will skip when you drop something on the desk next to it.
No Gemini...!!!
 

Stoldal

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I absolutely don't recommend a tabletop player for any kind of rough environment.
One good slam and the cheap ones are done for, anything else under several hundred bucks will skip when you drop something on the desk next to it.
No Gemini...!!!
that is very true, the Cd player we use at my high school for anything other then the chapel or theatre is in a rack mount. I like table top better before theatre and chapel because for me it is easier for the cues.
 

museav

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Based on the manufacturer's data, the Stanton C.501 does not apparently include the Instant Start function, something you probably want. That does seem to be one of the features of the C.502.

For CD players in theatres I lean towards the Tascam and D&M Pro products.
 

Hughesie

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Melbourne, Australia
im just going to recommend what i have that i have never had a problem with

denon 2RU cd+ tape player, handles everything people throw at you (inless it's mp3cd but seriously it's a theatre envroment who would be that crazy) works for me auto cue pitch bend and xlr outputs