Escient Fireball - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-22-2002, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone purchased the Escients Fireball system yet? And if so how do you like it? What do you like and dislike about the system?

Thanks Phil
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-23-2002, 01:26 PM
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I have a Fireball and it is really cool. What I like about it is that you have a single integrated UI for both your old CDs and MP3s. I looked for a long time at media servers, own an audiotron, but settled on the Fireball because I did not want to rip all of my 400+ CDs to MP3.

It was pretty easy to set up, you need to know that if you have high speed internet access, it supports HPNA out of the box, if you want to run normal ethernet, you have to get an adaptor. I just use an ethernet/HPNA bridge and all is well.

I have 2 Sony changers, a 400 CD and a 200 CD. The fireball recognized them right away and off it went downloading title, track and covers. It recognized all buy 6 of my CDs. It has cover art for most recent CDs but not some old (over 5 years old).

The only problem is that it occasionally does not see the changers, fortunately a short reboot fixes that and they tell me this problem is fixed in the next software release scheduled for May 1st. The fireball automatically looks for updates and updates itself if it is connected to the internet.

All in all I highly recommend it, one of the coolest devices I own.

Sheldon...
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-25-2002, 09:00 AM
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I have had a fireball for about 4+ weeks now.

Overall I like the unit quite a bit. I *IS* very cool and has a great wow factor. The U/I is very easy to use and the feature set is nice.

Unfortunately I have had problems which have (hopefully temporarily) shut down my use of the Fireball.

I am using the Fireball stand alone, no CD changer. I had planned to RIP most of my CD collection at the high bit rate and not get a changer.

At this point, I have not been able to do so because of a pretty serious RIPing bug with the Fireball: About 100 CDs or so into my RIPing the fireball wouldn't RIP any more CDs. Eventhough it showed 180 hours available. The good news is the Escient is aware of this bug and it should be fixed in a May? release.

Addtionally, my sense is that the the Fireball is still somewhat buggy. Here is a list of some of the other problems I have run into:

Various hangs which need a reboot. Often after leaving the unit off for 24 hours requires a reboot.
It always puts 1-2 sec gaps of silence between all RIPed tracks (this is beyond annoying in live recordings or classical)
Replay TV remote sometimes causes the Fireball to do various random things.
U/I navigation hops around somewhat unpredictability at times.

Another big thing for me was the ability to create 'playlist' audio CDs. (for use in the car and our boombox) Unfortunately the Fireball needs the original audio CD to create an audio CD. So, in my case, although I can create a playlist CD, I have to dig out all the original CD's and feed them in to build a playlist, then burn the CD. I had hoped to create the CD from my RIPed collection. Escient claims this is required for copyright protection.

Overall I am somewhat neutral on this product. I believe it has huge potential. I want to love it.

If I had it to do over again.... I'm not really sure what I would do. I really love everything the Fireball promises to do. I also think the U/I is well conceived. Maybe the fireball with a changer was the answer? A changer alone didn't meet my organization/playlist/visual interface requirements.

Anyhow, such is the life of an early adopter. My hope is the s/w gets better and better over time. If so, the Fireball will rock!

-J
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-25-2002, 06:56 PM
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The gaps between tracks is something that is common to virtually all MP3 players. As I understand it, it is a function of the MP3 encoder and that each track is essentially loaded one at a time. I lhave an Audio Request ARQ-1 with a 100 gig hard drive, which I use for the most part for live music. I can relate to how annoying it is to have those gaps and not the seamless transitions
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-25-2002, 07:09 PM
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Alan,

You're right, I noticed the same behavior on my PC. But I guess I expect much more from a 2K piece of audio equipment than I do from some free audio player on my computer.

I doesn't seem like it can be that difficult to preload the next track and be ready to switch output streams instantly.

You would think that at the very least, there would be an option to 'RIP this disk as a single track'. For me it would be a reasonable compromise. I could live with my classical and probably even live music CD's RIPed as a single entity.

Just irritated and enjoying the whine ;)

-J
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-27-2002, 12:55 PM
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we used to be Escient dealers exclusively but would not use there products any longer due to the fact the their service is well below what it used to be. Especially when your dealing w/ clients who expect everything to work all of the time.

AudioRequest is by far a much better unit because of the modular HD design, redundancy of the data [when used w/ the zone expander] and the fact that you are not streaming music from one location to another.
It also sounds better because of the codecs & various bitrates it can use. UI is just as easy to use. Plus you can rip in you office on what ever you use then dump it into the machine via your LAN connection.

ARQ is by far a better solution for the professional installers out there. Yes it's more expensive but "you gets what you pay for" & w/o the headaches of failures.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-30-2002, 04:53 PM
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I just got the Fireball last week and am generally satisfied with the product. I have it hooked up two two sony 400 cd changers (with about 600 discs loaded) and it reconginzed all but four discs and had album covers for about 90%.

I have had a few of the problems that others have mentioned including having to re-boot and some problems which I think are IR related (it has turned on/off mysteriously twice). I also had some difficulty setting it up on my home network using HPNA. However, I have been very happy with the technical support. I have called and exchanged emails several times and have gotten quick responses. Hopefully this update due 5/1 will take care of many of these other problems.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-09-2002, 12:27 AM
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The AudioTron is pretty good about playing back gapless between tracks. Every once in awhile it will gap, but for the most part it works fine.

Remember, it's just television...
Planet Replay: http://www.planetreplay.com
Do you VUDU? http://www.planetvudu.com
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-13-2002, 08:30 PM
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I can add my vote for the Fireball. So far I haven't done anything but set up my two sony changers, but it awesome. It recognized 471 of 476 disc on the first shot, and on the second try I got these ones as well. I have been able to add many covers just by following escient's suggestion of editing the disc names with missing covers.

This unit is awesome. Just make sure you use sony megachangers escient supports
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-20-2002, 11:57 AM
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I've been interested in the fireball but it seems to lack upgrade ability of its hard drive size. I'm interested in the auiorequest as my dealer and crestron rep are big on it. my biggest gripe is that it does not have an automatic rip system as does lansonic. does any one know an automated way to set up a cd changer to rip into the arq. please let me know. also i must say i was surprised at the limited file formats for the fireball and know usb2 support seems like an outdated product right out of the box
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-20-2002, 01:38 PM
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I believe the Audio Request folks sell a device called the RipStation which rips mass amounts of CDS. Also, I am fairly certain they would rip them for you if you sent them your CDs. I have an ARQ and am very happy with it, particularly with all of the upgrades made recently.
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