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After much research and deliberation, I recently purchased the HTM MX-500 and the IRClone software for my new HT. I had to control a reciever, DVD changer, CD changer, 2 cable boxes and a DLP projector. I will shortly add X-10.


I have all of my equipment (except the projector) in a cabinet. I've got a Xantech Dinklink hidden behind a front speaker grill and an IR connecting block with repeaters in the cabinet.


For the remote itself, I seriously considered the Pronto (Neo and 3000), the new Harmony, and the HTM MX-700 in addition to the MX-500. I was leaning toward the 700 until I read some good reviews about the IRClone package. I decided to save the $100-$200 and go with the 500 and IRClone.


I am very, very happy with my decision. I purchased the MX-500 from Surfremote.com because Mike is such a great supporter of this forum and remotecentral.com. The price was excellent as was his customer support. While waiting for the remote and software package to arrive, I spent some time thinking through button placement and macros. It made everything easier.


Once I installed software from IRClone software I was up and running in about 2 hours. The next day I spent another 2 hours fine tuning everything. It works brilliantly! The software is incredibly easy to use even though the documentation is not yet complete. I was worried about that, but shouldn't have been. It's very intuitive. Perhaps the best thing about the IRClone is the ability to make minor or major changes quickly. Don't like the name you've given to a button? No sweat. 1, 2, 3 it's changed. I was also able to download discreet codes for my DVD player and install them in minutes (no JP6 or whatever).


The marco editing is also simple but powerful. In twenty minutes I had my macros done. They make my system inlaw-proof.


The remote itself in terrific. Well built. Feels very solid in the hand. Not too large or small. Buttons have a good feel and are back lit. The LCD buttons are great. Best of all, if I (read, my kids) drop or break the MX-500, I can buy another for a fraction of the cost of the other remotes I considered and reload the programming to the new unit.


Overall, I highly recommend this set-up.
 

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Saul: I absolutely agree! The MX-500/IRClone combo is the best remote package I've used (from both the PC side and the remote user side.)


I prefer all buttons on my remotes and, over the last couple of years, I found my way to the Home Theater Master family of remotes. I thought I had found my perfect remote in the Marantz RC-2000 MkII. But I kept reading about the MX-500. So I bought one and was shocked at how much easier it was to use (in several keys ways.)


Still, I kept reading about the Pronto owners and their PC connectivity. I knew that at a minimum, I wanted a PC backup and restore option. (As you pointed out, if something bad happened to the remote, all was lost.) Yes, the MX-500 has the clone feature but I wanted a PC option rather than a 2nd remote.


When the MX-700 came out, I jumped on one. It was awesome to finally be able to backup and restore to/from my remote. But the software, that was something else for me. I'm not the dullest knife in the drawer but far from the sharpest one either. It took me a solid week to begin to really get the 700 is something close to working order. And even to this day, I still find the program clunky and not intuitive at all. (I don't get this impression from most of the other users but it's still my feeling.)


Then, out of the blue, at remotecentral, I read that a very sharp MX-500 user (who was later joined by another enterprising user) was going to try to tackle a PC interface/software link to the MX-500. I was very glad to see it and hoped that if it became reality, that it would be closer to what I had originally envisioned (powerful yet easy to use.) After a few months gestation, the IRClone was born. I waited a few more months to see if there were any serious issues (for the most part, it's my understanding there was only one, the USB driver for Win XP (which is now apparently solved.))


So, a couple of weeks ago, I bought the IRClone box and downloaded the 500e software. True, the software documentation is pretty sparse but you really don't need it. This software is EASY EASY EASY to use. In just a few minutes, I backed up my MX-500 and began to edit some of the keys. A couple of minutes later, I sent the edited file back into my remote. AWESOME!!!


I have now even backed up my friend's MX-500 and e-mailed a few of his somewhat rare Sony receiver soundfield codes to a couple of other IRClone users (these files will soon be at the MX-500 Files area at remotecentral.com.)


If any of you are on the fence about the MX-500 and want a PC interface for your setup, I cannot recommend this pair of devices any higher. Here's the link to http://www.irclone.com


(I have no connection with IRClone other than being a VERY satisfied user.)
 

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Any thoughts? Not knowing much about remotes, this forum has been very helpful. I called Mike at surfremotecontrol.com. He was GREAT! Very helpful in getting me going. Now, I would like some opinions on the pluses and minuses of each from people using the devices regularly. If I go with the 500- it will have to be with the IRclone set up.


My biggest bother with the 500 is the limited space to label buttons, while the 1000 appears to be more flexible in that regard at the expense of giving up some buttons. Is this correct?? How big a deal is it in a room that is not a darkened media room?


Are thes units backlit? Do you need more "pages" than the 500 offers? I have 8 or 9 devices to manage.


Thanks!!


Also, if I am serious about the 1000 should I consider a Pronto instead? How come I never see much on the RTI units. I read a review (a bot dated) that said it was fantastic...
 

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1st, go to http://www.remotecentral.com It's THE remote information site on the web. (Not that this one is chopped liver either... ;) )There are forums over there that cater to RTI, Home Theater Master, Pronto, etc. Tons of info and FAQs.


Now for some misc stuff...


I can't recommend the MX-1000 by HTM. They have officially stated that they will not develop the software past where it is already at (and it has bugs.) Many users have troubles when trying to program using their PC. If you use it in it's most basic form, it will work. But that's not a good solution, IMO.


The standard Pronto is a proven workhorse. But it is a touchscreen (yes, it has a few hardbuttons but darn few.) If you want to use a remote that looks cool and is capable of running an extensive HT, this could be your best choice...


I really don't know anything about the RTI. It's pricey but it definitely has a following. The RTI forum over at rc.com would be your best source for info.


When you get to the MX-500 (or it's more exotic brother, the MX-700) you're talking my language. I like button-based remotes best because of their tactile feedback. I abhor having to look at a remote all the time to run any function other than volume or channel up/down.


The 500, along with the IRClone package is a very powerful combination. And it will only get better as more IRClone users build the .m5 file database over at rc.com. I don't have 8 or 9 devices but if you are good at planning your layout (there is an Excel spreadsheet at rc.com under the MX-500 files section that can help with the layout planning), it's hard to imagine that you'll need more keys than the 500 offers. The only short coming, IMO, is that the 500 only offers 15 full macros (and these macros MUST be on certain keys.) But if you can work within these parameters, I don't think there's a better buy anywhere.


All of the remotes you've mentioned are backlit and should work fine under typical HT room conditions.


I hope these rambling answers help a little. If you have more detailed MX-500/700 questions, I'll try to help.
 

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Like Han said, if you want a touchscreen go with a Pronto or a Marantz RC-5200 or 9200. If you want hard buttons, the MX-500 is a good remote. RTI has some cool features, a high price tag and some bugs, and some time ago RTI was in big financial trouble. go to the review section of RC, there is a lot of the remotes you mentioned. There are no reviews for the Marantz 5200, 9200 and the new Pronto TSU-3000, but there are the Pronto and pronto next generation forums that can help with that.
 

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I just received my MX-500 and IRClone package. I installed the software on a Laptop running XP. Installation was a breeze. I did the backup and was just amazed at how easy and intuitive both the remote and the IRClone package were. I started labeling buttons and then grabbed a remote off of the table and started learning codes. HTM has done a nice job here where you can just go from Button to Button and learn codes without having to go through a major setup for each individual button. When you then upload that to the IRClone package, all of those buttons with learned codes are marked with a Red LC in the editor. (a nice touch). Buttons you don't need can easily be blanked. The real beauty is that you can try different layouts and save them and then reload what you want. Since I haven't planned everything out as well as I should, the process will probably take awhile but it is an easy low stress process. The most difficult part of the process is picking appropriate names for buttons that will fit in 5 letters.


..Doyle
 

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Quick question about IrClone. By chance, does IrClone come with the ORIGINAL factory settings for the MX-500???? The ONLY drawback with the MX-500 is that the newer model did away with the factory reset.


I did a LOT of playing around when I first got the MX-500. There were some of the original codes I probably would have liked to have kept. With all the experimenting, there isn't one original program left on my MX-500.


Anyway, if the IrClone comes with the original factory default MX-500 layout, that would be great.... Later.... Mike....
 

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You will find the factory setting here:

http://www.irclone.com/downloads.htm


I also like the MX500/IRClone combination. I love all of the hard buttons on the MX500-I very seldom have to look at the remote to get the functions I need. Also, my wife loves it as I have programmed 1 press macro's on Power ON, Power OFF, M1, M2 and M3 so she can easily operate all of the equipment
 

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Michael: Are you saying your MX-500 will no longer allow you to enter the pre-programmed device codes? I've never heard of that happening. The IRClone does have the pre-programmed database in it so you could use those again if you wanted to.


But, the IRClone works best with strictly learned codes. You cannot drag and drop pre-programmed codes. IMO, once IRClone is installed, the editing of the 500 becomes so easy that any thought of going back to the old pre-programmed codes disappears.


I took a blank 500 template and set all of my labels up the way I wanted them. I also used Archer Aux 155 as the device for all the devices. I uploaded this to the 500 and quickly learned all my commands as they appeared on the labels. Then I downloaded back to the PC and set the macros. One last load of the remote finished the process. Much easier than trying to do all of the text editing and button pushes on the 500 itself. And unlike the pre-programmed method, the keys are perfectly located...
 
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