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Escient Tunebase 100 CD

1577 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jim Clamage

In my shopping for a CD changer I came across Escient company that makes the Tunebase 100 model. You can find them on the web at www.escient.com

They interface with only Sony model CDP-CX players and Denon 5000 changers. Essentially they provide custom software interface that enhances your changer with full CDDB data along with CD cover art, playlists, etc. Basically a hard drive and custom software that downloads CDDB info and graphics.

Does anyone own one of these, they are fairly new and seem quite nice. The kicker in all of this though is price at $3,000 for the Tunebase 100 model. That's more than at least 2 changers cost. It would be nice at $500 like the TIVO but at this price sheesh. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

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Hey Jeff,

I actually have the Tunebase 2000i which I think was one level up from the TuneBase 100. I got it just before they D/C'ed it (so better price http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif ). I absolutely love this thing. I actually use it in conjunction with the Arrakis DC-4 hard disc recorder, distribute the video from the Escient to all the TV's in my house, and use the IR in my Elan system to communicate/control the Escient. Escient has a wireless IR handheld mouse that they sell separately which I use to control it; it comes with a wireless keyboard. The system as a whole works beautifully.

So why do I love the Escient:

1) The graphical interface is a joy to use - from the main menu you can either select a single disc, choose a random mode, choose a 5 disc mode (so it acts like a 5-disc changer), or choose the jukebox mode.

2) In any of the first 3 modes, you can specify which musical style(s) you would like to use at that moment. It comes with like 8 preset modes. Which brings me to what I really like,

3) It offers incredible control over how you interface with your music. To wit (I've never written or said that phrase before, by the way! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif ), it offers an Excel style spreadsheet which contains artist, title, and 2 categories in which you define where you think that music belongs, ie. Rock and Blues. All of this information is editable.

Below that is another spreadsheet with the actual disc information; track name, time, etc. In this spreadsheet it gives you the option to specify which tracks you would like to exclude from playback, random or otherwise. For example, you bought that Beck CD with Loser on it, but you don't like any of the other songs. You simply exclude the other ones from playback, and every time you choose that album or include it in a random playback, whatever, it will only play Loser. Amazing!

You can define as many musical styles as you want, and assign an album cover or piece of art specifically to it.

4) The interface is very intuitive and fun (my wife likes it for God's sake!!)

5) In the jukebox mode, you can create playlists for specific occassions, ie. dinner jazz, brazilian party, bedtime classical, children's songs, whatever.

6) Setting it up is very straight forward.

7) Excellent technical support.

I can't think of what else, but I will say that it has made interacting with my music collection magnitudes more fun. I've enjoyed it so much that I am seriously considering getting their PowerPlay for DVD's.

So are there any negatives? Some minor ones:

1) cover art accuracy is really only about 60%. I have a scanner hooked up to it and it has a great cover art management process.

2) have to have a video display to interact with it (TV, touchscreen, Crestron/Phast, etc.)

3) in the whole-house setting, it can only be used in one zone at a time.

4) with classical music need to edit song titles/artist info a little more often that I would like, but I'm also pretty anal about this stuff ("no, if it's Bach, J.S. on one disc, it can't be J.S. Bach on another...")

I know this is a long post, but I really am happy with it, and nobodies asked before!! If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help.


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I own a Tunebase 100 along with two Sony 555ES 300 disc changers. I absolutely love it. The graphical interface is wonderful, and it makes accessing all of my 400+ cds very convenient. I highly reccomend it. Out of my 400 cds, it only failed to identify 2 of them!
To BobDole:

I have the Escient Pro MK-I connected to 2 Sony CX555ES changers. I was wondering how you have the audio hooked up to your system? I'm looking for a way to get the toslink digital out from both changer's into my AVP. Since there's only 1 Toslink input on the AVP, I need to convert toslink to phono spdif and connect to an available coax digital in. Currently have the analog out from both changers to 2 line mixers, then 1 output into the analog in on my AVP. My installer set it up that way (as I just discovered) and I think it must be sub-optimal at best for sound quality.

Any thoughts?
In some cases with the 555ES from sony you must use analog to a mixer. Escient has said that the sony pass through is not very good and sometimes the second cd changer's audio will not pass.

What receiver/pro do you use? The DAC's in the 555ES aren't bad... I can see a digital connection going to a good DAC being a better solution, though.

Escient is also working with Pioneer to use their CD players, (and hopefully their DVD Players) for the Tunebase 100 and MKII.

Also, I am not sure if anyone knows this or not, but Escient owns the CDDB that is on the internet. The reason that some discs are named different is because the users of the CDDB input the disc info, not Escient. There is no standard set, and given the number of discs in the database, I doubt there ever will be.


Dan Henderson
[email protected]
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Dan, I have a fix: I called Escient and they turned me on to the MSB Technology (msbtech.com) Digital Director.

It has 4 coax digital and 2 toslink inputs, plus 2 coax digital and 1 toslink output. I bought it over the phone and it should arrive tomorrow. Just a heads up: the standard Director prioritizes the input closest to position #1 that it senses as "on". In my situation, both changers are always on. Fortunately, MSB has a "scan upgrade" that allows the Director to sense which input is sending music and passes only it to the digital output. PERFECT for what I'm trying to do: toslink out from both changers to the toslink ins on the director...coax digital out of the director to coax digital in on my Proceed AVP. Whichever changer is playing is scanned by the director and automatically directed to my AVP.

Since its going in the back of my rack and will be hidden, I got a Silver version ($199 instead of $320 for black) plus the $175 scan upgrade--a steal as far as I'm concerned. Read a couple of good reviews of the product as well, so I can't wait to install it tomorrow.
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By far the "best sounding" way of doing this that I have seen so far.

I'll have to look into this, as I don't like using the DAC's in sony's

sub-$500 cd players. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Do you have the option for 2 toslink in's and 1

toslink out? I like coax digital better myself, but I am scared that you

might have huge packet loss from the conversion of toslink to coax.



Dan Henderson
[email protected]
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The MSB Digital Director has 4 coax digital inputs, 2 toslink optical inputs, 2 coax digital outputs and 1 toslink digital output. So you can do as you described: 2 toslinks in, 1 toslink out.

In my case, the Proceed AVP has 7 digital inputs: 1 AES/EBU with XLR connector, 4 coax, 1 S/PDIF on BNC, and 1 toslink. I currently use the toslink for connection to my SAT, so I had to convert toslink to coax.

But, the good news is...it works great! Installed it last night and couldn't believe what a difference it made. Actually I could believe, that's why I've been searching for this type of product...what I can't believe is that my installer didn't come up with this and instead tried to get away with a poor solution of 2 analog outs to inexpensive line mixers to analog in.

Oh well, It works great and that's what counts. I think Escient should recommend MBS to all their customers. By the way, installation time: 3 minutes.
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