Test Drive: Tascam CD-701 and RC-701

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The RC-701 remote control leaves nothing to be desired. As mentioned, the unit can control up to 4 CD-701's. With the RC-701 you have elaborate programming ability. This would come in handy if sev­eral units were used on the air in a some­what automated situation. There is even the option to control the RC-701 by com­puter to further automate the system. The SEARCH/PITCH wheel is used to locate cue points in the SEARCH mode. The accuracy here is adjustable from 74 frames per revolution of the wheel to about 30 seconds per revolution in the SEARCH FAST mode. If you spin the wheel fast, the amount of time per revolu­tion is reduced consider­ably. The other function of the SEARCH/­PITCH wheel is, of course, the variable pitch function, plus or minus 6%.

The RC-701 features dual output modes, the MONITOR mode and the ON LINE mode. The MONITOR mode is used for cuing, audi­tioning, searching, etc., and its output is separate from the ON LINE output. The ON LINE mode activates the XLR out­puts of the CD player. For use on the air, the dual out­puts make it possible to cue up music and audition intros in the MONITOR mode, which mutes the XLR out­puts. The MONI­TOR output is an unbal­anced output and can be connected to a cue amp. Once you have a selection cued, you simply hit the READY button, the unit goes ON LINE, and the XLR outputs are hot. In a produc­tion environment, an internal jumper in the CD player will make the XLR outputs hot all the time. This avoids hav­ing to switch the unit ON LINE to get audio to your console.

The large red LED display on the RC-701 gives you all the information you could want. To begin with, there are two sets of readouts, one for the unit ON LINE and the other for the unit in the MONITOR mode. In effect, you have two identical displays with the exception that the ON LINE display does not have a frame indicator. Other­wise, each display has indicators to tell you which UNIT has been selected, a track indicator, an index indicator, and a pitch indicator. The TIME indicators track min­utes and seconds (plus frames in MONITOR mode) in one of four ways. By hitting the DISPLAY buttons, you can alternate bet­ween each of these four modes. In mode one, the display gives you the number of tracks on the CD and the total playing time of the entire CD. In mode two, the display tracks the actual playing time. In mode three, you get the remaining time of the current track. If the unit is cued to the beginning of the track and in the PAUSE mode, the time reflected is the total time of the track. Once you hit PLAY, the indica­tors begin counting back to reflect remain­ing time. In mode four, you get the total remaining time on the entire CD from the position currently selected. The functions of each display can be selected independently, so you can watch actual playing time on one side while the other display counts down remaining time.

Everything considered, we were quite impressed with this pair from Tascam. If you're going to use it for production, the BU-1 RAM buffer is a must! Don't forget it. The ability to make "gapless" continuous loops from a CD with a CD player is some­thing we haven't seen up to this point. This particular function has great pos­sibilities with short sound effects and synthesizer zaps; Creating interesting pul­sating beds becomes an easy task. This is a feature we can prob­ably expect to see more of in future CD players as manufac­turers begin to put a greater value on applications in the pro­duction room as well as the on-air studio. Hats off to Tascam for an impressive effort at taking care of both studios of a radio station!

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