I hate remote controls. They're generally a tacky bit of plastic which I don't need and have to pay for. The kids pinch them to play 'mobile phones' with (which doesn't matter unless it's a review item), they all look the same and they imply I haven't the energy to get up to turn a knob. But worst of all they are starting to become indispensable.
I've a CD transport on test here at the moment. Very nice it is too but it has no control buttons other than two emergency one's on the back "in case of remote control failure".
Now I'm going to get just a little bit tense about this... Just what the hell is going on? Do these people never use the stuff they make? Have they ever heard of ergonomics? Would a car manufacturer supply a remote control for all the minor controls of a car and remove all the normal stalks and switches - lights, horn etc. Of course not so why do hi-fi manufacturers insist on such madness on their equipment controls?
What do you do when you put on a CD player?
I walk to the CD rack and select a disc. I then walk to the CD player, press the 'Open' button, open the jewel case, get out the CD and place it on the drawer - press 'play' and sit down to listen (or I dance about).
Apparently the manufacturer of the aforementioned transport wants you to -
Walk to the CD rack and select a disc. Then walk to the CD player, look for the remote. If you are lucky it'll be on top of the player, though like as not it'll be on the coffee table as it is after all a 'remote' - alternatively it might be in use as a phazer 'set to stun' in one of the kids bedrooms. But let's assume you are lucky or have tethered it to the CD player (the only sensible thing to do). You pick it up and find amongst the 20 or so identical pin-head sized buttons the one marked (if it hasn't worn off) 'Open' This you press so the tray slides out. You then put the remote down, get out the CD place it in the tray, pick up the remote and look for the tiny pin-head sized button marked 'Play'. This you then press and put the remote down on the player (so you can find it next time), then and only then you get to sit down to listen (or dance about).
Anyone recognise the scenario? I don't think I exaggerate one little bit. Add an amp which only works with (another) remote, ditto the tuner and I could just give up and watch the telly. My brother in law has six remotes on his coffee table and spends many a stressfull minute trying one after the other, swapping batteries, looking down the back of the sofa and generally being unhappy - and they sell the damn things as a convenience option! And don't talk to me about learning remotes! That just makes seven remotes on the table!
Why do they do it? - Style... It can't be cost because the buttons are still there on the back. Personally any designer who can't integrate a couple of buttons attractively should find some other employment.
I'm not being difficult, I'm just putting in a plea for the common man/woman (i.e. me). All I want is two clear buttons on a CD player. 'Open/Close' and 'Play/Stop'. You can put all the 'favourite track selection' and 'random' nonsense onto the remote - only restaurants and lift companies use them anyway. Then I can throw the damn thing away without writing the player off...
Or give it to the kids...
© Copyright 2001 Geoff Husband - http://www.tnt-audio.com
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