Audio's M1 remote control
Why can't they
all be like this?
By Les Enser
has been a fixture in my home for many years. I could not imagine being
without it for extended periods of time, since it adds so much to the
home theatre experience. Just think: with 1982's introduction of the Hi-Fi
VCR, which connected to a plain two speaker stereo system, we thought
we had the ultimate experience we could get in our homes.
Now look at
1999, where the Dolby Pro-Logic/AC-3/DTS receiver, coupled with a five
or six speaker system, a Laserdisc player or a DVD machine, now lets us
have a true movie theatre right in our livingroom. Awesome! Turn down
the lights and bring on the popcorn and "on with the show."
Wait a minute!
The center channel is a little low on volume, so you reach for the remote
- only to find yourself fumbling about in the dark to find the little
button to turn it up. Damn, you have to turn on the light to find that
little elusive button - and youve just interrupted the flow of the
Thanks to the
folks at Cambridge Audio (made in England) for introducing their M-1 remote
control, a slickly-designed, backlit unit that will learn most of your
audio/video remote functions. The unit fits comfortably in ones
hands and uses a GUI (graphical user interface) to make things easier.
The M1 remote
uses a LCD display (liquid crystal) and is easy to see during the day
or night. Cambridge uses a built in sensor that will turn on the backlighting
when home lighting is insufficient - an ingenious idea that should save
battery life, since the unit does require 4 AA batteries. Cambridge claims
with normal use battery life should be between 4-6 months.
is about 250 grams or just a little more than half a pound.
is a breeze and one simply has to lay the original remote behind the Cambridge
(as opposed to head to head, which makes keying in somewhat easier since
the keys of both remotes are at your vantage point) and punch up the buttons.
If an error is made the Cambridge will indicate this by a warning at the
top of the screen. Once the remote is programmed it will retain its memory
for up to three years.
The beauty of
this remote is that it has individual screens for different functions,
i.e. T.V. , VCR, CD, LD, AMP, TAPE, TUNER, and SEL 1 &2 (for extra
options) controls. So if one wishes to operate the VCR just press the
VCR button and its controls pop up! All the controls are laid out in a
logical and legible manner. This remote will also make a friendly "beep"
to confirm each button pressed, but this can also be defeated.
Once a command
is chosen and the remote is laid to rest the back light will gradually
fade to off, a classy gesture for such a handsome remote.
added a macro function that will operate up to 10 different commands in
terms of power management. To put in simpler terms the remote will turn
on the power of whatever device youve chosen (for example, if one
chooses VCR, the remote will turn on the T.V. the receiver and of course
the VCR itself, in with a single command). It's a nifty feature for those
afraid of pressing the wrong buttons.
this is a fine remote and we recommend it highly. However, nothing is
truly perfect and one item that Cambridge has missed is that some VCRs
and Receivers use a cursor control (arrow up/down, left/right) for their
settings and these were omitted. Perhaps we may see this in the M-2 remote.
As of this writing no M-2 is in the works but time will tell.
In the meantime,
this is one fine remote and would a great gift for the true home theatre
I hope my wife
Price as tested $349.00 Cdn.
Dimensions 180mm x 82mm x 28mm
Uses 4 AAA batteries
Interface: LCD, touch screen, back lit, GUI with 10 Macro settings
note: the M1 was loaned to TechnoFILE by Smart Home Systems of Calgary,
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think