Phoenix specified the Denon machines because they wanted the most reliable technology available. They have used the Denon brand in a variety of other installs over the years. It was also essential that this system was expandable and ‘future-proof’ to allow for the continued growth of Abbott’s CD collection. This element is easily dealt with by the addition of further Denon units. Phoenix, who also installed the house’s wiring infrastructure and audio/video system, worked closely with Simon Curtis from Hayden Labs to develop an imaginative technical solution. The streamlined, customised system amalgamates five 100-disc Denon DCM-5000 disc changers - each with a possible five companion Denon 5001 slave units housing an additional 100 CDs each - and an Escient hard disc control system. The latter is an American product, running TuneBase Pro Mark II software, operated via touch-screen.
This is a UK-first for the combination of Denon and Escient technologies – and possibly also a world first. The system enables Abbott to play any CD or individual track in his entire collection, or any number of pre-programmed playlists – as he wishes. The DCM 5000s and 5001s are housed in three neat rack units in the garage, while the touch panel control is in Abbott’s living room. The system requires no user-inputting of data - all the user has to do is insert any new CD into any available slot in the Denon machines. The Escient then identifies the CD, accesses the CD database in the US via automatic internet connection and downloads all the track-listings, album graphics etc, onto its hard disc. This info then becomes available on the system, enabling Richard to incorporate the new CD into any desired playlists, or to select ‘Random Play’ from the entire collection. The current (and still growing) system consists of five Denon DCM5000 master units with 15 x Denon DCM5001 slave units connected to the Escient Tunebase PRO MKII controller. The user interface consists of Escient’s ETP 1000 touch-screen and a Pioneer PDP 502MXE plasma screen. The audio is processed through a Yamaha studio mixer and distributed throughout the whole house.3 July 2001cap: Richard Abbott is pictured with the touch-screen Escient controller at his lounge bar.