Sound Advice, Part 3


I am very, very impressed with Majiloon’s Remote Commander IV. In a few brief words: simple, reliable, flexible, high-quality and professional.

WHAT IS IT? The Remote Commander IV is a small FM radio frequency transmitter, receiver and, in my case, a mini-disk (MD) player for performers, DJs, and audio technicians. The MD player allows you to record, play and arrange CD quality music tracks. During playback with the Remote Commander, you can control volume, pause, cue forward, cue backward, track forward and track backward from the small transmitter clipped to your belt. All this can be yours for the unheard-of price of $500.

CONTACT INFO: To see the Remote Commander in more detail, go to the Majiloon web site:

COST: First, let’s just say that there is nothing on the market right now that will do what Majiloon’s Remote Commander does at this price level: $500. Other options cost up to five times as much. Kerry Pollack’s Shotech is excellent, very intricate, and it costs $2500. Another setup costs around $800, but the receiver housing is quite large; the MD player is a full-size home component, and you are required to use two standard key-chain sized remotes (kind of fumbly). There is a standard remote control out there that allows you to send cues to a laptop computer using Microsoft PowerPoint or other professional show-producing software, but that requires a laptop computer to play your tracks. Needless to say, $500 is a deal for the Remote Commander IV.

FM TECHNOLOGY: The Remote Commander IV uses FM technology, so the radio signal can be transmitted from 150 feet away and even through walls. The signal is not infrared, so you do not need to point the remote at the receiver. I had no problems working in a giant theater auditorium with cement brick walls and other true-diversity wireless microphones in operation.

RECEIVER: The receiver is small and has lights so you can see when one of the five transmitter signals is reaching the receiver. It can be powered by DC power supply or by an optional battery. Mine uses the power supply At your request, Kelly can make a power attachment from the receiver to your music source (MD player, CD, etc.). NOTE: The system can also be used to control power modules for things like flash pots, foggers, lights and other devices – most anything with a wired remote control.

REMOTE TRANSMITTER: The remote transmitter runs on standard remote battery available at any Radio Shack, and it is about the size of a large pager. I purchased a cell phone belt clip for $6 at Circuit City (also sold at Radio Shack and Staples Office Supply) to attach the remote to my hip – Belkin makes these. The transmitter has five buttons: three on the top for controlling tracks backward, forward and pause; and two on the side near the top for volume up and down. Holding down the button for back or forward caused my Sony MD player to cue fast-forward or fast-backward through the current track.

MINI DISC PLAYER: At my request, Kelly (of Majiloon) supplied a Sony MD player and a DC power supply for it – this was included in the $500 package. Refurbished MD players are available separately at Sony outlets for about $150. It is important to get particular models, so speak with Kelly first if you are going to purchase your own. You’ll need to send it to him so he can customize your system. I am AMAZED at the size, flexibility and quality of portable minidisk players/recorders. My Sony MD is probably 2 1/2 inches square and hardly 3/4 of an inch thick. It has a digital optical in/out connector for playing and recording, an optical patch cable, microphone in, standard line in, and two headphone/line out connectors. There is also a remote control connector where the Remote Commander Receiver plugs in. I made spectacular recordings easily from my CD player. One of the most convenient things about MD is the easy ability to label tracks and change their order on the disk – you can label the disk too. Tracks can also be divided and joined together with ease. Be sure to turn the “beep” feature off on Sony models. Otherwise, when the unit is in pause, you hear an annoying continuous beeping sound. Fortunately, newer Sony MD’s can deactivate the beep, and it’s not a problem with AIWA models. Finally, not only do MD’s hold up to 80 minutes of stereo sound, but you can record tracks in mono, effectively DOUBLING the amount of recording time on one disk. Yes, that’s right: 160 minutes! Wow!! Eventually I hope to have different MD’s for different shows, but so far I’ve found it an easy matter to spend five minutes rearranging my tracks for the next show.

CONSTRUCTION: Kelly custom builds each Remote Commander to work with your music source (MD player, CD, tape, etc.). His workmanship is solid, and he offers to repair the transmitter and receiver for the life of the product. He tells me, though, that he has had very few returns over the years. (However, the MD player is covered by the warranty of that manufacturer.)

SMALL LEARNING CURVE: I did experience a small learning curve when I first practiced with the Remote Commander. This had more to do with the power-saving features of my Sony MD, not the Remote Commander. When the Sony MD is paused or stopped for a few minutes, it goes to sleep. When you wake it up by pressing one of the remote buttons, pressing pause will not restart the current track. If I was paused in the middle of a track and the MD went to sleep, I had to tap one of the volume control buttons and give the player several seconds to rev up. Then I could press pause to resume the current track. When I had the sleeping player set at the beginning of a track, I found that I could press forward track or back track to wake the unit from sleep and play the track at it’s current position – this too took several seconds to rev up. Again, this is particular to Sony MD players. Kelly says AIWA players have no problem because they stay on indefinitely while paused. I did learn how to work with these particulars, and the system has been great ever since.

COMPACT SIZE: One thing I like in particular is that the remote, receiver, MD player, power supplies, cables and connectors all fit in a box that’s smaller than an average size dictionary. It fits quite nicely in my professional magician’s suitcase table. You will want to have some simple packing material to protect the MD player.


  • It is the only quality wireless remote option under $500.
  • It is practical and simple.
  • It is compact.
  • Mini Disk gives you much flexibility.
  • You can move through tracks easily.
  • You can control the volume.


  • Need to leave

© David Reed-Brown, 2001

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