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Sony RM-VL600 Remote Control Review
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Micros can be rather tricky to capture since any blank space between commands will promptly end the learning process, and everything needs to be sent within a 2 second window. One method is to line up all of the source remotes in a row, start the RM-VL600's learning process, then quickly press the donor buttons in sequence. An alternative method is to use a second more sophisticated remote that can transmit macros without any pause between commands, record the macro on it, and then capture the end result on the RM-VL600.

It's true that this can be a lot of work, but if you absolutely must have a macro someplace that Sony doesn't normally allow them then this is the only way and well worth the effort.

Last things to tweak...
After programming codes, learning infrared and recording macros, there's little left to set up on the RM-VL600.

In fact, the only major feature is the volume punchthrough option, which lets you change the device that controls the volume. The default setup is for visual devices to use the television's volume controls and audio devices the receiver's, but this can be changed so that all devices control the receiver. The remote is smart enough to use learned volume commands from the TV or Amp devices, not just preprogrammed ones as was the case in earlier models.

Other options include a "hold" mode that locks the remote from use until a special button combination is pressed, the ability to clear all codes under a device at once, and resetting the entire remote to factory defaults. The option on the RM-VL710 to copy a device from one button to another has been removed.

The RM-VL600 not only makes smart use of its LEDs during programming, but also during regular use. Each time you press a button the LED corresponding to the device in use illuminates. When playing back a recorded macro, the remote notifies you exactly from which device the current step originated. Even the remote's volume buttons will flash the [TV], [Amp] or current device's LED to indicate which volume commands are being sent. So, it's something of a disappointment to report that these LEDs are very, very dim, essentially impossible to see in even a softly illuminated room. The RM-VL710, on the other hand, has super-bright LEDs that are visible under almost any lighting situation.

Included with the RM-VL600 is a compact 48-page page manual that's surprisingly well written. It includes plenty of diagrams, tips, a troubleshooting section, table of buttons and more. Instead of incorporating the programmed code list into the booklet it's been bundled as a small yellow folded piece of paper, likely making it one of the first things that will get lost. A standard 90 day warranty is provided.

Upgrading the MTFB.
We now come to one of my favorite parts of universal remote control reviewing - testing infrared strength. No matter how much attention has been paid to the ergonomic qualities of a remote, one of the major factors in how usable and responsive a product can be boils down to a simple question, how strong is the infrared emitter. And that's a question we can answer!

Unfortunately, recent relocation of items in my regular infrared testing lab means that my staple benchmark cannot be completed at this time - and so I've had to improvise.

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