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Sony RM-VL700 Remote Control Review
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Sony RM-VL700
Click to enlarge. (20kb)
Everything you need to learn... and then some.
There's nothing more annoying than buying a preprogrammed-only remote and finding that it doesn't control one or more of your devices. This is the primary reason why I have never recommended such models in the past: what they don't have... they simply don't have. Starting with the RM-AV2100 and RM-VL900 and now continuing on with the RM-VL700, Sony has created what can rightly be called the most capable learning function of any budget-priced remote control series. Not only is there enough room to hold an average-length learned signal on every key - a total of 180 signals in the case of the VL700 - but the remote is also able to learn frequencies of up to 500kHz (most top out at 120kHz and would exclude the B&O brand) and code lengths of up to 250-bits. As of the writing of this review, those statistics have yet to be topped by another comparable remote.

Sony RM-VL700
Click to enlarge. (65kb)
Learning a signal is done by holding down the [SET] button until the adjacent green LED lights, then selecting the component and button you want to teach. Line up the original remote and the VL700 nose-to-nose, then press and hold the button you wish to capture until the [SET] light comes on again. If a button already contains a signal, it must first be reset by holding the component button and key to be reset. Codes can continue to be learned in this manner, until the [SET] button is once again pressed to save all additions.

Signals can also be learned on each of the five component select buttons - the only button that cannot hold a signal is [SET].

...And then there were none: from macros to micros.
When I originally heard about the VL700, I figured that it would have more limited macro capabilities. I reckoned that instead of the VL900's complement of 11 macros, it may only have the three "system control" ones. Boy, was I wrong: it has none! In a move that would likely scratch the VL700 off many shoppers' short lists, Sony has completely removed any and all macro functionality. But wait! Before you ready the white-out, consider this: the VL700 can capture codes of up to 250-bits in length. The average code is 8 to 20-bits long. Sony remotes have proven themselves adept at learning more than one code on a single button. See what I'm getting at? Micro macros!

Around here we just love pushing a remote beyond its design parameters! For my initial test at a micro macro, I tried learning the two signals required to keep my system completely in sync: the input commands for the receiver and television. Note that these are two different brands of equipment that use vastly different code structures. Keeping the amount of "blank" time between each signal to an absolute minimum, the remote easily accepted my two sequential codes. And when I tried them out? It worked perfectly, even duplicating the short amount of pause I had left between each signal!

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