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Escient FireBall DVDM-300 Review

by November 24, 2005
  • Product Name: DVDM-300
  • Manufacturer: Escient
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: November 24, 2005 18:00
  • MSRP: $ 4999

Key Features

  • 300GB internal hard drive for storing digital music files

  • Built-in CD-RW drive for playing, burning and ripping CDs

  • Store, secure, browse and play up to 1200 DVDs or CDs stored in Sony, Kenwood, or Pioneer CD/DVD changers

  • Simple and intuitive on-screen user interface for browsing, selecting, and playing movies, music, Internet Radio stations and for all system configuration and setup functions

  • Automatic DVD identification using Escient's MovieDB

  • Automatic CD identification using Gracenote CDDB® with cover art provided by AMG

  • PC File Sharing for transferring music files to and from a PC or Mac (includes support for iPod, Rio, and other portable players)

  • Web interface for remote control and music streaming via any standard web browser

  • PDA interface for controlling the DVDM-300 from any pocket sized web enabled device

  • Create custom playlists and genres

  • Music playback in repeat and random modes

  • Play any WMA or Shoutcast Internet Radio stations

  • Create and edit Internet Radio stations

  • Connects to other FireBall Music Servers to share music libraries

  • Record audio to hard drive from external changers or from any legacy analog or digital audio device (LPs, Cassettes, DAT, MD, etc.)

  • Built-in component video switcher for automatic changer selection and routing to your receiver

  • User selectable 16x9 or 4:3 on screen TV user interface

  • Gapless playback feature for classical and live recordings

  • Customizable User Interface skins for an exciting new look


  • 17 3/8"W x 11 7/8"D x 4 5/8"H

Supported Audio Formats:

  • CD-Audio, MP3, WMA, FLAC

Supported Changers:

  • Sony DVP-CX777ES 400 disc DVD/CD changers

  • Kenwood DV5050 and 5900 403 disc DVD/CD changers

  • Sony 200, 300, 400 disc CDP series CD-only changers


  • It does everything you expect, many things you don't, and does them well
  • Intuitive interface
  • Impressive movie/music recognition system
  • Unparalleled access for installers
  • Humongous WOW factor


  • No in-box wireless ability
  • No multi-zone capability without additional purchases
  • Flimsy CD tray
  • Some fan noise


Escient DVDM-300 Introduction

Escient_boxes_lgWhen the boxes arrived on my back porch, I was surprised at two things, 1) the small size of the FireBall box, and 2) how much more the FireBall weighed over the Sony DVP-CX777ES 400 disc DVD/CD changer. Clearly this was a substantial piece of hardware. While my review unit was no spring chicken, the box had held up well and the unit was well packaged. I was impressed by the amount (and quality) of interconnects provided. Even the analog connectors were of sufficient quality that I felt no need to use any other specialty interconnects. These were no "throw away" wires!

For those of you that have a wireless router in your home, you understand the joy that only a WiFi network can give. If you are like me, you also understand the frustration that integrating a router into you system can bring. Apparently, when I switched from DSL to Cable, something came askew and the computer wasn't recognizing the router. I don't know. I do know that it took me three hours on the phone with tech support to get the router working and three minutes with the FireBall to get it to work. User friendly? Plug and play? I think so. In fact, it bears mentioning that ALL (not some, not most) of my "problems"integrating the Escient FireBall into my system were from the computer side. Having a 5 year old computer with a history of (what can only be described as) psychotic behavior, has gotten me used to such occurrences. Heck, plug-n-play is practically non-existent in my house!

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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