Does the HT-300 need external amplification?
The HT-300 is equipped with an internal stereo speaker system with an output of around 10 watts per channel. This is typically similar to that of a small portable CD player or radio, so there is normally sufficient volume for use with a small group of people in a small room. For all other situations external amplification will be required.
Can we connect the HT-300 to our existing church sound system?
The HT-300 is equipped with stereo line level audio outputs, by means of a pair of standard 1/4" mono jacks. It can be connected to any system with a suitable audio input (the stereo outputs of the HT-300 can be combined together for use with mono sound systems).
The quality of the results you get will depend on whether your sound system was designed to reproduce music as well as speech. Many church sound systems utilise multiple small speakers, primarily designed for speech reinforcement, and are not suitable for high quality music reproduction.
Can the HT-300 be connected to our loop system (for the hearing-impaired)?
There is nothing to stop you, but this would be a bad idea for those wearing hearing aids. A pipe or electronic organ, piano or worship band is not commonly connected to the loop system because the output level would usually be uncomfortably high. However, it is often possible to leave a microphone switched on in order to allow a small amount of sound into the loop amplifier.
How long will it last?
The HT-300 uses the latest solid-state digital technology. Unlike a computer, midi file player or CD player there are very few mechanical components to wear out. The HT-300 has been tested without failure over many thousands of hours.
What should I do if it ever goes wrong?
Firstly, contact us. The vast majority of reported faults are actually an operational misunderstanding and can be resolved immediately.
If there is a fault, then the unit has to be returned to either our service centre or the service centre of the regional distributor, as applicable. We understand that many of our customers rely exclusively on their HT-300 for every service, so we aim to turn round all repairs in 48 hours or less.
How long will the HT-300 play for when using the (optional) battery pack?
A fully charged battery pack (HT-B3000) will typically power the HT-300 for around 3 hours of playing time at half volume. The actual time achieved will depend on volume settings.
What is the range of the standard infra-red remote control handset?
The standard infra-red remote control handset works in exactly the same way as those typically supplied with a television. With fresh batteries and no interference from fluorescent light or very bright daylight range will be up to a maximum of about 30 feet.
Can I use additional/alternative memory cards?
In normal usage (playing its internal tunes and your own MIDI files) the HT-300's standard memory card will prove more than sufficient. However, if you want to store a large number of MP3 files you may need a bigger capacity card. Compatible cards are available from Hymn Technology Ltd, correctly pre-formatted for use with the HT-300.
Some generic compact flash cards are NOT compatible with the HT-300 and could possibly cause a malfunction.
What is stored on the memory card?
As well as any of your own MIDI and MP3 files (and text files if the Video Output option is installed), the memory card stores any settings you enter into the HT-300 - play lists, user styles, options settings (volume, EQ etc) and default style.
Why is the speed (tempo) changed by a percentage?
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we presume that the user has no musical knowledge, so metronome beats per minute (bpm) settings probably mean nothing (although the HT-300's play screen does show the current bpm). Changing the speed by 10 or 20% is likely to mean more to most people.
Secondly, the HT-300 plays standard midi files via its compact flash memory card. A midi file may contain speed changes at various points, and these changes are stored as absolute rather than relative values (rather daft, but there it is). Consequently a speed change to 90bpm will always be just that when the midi file is played on an ordinary midi file player, regardless of the initial speed selected for the tune. In reality, if the tune is played (for instance) 15% faster, then any speed changes should be affected similarly. The HT-300 treats all speed changes as relative, thereby producing a more musical result.
Basic Operation Questions
I'm not musical or technical. How easy is the HT-300 to use?
Ease of use is the very foundation of the HT-300. The LCD touch screen interface guides you through each task (selecting and playing a tune, changing the musical style, creating a play list etc), so you only see buttons directly related to the task in hand.
As human beings, we remember names far more easily than numbers. Hence the screen displays the first line and tune name/title of each tune as you select it (so you can easily check that you entered the correct hymn number), all the preset musical styles have names, and you can even give your play lists memorable names.
Can I change the number of verses to be played?
Yes. Each time you select a tune it will be recalled with its usual number of verses, but you can easily change this with simple + and - buttons. You can even change it while the tune is playing.
Can I change the speed (tempo) and pitch (key) of a tune?
Yes. When you select a tune it will be recalled at its usual pitch and at about the right speed (congregations vary, so there is no definitive speed for a tune!). Both of these settings can be changed easily using simple +and - buttons. Unlike ordinary analog/digital audio recordings, the speed and pitch settings are quite independent of each other.
Can I control the length of pause between verses?
Yes. Each tune you select will be recalled with the Break setting about right for that tune. You can alter the setting on the play screen using simple + and - buttons.
What about an Introduction?
There are three main perfromance additions you can select, all right there on the play screen:
- Introduction. Add an introduction before the start of the tune. With a short tune, many of our customers prefer to play through an entire extra verse as the introduction instead. It's so easy to change the number of verses, why not?
- Rit (ritardando). Sounds technical, but just makes the music slow down during the last line of the final verse.
- Amen. Adds a simple plagal amen after the end of the final verse.
Each of these features is simple to control. Press the relevant button to turn it on (the button shows a tick). Press it again to turn it off (the button shows a cross).
Is the HT-300 supplied with a memory card?
Yes. The memory card is required by the HT-300 in order for it to function.
Can I set up a service in advance?
Yes. This is done using the Play List feature. You can store as many tunes as you like in a Play List, personalising the settings for each tune (number of verses, style etc) as you go. When you have finished, give the Play List a name (maybe the date of the service). Then create more Play Lists for other services - you can store as many Play Lists as you want.
We have customers who retain all their Play Lists, effectively cataloguing their music use ever since purchase.
Can I accidentally erase or delete anything?
No. Even in situations where there is an on-screen Delete option available, after you press it a message appears asking you to confirm or cancel that action.
Can we add more tunes into the HT-300?
Yes. There are three options:
- Purchase repertoire upgrades from Hymn Technology. We offer an ever-expanding range of upgrades and are constantly reviewing demand as new hymn books come onto the market. You can even purchase indvidual tunes. Our current database weighs in at over 9000 tunes ... and growing.
- We offer a bespoke recording service (subject to copyright permissions being obtained as applicable). This comes in useful for everything from music that has been out of print for years to unpublished tunes written by local musicians (full written music required).
- You can use your own midi and mp3 files, via the HT-300's compact flash memory card. These files can be included in your play lists.
How are extra tunes added into the HT-300?
You will need a Windows PC equipped with an internet connection and a compact flash card reader. If your PC does not have a card reader, they can be purchased quite cheaply from most PC hardware stores. They usually plug into the PC via a USB connection.
- Repertoire Upgrades. All extra repertoire purchases from Hymn Technology Ltd are sent to you by email as a set of upgrade files, all contained in one compressed zip file. Remove the memory card from the HT-300 and plug it into your PC's card reader. Unzip the upgrade files onto the memory card and then insert the card back into the HT-300. When you power up the HT-300 a message will appear on-screen asking whether you want to install the upgrade. Press the OK key. The HT-300 will install the upgrade and then start up normally. Finally, put the memory card back into the PC card reader, delete the UPDATE folder from the card and then re-insert the card back into the HT-300.
- MIDI and MP3 files. (This information also applies to text files if the Video Output option is installed.) These files are stored on the HT-300's memory card. Remove the card from the HT-300 and plug it into your PC's card reader. Empty folders labelled MIDI and MP3 are added to the memory card during production, but you can create as many new folders as you like (using the PC) in order to categorise your MIDI and MP3 files. Copy your files into the relevant folder on the memory card. Re-insert the card into the HT-300. The MIDI and MP3 files are now available to play, using the HT-300's USER FILE key.
Play Lists FAQs
Can I change the order of items in a play list?
Yes. Using the Edit Play List facility, there are on-screen buttons for appending (adding to the end), inserting, moving up, moving down and deleting any item.
Can I set up a different style for each verse of a tune in a Play List?
No. We did look into this but, although technically possible, it would make the setting up of a Play List far too complex.
However, style changes from verse to verse (perhaps changing from one pipe organ preset to another) can be easily accomplished during live performance, either on-screen or using the remote control handset.
User Styles FAQs
How do I go about creating my own styles?
The easiest way is to find a preset style with one or more elements that you will want in your new style (e.g. if you will want a piano, start with the Acoustic Piano preset style). Then press the NEW key and change the style to your liking. Don't worry - you cannot mess up any of the preset styles! Once you are happy with your new style, save it and give it a recognisable name.
How many of my own styles can I store?