Draven Reviews: RadioActive by Titanas

approved Title: Radio Active

Artist: Drusko and Titanas

Producers: Titanas unique magic

 

 

 

Link:  http://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=52594

Retail Price: $49.99

Learning Difficulty:  Easy

Length of DVD: 37 minutes

Notes: You will need an MP3 Player.

Includes:

  • Instructional DVD
  • Gimmick
  • Extra MP3 Files on DVD

DVD Features:

  • Play All
  • Performances
  • Explanations

Imagine having a spectator select a song from a stack of cards with different songs printed on them, free choice, and with a wave of your hand their song begins to play on the radio!

RadioActive from the minds of Drusko and Titanas is capable of doing just that.  The product comes complete with instructional DVD and a well made gimmick through which makes the routine possible.  RadioActive will need some form of audio MP3 player in order to work and Titanas assumes the end user will be either using an iPhone device or Android.  The basic routine is pretty strait forward and simple.  You pull out a pad of paper, and pretend to write a prediction down.  Tear out the prediction, activate your gimmick, force a song on a spectator using your favorite force from a stack of business cards with the songs written on their backs, and then unfold the prediction to reveal a radio station.  Have the spectator turn to that station, snap your fingers and their song begins to play. What Titanas and Drusko has created is a wonderful piece of commercial magic, and with a few customization options explored in the DVD it lends itself to some powerful experiences your audience won’t forget.

RadioActive is not a solo performer trick in my opinion.  In its strongest version a spectator names any song they want, and selects from any number of pre-listed radio stations, and with a wave of the performers hand their song is heard over their selected station.  In order to achieve maximum impact for this trick you will require the use of a hidden assistant who can work the iPhone, and the gimmick while the performer works the audience.  Sure there are solo versions of this trick explained on the DVD but they just don’t impact as well as the versions that require an assistant to perform.  Also trying to maneuver your way through a touch phone to find the right play list, the right song, play the song, loop the song, lock the phone, and enable the gimmick while under guise of “writing a prediction” can be a bit cumbersome and unnatural looking for the solo performer.  Not saying it can’t be done mind you, little polish, a little practice and you can make just about anything look good, but I am saying that if you had the choice between doing this solo and doing this with an assistant- the assistant is the way to go.  What RadioActive is though, is a godsend to anyone who does TV, or stage shows.  This is a golden effect for someone who can take the time to set it up right.

The gimmick is pretty cheaply made, and probably done so for ease of mass production.  Typical Radio Shack quality: Looks great in the box, not so much when you feel it and actually play with it.  However form doesn’t always guarantee function, and function this thing does.  I’m sure you can probably figure out for yourself what it is exactly.  They have been making larger versions of these for use in the car with your MP3 players for a few years now.  Titanas just shrunk it down to pocket size.  The device has two buttons on it that control the radio frequency you’ll be able to broadcast to.  I’ve discovered that some radio stations are easier than others to overpower with the gimmick so you’ll just have to play around with it some to figure out for yourself what works. I don’t like that you have to plug the gimmick into the audio jack of your iPhone.  If it could have interfaced via Bluetooth technology I think it would have been better.  It’s hard enough to get my iPhone into my pocket with enough room to mess around with anything else in there as it is.  This is why I use a phone clip, however I can’t use a phone clip with this effect because it exposes the gimmick.  As a side note here the gimmick also has Titanas’s website printed on the back of it so incase one of your friends ever finds it they’ll know exactly where to look to get one of their own.

The gimmick is pretty cheaply made, and probably done so for ease of mass production.  Typical Radio Shack quality: Looks great in the box, not so much when you feel it and actually play with it.  However form doesn’t always guarantee function, and function this thing does.  I’m sure you can probably figure out for yourself what it is exactly.  They have been making larger versions of these for use in the car with your MP3 players for a few years now.  Titanas just shrunk it down to pocket size.  The device has two buttons on it that control the radio frequency you’ll be able to broadcast to.  I’ve discovered that, so long as you’re close enough to the radio, some stations with a weaker signal can be easily over powered by the device.  I don’t like that you have to plug the gimmick into the audio jack of your iPhone.  If it could have interfaced via Bluetooth technology I think it would have been better.  It’s hard enough to get my iPhone into my pocket with enough room to mess around with anything else in there as it is.  This is why I use a phone clip, however I can’t use a phone clip with this effect because it exposes the gimmick.  As a side note here the gimmick also has Titanas’s website printed on the back of it so incase one of your friends ever finds it they’ll know exactly where to look to get one of their own.

People who purchase RadioActive may also find that their gimmick interferes with their phone case.  While I can’t say what brands and cases work and which ones don’t I can speak for Otter Box which is the case that I have on my phone.  I can’t fully plug the gimmick into my iPhone headphone jack with my Otter Box on my phone.  Every time I want to use the gimmick I have to take my phone out of my Otter Box.  I’d say if you have a protective case on your phone and the case isn’t flush with the headphone jack, like how Otter raises up around it, you may have the same issues I have with my phone case.  This isn’t a huge problem, but I don’t like removing my phone from my case and I’m a huge fan of Otter Box’s.  So this is a bit of an annoyance.

The good news though is that any mp3 player works.  So if you are like me and you use Otter Box, or your protective phone case doesn’t allow the gimmick to easily plug into your phone you can simply use another mp3 player of your choice.  Or a laptop, or tablet if you’re doing a stage show.  Anything with an audio jack that you can plug headphones into will work.  I’ve found that if I upload the desired song I’m using for my non assistant aided performance into my iPod Nano, then plug the gimmick in,  can feel my way through starting and stopping the song by controlling the play/pause button through my jacket pocket.  With something like an Ipod Nano or similar mp3 player it almost makes the solo performance version of this trick easier.

The gimmick needs to be charged before it can be used and comes with a micro USB to USB3.0 cord.  Just plug the cord into your computer or any wall socket with a USB adaptor and you’re good to go.  On a full charge the device will work for hours uninterrupted.  The sound from the radio, when the gimmick is being used, is strong and clear.  I actually prefer a little audio interference when I perform it because it feels more natural to me.  The range is excellent.  I’ve set the gimmick up, turned it on, set the radio station in my car, turned my volume on my radio way up, and walked half a block away (at least 60 feet) and the sound coming from the radio was still crystal clear and strong.  For stage performances you can easily have an assistant back stage doing all the dirty work and you can comfortably amaze your audience from on stage.  You will have to sit down and play around with radio stations in your area to know which ones work the best for you and which ones don’t.  Also just FYI:  This thing only works on FM.

The teaching on the DVD is pretty middle of the road for me.  Nothing spectacular and I question whether or not this trick really needs a DVD explaining it all.  I think a slip of paper with simple instructions on what it is, how to charge it, how to work it, and a simple handling would have worked.  You’re going to play with it on your own, you’ll need to in order to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.  Handling may change depending on what device you connect it to and your performance needs.  One thing though that I did like on the DVD is the instructions on how to use audio editing software, and even where you can download a copy of a free one.  One of the more exciting things you can do with RadioActive is edit your own audio files and use them in your magic.  This is very useful when you’re doing mock radio DJ like reveals to anything you can think of forcing, and bizarre workers are going to have a field day creating all sorts of spooky custom messages to have delivered during their séances.  The customization options really do expand the range of potential for this device.

Performances with the RadioActive gimmick have yielded some really good reactions.  Not to mention it’s handy when my coworker decides to play his rap radio station a little too loud in the locker room and I decide to feed him Disney kids music until he gets frustrated and shuts his radio off.  I’ve tried doing both the solo performance style and the secret assistant method and I much favor the assistant over the solo.  I did try the séance version with a coworker.  I scared her so bad that she refuses to talk to me now.  Bizarre workers are going to love the hell out of this device.

Overall I think this is a brilliant device that will be largely under estimated by the magic community because of how unfriendly it is to the solo performer.  This is one effect that only gets stronger if you have an assistant help you, and that means it’s not ideal for strolling, close up, street, or walk around.  This is going to be a wonderful little toy that I see a lot of magicians owning and few really utilizing, though the power to melt minds with it is there.  I just think that it’s going to be miss marketed as some kind of street / close up effect when this thing belongs in the stage category. I like this effect, I believe in its potential.  If you can make it work, then go for it!

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality:   6

I feel the product is a bit over priced.  The gimmick is cheaply made, the DVD was largely unnecessary, for maximum effect it requires the use of an assistant, and for the solo performer I just haven’t found a natural handling for it yet that I’m satisfied with.

Teaching Quality: 5

Standard teaching.  Cool product with lots of filler ideas to fluff out the DVD.

Video & Sound Quality: 4

Throughout the DVD they continue using audio “glitches” in the video feed.  It was cute once.  I found it distracting by the end of the DVD where it didn’t really serve a purpose to the tutorial.  At that point in the DVD I’m there to learn how to do a magic trick, not be entertained by the dvd’s production “value”.

Overall Quality: 8

This will be one of those tricks you see everyone buying at the next magic convention and only a handful of people using because they figured out how to make it work. However let me tell you this:  It has potential.  You’re just going to have to figure out what that potential is for yourself, and then figure out how to apply it.  Certainly you’re not going to go carrying around a radio with you at all times so this isn’t really an impromptu effect.  However in the right hands this thing will melt minds!  It’s one of those magic tricks you’ll buy and never stop playing with.  I know I haven’t.

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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