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Author Topic: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2  (Read 4800 times)

Brian Larson

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Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« on: July 02, 2012, 01:33:00 pm »

I'm in the market for a small moving light console. Right now it's between the Elation Show Designer 2 and the ETC Smartfade ML.

Obviously the Smartfade is a more "pro" board but it doesn't appear to be as easy to use for the type of work I'll be doing which is live music. The Smartfade seems to be geared more towards theater where you have a lot of rehearsal time (which I do not).

Thoughts??
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duane massey

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Re: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 10:40:32 pm »

I have no experience with the Smartfade, bu the SD 2 would be a useful controller IF you spend some time setting up scenes (all sorts of scenes) that you can grab them as needed. The "live" control functionality can be quite good if you practice a bit. If you work with the same band (or bands with similar styles) it would be a great choice.
I would say it all depends upon your expertise and time you are willing to invest. Personally I love the Show Designer series (best bang for the buck), but any "generic" controller does have limitations.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 08:56:14 am »

I'm in the market for a small moving light console. Right now it's between the Elation Show Designer 2 and the ETC Smartfade ML.

Obviously the Smartfade is a more "pro" board but it doesn't appear to be as easy to use for the type of work I'll be doing which is live music. The Smartfade seems to be geared more towards theater where you have a lot of rehearsal time (which I do not).

Thoughts??
I'm the mirror image of Duane.  I own a SmartFade ML but have never used the ShowDesigner series.

I just finished a week-long conference where I piloted the SmartFade ML the whole time.  My rig is 24 channels of dimmers for front light, 16 LED PARs, and 2 Varilite VL770 movers.

Though you can certainly build a full stack and run a theatrical show, I would argue that the SmartFade ML is very decent at busking for a small to medium sized rig.  The board automatically builds color pallettes for your fixtures, and focus and beam pallettes are easy to save for the movers - set the fixtures, press Record, [focus, color], then the number of the pallette you want to save to.

Having 24 submasters is very nice.  At the conference I just finished, I built a bunch of lego memories - wash scenes, uplight scenes, mover patterns, etc.  and then recalled at will.  I set the left bank of 12 faders to run my LEDs, and the right bank for mover focus and beam patterns.  The software editor makes editing memories very easy, though I found that general scene building was a lot faster using the board.

I agree with Duane that with any board more complicated than a simple 2-scene dimmer board, you will always need to take some time to build your component scenes.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2012, 09:06:08 am »

By the way, not sure what your budget is, but my next stop may be the ETC Congo Kid or Congo Junior.  If you like the submaster style of busking, this seems to be the next lowest cost board to the SmartFade that is designed for this.  Others I've looked at (online - haven't seen these surfaces in person yet) are the Martin M1 and M2, and both the Vista and Chamsys software.  All have pros and cons, but for me I think going software only would be difficult.

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duane massey

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Re: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 09:14:30 pm »

The SD2 lacks any convenient way to crossfade (although there is a way to use the 8 sliders as submaststers), but it does have 99 pages with 48 scenes possible for each page, which can be very handy for a rock band.
SD3 really is almost a pro-level controller, but it's price tag puts it out of reach of most of my clients.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Smartfade ML vs. Show Designer 2
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2012, 09:14:30 pm »


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