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Author Topic: Lighting consoles  (Read 6972 times)

Michael Gorecki

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Lighting consoles
« on: June 27, 2016, 04:02:18 pm »

Hey guys, I'm looking for a lighting console in the $500-$1000 range. I've had a couple obey 70's that keep breaking on me and I'm trying to make a step up in physical quality and durability.

Right now I just have par cans but I'd like to get a couple moving heads by this time next year. So I'd like to keep that in mind.

Let me know if you guys need anymore info.

Thanks, Mike.


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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 06:32:10 pm »

Check out Chauvet ShowXpress.  The UI is a bit Win3.1, but otherwise it's easy to use.  You will need a touchscreen laptop. 
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duane massey

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 08:04:41 pm »

Elation Showdesigner 1. The only controller I would even consider in your price range, and well-built (unless you're gonna strap it to the roof. You can find them online $799, Ebay even less. http://www.venuesupply.com/detail/elation-professional-show-designer-1-programmable-dmx-controller-1964
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Duane Massey
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 08:57:18 pm »

Elation Showdesigner 1. The only controller I would even consider in your price range, and well-built (unless you're gonna strap it to the roof. You can find them online $799, Ebay even less. http://www.venuesupply.com/detail/elation-professional-show-designer-1-programmable-dmx-controller-1964

Yes. Showdesigner 2 is a bit more money, but two universes and more rotary encoders for dialing in your movers.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2016, 03:15:33 am »

Yes. Showdesigner 2 is a bit more money, but two universes and more rotary encoders for dialing in your movers.

Ditto on the Showdesigner 2 CF.  Especially if your primary roll is to busk the lighting and sound with unrehearsed performances.



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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2016, 08:39:54 pm »

I'm going to go against the grain on this one and suggest you at least look into a software solution.  I agree with the others that the Showdesigner series is one of the very, very few 'useful' desks in the price range you're considering, however I've never been impressed with them and always came away wanting more.  That's strictly my personal opinion though and you'll find no shortage of happy Showdesigner users here.  The biggest shortfalls I have with them is the lack of plentiful physical faders, no grandmaster, and no real display to make programming/editing as easy as it should be.  Now, I don't mean to be comparing a $700 desk to a $7000 desk, but I was personally never sold on the Elation products.

Software solutions give you a much better bang-to-buck.  I would have to say that they'll handle movers and LEDs with significant ease versus most of the smaller physical desks.  If you need hands-on control you can always buy a wing, but for my needs, a touchscreen is plenty.  Each user and application is different, so get whatever you feels suits you the best.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two of the more popular programs, but there are many out there.  Most software solutions can be downloaded for a free demo, so definitely try before you buy!  Hope this helps!
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Rob Spence

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2016, 10:26:35 pm »

I'm going to go against the grain on this one and suggest you at least look into a software solution.  I agree with the others that the Showdesigner series is one of the very, very few 'useful' desks in the price range you're considering, however I've never been impressed with them and always came away wanting more.  That's strictly my personal opinion though and you'll find no shortage of happy Showdesigner users here.  The biggest shortfalls I have with them is the lack of plentiful physical faders, no grandmaster, and no real display to make programming/editing as easy as it should be.  Now, I don't mean to be comparing a $700 desk to a $7000 desk, but I was personally never sold on the Elation products.

Software solutions give you a much better bang-to-buck.  I would have to say that they'll handle movers and LEDs with significant ease versus most of the smaller physical desks.  If you need hands-on control you can always buy a wing, but for my needs, a touchscreen is plenty.  Each user and application is different, so get whatever you feels suits you the best.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two of the more popular programs, but there are many out there.  Most software solutions can be downloaded for a free demo, so definitely try before you buy!  Hope this helps!

I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.


We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2016, 11:24:44 pm »

I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.

We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


They definitely take some getting used to.  I'm sure the same can be said about learning to mix sound on an iPad!  I think a lot of the comfort level really depends on how you like to run your shows, but either way I've found that using a stylus really helps.  You definitely mentioned a big takeaway though - plentiful faders.  I'm not aware of any desk in the sub-$1000 range that has anywhere near enough physical handles to really busk a show well (or at least not with the amount of control that I like to have).  The ETC SmartFade Series gets close, but for the ML variant you're still pushing 2K.  With the software solution I at least have all the faders I need in front of me, albeit virtual.  That said, when I'm busking a large show with a lot of movers, the software stays home and my physical desk comes out.

I agree though that with the commonality and relative cheap cost of digital mixers these days there's no excuse for lighting not to follow suit. 
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2016, 12:46:24 am »

They definitely take some getting used to.  I'm sure the same can be said about learning to mix sound on an iPad!  I think a lot of the comfort level really depends on how you like to run your shows, but either way I've found that using a stylus really helps.  You definitely mentioned a big takeaway though - plentiful faders.  I'm not aware of any desk in the sub-$1000 range that has anywhere near enough physical handles to really busk a show well (or at least not with the amount of control that I like to have).  The ETC SmartFade Series gets close, but for the ML variant you're still pushing 2K.  With the software solution I at least have all the faders I need in front of me, albeit virtual.  That said, when I'm busking a large show with a lot of movers, the software stays home and my physical desk comes out.

I agree though that with the commonality and relative cheap cost of digital mixers these days there's no excuse for lighting not to follow suit.

You also have to realize that my comment is coming from a sound guy trying to do a little more than just stomp presets on a 4 bar, which is what the competition does.

Just like we learned to mix on iPads I have no doubt a pro can do quite a bit more with software and a touchscreen.

To that end for those of us at the shallow end of the light pool, I use my Elation the same way I use Show Designer.  Tsp Sync and cue chases to the song.

Frankly I would not know what to do with the faders live.  I thought the faders were to setup the scenes and chases.

I hate being stupid,  I didn't find a good video to show how you would utilize the sliders live.  With chases I have built all sorts of transitions on the stationary fixtures that I can use to tie various chases together structurally.  If not overused the classic downstage to crowd sweep is always a crowd pleaser.

I actually have the older Elation Magic 260. It was the predecessor to the show designer and once II got the hang of making the fixture profiles (an old laptop with a serial port and Windows XP is your friend)  it is actually fun to program. I have a ton of inexpensive fixtures (the latest 130W RGBAW par's are my anchor) and I like the large buttons with long travel and a good return.  Much easier than using a mouse.  I dont like to spend much time away from the mix and the Elation has been the best tool in class to support that goal.
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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John L Nobile

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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2016, 01:13:53 am »

I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.


We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

I used to think the same way but I've started using the touchscreen for lights. It's all in how it's setup and programmed. I'm not a lighting guy so I had a real one come in and setup the lights. I've got a screen with buttons for colors, positions, gobos, rotation etc. My faders only turn groups on or off. I just started doing lights but I really am pleased with what I can do with very little knowledge on how to program. I highly recommend getting a good lighting guy program scenes and give you a quick lesson.
I love modern technology.
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Re: Lighting consoles
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2016, 01:13:53 am »


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