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Author Topic: Compact DMX controller for band use  (Read 16235 times)

Dan Reavey

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Compact DMX controller for band use
« on: October 30, 2016, 08:07:06 am »

Hi
I play keyboards, run the mixer and operate the lights for my band and
am looking at the most effective and compact option for controlling the lights.
Ideally we'd have a light operator but on small gigs it's not really necessary
and the budget isn't always there to hire someone for larger gigs.

Lights are 2 NJD Spectres and up to 4 ADJ Mega TriPar Profile LEDs.
At the moment I control the Spectres from the handheld SFC-1 RJ45 controller which is far from ideal and the LEDs are standalone on sound active.

I also have a Transcension DC-1224 Scene Setter DMX lighting desk which I'm in the process of programming so it will run all the lights.
It does all I need except fade time programming but I need foot control
for hands free operation.
I'm considering the Yamaha MFC10 as it has midi note capability necessary
for midi control of the Scene Setter but it's adding to more stuff to setup and lug to gigs.

I need foot control for lights anyway whatever I use but looking at more compact alternatives to the lighting desk.
Problem is there seems to be a downside or compromise to the options I've looked at,

Laptop and DMXIS or similar:
This is the way it seems to be going but not sure for band use.
I'd worry about a laptop on stage at gigs and functions.

Lanbox looks like a good idea but could be quite pricey. Also only seems to be available via their website.

DMX foot controller:
Don't think these have programmable speed and fade time plus limited channels.
The ADJ LEDSs have seven which I'd like to use.

Any help appreciated.







 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 05:26:32 pm by Dan Reavey »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 08:33:13 am »

Hi Dan,

Have a look at this thread.  This might be exactly what you're looking to do.  Though you'll get a variety of opinions, I'll still say that a software solution will be by far your best bang to buck in this case and will offer you the most growth potential down the road.  I've never had a problem using laptops or iPads on stage at jobs.  I keep a closer eye on the iPad since it's not tethered with any wires, but I don't worry about my laptop walking off.  If you're concerned about durability you can always try a rack-mounted computer or an all-in-one that travels in a road case.  Hope this helps!
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Dan Reavey

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 09:28:04 am »

Hi Dan,

Have a look at this thread.  This might be exactly what you're looking to do.  Though you'll get a variety of opinions, I'll still say that a software solution will be by far your best bang to buck in this case and will offer you the most growth potential down the road.  I've never had a problem using laptops or iPads on stage at jobs.  I keep a closer eye on the iPad since it's not tethered with any wires, but I don't worry about my laptop walking off.  If you're concerned about durability you can always try a rack-mounted computer or an all-in-one that travels in a road case.  Hope this helps!

Thanks very much.
The software option looks to be the best for programming, flexibility and keeping things compact.
If I can find a suitable case so that the laptop, DMX/USB interface can be
housed and ready, that would be useful.
I'm thinking maybe a smaller size laptop rather than the regular 15.6"
would be better.
Don't really want to use my own, general use one.
The midi foot controller should work ok with something like the Roland
UM1 USB to midi cable.
Might have to get this setup in stages though as it's over 500 with a basic Windows laptop.

The Yamaha MFC10 midi foot controller would be a good start anyway.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 10:50:02 am by Dan Reavey »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 03:14:13 pm »

I'm a big fan of the software, especially when the job at hand doesn't warrant pulling out my full size console but still needs some nice eye candy and flexibility on the fly.  You'll definitely want to run this on a dedicated computer if possible.  It doesn't have to be high-end, but not serving double duty with one machine will help keep the system reliable and not bogged down doing other things.  In regards to screen size, this all depends on if you use touch screens.  My big board does, and I use dual 23" touch screens with that.  My laptop is a 14" touchscreen.  I wouldn't go any smaller than that if possible to avoid button mashing.  There's also a fair amount of data displayed on these monitors, so it's also a matter of how small of text you can comfortably read without having to truncate the display too much. 

Talking about budget, including a computer, you're probably looking closer to 1000, give or take.  The price tag goes up if you decide to add a dedicated wing as well - definitely worth the expense though if you want a quicker, hands-on approach to programming. 
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David Buckley

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 03:50:43 pm »

Lanbox looks like a good idea but could be quite pricey. Also only seems to be available via their website.

You've found the right solution.  You stated you are looking for the "most effective and compact option", low cost was not on your list of priorities :)
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Dan Reavey

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2016, 07:05:17 pm »

You've found the right solution.  You stated you are looking for the "most effective and compact option", low cost was not on your list of priorities :)

That's true.
We've spent a few thousand upgrading our PA recently but nothing really
on light control.
I need easy setup/operation and minimal footprint as we have a fair amount of PA equipment and the area around my keyboards can get a
bit congested.
I'll check out the Lanbox option.
Thanks.


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Bob Charest

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2016, 07:39:35 pm »

I did exactly what you're describing using a modified Behringer FCB1010 foot pedal and a LanBox - happy to share with you - either on this thread or via pm.

Best regards,
Bob Charest


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2016, 09:31:38 pm »

I need easy setup/operation and minimal footprint...

Another thing to consider here besides easy setup and operation is ease of programming, or lack thereof.  Some of the software options have a fairly steep learning curve.  Definitely flip through the manual or download a demo if available before buying to make sure it's something you feel comfortable with.  You'll also want to think about how often you need to modify your programs.  If it's not too often or never, a self-contained option might be your best choice.  If you want to have the most options at your fingertips and the most real-time flexibility, software with a touchscreen/wing/MIDI board will be hard to beat, especially for the price range you're shopping in.
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Dan Reavey

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2016, 05:48:16 am »

I did exactly what you're describing using a modified Behringer FCB1010 foot pedal and a LanBox - happy to share with you - either on this thread or via pm.

Best regards,
Bob Charest


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thanks. I have been considering the FC1010 as it looks very good value and has midi note capability. Not sure if it can send more than one note
at a time like the Yamaha can.
This is handy for accessing multiple functions simultaneously on my DMX desk eg. change scene and turn off audio function with one button press.

The Behringer is quite large which is partly the reason that I'm looking at the Yamaha MFC10. It's a pedal width shorter.

Re. the Lanbox. Some info on this would be useful as there's very little
online,no reviews and not many places to buy. PM or here, don't mind.
I take it that the unit (LCX) is programmed via a laptop before a gig and then is used standalone with a controller.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 10:03:20 am by Dan Reavey »
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Dan Reavey

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Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2016, 06:07:17 am »

Another thing to consider here besides easy setup and operation is ease of programming, or lack thereof.  Some of the software options have a fairly steep learning curve.  Definitely flip through the manual or download a demo if available before buying to make sure it's something you feel comfortable with.  You'll also want to think about how often you need to modify your programs.  If it's not too often or never, a self-contained option might be your best choice.  If you want to have the most options at your fingertips and the most real-time flexibility, software with a touchscreen/wing/MIDI board will be hard to beat, especially for the price range you're shopping in.

Thanks for the info.  I don't think I'd need much if any hands on control or ability to tweak at a gig. Once the light controller is programmed it would be a case of switching scenes and chases at the gig.
I wouldn't rule a laptop and DMX interface out though. Looks like a popular
option and as you say, I can try the software first.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Compact DMX controller for band use
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2016, 06:07:17 am »


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