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Author Topic: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer  (Read 1391 times)

duane massey

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2019, 11:42:04 am »

Magic 260 would be a possibility IF your fixtures would match one in the existing library. Been years since I used one, but I remember the two things I didn't like about were the lack of ability to edit fixture profiles and the lack of ability to record speed/fade rates for individual chases. As long as you are using simpler fixtures or ones that are in the available profiles it might be a good choice for you.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

Dave Garoutte

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2019, 12:22:35 pm »

One interesting feature of DMX is that if the controller stops, generally the lights stay on.
You lose control, but at least it doesn't go dark.
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Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2019, 04:15:18 pm »

The Magic 260 will do everything the OP wants to do. Creating fixture profiles is easy - I had to for every one of my lights. The only thing it won't do is well is moving heads.

When running the 260, you have scene buttons that are quick & easy to choose, as well as a fader for the fade rate, which you can set to slow fade or instant between scenes, and another button push will get you to chases. The Master brings all of my lights up & down very nicely, but my mini-movers instead spin around. I haven't used in in a while and I'm thinking of breaking it out again.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2019, 04:24:44 pm »

Jeff, thank you for your feedback....no real budget but under $1000 for a solution would be in line.

No worries, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve found something that should work well for your application.  In terms of software, the majority of the platforms on the market will meet your needs in one form or another.  MagicQ PC plus a wing or Onyx (formerly M-PC) with a wing are both very solid choices.  MagicQ will be a bit over your budget, Onyx will be a bit under. 

Just as an aside (mostly for those following along), software isn’t inherently better than hardware.  In fact, many would argue the opposite – myself included.  The difference really comes from comparing budget boards that are targeted at casual DJs or bands to the more fully-featured consoles that you’d find on tour or in a theater.  20 years ago software-only controllers weren’t really an option yet – you bought hardware – usually as much as your budget could afford.  Combining that with the fact most bar/club/band lighting rigs were halogen Pars and maybe a few Roboscans or Trackspots if you had money, the basic budget board such as the ADJ DMX Operator found its niche and hasn’t seen any tangible updates since. 

In the mid-2000s with moving lights getting better (and cheaper) along with LED fixtures becoming more prevalent even to the weekend warrior, a void became present between the budget DJ boards and the 5-figure professional consoles.  Numerous makers of large consoles capitalized on this by creating standalone software similar to the versions of their larger consoles that could work with a simple USB-DMX adaptor and offering said software for free in hope that users will adopt it and return to purchase wings and full-sized consoles when future growth warranted it.  ChamSys and Martin are two of the more notable brands to use this marketing tactic – both with great success.  Other brands such as ADJ and Chauvet created their own flavors of software with varying degrees of popularity and price tag, and a number of third-party programs also popped up as well such as Freestyler and QLC+ with the expected level of support to match.  Mid-level boards such as the Elation Trio, Strand 250ML, and ETC Smartfade Series made some effort on the hardware front but still lacked the horsepower and workflow seen in software and of course the larger consoles that were available at the time.

What I’m getting at is that you get what you pay for – the budget boards are great until they’re not.  I feel that oftentimes we’re spoiled as an industry these days by $30 LED Pars working 90% as well as name-brand units costing 10x the price as well as countless developers practically giving their control software away for free.  Never has it been easier to get so much for so little cost.  At some point though, something has to give and the time comes where you need to spend real money for a real console to get the professional features that you’ve come to need.  When the right time is to make the jump is of course up to the user and his/her specific situation.  Between the ChamSys QuickQ boards coming on the market as well as some degree of promise from the LightShark series maybe we’ll finally see some love towards the consumers who want hardware but can’t justify spending $5k or more on it. 

<Getting off Soapbox>
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2019, 07:45:27 am »

snip
I definitely agree. I cut my teeth on a 128ch controller in high school, so when we decided to add lighting to our rental inventory I was excited to get back into it. That is, until I saw how much a desk would cost that we wouldn't grow out of in the space of 6 months. Going from a halogen mindset to a LED mindset quickly told me that we were going to eat up even 100 channels fast. Our initial buy in was for a dozen LED pars and two movers and that alone took up over 50 channels and we knew that was going to increase hand over fist with our rental schedule that year alone. That was three years ago and now we have as many small movers as we do pars and a decent sized ballroom will easily occupy two universes without breaking a sweat.

We looked into controllers and desks with that in mind, and a full-fledged single universe desk was going to run us several grand, a massive buy for an outfit still in its infancy. We decided to go the software route to start since it was free apart from the DMX interface itself and continue looking for hardware in the meantime. Worst case we'd have a backup in case the desk failed or we needed to do two lighting events at one time. But as we continued to grow, we found that the software scaled effortlessly and gave us access to features only available on production-grade desks or software costing many hundreds of dollars. Our only limit was how many universes our DMX interface could handle. Now that we have a solid perch in our second universe, ArtNET is our next step which the software also utilizes. Basically as long as development continues, we don't see much reason to move away from it unless we run into rider requirements.

I would have killed for those QuickQ boards back when we were looking originally, they would have been a much less bitter pill to swallow for a hardware controller. That said, I'm excited that such things exist now, even if it continues to severely blur the line between weekend warrior and full-time outfit.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2019, 12:41:07 pm »

I had a band LD come to a regular gig I set up with Luminair.
I gave him the fixture address list and he plugged his board into my wireless DMX and was good.
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Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
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duane massey

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2019, 04:26:07 pm »

I still recommend the Elation Showdesigner 1 and 2 controllers, best value for the money. They don't have a master dimmer, but they are powerful, quick to program on after you learn the procedures, can be backed up to a card, are great for use by sound guys who also have to run lights IF you set  up programming in advance.
Not suitable for theatrical purposes or most church applications and (like any control system) may ot be all you're looking for, but for $ 750 and $1,500 there's nothing even close on the market.
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Duane Massey
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2019, 05:52:54 am »

Magic 260 would be a possibility IF your fixtures would match one in the existing library. Been years since I used one, but I remember the two things I didn't like about were the lack of ability to edit fixture profiles and the lack of ability to record speed/fade rates for individual chases. As long as you are using simpler fixtures or ones that are in the available profiles it might be a good choice for you.
Duane, you can make new profiles on your PC and upload them.  There is also PC scenery designer software.

I got a lot of good service out of the Magic before I got a show designer 2. 

I also run Show Express on a little mini pc bolted to the back of a 27" touchscreen.  Love that too.  Not sure what next step is, there is some new products in the sub 5k lighting market that look interesting.  I would not mind a used Congo kid if one showed up in the states.



Sent from my VS996 using Tapatalk

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2019, 01:14:08 pm »

I would not mind a used Congo kid if one showed up in the states.

Sorry Scott, I don't plan on selling mine anytime soon!  The Congo Jr. seems to turn up more frequently though.  Keep an eye on GearSource, UsedLighting, Reverb, etc. and sooner or later one will pop up.  With ETC now owning the Hog Series I don't think we'll see any new serious entries into the busking market anytime soon, so unless you feel like adopting a Hog or MA console holding out for a Cobalt desk might not be a bad idea...hence why I have no plans on letting mine go! 
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Dmx Controller with Master Dimmer
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2019, 09:02:18 pm »

Sorry Scott, I don't plan on selling mine anytime soon!  The Congo Jr. seems to turn up more frequently though.  Keep an eye on GearSource, UsedLighting, Reverb, etc. and sooner or later one will pop up.  With ETC now owning the Hog Series I don't think we'll see any new serious entries into the busking market anytime soon, so unless you feel like adopting a Hog or MA console holding out for a Cobalt desk might not be a bad idea...hence why I have no plans on letting mine go!
The LD we hire frequently runs Hog on a PC with midi wings.  Other than that we have no Hog or MA desires. 

I find Cobalt easy to approach.  I will start looking for one.  They are ideal for our size.

Jeff,. Your early ruminations on the Cobalt pushed us in that direction.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
River Delta Audio is now:

Ghost Audio Visual Solutions, LLC
Cleveland OH
www.ghostav.rocks
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