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New Console thoughts

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Rob Timmerman:

--- Quote from: Brian Jojade on December 05, 2023, 03:35:03 PM ---With the bankruptcy of Strand last year, I'm guessing their product got taken off of the request list for a lot of installs it may have gone into.

--- End quote ---

Strand consoles have been taken over by Vari-Lite, and are still very much available.  Corporate entities aside, there was basically no impact to the Strand product portfolio as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

Grayson MSA Rech:

--- Quote from: John L Nobile on December 05, 2023, 03:23:27 PM ---Have you checked out the GrandMa 3 on PC? I have the 2 and everyone that's come through here has used it without any hint of complaints. I have mine setup with 2 touch screen monitors.
Disclaimer, I'm not a lighting guy.

--- End quote ---

Thank you all for your thoughts and insights to my questions.  I'm going to investigate the EOS line and the GrandMA3 line.  The idea of a 2 stage approach . . . designer and operator made sense for sure.  As my student team learns and grows, I give them alot of grazing ability to work the system and practice learning advanced applications and trying new stuff.

I know I'm in a VERY rare situation here where I have high end sound and lighting gear especially for a high school and I've built a full mobile in house production company for an 11 building district from the ground up.  200+ events annually (95% are in-house produced so not a huge amount of outside touring coming through meaning low rider friendly needs) have me hopping and my elite team of students get access to some very impressive gear to raise our entertainment and event value for all.  The more they use and learn, the bigger our events can be and we rent next to nothing.  I let them run the shows as they become able to handle.  We were one of the first users to take possession of the Strand NEO desk series and while it has taken us this far and given me alot of experience, It is the weakest link in our systems in terms of navigating and learning curve. 

The EOS has been on my radar by a fellow staff member who used older ETC a decade ago but I have wondered if its robust enough to handle the nearly 100 LED system with ease.  Final thought . . . the question of going with ETC EOS or wait an extra year for a higher end console like a full GrandMA?  The gear head in me says wait for GrandMA but the steward of budget money says EOS will do the job just as well . . . ?

Again your insights are a big help to me and my tech team.
-Grayson 





Jeff Lelko:

--- Quote from: Rob Timmerman on December 05, 2023, 08:50:15 PM ---Strand consoles have been taken over by Vari-Lite, and are still very much available.  Corporate entities aside, there was basically no impact to the Strand product portfolio as a result of the bankruptcy filing.

--- End quote ---

I haven't touched a Strand desk in probably 15 years and have no desire to do so again. 


--- Quote from: Grayson MSA Rech on December 06, 2023, 03:01:25 PM ---The EOS has been on my radar by a fellow staff member who used older ETC a decade ago but I have wondered if its robust enough to handle the nearly 100 LED system with ease.  Final thought . . . the question of going with ETC EOS or wait an extra year for a higher end console like a full GrandMA?  The gear head in me says wait for GrandMA but the steward of budget money says EOS will do the job just as well . . . ?

--- End quote ---

ETC Eos can absolutely handle large LED systems with ease.  Their offerings have come quite a ways since the Express days back when dimmers were the norm.  Generally speaking, ETC will be happy to either bring a desk out to your location or host a demo at their regional office to help you pick the right setup for your needs.  ETC also offers 24/7 live assistance and supports their product lines indefinitely (even after being discontinued) so you can rest assured that your investment will be taken care of.

You really can't go wrong with either Eos or MA3.  MA as you know is the industry standard for most touring acts and what we call "busking" - where there's little to no scripted playback and you're essentially making it up as you go.  ETC has come a long ways to support that functionality in Eos, but their market share is still largely professional theater.  That being said, I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up if given either of those boards to work with.

Talking prices, you can definitely find an Eos product that fits nicely in the $15-25k range while meeting all your requirements.  MA3 is a bit trickier to pin down depending on availability, but an MA3 Full Size will set you back 3-4 times that.  You'd have to decide if that additional cost is worthwhile or can be better invested elsewhere.  Good luck!

Robert Healey:

--- Quote from: Grayson MSA Rech on December 05, 2023, 01:53:13 PM ---Hi all,

Its been a very long time since I've last posted (nearly 10 years) and since then I've really stepped into the Lighting realm from the Audio home I thrive in.  That said I've grown leaps and bounds in the Lighting LED world but like anyone here, a true professional is always learning from others.

So I'm hear to ask the talented folks what desk they might give a serious look towards with the given critieria.
- Price point $15-$25,000
- Minimum 4 universes
- Primary Roll -theatrical Cue operations
- Close secondary roll - Live on the fly mixing with intelligent lighting and effects.
- Will live 95% of the time in a fixed auditorium (non-mobile touring applications).
- Intuitive for advanced users and total beginners (students)
- Support in the area of lots of info out there from general industry masses and not just relying on manufacturer help desk.

I've been using Strand NEO consoles pretty much exclusively the last 8 years and for the primary role of Theatrical which is what our auditoriums mainly are used for they are pretty weak on the live-on-the-fly side of engineering flow IMO.  Our 2 auditoriums are both 100% full LED systems utilizing 2 full universes so a more robust platform is something I'm looking to upgrade in the near future.  I have a Chamsys QuickQ20 for mobile operations but wished the QuickQ30 came with motorized faders and larger screen capabilities.  (I know they aren't the same level desks)

So the main question is what brand / models would you suggest given the criteria above.  The GrandMA line appears to be the big daddy folks like on the road but is just too much to consider given I'm looking at 2 desks across the next 3 years or so.  My Strand NEO isn't a bad desk but all experienced light engineers kinda laugh at it and need alot of hand holding to navigate it as its apparently quite a different approach to driving than say ETC or GrandMA.  I don't have riders to meet and guest engineers are rare but I have an elite few students who I'd like to learn on something that is widely used or shares work flow should they continue beyond High school. 

Any points are warmly welcomed.
-Grayson

--- End quote ---

The head of ETC's console development pointed out to me at LDI that the ETC Nomad works with both the PC version of Eos and Hog software interchangeably. That would allow you to use Eos for theater and Hog PC for busking and to expose your students to both softwares. You don't get a full sized desk and have to support a PC, but there are physical wings available for both options that connect to the PC via USB.

James Feenstra:
Realistically you can't go wrong with MA.....the 3 compact is probably accessible at the upper end of your price range, but I'd personally spring for the XT, since it's not a whole lot more and the extra touchscreen, encoders, playbacks, and faders are definitely worth it. If new users (ie students) are going to learn a console, MA is probably the best place to start given the market share

Second option would be ETC

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