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Author Topic: What to replace an ADJ ShowDesigner with?  (Read 1802 times)

the other Mike Russell

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What to replace an ADJ ShowDesigner with?
« on: May 27, 2004, 09:34:49 pm »

Although I'm primarily an audio guy, I like to offer a bit of lighting to the bands I work with, but have next to NO BUDGET for lighting gear.

As a result, I've been using an American DJ "Show Designer" DMX controller that I picked up on eBay a couple years back, very used of course. I even spent $100 to have ADJ "refurbish" it, which seems to have resulted in new fader caps, a new power supply, and a software upgrade to their latest. Big Deal.

I like the Show Designer because it has the built in Factory Chases - so it's easy to get a couple of basic scanners or moving heads up and running... manually pick your color/gobo pick an interesting chase, match tempo, and off they go!  I also like it because once in a while the bands will spend extra bucks and I rent Martin Mac 250's or similar and the ShowDesigner has the fixture library built in for nearly everything (except my new Chauvet Legend 150's, boo-hoo).  Finally, in an effort to avoid investing in anything NON-DMX, I also use it to control a couple of 4 channel DMX "dimmer bars" with 8 150w Par38 cans that make up the convential part of my lighting "show".

Trouble is, the Show Designer is starting to flake out on me. It randomly does just truly weird things, displays weird random characters on the LCD, and perhaps worst of all, when controlling the dimmer packs, it used to be nearly instant response and now it takes a good 1-2 seconds for any fader change to affect the dimmer. Very strange!   ADJ has no idea what's going on and wants to charge for further service.

I say it's time to move up a notch, but I can't seem to find a sub-$1000 controller with these same features - primarily the fixture library and factory chases - that works well for "live" use.  I have rented and tried the NSI MLC 16 and MLC 128R and didn't find them all that user-friendly for real time live usage (and they are a bit pricey).   Any other suggestions? Should I just shop around for another lesser used Show Designer?  Can mine be salvaged (it actually worked great for a while). ?

I've tried a couple different power supplies and always run it on a UPS that powers all my FOH electronics fearing bad power, but even when testing at home it does the same weird stuff.

What do the lighting guru's of the board recommend?

thanks!
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Dan Glass

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Re: What to replace an ADJ ShowDesigner with?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2004, 09:51:57 am »

Sorry to hear of a the troubles you are having.  I have used the ADJ Show Designer quite a bit in my time and have been very suprised at how durable it was considering that it is part of a rental system that a local sound company owns and doesnt really maintain.  I also know of the problems you describe because they happened to me on a show.  Everything was fine and then all hell broke loose.  I have always upgraded the software to keep it current and uncorupt.  Once I had the chance to look at it in the shop I opened it up and found almost all of the components were loose inside.  I had to tighten almost every screw in there.   This will happen just from transport.  Once I tightened it all down it worked great, no problems.  The internal hardware has not really changed since they came out.  The only other maintenance that I perform on it is deleting all of the memory once in awhile.  If anyone has written and saved any cues I would delete them and start fresh.  I hope that helped.  Have faith in that little controller because it sounds like the right one for you.

Dan Glass
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Dan Glass
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