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Author Topic: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console  (Read 3378 times)

aklein

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Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« on: November 08, 2004, 01:29:29 pm »

I've just been given a fairly generous donation to my community theatre and am going to purchase a new lighting console.

Here a brief rundown.

72 dimmers currently running on multiplex.
No intelligent lighting yet, however it is in the near future budget, i.e. next 12 months.
Already have necessary components to convert to DMX512.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where to head as far as a lighting console.

I have been advised that for the money, the Colortran Innovator 24/48 is probably the best buy.  I have also looked into the ETC Express 24/48.  I don't really think that we need anything much bigger than that, although I am open to suggestions.

I am on a limited budget, i.e. somewhere in the $4,000 - $6,000 range for everything.

Unfortunately we only rent our space so I need to find a hard-cover travel case for it as well and would love some references.  

Also, please be as specific as possible.  Responses such as "This board, I love it!!"  don't particularly help me make an informed decision.  Please don't take this the wrong way, but I've got to make a decision and make it fast and need to cram as much information into this little head as possible.

Thank you so much in advance for your thoughts, recommendations and advice.

Finally, Brian Ship and Ron H., we've talked about his a while back, and you may remember me.  I've finally gotten my money and the go ahead...  
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Lifer

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2004, 01:48:03 pm »

A controller you may want to consider is the Leprecon LPX-48.  It is right around your price range and has a lot of bells and whistles for the price.  The only limitations you may run into is it is a 24X2 fader set meaning there is 2 banks of 24 faders for conventionals.  Anything after 48 needs to be programmed virtually via keypad.  And if you plan on adding wigglys one day this console is absolutely set up to do it.  The only other limitations I have had with the console is it has only 12 submasters.  This makes a one-off show kind of tricky to run but if you are doing a theatrical cue stack its great.  You should check it out.  If you have any other questions on the console PM me.

Good Luck and congrats on the new console.


PS  They sell a case for the console.
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Rob Timmerman

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2004, 04:04:57 pm »

The ETC Express line is reasonably popular.  I've found them easy to use for conventionals, but not very easy to use for movers.  If you already have 72 dimmers, I wouldn't get the 24/48, as it will only control 96 channels.  I'd look at the 48/96 or the Express 250, in that line.  The Expression off-line software is excellent, and mimics the console functionality very well, although you don't have a DMX output.  It is very useful as a learning tool for the console.

I have not used the Colortran Innovator, but I do know that there is no off-line software, if that's an issue.

Strand has a line of consoles that looks to be similar to the ETC Express line, their 300 series, IIRC.

Leprecon makes solid consoles for live use, but I wouldn't consider them a theatrical console.

NSI makes some decent smaller consoles, but I don't think they have any that are large enough for your use.

The Entertainment Technology Marquee console is a relative newcomer that looks very interesting, but I haven't used it.  It is based on Rosco's Horizon software.

Rosco's Horizon Software is a computer-based lighting console, that, with a laptop computer, should still be within your budget.  Much more expandability than the other options, but you don't get as good a hardware interface.


When you get your console, you should look at what the local rental houses have, so that if your console has a problem during a run, you can rent the same model for the rest of the run.  The rental houses can also tell you what is popular, what will be reliable, and what potential problems are.  They might also be able to get you a good price on whatever console you choose to purchase.

fwiw, Rob
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aklein

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2004, 04:36:07 pm »

Rob & Lifer-

Both with excellent information.  Thank you so much.

Just as some additional information and to sort of address some of the items that are being discussed.

Another rental space in my town is currently using a Leprecon board, I believe it is the 1500 series.  I have done some lighting for the opera company here in town using that board and found it a bit lacking, mostly because I am a BIG fan of sub-masters and individual instrument control and found that the number of channels available with sliders was limiting to me(i.e. 2X24) with 12 subs or cues.  I fully understand the functionality of programming using virutal keystrokes rather than a slider.  I have not looked at the LP-X48 though so I will definitely look into that.

According to the sales rep I spoke with this morning, the Innovator now comes with an offline editor standard so I am looking forward to seeing how useful that is.  I currently have an Innovator 48/96 at my church, where I am the lighting tech, and therefore do have some tendencies towards the Colortran line just because I am familiar with it.

Aside from cost and portability, the next biggest factor for us is probably usability.  Since we are a community theatre, we like to use volunteers as much as possible.  That being said, anytime that I can simplify something to the point that someone else can run the show or at least learn some basic items for setting up and running a show, the more often I can help to get others involved.  Being able to assign sliders to specific lights and then some general programming into either subs or cues is something that is relatively simple and I can help others to do as well.  So that is definitely a consideration.

Personally, I would really like to explore the computer based applications such as Horizon.  I've downloaded the software and found it pretty straight forward and fairly easy to use.  However, considering the information in the previous paragraph, it is probably not the best option for us from that standpoint.  I guess there's something about pushing a slider up that people find easier.

I like the information on intels with the Express line.  One of my other concerns with the Express is a single DMX universe.  I understand that is probably MORE than sufficient for our little space, but considering our current wiring, if I could run a separate DMX cable to the intels for their attributes, I think I could simplify things a bit.

One final thing.  Our closest rental houses are 3 and 5 hours respectively, therefore I don't know how much of an impact either of those items would have, however, I do know that both of them carry most everything we have discussed so far.

It's a ton of information and items to consider.  I appreciate your input and am looking for some more.  Certainly all experiences and do's/don'ts are appreciated.
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Craig Leerman

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2004, 07:12:46 pm »

My console choices would be:

ZERO 88 FROG series.  The Frog range of consoles from Zero 88 are great boards, have 48 - 96 control channels 12 -24 submasters and some models have a second DMX universe available.  These boards are easy to use and program, and have lots of features.  I have been looking at getting a Bull Frog myself, but I keep spending the money on other things I need more!

http://www.zero88.com/home.php

The smaller Frog consoles are in your budget. The larger ones or the Mombo may be slightly outside the budget, but worth it!

Leprecon LP-X.  This is a small console in size, but big in power!  It allows control of 96 conventional channels as well as 24 moving lights. It about $4500 without a case.

http://www.leprecon.com/

Leprecon LP-X48.  This is a larger console than above and will do 192 channels.

ETC Express 48/96.  You could almost say that this is the Industry Standard basic theatre console!  Should run a little over $5000 with a case and monitor.

http://www.etcconnect.com/

As for running a separate line up to the intels, you could always get a DMX splitter box, and not have to use a separate universe from the console (as long as you have available channels that is)

With 512 channels available in one universe, I think you would be hard pressed to run out of channels soon!

Craig
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I'm so old, when I was doing FOH for Tommy Dorsey, to balance out the horn section I would slide their chairs downstage and upstage to mix!


Lifer

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2004, 07:12:50 pm »

Leprecon is not a theatrical lighting company  this is true.  But they have made some consoles in the past that can cross over well.  I guess im not really sure what you mean by the LPX-48 not being a "theatrical" console.  The only thing i've found it lacking from a Expression is macros. There may be other things that I haven't found that it is lacking.?  What a LPX has over most "theatrical" consoles is intelligent lighting profiles.  And a great,easy to use intelligent programming platform.  This is something that the expression cant even begin to duplicate.  Ive only used an expression to run intelligents once and swore to never do it again.  Im afraid that alkein is going to purchase a true "theatrical" conscole then a year down the road when his theatre company purchases wigglys it is discovered that his needs are better meet by a "live" console.

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Rob Timmerman

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2004, 10:40:24 pm »

The ETC Express series outputs 2 DMX universes.  You just need to assign channels as needed via softpatch.

On the Horizon, you can get a fader panel, but it's more money.

Not all consoles that output DMX can control 512 different channels.  On many of the smaller consoles, you can softpatch any of the 512 channels to the control channels on the board, up to the maximum that the board will control.
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Nick S.

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2004, 03:19:08 pm »

Lifer wrote on Tue, 09 November 2004 00:12

Im afraid that alkein is going to purchase a true "theatrical" conscole then a year down the road when his theatre company purchases wigglys it is discovered that his needs are better meet by a "live" console.



Considering this is a "generous donation", I suspect they'd need quite a good many more to even consider purchasing movers. For what it's worth, movers are over rated for theatrics. In gigs, they're amazing, but you can nearly always use plain conventionals for theatre...the closest you might come to intelligent lighting might be the odd use of scrollers. I always avoid movers when possible in theatre designs...

The Express series - for what it's worth, they're good consoles. I'd strongly recommend it. However, I can tell you they're not that easy for a beginner to get to grips with (I've seen one in a high school environment) - either that, or all the users I've tried to train on it aren't that bright (probably true...). The Zero88 Frog series are, IMO, much better for training, and also handle movers better than the Express (then again, I would recommend a British made lighting console Smile ). Support wise, I've found Zero88 more helpful...I'd either go for the Frog, or the Express.

As noted above, the Express has two (not one) DMX universes. However, you can set the 2nd DMX port to mirror the first, so the desk acts as a splitter...
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Brian Bolly

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Re: Hallelujah I get a new lighting console
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2004, 07:24:26 pm »

While a Hog 500 would be great, and easily cover any intelligents you may add, it's a little over your budget.

I would stay far, far away from Horizon.  A theatre I work with has it, and their LD hates it.  I've seen it crash on numerous occasions, and in general they end up chasing more ghosts than they would with a regular console.

The ETC consoles would be your best bet.  As stated, they are an industry standard, and very reliable.  I would pick one that you can grow into, not one that barely fits your needs now and you may outgrow within 5 years.  It seems that the 48/96 may be such a console.  

Good luck with your choice, and congrats on the new desk!
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