ProSoundWeb Community

Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Lighting Forum => Topic started by: Michael Gorecki on June 27, 2016, 04:02:18 pm

Title: Lighting consoles
Post by: Michael Gorecki on June 27, 2016, 04:02:18 pm
Hey guys, I'm looking for a lighting console in the $500-$1000 range. I've had a couple obey 70's that keep breaking on me and I'm trying to make a step up in physical quality and durability.

Right now I just have par cans but I'd like to get a couple moving heads by this time next year. So I'd like to keep that in mind.

Let me know if you guys need anymore info.

Thanks, Mike.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Caleb Dueck on June 27, 2016, 06:32:10 pm
Check out Chauvet ShowXpress.  The UI is a bit Win3.1, but otherwise it's easy to use.  You will need a touchscreen laptop. 
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: duane massey on June 27, 2016, 08:04:41 pm
Elation Showdesigner 1. The only controller I would even consider in your price range, and well-built (unless you're gonna strap it to the roof. You can find them online $799, Ebay even less. http://www.venuesupply.com/detail/elation-professional-show-designer-1-programmable-dmx-controller-1964
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on June 27, 2016, 08:57:18 pm
Elation Showdesigner 1. The only controller I would even consider in your price range, and well-built (unless you're gonna strap it to the roof. You can find them online $799, Ebay even less. http://www.venuesupply.com/detail/elation-professional-show-designer-1-programmable-dmx-controller-1964

Yes. Showdesigner 2 is a bit more money, but two universes and more rotary encoders for dialing in your movers.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Scott Holtzman on June 28, 2016, 03:15:33 am
Yes. Showdesigner 2 is a bit more money, but two universes and more rotary encoders for dialing in your movers.

Ditto on the Showdesigner 2 CF.  Especially if your primary roll is to busk the lighting and sound with unrehearsed performances.



Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Jeff Lelko on June 28, 2016, 08:39:54 pm
I'm going to go against the grain on this one and suggest you at least look into a software solution.  I agree with the others that the Showdesigner series is one of the very, very few 'useful' desks in the price range you're considering, however I've never been impressed with them and always came away wanting more.  That's strictly my personal opinion though and you'll find no shortage of happy Showdesigner users here.  The biggest shortfalls I have with them is the lack of plentiful physical faders, no grandmaster, and no real display to make programming/editing as easy as it should be.  Now, I don't mean to be comparing a $700 desk to a $7000 desk, but I was personally never sold on the Elation products.

Software solutions give you a much better bang-to-buck.  I would have to say that they'll handle movers and LEDs with significant ease versus most of the smaller physical desks.  If you need hands-on control you can always buy a wing, but for my needs, a touchscreen is plenty.  Each user and application is different, so get whatever you feels suits you the best.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two of the more popular programs, but there are many out there.  Most software solutions can be downloaded for a free demo, so definitely try before you buy!  Hope this helps!
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Rob Spence on June 28, 2016, 10:26:35 pm
I'm going to go against the grain on this one and suggest you at least look into a software solution.  I agree with the others that the Showdesigner series is one of the very, very few 'useful' desks in the price range you're considering, however I've never been impressed with them and always came away wanting more.  That's strictly my personal opinion though and you'll find no shortage of happy Showdesigner users here.  The biggest shortfalls I have with them is the lack of plentiful physical faders, no grandmaster, and no real display to make programming/editing as easy as it should be.  Now, I don't mean to be comparing a $700 desk to a $7000 desk, but I was personally never sold on the Elation products.

Software solutions give you a much better bang-to-buck.  I would have to say that they'll handle movers and LEDs with significant ease versus most of the smaller physical desks.  If you need hands-on control you can always buy a wing, but for my needs, a touchscreen is plenty.  Each user and application is different, so get whatever you feels suits you the best.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two of the more popular programs, but there are many out there.  Most software solutions can be downloaded for a free demo, so definitely try before you buy!  Hope this helps!

I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.


We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Jeff Lelko on June 28, 2016, 11:24:44 pm
I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.

We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


They definitely take some getting used to.  I'm sure the same can be said about learning to mix sound on an iPad!  I think a lot of the comfort level really depends on how you like to run your shows, but either way I've found that using a stylus really helps.  You definitely mentioned a big takeaway though - plentiful faders.  I'm not aware of any desk in the sub-$1000 range that has anywhere near enough physical handles to really busk a show well (or at least not with the amount of control that I like to have).  The ETC SmartFade Series gets close, but for the ML variant you're still pushing 2K.  With the software solution I at least have all the faders I need in front of me, albeit virtual.  That said, when I'm busking a large show with a lot of movers, the software stays home and my physical desk comes out.

I agree though that with the commonality and relative cheap cost of digital mixers these days there's no excuse for lighting not to follow suit. 
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Scott Holtzman on June 29, 2016, 12:46:24 am
They definitely take some getting used to.  I'm sure the same can be said about learning to mix sound on an iPad!  I think a lot of the comfort level really depends on how you like to run your shows, but either way I've found that using a stylus really helps.  You definitely mentioned a big takeaway though - plentiful faders.  I'm not aware of any desk in the sub-$1000 range that has anywhere near enough physical handles to really busk a show well (or at least not with the amount of control that I like to have).  The ETC SmartFade Series gets close, but for the ML variant you're still pushing 2K.  With the software solution I at least have all the faders I need in front of me, albeit virtual.  That said, when I'm busking a large show with a lot of movers, the software stays home and my physical desk comes out.

I agree though that with the commonality and relative cheap cost of digital mixers these days there's no excuse for lighting not to follow suit.

You also have to realize that my comment is coming from a sound guy trying to do a little more than just stomp presets on a 4 bar, which is what the competition does.

Just like we learned to mix on iPads I have no doubt a pro can do quite a bit more with software and a touchscreen.

To that end for those of us at the shallow end of the light pool, I use my Elation the same way I use Show Designer.  Tsp Sync and cue chases to the song.

Frankly I would not know what to do with the faders live.  I thought the faders were to setup the scenes and chases.

I hate being stupid,  I didn't find a good video to show how you would utilize the sliders live.  With chases I have built all sorts of transitions on the stationary fixtures that I can use to tie various chases together structurally.  If not overused the classic downstage to crowd sweep is always a crowd pleaser.

I actually have the older Elation Magic 260. It was the predecessor to the show designer and once II got the hang of making the fixture profiles (an old laptop with a serial port and Windows XP is your friend)  it is actually fun to program. I have a ton of inexpensive fixtures (the latest 130W RGBAW par's are my anchor) and I like the large buttons with long travel and a good return.  Much easier than using a mouse.  I dont like to spend much time away from the mix and the Elation has been the best tool in class to support that goal.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: John L Nobile on June 29, 2016, 01:13:53 am
I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.


We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

I used to think the same way but I've started using the touchscreen for lights. It's all in how it's setup and programmed. I'm not a lighting guy so I had a real one come in and setup the lights. I've got a screen with buttons for colors, positions, gobos, rotation etc. My faders only turn groups on or off. I just started doing lights but I really am pleased with what I can do with very little knowledge on how to program. I highly recommend getting a good lighting guy program scenes and give you a quick lesson.
I love modern technology.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on June 29, 2016, 08:32:04 am
I don't find touch screens to be a good substitute for plentiful faders. Wings are expensive though they should be less do with all the audio desks these days. Once you add a wing you are now in the multi thousand $ world.


We need some mass market fader banks that the software products could support.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
The Martin M-Touch wing is less than $500.  There are ways to add additional faders via MIDI control, and there are a lot of MIDI controllers around. 

There's a definite learning curve between a desk designed for dimmers only or blinky pars and a real system like M-PC/M-Touch or the Chamsys stuff, but they are the difference between a shovel and a Bobcat in terms of getting work done.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on June 29, 2016, 08:36:35 am
The ETC SmartFade Series gets close, but for the ML variant you're still pushing 2K. 
I've been a SmartFade ML owner for the last 5 years and just got into M-PC/M-Touch this year.  There's no doubt that the SmartFade is easier to learn than a full console package, but I can get WAY more done with the 10 faders (touch strips) on the M-Touch plus executor buttons on screen than the 24 faders of the SmartFade ML.

BTW, I would not recommend the SmartFade at this point now that ETC has replaced them with the Colorsource consoles. http://www.etcconnect.com/Products/Lighting-Fixtures/ColorSource/Consoles.aspx
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Rob Spence on June 29, 2016, 09:22:02 am
So, what touch screens are people using with these software controllers? I have a chamsys dongle but it was always a pain with a mouse or worse yet, touchpad.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on June 29, 2016, 09:36:59 am
So, what touch screens are people using with these software controllers? I have a chamsys dongle but it was always a pain with a mouse or worse yet, touchpad.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
There are a lot of touchscreen laptops these days.  I am using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which works well.  If I was buying from scratch I would try to get a larger touch screen laptop.  I think the HP Spectre 360 15.6" machine is a great choice for this, though there are cheaper options that would work fine, too. 

If you are using this as a single-purpose machine (which is definitely best practice), you don't need to pay extra for extra CPU, RAM or storage - the bottom model of the range will be just fine.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: John L Nobile on June 29, 2016, 10:49:37 am
So, what touch screens are people using with these software controllers? I have a chamsys dongle but it was always a pain with a mouse or worse yet, touchpad.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

I'm using an HP all in one desktop with a 24" touchscreen. I don't need portability.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Jeff Lelko on June 30, 2016, 04:48:13 pm
So, what touch screens are people using with these software controllers? I have a chamsys dongle but it was always a pain with a mouse or worse yet, touchpad.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

I use an almost 10 year old Toshiba Tablet PC (think of the ones that pivot the screen around).  It works just fine, though one of these days I'm going to make the jump from MagicQ to Nomad, seeing as my physical board runs the ETC Cobalt server.  At that point I'll retire the Toshiba, borrow one of my big board's 23" Touch Screens, and use that with a micro PC or the Nomad Puck. 
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Michael Gorecki on July 01, 2016, 04:09:21 am
Update: I didn't have time to read through any of this before I made my purchase. Although I really do appreciate all the input that's been given. I was looking into the Showdesigners but couldn't get myself to buy something with that small of a screen in 2016. I ended up going with the ShowXpress unit.

I bought a 17" Asus touch screen last year, it came with Windows 10. It's been a pain to install most audio software and getting the lighting controller application installed was just as difficult.

After a couple hours of fussing I got the software installed, patched all my fixtures with the presets and grouped some fixtures. To my surprise the unit showed up early today and I got to plug in some lights. Everything popped up where it was supposed to and it just worked.

I'm a little bothered that they don't have any sort of controller for it. I suppose I can plug some sort of generic midi and get basic functions. But I'll see how much i actually need it with the touchscreen.

Again, thanks for the responses guys, I'll post some pictures from the gig next week.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Michael Gorecki on July 05, 2016, 01:08:19 pm
Another update. The show went well, one of my buddies in the other band had a "lighting designer friend" that actually turned out to know a thing or too. She was a great help and took on the roll of the LD after I patched everything. The system works well for what we need to do.

Again thanks for the info. Here's some crappy pics from last night off my iPhone. If I come across anything better I'll post it here.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Steve Garris on July 06, 2016, 05:11:34 pm
I'm using an HP all in one desktop with a 24" touchscreen. I don't need portability.

Which software, John?
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: John L Nobile on July 06, 2016, 10:26:33 pm
Which software, John?

GrandMA on PC. Not cheap but a lot less than the consoles.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Scott Holtzman on July 07, 2016, 02:15:28 am
GrandMA on PC. Not cheap but a lot less than the consoles.

I have to say, IT/Networking is my day job and from a sound guys perspective that is a really intimidating system.  The code looks elegant but my first time in front of one I could not even get some washes turned on so I could work on the stage.

Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Jonathan Goodall on July 07, 2016, 04:07:29 am
Anyone used and care to comment on the Jands Stage CL??
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: John L Nobile on July 07, 2016, 09:32:44 am
I have to say, IT/Networking is my day job and from a sound guys perspective that is a really intimidating system.  The code looks elegant but my first time in front of one I could not even get some washes turned on so I could work on the stage.

I'm a sound guy who knows his limitations when it comes to lighting. I didn't want a lighting board that complicated but we now have a large number of moving lights. I posted a pic a few days ago.
I'd say that this rig needs a real operator but my budget disagrees with me. I have a good friend who's an excellent LD. I hired him to program and set it up so that I can busk and he showed me a few ways to do some basic programming.
It looks like I know what I'm doing and no one's complained. I'm also able to do both sound and lights.
The night goes by pretty quickly when you're busy.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Graham Spice on July 07, 2016, 03:01:23 pm
John- can you give us an idea of what kind of setup you're using and what type of controls your friend gave you? I'm interested to know how it is setup for you to run so easily and effectively. Thanks!
I'm a sound guy who knows his limitations when it comes to lighting. I didn't want a lighting board that complicated but we now have a large number of moving lights. I posted a pic a few days ago.
I'd say that this rig needs a real operator but my budget disagrees with me. I have a good friend who's an excellent LD. I hired him to program and set it up so that I can busk and he showed me a few ways to do some basic programming.
It looks like I know what I'm doing and no one's complained. I'm also able to do both sound and lights.
The night goes by pretty quickly when you're busy.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: John L Nobile on July 07, 2016, 03:34:58 pm
John- can you give us an idea of what kind of setup you're using and what type of controls your friend gave you? I'm interested to know how it is setup for you to run so easily and effectively. Thanks!

Here's a pic of last weeks show

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,159874.0.html

I'm running 24 Rush MH2's and 12 Rush MH1's. There's 20 lekos in the front truss and somewhere around 60 lekos, fresnels and pars over the stage. I'm finding that I'm only using the front wash conventionals and I'm thinking of getting my buddy up to do a rehang. The plot was done for a fixed stageshow not a rock band. I want to be able to use the conventionals more.

I have 2 wings that have faders and buttons to control conventional and movers. I also have a screen that has all mover controls for colour, gobos, rotation, positions. Things like cen stage, SR, SL, roof aud blind and different positions.

All I do is push a few faders for on/off and either push buttons on the wings or hit the touchscreen. Very quick when you remember where everything is.
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: James Feenstra on July 11, 2016, 07:14:30 pm
Anyone used and care to comment on the Jands Stage CL??
great for LEDs and conventional fixtures. Not designed to run moving fixtures though, you'll want to get a vista system if you're planning on moving lights
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Jonathan Goodall on July 17, 2016, 06:11:30 pm
great for LEDs and conventional fixtures. Not designed to run moving fixtures though, you'll want to get a vista system if you're planning on moving lights

Thanks :)
Title: Re: Lighting consoles
Post by: Sean Mormelo on July 24, 2016, 04:14:09 pm
What about Luminaire 3?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk