Best Lighting Console/Software

I am looking at buying a lighting board/software that has dmx and is on the cheap side. Right now i'm using Horizon basic and dont know if horizon Gold would be a good upgrade. So guys what do yall use and suggest.
Yes, a little more information would be helpful. ETC offers a number of boards as does Colortran and others.

There are also a multitude of software programs that offer unlimited control that can be had for a reasonable price.
If you want to go pc based, I strongly suggest Marquee PC. You should download the software, and you'll see why it's a good interface for theatre.
We have something like 30 lights we need to control, we also want room to add more lights and to add dmx. The budget is try to keep below 1500-2000 and the less, the better b/c like i said we want dmx movable head lights. It is a small theater at a private school that we have a chapel in and in our current program, i do cue lists and have them chained together and make the back lights change intensity and stuff all doing macros and i would like to have the ability to do something similar to that and still keep the front lights on. I dont dislike the software we have... horizon basic... but would like to have something different unless horizon is a really good one, i just need reassurance from more than 1 person that its good. Thanks in advance
Sometimes it's more cost effective to keep what you have and importantly, what you know, and add on features.

Horizon has a submaster wing you could add to gain some manual functionality, and/or you can also upgrade to Gold.

There were a few system issues with Horizon when it first came out years ago, I believe they've all been resolved since Windows XP was introduced. It's generally known as a very reliable PC based console, though the PC console style never really took off as a concept, for some reason - I think it's a very good idea.

The parent company of Horizon - ET, has also released the Marquee console line, having based the initial concepts on what they created with Horizon. They also are getting a good rep. and I suspect they will be supporting Horizon for many years, so no real concerns as to the company not being able to support the product - I HOPE !, maybe call for confirmation.

In response to that last one, i do not know this software well, i have not done alot with it and what we have is the older version on an old computer and it crashes alot so if the problems have been resloved then i might stick with it it is just that we have had the program crash mid show with nothing open but horizon. I have also been looking at marquee, i really like it alot, it is an easier to use program than that of horizon. Does anyone know a link to where i can see prices on the usb dmx interface and also prices on the software liscense for marquee pc. Also does anyone know if marquee supports moving lights? So like i said i would like suggestsions of the best board or the best pc control that is in my price range and does what i want it to. Im not worried about the ease of me as i will be leaving in a year and passing it down to an underclassman.
I'd like to say a word on the mindset of updating.

Don't if you don't need to.

Ok, now allow me to explain. I personally do not know the horizon system, but do you need whatever feature is in the 'gold' update version? Its pointless to update to get features you will never use. If the horizon system is working for you currently, maybe get a sub wing for it (the thing that always bothered me about PC based systems was you don't have a physical button or slider to grab), or maybe if your happy with your control system get some nice new Source4's. In the grand scheme of lightboards, $1500 to $2000 won't get you an amazingly nice board, but it will get you some very nice lights.

I would also shy away from spending your budget on moving heads. Yes, they are very cool, and yes we all would love to get a bunch to play with, but ask yourself if your getting them to assist the program and improve the look of the shows, or for their price would it be better to get another 50 Source4 or Source4 PAR's.

Personally for my school, while I would have loved to play with a few movers for my musicals, my budget would be better spent on things such as strip lights, lamps, and a few new Source4s.

If you already have 150 Source4s and have no problem getting beautiful washes on the stage from every angle your heart desires, I see no problem with getting a few moving heads, but as the saying goes, if you can't pull together good looking show in a tiny space with 10 Par cans, moving lights arn't for you.

Just a few words of the wise. Had someone said "here, let me give you a few moving heads" I wouldn't have stopped to think about it.
I have heard many horror stories about the horizon software from the other high school in my town. The year before my frosh year my high school did our musical there (our space was shut down due to mold) and we used horizon to program a moivng light rig they got for the show. Apparently there are many bugs in playback and my tech director loves to talk about how it would randomly point lights at the cealing and turn them green. Of coarse anytime I brought up anything related to computer integration he would always tell this story.

Also in regards to moving lights. I would prefer to get a bunch of S4's a pars over a few moving fixtures. None the less the elation design spot 250s look nice and are pretty cheap. Has anyone played with those?
yes, i agree but what we have is not a musical but a concert and so we dont do washes everything is certain lights focused on a certain marked area and we have plenty plenty of standard fixtures so yea the moveable lights for us will do ALOT but i just want something that we can upgrade into that b/c thats future, 3 yrs down the road before we even have the moveable fixtures in so guys keep on comming with what you use and what you suggest as far as console's/boards /software, dont worry about the other stuff ive talked to several pro's about it but i just want yalls opinion on boards/consoles/software and what not to get and what to get! THANKS!
I have descided to go with the BlueLite X1 system, it is 4 universes and a great easy to use software and can be used offline really easy and is only 1,000 dollars and like 4,000 for 8 universes and it also has smpte! I highly suggest it and when i get it I will comment on it!
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if you are just getting into intelligent fixtures, then moving mirror fixtures will be almost as good as moving yoke fixtures but cost far less to buy and operate.
mbandgeek said:
if you are just getting into intelligent fixtures, then moving mirror fixtures will be almost as good as moving yoke fixtures but cost far less to buy and operate.

What brand of mirror fixtures are you talking about? Most of the (Martin) ones I've seen at rock shows or in concert dvds really aren't bright enough to add much. Its been "I can see that light is hitting the mirror but I see it nowhere on stage..."

Oh, but I suppose those clay paky fixtures a act renter once were okay. None the less I prefere yolk fixtures, espcially when the fixture is visable.
Plus, I haven't seen a decent moving mirror fixture in ages. Technobeam, Roboscan...has there been a new high-quality (not A DJ) moving mirror made in a long time? (I'm talking about more fully featured, not the effects ones that I know Martin's come out with)

But, they are cheaper--a Technobeam, while only all right, is significantly less than say, a Studio Spot.
lets stay on topic guys i dont care about fixtures i want to know what yall use for lighting control of any kind and if you like it/ would suggest investing in it for 3 or 4 years.
buddy101089 said:
lets stay on topic guys i dont care about fixtures i want to know what yall use for lighting control of any kind and if you like it/ would suggest investing in it for 3 or 4 years.

What are you asking? I was under the implication from your previous post that you had made you decision already.
Yea, i have made a tenative descision but havent made a final and i'm just curious about the things that get used the most and what companies are the best just for reference. Thanks!
As I've been using pc based control since 1999 I guess I'm qualified to offer some advice.

Regardless which you choose, there isn't a best for all circumstances. You'll find that it will (no matter which one you choose) not do everything you want for every show. I wouldn't choose a pc system for a show with a lot of conventionals UNLESS it could accept dmx in, or I didn't need hands on fader control.

The big advantage of pc control IMO is the ability to carry the whole thing in a very small package.

Finally, people get all excited about some features, but they may never really need those features. Consider what you really need and find that.

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