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Console Opinions

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by theatre4jc, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    Location:
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    So I've recently began working for a church and I'm blessed with a chance to upgrade my console. Currently we have on property a Vista S3 and an ETC Insight with Emphasis server. Obviously we want to replace the Insight. We are looking very closely at 3 different desks and I would a 4th to the mix. Just wanted to get your opinions.

    First the room it would be used for. Currently there are 6 VL 3500 spots, 12 SeaChangers, 6 Robe Color Wash 575s, and 10 Chauvet Colorado Panels. In addition to those we have around 400 conventional stage fixtures and 200 house fixtures. It's a very large room that seats 7,500. We want to increase the number of VL 3500s and LEDs and are picking a desk that will allow this with ease. So our choices.

    1. Jands Vista T2 or T4. This is because we already have the S3 so there is no learning curve for programming and can easily teach volunteer board operators.

    2.ETC EOS

    3. ETC ION. The ION can be expanded to enough DMX channels for us and to me the big plus is I can get expansion packs that will give me faders for subs, which help when something is going on and I'm not there. Someone can just bring up a sub look real easily. Also with either ETC board, my volunteers are familar with the programing and controls.

    4. Avolites Diamond or Pearl. I really like Avolite boards and think I could make it work.

    I program with the keypad not faders but need the ability for subs. I know how to make that work with the Vista series. My question to you guys is which boards would you prefer? We operate with cues and is very theatre like in my programing. Comes from my education. But I also want something I can do on the fly concert stuff with on special events. Thoughts? Opinions?
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Any reason you are not going with a programmer based console such as the GrandMA, Hog, or MagicQ?

    I would look at one of the magic cue consoles, they operate in a theatre mode great but also have a huge amount of hard playbacks without adding wings (depending on the console you get).
     
  3. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    I don't mind adding wings as needed. One huge concern I have is making sure this is easy for my volunteers to use each Sunday. As of now I'm running 3 services each sunday and I can only be at one...maybe 2 of them so I have to rely on others for help. Need to make sure it is easy for them to use. On rare occasion my volunteers have to do something on the fly if there is a sudden change in the service lineup. I need to make sure they can handle the board easily. The GrandMA and Hog lines do not offer enough ease of use for a novice in my opinion. Never used the MagicQ. But that's my thought process.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Given your criteria and the four options, the only one I would consider would be the Vista. There's much to be said in keeping one type of console throughout. People who have never done lighting like Vista right away. Those with experience on other boards hate it.
     
  5. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I've used a Vista, Eos, and an Ion - never used an Avolites board. By far my favorite to program, for theatre anyways, is the Eos. There's a lot of direct selects through the two touch-screen monitors, and I really like having everything laid out in front of you on the touch screens. It's a very powerful console, but it's also very user-friendly. There's almost no learning curve from the older ETC boards to the Eos, at least for simple conventional work. By the way - the Fader Wings that you can get with the Ion also work with the Eos. So you can have as many physical faders for subs as you want.

    The Ion is basically just a scaled-down version of the Eos which works fine for a primarily conventional rig with limited automation, but for a large rig with room for expansion, I would definitely spring for the Eos. I never really liked the Vista personally, but to be fair I haven't worked with it all that much. A museum in my town has a large theatre (mainly for orchestral concerts) with a large moving light rig, and I only get to use a Vista when I'm there, which isn't too often. I've also never done very much busking, just theatrical cueing for the most part, so I can't help you there.
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    For ease of use for volunteers, I'd say Avo Pearl Expert. Easy to do really complicated stuff with it, but it's easy to just use the playbacks - and the split roller is nice.

    I'd consider Footer's advice though - the MagicQ consoles are nice stuff. Something else to consider.

    And of course the ION would be good with a playback wing or two. It really comes down to personal preference.
     
  7. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    Your best bet, now that you have it narrowed down, is to get each console in your space and demo it for a couple of days. Have your volunteers work with it and see what they say as well. That way you can make a really well informed choice.
     
  8. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    We are doing a demo of the EOS and Vista T2 pretty soon. Looking forward to that. I'm leaning towards the T2 personally but that's because I really like the Vista system.
     
  9. jxgriffi

    jxgriffi Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    David, as someone who also has multiple venues and volunteers running things, I cannot stress enough to try and stick with the same format as much as possible.

    As someone already mentioned, get all of the boards that you are considering in for a week (or weekend) and let your volunteers use them all and play with them. THEY will let you know what they are comfortable with. For me, we tried ETC, Vista, Hog and Avo. My volunteers all went Hog. So, now we have Hog 3 in our main Worship Center, RoadHogs in our smaller venues, and a Hog3PC available for one-off's.

    It all comes down to what they are comfortable with and can operate.

    Jon
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Your current inventory is fine for any of those boards. However, if you are serious about expanding your inventory of movers and other intelligent toys you should seriously think about a board that is more intelligent lighting friendly. There's a reason that music tours all use GrandMA's or Hogs. If you want to play in that world more seriously you'll be a lot happier if you make the switch.

    Volunteers can learn to run pre-programed looks on any console.
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Part of that reason is the tours use what the shops own. And the shops purchased GrandMA'a and Hogs (originally) as they did a better job of controlling ML's then the ETC stuff that was available, namely Expression and Obsession. Strand was out there with great product that could do both well, but had poor market placement and seemingly was an East coast only item. ETC certainly took it's time getting the Eos line going and lost a lot of market share to MA and is now playing catchup.

    In general, and from opinions of the elec's on the few musical tours I've had roll through that used Grand MA's, the console isn't as friendly (to the designer) at doing mixed conventional and ML shows as the Eos seems to be, but as it has a lot of market share it also has a huge following and finding folks conversant in the OS is easier then finding an Eos programmer (or Eos and Ion consoles)

    But that's not the issue. What's going to work well for the OP ?. If I were the consultant, and I knew that the house staff was OK with the Vista, I'd say stick with the S3 for the smaller space and get a larger version for the 7,500 seat hall, with some Console Extenders for both as manual playback wings. Vista's are also great consoles and are well supported by Jands.

    Steve B.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Touche ;)

    I have to say that's an excellent strategy Steve. The idea of system unity across the entire facility is great for everyone who works there. I also have to agree that (from what I've seen of it in demos) EOS is an outstanding user friendly control system. So a switch to an all ETC system might be an interesting choice as well.
     

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