CT needs PC w/ boards

Hi all,

I'm a veteran comomunity theatre actor, singer, and otherwise quite involved with local CT, and it's tech stuff has aged past the point of revival. The minidisc player can't record any more, the CD player is so old it wouldn't know an mp3 or wma if you snorted at it, there's no pc, and the light board is ... well it hiccups.

In current play I'm working with MorphVOX to disguise the murder/narrator ... and they don't even have a decent microphone or PC to create or use the software.

I am a pc/win nut, and want to help them define and implement a new pc-based system. So one person can program the whole show - light, sound, cues - and run it (or pause, back up) simply.

Will you help me by
a) spec out a basic package of light and sound boards?
b) software to control it all?

As with all CT's, there is no budget for improvements, but they do have about $80k annual budget, mostly staff and PR. So, I'm thinking in the $1500-2500 range, if that's possible, for the whole setup (incl small desktop pc, like a Shuttle).

Please help, steer me, etc.



not to rain on your parade, but good luck. The kinda of equipment your talking about is quite expensive. a program that will run just the sound aspect of your show (like sfx) will run you about 1000 and thats just the program that dosent include the pc or the pc expantion to give you the full acess to the software. As for a program that would run both sound and lights... Im not sure there is one, i mean i can't imagne that there isnt one but i havent heard or ran across one as of yet. Even then i cant imagine that it would run within the price of $1500-2500. But have hope there are small sound boards that would run within that price range. Im not sure about lights being a sound guy myself. I know in the past i have ran shows of the free program winamp and depending on how advance you wanna get with your playback that may be a cheap way to go.


I stand corrected. From what i have learned you can run your shows through midi that will controll both lights and sound... but im not sure how thats done


Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
So, from what I gather you want one PC that controls both lighting and sound (microphones included) so that one operator can do both? First, that is going to be a VERY tough bill to fill for under 2.5 grand, an good audio interface that can handle mics can cost a quarter of that budget. Also, the software to control it all it not cheap, plus the ad on of the computer.

You can pick up a PC lighting console for relatively cheap, I suggest a Horizon. You can also pick up software to run sound cues relatively cheap (can't remember the name it it for some reason, its not SFX). As far as audio consoles go, what do you currently have? Do you run wireless mics? How many outputs do you need?... and the lighting side of things... What console do you currently have? How many Dimmers? Are they DMX or some other protocol? I would not suggest running both lights and sound cues off one computer, thats just asking for trouble. As far as tying it all together in one show control package, its totally doable, its just not as user friendly as one would think. Linking LX and sound cues is a great thing, but really takes some time to implement. Its usually out of the realm of most community theatres. And as far as controlling a sound board from a PC, ain't going to happen for under 2.5 grand.

So in short, answer those questions, if you don't know how to answer one or more of the questions just ask.


Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
First off Welcome to the Booth!!

You should split this into two posts one for the lighting board and one for the sound board. A lot of people don't read this board so you'll get a lot more help over there. The second reason I would split that post is I think you'll find most people say this is a job for two computers. There are several PC based lighting options out there that won't break your bank. They aren't GREAT... but they are probably better than what you have now. Do a search of both forums for words like software, computer, p.c. etc... You should find a lot of info.

As for sound software specificly, SFX is one of the most popular pieces out there. The basic edition runs $500 you can find more about it here.

If you want one person to easily be able to run both systems, a Rosco Keystroke is your answer. Its a DMX channel to USB interface. You can program the keystroke to activate any key on the target computer. So you set it to press the go button on the Sound computer and it get's programed in with all your light cues. Key stroke runs around $360.

Not knowing a lot about the cheap P.C. lighting software my guess is it's going to cost about $500 for the lighting software and dongle, $500 for SFX, $360 for a keystroke to tie the two computers together, you need a high quality sound card... that another $200 or so. Plus the cost of two computers... two decent homebuilt ones what about $800 each (they don't have to be high end gamer Vista machines just solid middle of the road XP machines with NO extra software at all... stability is critical). So I would say it is possible for somewhere around $3,000. Closer to $2500 if you don't need the two computers working together. Note that that is just a sound effect's playback computer, it's still going to run through your house mixer and sound system.

I see on your profile you are on the Oregon Coast... are you that little theater in Lincoln City?
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CB Mods
Premium Member
Hey Welcome Aboard ! Where you from ? I've worked all up and down the coast, with a couple of little touring companies. We should talk there are a ton of possible fundraising opportunities for folks on the coast. If you don't mind drop me an e-mail and we can discuss some possiblilties.


CB Mods
Premium Member
Departed Member
Let me belatedly say Welcome Aboard.

I think that the others have probably said all that I might have in relation to your control request.


Well-Known Member
Some of the computer based lighting consoles can also do VERY BASIC music triggering, such as with Windows Media player. It's not the best, but it will sort of work. They can also accept midi inputs for triggers. One I know that can do this is Martin LightJockey. About $1300 for two universes. No computer included. An excellent moving light desk, fair at running conventionals, and very stable and a small pc resource footprint.

I don't know of any programs that will mix sound since I only do lighting.

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