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DMX-70 review

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by JD, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    North Wales PA
    Disclaimer: This is a board that retails for under $200 so don't expect miracles!

    We were discussing inexpensive boards on another thread recently which prompted me to buy a Chauvet DMX-70 (About $170- 180)
    I have played around with it for about a week or so in my garage theater (actually more of a family room with a company switch ;) ) Anyway, I had it feeding three Q-spot 250's which are 13 channel Chauvet movers. All in all, I am impressed! Once again, keep in mind this is an under $200 board.

    The unit gives you 14 channels of access (16 including the joystick) without having to change pages.
    It will support 32 channels per fixture. (with paging)
    It allows you to soft patch each fixture, so all the dmx channels are patchable when using a mix of fixtures.
    240 scenes (30 banks of 8)
    Very clean and simple look.

    Like the DMX-55, the joystick still stinks.
    Accidentally hitting a scene button twice will cause it to "blackout" (a quick third hit will bring it back.)
    Buttons have a tricky feel, not always firing when you "feel" the click.

    Summary: I really like it for what it is! For those with a real board, this might be a good test board, giving you good access during setups from stage.
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    PA & NJ
    I recently acquired one of these excellent devices as well, for a really good price from a great source. I have it hooked up to a DMX-4 dimmer and a pair of Colorsplash Jr.

    I will now give my evaluation:

    Pros (in addition to JD's pro list):
    -You can chase a page of scenes without creating a chase, so this expands the number of chases if you just write a page of scenes to be the scenes that you want to chase
    -The board is very intuitive - after reading the manual for less than 5 minutes, I could program scenes and chases, recall scenes and chases, and set scenes/chases to auto or music mode, and edit steps in a chase.
    -It has built-in hookups for Chauvet fog machines and strobes, so that you don't have to spend the extra money on DMX modules for foggers and DMX strobes.

    Cons (in addition to JD's con list):
    -Tap/sync button sucks majorly and is relatively useless (this is my biggest gripe)
    -Only 6 chases
    -When you activate a chase, you cannot also use scenes
    -You can't change the time scale of the fade and time faders. Dropping the timescale to 5 minutes or even 2 minutes would be incredibly helpful
    -You can't set the scenes to additive mode (this would be incredibly helpful!)
    -The faders caught on me when moving them really fast during my Friday gig 3 or 4 times.

    All in all, the only thing that I'm really, really pissed about is the tap/sync button. Other then that and the f'd up buttons as JD mentioned, it's a great board for what it is. I turned on some music and was running shows with the chases and scenes that I had programmed in no time. I kept the faders on the page of the dimmer so that I could run those manually and the LEDs off of the scenes and chases. It worked great. I also got to use them for a battle of the bands that I did last Friday, and had the Colorsplashes, 7 pinspots (two sets of 2 and one set of 3), and 4 PAR46. It was a great show overall, and my friend's band loved the lighting. I put the Colorsplashes under the cymbals of his drumset, and it was an amazing effect.

    Special thanks to BillESC for getting me the board, Colorsplashes, and dimmer by last Friday (when the show was)!
    BillESC likes this.
  3. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Kilmarnock, VA
    Quick note on the Tap Sync button. ONLY TWO TAPS. Don't hit it a third time and it will work well.
  4. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    North Wales PA
    Well, just did a job with the DMX-70. It actually was really used hard as I ended up programming out all 240 scenes. This post, however, is to report that the board passed the impact test! Of all people, it was my own wife (of 25 years) who was too energetically pushing a case down a hallway. The wheels hit a ridge and the case stopped dead. The DMX-70 and another board were in a case on top of that one that flew about four feet forward before belly flopping on the concrete floor. When I opened the board up in the shop, I could see the force had been enough to shear two of the welded PCB mounting pins off of the frame and dislodge the display. I tried plugging it in for a test, and amazingly the thing still runs fine! Despite passing the test, I am going to replace the board and keep the old one as a backup as impacts sometimes come back to bite you later ;)

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