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Control/Dimming Favorite Lighting Console?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by The_Guest, Jul 5, 2004.

?

Which brand lighting console do you prefer?

  1. ETC

    73.9%
  2. Strand

    5.9%
  3. Leviton/NSI/Colortran

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. MA Lighting

    5.9%
  5. HES/Barco

    3.4%
  6. Martin Professional

    2.5%
  7. Jands

    2.5%
  8. Chamsys

    0.8%
  9. Other (Please tell us)

    5.0%
  1. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Which do you prefer?

    I'd like to see a formal group dicussion/debate on this one. There are devotees of each one on this forum, lets hear what you have to say.

    I would have liked to put martin (cough Maxxyx...sooooo nice) in the polls. But this is the HS level. Plus, it would immediately destroy this debate. Same goes for the whole-hogs and GRANDMA. Thats also why I left out "other" because of the out of hs range consoles. If you do have a realistic other, please specify.

    The hs levels consists of mostly conventials, minor DMX toys (scanners, dmx strobes, technobeams, etc), and maybe a handful of intels at the most.

    Vote away...


    *COLORTRAN*
     
  2. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    For conventionals... ETC

    For Moving Lights... GrandMA


    The Maxxyz is still not a good enough console. There are more bugs then it's worth trying to work around. The Hog II is not a bad console, it just not a console I would pick as a primary but might be better as a back up.

    In terms of fixtures... it's hard to say what are my favorites. It's more of what I like to use in different situations. For conventionals I would take Source 4's anyday. Moving Lights... Technobeas, 500, 550, 600, etc
     
  3. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I currently agree with you the grandMA rules the streets overall. But once the maxxyz is ready for prime time (as in no need for a martin rep at the gig lol. They actually do that right now. Read the Aerosmith Lighting Design article in PLSN) it will smoke everything out there. Yeah I personally don't like the wholehog that much.

    Have you ever used the ETC emphasis control system? It's amazing for theater and it's way more than enough for crazy concert style stuff for most high schools and small-medium organizations. In fact it could possibly handle some of the big stuff but it doesn't have the ease like the higher end consoles.
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Sorry but I guess you are correct in the debate having been destroyed. I only seek to post a clarification on the matter, sorry it's helping to hamper the intent of your question.

    Bugs with the MAXXYZ, or necessity for Martin Reps to go to the show to de-bug them?

    Oh' I would not say that's very much of fact right about now - they have been around the world on tour already with us at least a few times, and are constantly used on tour and at shows in the US. They are very dependable - all something like 8 or 12 of them we own. - Not specifically sure how many, they are never in the building for more than a few days at a time and we are constantly buying more it seems like.

    This as opposed to the HOG III that up until now in having it for the same amount of time we only own one of since it has only been requested for it's first show a month ago by an outside designer. Believe we had to rent a backup Hog since otherwise nobody really likes the board and it was not worth buying a second given nobody else requests them. If there is something a designer wants, we get it. Simple as that, were more people wanting the Hog III we would have more of them.

    At least up until last month, nobody I know wanted the HOG III because it had the same problems you cite with the Martin board, and it could not be trusted on tour.
    Of note however is that I am yet to hear about any problems with the Hog in the tour it is currently on thus it is probably also fine. Stress on the probably because I don't always hear about problems on the electronics. The MAXXYZ has been constantly touring on a lot of shows now since it came to market and has been very dependable again with us at least. Our programmers and at least 90% of our guest designers love and request the Martin board over any others. If they cannot have the Martin, they request a HOG II with Wing and not the HOG III.

    Again, it's all personal observations and opinions. Grand MA has nice light boards also. Any of the three given the proper upgrades and programming I'm sure would be fine and dependable. It would also have a lot to do with the people getting used to a specific product and other more creature comfort choices.

    I would not normally get into any such conversation except to balance out the slamming of one board to another when I have seen the reverse of these statements expressed, much less in our case at least the reverse is true.


    As for favorite light board... the Vision. Simple and easy to use given it's memory does not get corrupted and start dumping stuff randomly.
     
  5. digitaltec

    digitaltec Active Member

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    Ship, I thank you for your post. I was really hoping you would chime in knowing that the company you represent has had the Maxxyz out on several tours this summer. I agree that the console has been out on several tours, I see that in articles I read daily. What I dont see is to many reviews of the console from it's programmers. Yes, I have read a few but there are not to many in depth reviews that I have come across. I personally am not bashing the console, I am saying that I dont feel it's a stable console at this point in time. I have been trained on the console and even in the training session, they could not even get the thing to power on. Then once it was on, it crashed 11 times in the first 30 minutes and thats only the begining. Now, is this a rare happening... it's possible. But, I have talked to a few people who say this happens all the time. A software problem I found besides the fact that there is a 14 step power down process, is the fact that you cannot start a new show once the console is on and you are in a show. Again, I can sit here and tell you everything that I have experienced. But I cant sit here and say this stuff is happening all across the country with this console.

    I guess I'll just have to wait and see what Martin does about the console.
     
  6. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Well, this all has a reasonable explanation, Martin put up a serious user feedback and beta testing system before releasing the console, and they're working a lot on customer support. They know getting close to the client will accomplish 2 things: get feedback on bugs and problems, and most importantly, make the customer feel safe.
    Flying Pig on the other side have opted for their more typical approach of spitting software releases with little customer contact. They keep testing the console and get claims about problems. Then they solve the issue, or put it up on the "to do" list and release another soft version.
    None of both systems is better or worse, although Martin has created a link between the users and the developers that clients love to have. Having Martin reps in shows makes you feel safe, cuz you have someone to turn back to and say "Hey, this isn't working like its supposed to!"
    The Hog III is a great console, but they're just moving slower on the soft developing, FPS also had their software team dissintegrate and had to rebuild part of it, which took a toll at their speed to release soft. Thos has caused Martin to take a step ahead.
    Maybe also, the fact that the Maxxyz works on Win XP and the Hog III on Linux has got something to do with the fact that users prefer an OS that they're familiar with, especially since having OS based consoles is new, most consoles ran on propietary softwares that related in nothing to consumer grade computing.
    Just my opinion to try and balance the field and shed some light at things.
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I was kind of thinking it was a software/upgrade type thing to the Martin board. Don't know if it was on Lighting Network or at work, but I do remember something about the power down problem early on. Long since repaired and while I was interested to frequently see the Martin board opened at the shop in doing something to them, they are still very much liked by the people using them which does not include me. It is also possible that we are a little more up on our toes with the upgrades etc. in making it dependable, verses other shops using the board but not on the fast track for getting the upgrades much less installing them. This seems possible at least as a upgrade verses installed upgrade type thing. In any case, fast track, doing the upgrades, hotline to them or what ever, for us at least it's a decent board from what I gather and was the board chosen to use as the next generation much less most requested by the designers we work with.

    Given testimonials as it were from other shops in a similar way about their own Ma or Hog or Martin board I'm fairly certain there will be no one clear winner in the debate.

    I did do a computer count today, it was 10 MAXXYZ, 1 HOG III and 16 HOG II as the primary moving light boards along with a lot of frequent rentals of the above to cover short falls. Again, the HOG III is out on tour with a rented backup board and it is probably also working well or at least had a few upgrades done to it to make it do so in that nothing has been mentioned to me that I remember about it since it went out. I do remember a certain amount of concern about trusting it much less buying a second one if not needed, verses renting or buying a second one than selling both off afterwards.

    As for testimonials, there has been lots of debate on Lighting Network but after that I expect you can E-Mail anyone that has posted about it for the good and bad details. After that, or contact me off line and I will forward to someone else that does our primary programming/design work.

    Not really my field, I was just attempting to correct what I had thought a slam on one verses another light board.



    And now back to the regularly scheduled programming.... sorry for the side conversation.


    Say, did you and Inkie meet yet given the same school?
     
  8. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yes, the maxxyz has been on tour all over the place. But it tons of articals they're has been talk about how the console froze up a few times. Its not perfect yet, but it will be. Thats, all. I know aerosmith (kellner, I believe) LD had a martin rep w/him at the start. Steven Tyler requested a giant bally-hoo (an amazing intel show) for opening song, and the console wouldn't cue it up. But still, martin is giving amazing support to all the users of it. Most consoles of that caliber don't transition so smoothly. Say, ship, where do you work? You're a lucky guy to even be in the same facility with that gear.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I don't post on line where I work. My off time is not reflective of the company line thus. PM me off line and we can chat.
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I was just catching up on about two months of PLSN and saw the article about the MAXXYZ problems on a show. I think it was more stated that the designer wanted it to do things not thought of yet thus the upgrades in that case were necessary plus the visit to the show by the Martin rep. to make sure it worked out. Also the Editor's note about the Hog III / Maxxyz war on Lighting Network with his comments about the eventual winner of the battle given parts for Hog II boards are not available, will be the manufacturer with the best support in the end and both are neck and neck. www.plsn.com good trade magizine that I believe is free to subscribe to for news.
     
  11. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    The Maxxyz did have the funniest problemm ever, which was that the WinXP licenses on them expired and nobody could boot their console!!! Now how funnt is that!!!!!!! :D
     
  12. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Haha, are you searious? Where did you hear about this?
     
  13. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    I think I read about it in LN...I'll try and dig up the file
     
  14. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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  15. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I am going to have to put my vote in for ETC. The ETC consoles are very straight forward, and easy to know, plus the prices are OK for small school's. My school got its ETC Express 125 2 weeks before our big musical went up, and after 2 days I was fine with it, and after 3 or 4 days programing chases. What I also like is that if you know the ETC lower level boards, you can figure out the higher level boards without much problem. The regional theater that i'm interning at has an Obsession, and when I used it (granted, it was only for 3 minutes during a focus session when the master electrician was with the dimmers) I figured it out. The language is similar enough to make it easy.

    In my mind this is very important for a HS theater. A high school theater should have equipment that will allow you to move up to a larger board easily. The ETC boards are cheep enough for a high school to buy, but use the same language to make it quick and easy to move up to higher, better boards.
     
  16. sallyj

    sallyj Member

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    Consoles

    I have an Emphasis System in one of my theatres- I got only a smattering of training before I was called away, but It looks like a really cool thing, especially for high schools and as a training tool. My only reservation about it is the time it takes to load all the info, drawings, etc into it. Sometimes the schedule just wont support that. Other than that, looks good.

    SJM
     
  17. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Which is perfect for EDUCATIONAL THEATER, if you can't learn from it than there is no point. That's why they call if educational theater.
     
  18. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you 100%. Especially when it comes to the recording syntax and ease of use. I have heard that Strand boards are good, and their users swear by them, but I have heard alot of bad things also. It seems as though Strand uses a language that ETC users would hate. Other boards that I don't really like are Colortrans. They seem somewhat reliable (emphasis on the word somewhat, because they seem very sensitive when it comes to power fluctuations.) But it seems like Colortran has been holding back in a sense because I have never really seen any major product development. I have heard good things about their fresnels. They need to catch up with the other companies if they want to be in the competition. The same goes for NSI/Leviton too. They have some good products out there, but have yet to come out with a really high-end lighting control desk.
     
  19. bdesmond

    bdesmond Active Member

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    I'm a fan of the ones I've used. THe 300 series has keyboard profiles, There are a bunch, I thought there was one that can match ETC syntax as much as possible.
     
  20. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Never used ETC, I almost used an Obsession II once but I got lost in the manual :cry:
    As for "small" consoles, I'm a JANDS person, ESP or Event. But I'm way into Hog II and I've used LightJockey a loooottt in clubs!
     

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