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Control/Dimming How do we feel about this? Philips Advantage DMX

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by derekleffew, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    From http://www.strandlighting.com/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=1Template_Neocontrol :
     
  2. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Sorta awkward if you have a blend of Phillips and non-Phillips fixtures across a plot and then need to branch out multiple universes to the same locations so as to keep your purchased channels on separate universes from your Phillips channels.

    My gut reaction is that it's a casually interesting offering, and as channel counts of automated devices rise, may gain more traction as you'd not have to spend so much money on licensing universes.

    The flip of that is that Strand, in what I've seen, has not had a huge role to play in the lighting consoles market -- their offerings have been underwhelming and on the Palette VL I know I found Strand's entire workflow impractical for busking LED's, and when speaking to representatives of Strand, they didn't seem to understand why their workflow wasn't usable in that situation.

    Maybe Neo is their rebirth, but I know I wouldn't want to be the guinea pig to find out, and the Advantage DMX feature alone wouldn't sway me otherwise.

    I'd be curious to see if they've manipulated the DMX signals they send out to verify the connected devices are Phillips, as the Advantage DMX name would suggest they've done. Or more likely, they use RDM or the DMX signals are unscathed and unverified, and as you patch devices in the console, the Phillips channels are based purely on which devices you've patched. If this was the case, it may be possible to patch a non-Phillips device with identical DMX parameters tables as a Phillips device, in order to take improper advantage of Advantage DMX.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  3. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    We feel it is an interesting marketing ploy to try and capture a segment of the permanent installation market by perhaps offering a cost advantage when a competitive bid includes all Philips gear. Without knowing the price of any of this it's hard to comment about how well this ploy will play out.

    It would be interesting to see how it works in the real world. If it's done entirely in the patch then the next wave of cheap fixtures is going to have a Philips-compatibility mode so they can be patched as though they were Philips Advantage DMX fixtures. If it relies on RDM you can bet that somebody will come out with a network node that spoofs the feedback.

    What caught my eye is the base is a single DMX universe and any additional universes are extra. It would have been fun to to be a fly on the wall for the discussions between the designers and the product manager.
     
  4. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    "Licensing. Universes."

    Oh, ghod; this crap isn't trickling over into live production now, too, is it?
     
  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Definitely sounds geared toward the new install market. I haven't used a Strand console in a long time, but I do remember it seeming a little backwards to use. I wonder if that's a sneaky linear encoder in the top right above the radial faders. That's always a feature I wanted for controlling pan/tilt.
     
  6. carproelsofly

    carproelsofly Active Member

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    The pull-out tray with the qwerty keyboard (and track pad?) is interesting....
     
  7. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    As others have stated this is totally towards the install market.

    What rental shop is going to invest in this when they need to purchase many additional licenses to get the desk up to a useful universe count in order to talk to the countless brands of ML and LED gear they stock, all using DMX.

    Even for the install market, would I buy one ?. No. I would certainly not invest in a desk of this capability that only puts out one universe. I would require the flexibility to not be tied into the Phillips line of gear, as good as some of it may be. And yes I could buy additional licenses at initial purchase, but that makes the entire "Advantage DMX" concept to be of no advantage at all.

    If I'm writing the spec's on a desk for a new space, and I really only want ETC, all I have to do is specify "2 universes of DMX" and automatically, Strand is out of the running.

    Dumb marketing.
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    It's an attempt to save a sinking ship. Philips is messing up every company it comes in contact with in the entertainment business. I've heard about so many issues with the Small VLs from Vari*Lite and VL tech support is at an all time low. V*L techs used to be vast resources of knowledge and now their responses have been "corporatized" by Philips and it's frustrating to try to get things done. Lead times on parts can be extensive and it's generally just a PITA.

    I know that Strand consoles have lost most traction in the industry. Some of the core ideas behind their control philosophy are great, but they're just way too far behind the game. Strand consoles are theatre-specific and I don't expect this to change with the Neo. I've heard of frustrating stories in terms of Strand not understanding users' requests/questions/&c, much like that described above by MNicolai.

    All in all I think it's a horrible idea that simply rewards dealers who package Philips Entertainment systems in to their bids. Here's the scenario I'm thinking of though: the really motivated high school kid who has the console figured out and convinces the drama teacher to get a lighting rental budget for the spring musical. This is where it starts to get ridiculous: that kid is SOL if their local rental house doesn't stock V*Ls, Showline, & CK. And V*Ls and CK are not cheap to rent - there are many cheaper alternatives that are on the rental market right now and that will become an issue. The company that I work for rents out MAC700s, MAC Auras, and Elation EPAR QAs to schools all the time for their musicals, and this would require them to either purchase more outputs or rent an additional console. Many schools around here rent an additional console - and it's an ION. Our IONs are out non-stop during musical season, February thru May.

    Oh, and about Showline - apparently they released a moving head LED wash at Prolight? Isn't movers V*L's domain in the Philips Entertainment world? The new fixture, the SL Wash 350, has 19 RGBW LEDs and has a reasonable zoom range - but looks more like Chauvet & Elation's offerings than Martin's or Robe's. I do really like the Showline 620/640/660 LED strips, but those are not cheap by any stretch of the word.

    </Philips Rant>
     
  9. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Well-Known Member

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    This isn't necessarily a Strand thing new to the NEO. The Palette Series such as the VL comes with a base of 512 outputs. It is my understanding that the outputs can be upgraded in blocks of 50.

    Yes, Strand is an odd bird when it comes to understanding why you don't want to do things their way, or why their way doesn't work for what you are doing.
     
  10. JChenault

    JChenault Well-Known Member

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    The "our fixtures don't use up addresses" is a marketing gimic. There are enough buzzwords that I have not heard that there may be some useful ideas. I find it surprising that they seem to be touting the use of a "missoon critical SQL server". I've never thought of considering a cue list in terms of a sequel query .
     
  11. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Could be useful for busking, or dealing with fixture failures mid-show, but I'd question the total use vs. time required for proficiency ratio.
     
  12. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Its a little confusing. Most Philips Lighting products are on the more expensive end of the spectrum. If I had the money for Vari*lites I would probably also have the budget for a pretty nice console, not a low end Strand.
     
  13. Judge

    Judge Active Member

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    The whole idea is whack, but I am sure a lot of people will fall for it because --well, you know, its Strand, and ---they are good aren't they?
    Like they are riding on the back of that old legend "Nobody every got fired for buying IBM"
    Well, you may not get fired for buying Strand, but you will inevitably spend WAY too much of your lighting budget on a gimped console that nobody likes. You will then have to keep topping up this big bag of disappointment with extra universe licenses because now you spent all that money on the desk you cannot afford any of the Philips Luminares that Strand told you would be a good idea.
    And then you will look longingly at the ETC/Avolites/ChamSys/MA that everyone else bought.

    Wait, maybe you will get fired after all.
     
  14. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Proprietary Lock-in?

    Whoda thunkitt?
     
  15. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    At the lower end - like the PL1 fresnel and profile and houselight - I have found the prices for performance hard to beat. I think any unit with a single PL engine is around $900 list. in that range, looks like better color and dimming than most and as good as any LED unit. Just saying.
     
  16. Senorfish

    Senorfish Member

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    Looks a bit like a knock off of a Jands Vista L5... minus the tablet touchscreen and killer operability.
     
  17. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    So I haven't even seen the Neo console. What's so bad about it for all those who have seen it and decided it was not good that nobody will like it?

    I did think I heard another universe was a few hundred dollars - doesn't seem like much if you're buying a bunch of LED units.
     
  18. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Just speculation based on what I know about DMX: You can probably mix and match, any fixtures on a line; the Philips fixtures probably just don't eat into your parameter count, I would imagine that there is still a 512 pentameter limit per output though. Now there probably is a total pentameter count limit based on the hardware, though.
     
  19. MikeJ

    MikeJ Well-Known Member

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    Selling an license for additional parameters is done all the time. Chamsys offer you first for free, and charges for more parameters, vista is payed by pentameter count too, and GrandMA2 full size has 6 DMX outputs but processes 8,192 parameters, requiring you to use an Ethernet interface for your other outputs.
     
  20. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Is that iambic pentameter ... ? :)

    "Those who do not understand Usenet are condemned yo reinvent it. Poorly." -- after Henry Spencer; [email protected]
     
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