Control/Dimming Ion Classic or Ion XE

bunkema1

New Member
I am in my first year as the theatre and performance manager for a rural school district. The previous theatre manager was a big sound guy, so I have a lot of sound equipment that is rarely used but is of very high quality. However, the theatre in the High School is still using an ETC Express 72/144 that was purchased in 1999. The light board in the Middle School is an ETC Acclaim with no save ability and many of the faders and buttons broken or missing.

I am hoping to be able to budget for a light board replacement at the high school so I can move the ETC Express to the middle school and retiring the Acclaim on my annual budget of 12k for all production and audiovisual needs for the school district. I am open to writing a grant if needed. At present, both theatres primarily use tungsten lamps. There a small amount of LED fixtures at the high school and there is no big plan to upgrade to movers or to more LEDs in the near future as our referendum has failed the last few years.

I am seeking opinions on whether it would be okay to purchase an ETC Element Classic or ETC Ion Classic as opposed to an Element 2 or Ion Xe. I'm personally familiar with programming and patching on all ETC consoles up to the Gio @5, but just wanted confirmation on if this a poor choice. I really like the encoder wheels on the Ion boards, but know that that increases costs as compared to the Element Boards.
 

Judge

Active Member
I wouldnt want to do without the encoder wheels personally. The Ion Classic is a great board, but be careful which one you get. Older ones run XP and cannot use the new software. Newr ones I think were from 2015 and run Windows 7. The XE is a much nicer control surface although some people miss having the onboard LCD displays below the wheels. They are better and faster in all other respects though.
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
See other threads here, but dt the chip shortage ETC is having trouble shipping ions right now. One member ordered through a non auth reseller and kinda got caught in a cross fire. So if you want to get in line, make sure you use a fully authorized reseller.

One of our rural districts just recently went with a computer/nomad license I got a used all in one pc touchscreen to test, and the touchscreen faders work quite well in a dual monitor situation.

ETC also couldn't ship "the gadget" but nomad will output directly to artnet if you need a workaround. So for probably 1K all up you could have Ion functionality, buy purchasing the 2 universe license, an artnet decoder (I just started using some of the pKnight units) and a Used touch screen all in one (mine was <300 bucks)
 

SteveB

Well-Known Member
The Ion XE series is all ETC is making, the Classic is discontinued. Not sure your school district allows the purchase odfused equipment (my public college did not). I too would recommend at Ion over an Element to get the encoder wheels, makes life much simpler when dealing with movers and LED.
 
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RickR

Well-Known Member
I second going to an Ion specifically because of your budget issues. The board will probably be with you for years and maybe decades, so future proofing should be a high priority. While you don't have many newer fixtures, you will like get some, slowly, as prices drop and the world converts to LED. There are even little moving heads that are only a few hundred dollars each.

Fund raisers and booster clubs do well with specific goals for physical equipment, like new fixtures and consoles.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
Absolutely, Al. (Specifically, I think there's actually a setup for wing faders/bumps that puts the GM on them.)

But *I have to train those things*.

It's poor design. And I speak as someone who's been both designing, and using, things, as a profession for 4 decades. I expect I'm probably accidentally offending, here, someone who actually is responsible for it. Sorry.

This violates the Principle of Least Astonishment.
 

DuckJordan

Well-Known Member
Absolutely, Al. (Specifically, I think there's actually a setup for wing faders/bumps that puts the GM on them.)

But *I have to train those things*.

It's poor design. And I speak as someone who's been both designing, and using, things, as a profession for 4 decades. I expect I'm probably accidentally offending, here, someone who actually is responsible for it. Sorry.

This violates the Principle of Least Astonishment.
I think the primary reason for leaving out the BO button and GM fader was the few amount of use cases. In my 15 years now in the professional world I've personally never seen the GM fader or BO be used. Granted my primary use case is touring theater or regional theater with a few concerts thrown in.
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Absolutely, Al. (Specifically, I think there's actually a setup for wing faders/bumps that puts the GM on them.)

But *I have to train those things*.

It's poor design. And I speak as someone who's been both designing, and using, things, as a profession for 4 decades. I expect I'm probably accidentally offending, here, someone who actually is responsible for it. Sorry.

This violates the Principle of Least Astonishment.

If by poor design you mean evolved design sure... I have 5 Ion Classics where I've disabled the GM and Blackout buttons on all of them.... want to trade? :D
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I think the primary reason for leaving out the BO button and GM fader was the few amount of use cases. In my 15 years now in the professional world I've personally never seen the GM fader or BO be used. Granted my primary use case is touring theater or regional theater with a few concerts thrown in.
And 50% of *our* usecase by day in our college theatre is "teacher walks in, turns up the GM to get the stage lighting we preset for them, and turns it down again at the end of the class".

"Grab the fader with the orange tape on the handle..."
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
To be fair, it is possible that the faders could get left on the wrong page, so the handle with the tape on isn't controlling the submaster you think it is, whereas the "hard" GM doesn't move, and likewise a fader mapped as GM could.
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
The Nomad has an educational version for $250.00. We have it in one of our High Schools and one of our middle schools.
Set up a magic sheet of the rep plot and you are good to go.

Just FYI Our local energy company gave us a huge rebate for switching to LEDs. They paid for more than half of the purchase.
yep forgot about the edu package.. but they still can't ship the gadget right now, so you would still need an artnet device and whatever computer new or used.. havn't run a show with it, but really like the touch screen for the virtual faders if you have to give up the physical faders of the real board. Much better than mouse grab and slide.. the finger drag is very intuitive and responsive.
 

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