The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Control/Dimming Lighting Console: 24/48

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by tyler.martin, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi, I am a technical director at a small community theatre in Vancouver, BC. We have a old NSI 7524 console that has finally kicked the bucket. We only need a 24/48 channel board, is there something anyone can recommend? We have purchased new A21 Dimmers, and we wont be using moving lights. I was looking at the Strand 200 24/48. Any suggestions?
     
  2. DCATTechie

    DCATTechie Active Member

    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Dublin, OH
    -Will you invest in other DMX toys in the future such as gobo rotators or scrollers?
    -Would you like something with a cue stack or would you prefer a 2-scene preset?
    -What is your price range?
    -Will volunteers be using this board or just trained technical employees?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  3. TheSwami

    TheSwami Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The Strand 200s are dandy; my old high school had one to run the (admittedly minimal) lights in their blackbox. They're pretty intuitive, and durable too - saw more than one freshman board op learn the hard way to carry the board carefully with both hands. The lack of a cue stack is somewhat annoying, but you can always record to submasters and fake it, or just use it as a preset board.

    If you can dig one up, I'm a fan of the old Stand 300s. They're out of production now, but they're fairly easy to use with conventionals, and the fade expansion wings for them are relatively cheap. If you can find on online or locally, it's worth a look, particularly if you'll be doing shows with heavy cuing.

    There's also ETC's SmartFade console, which is somewhat nicer and newer than the Strands, but perhaps less intuitive to someone used to, say, the Express. ETC makes 12/48, 12/96, and 24/96 versions of the console; you'd probably want the last of these to get closest to your ideal 24/48. Using the cue-stack can feel slow and aggravating at first, as the built-in menu system the SmartFade uses for managing cues isn't particularly intuitive nor simple. It's not impossible to use, and the pass-by-reference nature of the cuing system (each cue actually references a submaster) makes it easy to re-use looks.

    I think DCATTechie's on the right track: knowing more about your needs would help others help you. =)

    73
     
  4. isquint

    isquint Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Washington
    If you an wait till April, after USITT, DO IT! ;)
    That is when ETC is announcing their newest board, the element. It will be the direct replacement for the express line of consoles. I think this will be a perfect match for your venue.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Again is a two scene preset with submasters all you want? You don't want a programable cue stack with a go button?

    If yes then I would go with a Strand 200. A quick search found them for $1400 online. My second choices would be another NSI/Leviton or one of these maybe from EDI

    If you want to upgrade to a fully programable console with a go button my current choice for a small theater is the Strand Basic Palette II. Waiting to see what the new ETC console turns out to be like would be wise. We have not had public confirmation that they will announce it at USITT in March. We also don't know how long after it is anounced that they will actually ship. I would say a period of 2-3 months is typical and 6 months isn't unheard of.

    The new ETC console will target the same educational and small theater market that the Express was loved by, but it is NOT a "direct replacement" for the Express. I think CB's own Sarah Clausen is quite clear of that in this post from the ETC blogs when she says, "No it will not be Express 2". ETC has also been quite clear that they are done making 2 scene preset consoles. See this blog post from David Lincecum on ETC's site. Yes it's possible that the new console comes in a 2 scene preset design but given the information in the two blogs above from these two key ETC people, it seems highly unlikely. I expect something that looks like a cross between a Strand Basic Palette and an Ion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2009
  6. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Somewhere far far away, Vic, Aus
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Zero 88 Jester is another great choice but I think it's price is up around $2,500 because it has a programmable cue stack. If you want to move up into that price range and basic programmable cue stack boards you should also check out the EDI Bijou, and the boards from Leprecon.

    If you do some searching around here you'll find ugly arguments on what is the best of these lower end boards. We all love Ion, but if you only have $2,000 to spend the debates get ugly (we don't discuss it anymore). You'll find people who hate and love all of these basic 24/48 boards with no clear winner. As far as price I think every board mentioned above is also in the same $1000-$1500 range (with the exception of the Basic Palette at around $4k and the new ETC console... price unknown at this point but will probably be right in the middle of the $3k-$5k range).

    I would suggest you take a look at the actual manuals for all of these two scene presets. Read how you program them. Are there features you like better or is the way you use one more logical to you than another in your opinion? There is not a clear difference in quality. So, make your decision based on the one that looks the easiest for you to operate and train others.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  8. Jeroen

    Jeroen Member

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Europe/ Belgium
    I think there are several similar boards, with a good price/quality balance.
    A Jester, a Smartfade a Tango are all able to be used in 2 scene preset way or with a theatrical style cue stack 'go button'.

    My suggestions would be:

    Only two-scene preset: ADB Bolero
    If you do not need programmable playback and only two-scene LTP use... IMHO not a good idea since you are not prepared for future upgrades in light fixtures you will eventualy buy or complex shows. But a simple two-scene board of premium quality would be the ADB Bolero.

    Programmable and two-scene preset
    - ADB Tango 48: easy to use board (very common in many European small theatres) adb lighting
    Falco TT bvba.

    - Zero88 Jester 24/48: The Zero88 Jester is a sturdy board, good design, fiarly easy to use and operate and it has a vga out. On the other side it's limited to 48 channels,
    the vga output is text output only (dos style). It does what it has to do.
    Zero 88 Lighting. Lighting Control Systems for Entertainment, Stage, Film, Television, Theatre, Schools and Drama

    - MA Lightcommander 48/6: a very good quality board, comparable to ADB Tango but with extra features: dedicated submasters, easy programming and playback, several pages with direct access buttons, several operating/user modes. Very good quality two-scene or stack style operation. Easy to learn and straigthforward programming.


    - but for a lower price you can purchase an ETC Smartfade 24/96
    The ETC Smartfade, comes in several configs, your choice would be the 24/96 which gives you in two-scene preset mode 24 channels two preset mode. In normal mode you get 96 channels divided over 48 faders (software controlled: two layers with faders). So this little board has even more channels than a way larger and more expensive MA Lightcommander 48/6.


    Recently Smartfade is expanded by Smartsoft. Now, you can easily link your Smartfade with a pc using an usb cable.

    Smartsoft is impressive and way more than the text vga out from Zero88 Jester. Smartsoft lets you easily patch and unpatch devices, open and save shows or edit board settings like intensity of the leds on the board.

    Most important is that ETC added a lot of functionality to the cue and stack list. You can easily program cues and save them to a stack, edit times,... everyone can learn the board and Smartsoft in one day. And you can use it as you like... as a simple two-scene board, or a fully programmable board. For the price it is sold it has a lot power under the hood (way more than the comparable ADB's, Jester's or MA's). It is also packed with a lot of connections (dmx in and out, midi in and out, usb, SD card)
    I have to admit that the extra's on the Smartfade and the working of the cue stack is sometimes less straightforward than you should expect, but this board has a rich feature set and for the basic things it's just a matter of minutes to learn them to anyone.

    If I would compare those basic consoles I would say:

    Build quality: MA **** , ADB ****, Zero88 ***, ETC ***
    Learning Curve: MA **, ADB ***, Zero88 ***, ETC **
    Ease of use: MA ***, ADB **, Zero88 ***, ETC ***
    Features: MA ***, AD**, Zero88 ***, ETC ****
    Upgradability: MA ***, ADB **, Zero88 ***, ETC ****
    Visual output: MA *, ADB *, Zero88 ***, ETC ****(if extended pc used)
    Connections: MA **, ADB **, Zero88 ****, ETC ****

    Price: MA 48/6 ~ €5000, ADB Tango 48 ~ €1900, Zero88 Jester 24~ €1700, ETC Smartfade 24/96 ~€1700


    all are more or less comparable, and have advantages and disadvantages
    But as stated in the previous post: look what's important for you. And find a match for your way of using consoles and your type of use.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,447
    Likes Received:
    2,848
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    It should be noted that the consoles in the above post (except SmartFade) are not as popular in the US as consoles from Leviton, Strand, and ETC, but may be more popular in Europe and elsewhere.
     
  10. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Canada
    Whoa, Ok, let me clairify somethings... I am the only trained professional at the theatre, the rest of the volunteers are people that i have trained... I am looking for a board that uses cue stacks instead of sub mode... I am planning to use some basic DMX fixtures, namely LED bars, there is absolutly no chance we will ever use a moving fixture. My budget is low, I have about 15,000 CAD, to spend, after tax of course. The dimmers take about 10,000 of that... So...I was looking at an ETC Express, the company that i purchase from is still able to get me a brand new console from ETC, at a little bit of a discount.

    The consoles that i have used are

    Jands Hog 1000
    Innovator 24/48
    NSI 7524
    Strand 300
    and then computer control like lightjockey...
     
  11. Anvilx

    Anvilx Active Member

    Messages:
    647
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Austin,Texas
    Regarding the strand 200 series, I think it is a robust, basic console but the only media to save the show to is compact flash and the CF card can't be more than 32mb which is very picky in my opinion.



    Tom Brady
     
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,447
    Likes Received:
    2,848
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    martinty, your new information helps a lot. ETC Ion, (or hopefully soon, what we've nicknamed "Ion Jr.") or Strand Basic Palette. Once you added control of LED fixtures into the requirements, everything changed. (Almost) everyone would not recommend a console that doesn't have palettes or a color-picker.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Ok, Now we've got some details to work with. So you want a console with some basic DMX abilities (for small DMX toys like gobo rotators?), it needs to be easy to use and train, uses a cue stack, and come in around $5k Canadian ($4k US).

    Zero 88 Jester, Leprecon, EDI, or an ETC Express (if you can still get one) technically fit your needs and you should be able to find them in your price range. I don't think a Strand 200 meets your needs. However, all the consoles above are using 15+ year old ways of thinking about console design. The Express was a great console loved by all of us, but it's time is passed and it doesn't make any sense trying to buy one now when you can get so much more for so little more money. This thread has a great discussion about the end of the Express and two scene preset era of consoles. Is anybody out there such a fan of Windows 3.0 that they are out there buying it today? What about Office 95? The day of the Express has come and gone. It's time for us to let go of this class of consoles and move on if you can afford it... for just a few dollars more you can join the modern age of lighting control. As Derek said, all of these consoles can use LED fixtures but you are going to hate programing them.

    Your target console should be one of three: ETC Ion with a submaster wing (probably out of your price range at around $6k US), a Strand Basic Palette (around $4k US... before your lovely GST) or wait to see what the new console from ETC is like. We don't know what the new ETC console will be like exactly, it's price, or when it will be available... but you are it's target customer. It should be priced close to Basic Palette. The Basic Palette is a fabulous little console: smart to operate, easy to learn, you get 16 submasters and a cuestack. It only runs 100 channels but you can buy an upgrade if you need more channels down the road. It uses the same software as Strand's best $40k console. Just in a small package. I expect that in a few months I will be saying very similar things about the new console from ETC. Both of these consoles use an entirely new different way of thinking about console design. They are much friendlier and easier for doing advanced things. Even if you never use the built in moving light features you'll still love the way they handle smaller DMX toys like gobo rotators. If at all possible, smart you should be waiting a few months to see what ETC has planned. If you need to buy now, get a Strand Basic Palette.

    ...and you don't want a Smartfade. Search to find my rants on that topic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  14. jonliles

    jonliles Active Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Marietta, Georgia, United States
    Martinty-
    I know shopping for / reparing a board is quite a frustrating task. I also understand that 2 Scene Presets are obsolescing as we speak. I also have a 7524 that was suffering "senior moments." I volunteer at local school and the repair costs were coming out of my pocket, so I opted to "Refurb" my 7524. The good folks (Jay Gebelin) at Levition quoted me a flat rate. Their support page is here.

    The repair/refurb is WAY Cheaper than a new board (10th the price). They replaced the system board and the pots. Granted, this only buys you time, but you know what you have to work with and you can use the remaining funds by additional instruments or other goodies. This option would allow you time to generate more funds to purchase a new console.

    I also have a (single universe) LightJockey that I use as well (Used:ebay) that does have some elementary color pallette options.

    Just my $0.02 .

    Jon
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Hey Jon that's some great information to know and an excellent option for many schools and community theaters that just don't have $4k or $5k sitting around.

    Mind telling us how much it cost you?
     
  16. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,159
    Likes Received:
    43
    Occupation:
    Teacher
    Location:
    Central Wisconsin
    If you like your Leviton board, I would go with the Innovator. I have an Innovator 24/48, and, well, it's ok. It sounds like you're sticking to basic tasks, you should be ok. Just know that at times the Innovator can be (slightly) temperamental. Search "Innovator" to find out what I mean.

    Ouch. If you didn't need an (easy) cue stack, the SmartFade would have been a good choice. I like my SmartFade. Sure, it's not the perfect board, but for under $2000, what do you expect? Not trying to start another SmartFade rant, here.
     
  17. RTDesigns

    RTDesigns Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use a Strand 200 24/48 on a weekly basis, and it does a great job. I have no problem not having q-stacks. I just set my scenes and load up the subs. The ETC is a good option too.
     
  18. jonliles

    jonliles Active Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Marietta, Georgia, United States

    Not at all. For the refurbish, it was $375 US. They paid for return ground shipping. Like I said early, they replaced the main board (where the memory modules reside) and all the POTs - along with my intentionally missing slider knobs. Turnaround time was about 3 weeks with shipping. You can ask for an expiditing service though if needed.

    Jon
     
  19. edwardmw

    edwardmw Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,
    You may want to consider the ETC smartfade 12/48.It is very good for everything except moving lights.
    Ed
     
  20. tyler.martin

    tyler.martin Active Member

    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for all the information. It is really difficult trying to make a decision. I however, cannot go with the refurb option. My dimmers are going too, and it makes absolutly no sense to buy new ones with multiplex, and i have heard nightmares about using multiplex to DMX adapter/converters.

    Here is essentially problem #2: I mistakenly asked my dealer to order the equipment from strand, I haven't paid for it yet, but i do not like asking her to cancel the order. I decided on the 200 Series after a recommendation from another tech. I used the board recently and i really don't like it... So... I am hoping that Strand will not kill me for cancelling the order...

    Cue Stacks are easier to do, especially when there are different techs opperating, and new people showing up constantly. I think i am going to go with a Basic Palette 2. Good choice?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice