Forgive the basic inquiry, here, but I come from limited experience, primarily with low end Leprecon boards. First some background for perspective (I know you need this to answer my questions; I've been reading the other posts!). In our community theater venue, we have to rent everything, and it's all rather bare bones. We get everything up on Monday, and run shows (musicals) for the following two weekends (6-7 shows total). I function as lighting designer, electrician and board operator, and work evenings only (this is obviously not my full time job) and have done about 5 shows like this so far. So please don't mention movers to me yet, as much as I would like you to. Minimal conventional lights only. Size: 24-channels with dimmer packs on low end. Biggest show had 48-dimmer rack plus couple dimmer packs, some DMX strobes and 36/72 console. Each show, it's likely a different model Leprecon board, sometimes fully functional, often not. I have been using the boards as memory consoles, programming a preset for each cue. I have not yet tried programming a cue stack, because I generally have my hands full trying to learn the basics of lighting design, trying to learn a different board, get rusty Altmans with bare wires to work, and repeatedly editing presets (seems cumbersome on these boards..) because of my novice state. I run the show by manually raising and lowering preset "y" faders, and adding in channels on the "x" faders to fix problems when needed. Looking ahead a bit, I would like to learn how to use the better boards (I think probably not meaning a $35,000 Full Hog right now, whatever that is) but maybe try one that can manage a color scroller or left elbow, I mean right arm, someday, if I could sneak one into the rental order... But what I'd really like to do is have my own console (that could handle some modest amount of the "fancy stuff" as I hopefully grow into it), and so I could be with it for more than two weeks, two or three times a year. Then maybe I could learn what all it can do, figure out things like cue stacks, chases, how to program scrollers and movers, etc., and rough pre-program a show ahead of time which would allow more time for learning how to focus, etc., etc. during tech week. At this point, I am just toying with the idea, as it is a big expense, and I have a wife, and kids... So I've been researching numerous verbages on Smartfades, Ions and Baby Palettes and the like. Here are my first questions (I know you were wondering if I had any), so I can start to understand what I'm talking about: Sub-Masters and Playback Faders: Are these the same thing? Are they something other than a slider that can be programmed to run one or more channels? Do they refer to hardware and/or software capability? For instance, the Ion specs. say it can connect to 6 fader wings of 40 (or 240 total), for a maximum of 300 submasters and/or 200 playback faders! What does that mean?? Why are those 3 numbers different? Also, are the submaster/faders used more for programming the show or running the show, or both? Not having used a "go" button yet, I think I might be uncomfortable not having a bunch of sliders, and some of these boards don't have many. But maybe, I just need to learn a new way of doing things? Tracking: Should I be learning this concept at this point? That is to say, is everything going this way, or is it useful primarily for big shows with lots of ML's, etc.? Playbacks: Palette says it has dual memory playbacks. Does this mean it can store two cue stacks simultaneously, like for two shows, or Act I, II? Encoder Wheels: How do they make life easier for programming movers? One last consideration: Our summer show is outdoors, and it is hot and humid in the afternoon, and then cool and dewey by 11pm. We pack it all up each night, and things get knocked around some. Do these newer computer style boards hold up in such conditions, like the Leprecon boards seem to? Do they come with flight cases? Ok, that's it for starters. I apologize if I gave too much life story. I'm new to forums, so please bear with me. Let me know if I should limit a post to one or two questions. Thanks, this place has been of great benefit to me in a short time already!