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Control/Dimming Need help to find a decent light board

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by themuzicman, May 8, 2008.

  1. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Hey everyone, I need some help.

    The county has finally heard my pleas for an actual light board, and have decided to let us ditch the computer based Horizon (http://www.horizoncontrol.com/web/index.htm), and purchase an actual Light Board. Our current Horizon set up includes an eMachine with the physical software, and a 24 channel Submaster Wing. We have less than 200 physical channels (120 channels on the stage, plus channels for the house).

    The only problem is that our county is woefully ignorant to our needs, and have looked for the lowest price solution (Heck, Horizon was FREE). They have sent us this Lightronics Inc. Board: http://www.fullcompass.com/product/352533.html
    However, this is what controls our blackbox, and has no where near the channels we need in the full auditorium.

    Although I have done some lighting, I am horribly ignorant to what type of board we should be getting. I do know that it needs to be of a decent price, contain around 150 Channels, and be suitable for a permanent settup, that can handle years of abuse at the hands of students.

    I tried using the search, but couldn't find a thread that could help me exactly.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    An express 250 would be good, as well as a strand 300 if you are looking at "budget" boards. Both can be picked up used if you need to. The ETC ion would also be a route to go, along with and new strand consoles. Really though, and express, expression, insight would all fit your needs.
     
  3. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I might be biased, but I think a Express 48/96 would fit your needs, as long as all your dealing with are conventionals.
     
  4. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    We mainly deal with conventionals, but I really want the ability for intelligent fixtures in the future, even if I am graduating in a month.

    I was looking at the Express 48/96
    and the Ion like this: http://www.fullcompass.com/product/349429.html

    Thanks!
     
  5. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    The express has the ability to deal with movers, but I hear it can be a pain.
     
  6. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    Can the Ion Control intelligent fixtures?

    I can't find anything on ETC's Website or in any product description about that.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Yes, it most definatly can. If you are wanting to run movers of any type or even scrollers, don't go with the express(ion) line. The strand 300/500 line, strand pallets, and ion handle all automated fixtures rather well.
     
  8. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I haven't had any problems running scrollers(Wybron Coloram II @ Chroma Q's) on a Express 24/48.
     
  9. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I am just curious why you are anxious to ditch your Horizon set up? We use it for 2 universes of DMX512, 400 conventionals, 6 moving lights, and lots of extras in our mulit use facility and have been really happy with it. I am just curious.

    ~Dave
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Of course you can run them, if you want to run a show gun on an express, you can as well. The reason I say if you are going to go with any type of DMX toy, go with something besides an express is simply due to how the express deals with the DMX toy. Nearly all newer consoles, and every console mentioned above except the express look at a scroller and the light its connected to as one unit. This lets auto move while dark/mark cues to take place making programming go a lot faster. Its not that an express does not work for this, but there is much better technology out there now. I was running automated lighting on express line consoles way before software version 3.1, when you have to manually work with every value on subs and the console had no clue what you had hooked up to it. It works, but man is it a pain.
     
  11. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure if it is the machine, or the peripherals we have, but it crashes constantly. We run nothing on the computer BUT Horizon, and we always seem to have horrible issues. It will randomly trigger lights to go on and off, crashes during shows, and has interference issues with our headsets.
    And the time it lost our entire show an hour before open house!
    Plus, once we want to use any of its advanced features, I have to pay the upgrade costs, and for such limited functionality.

    It's just not an ideal setup for our uses, and a lot of the students find it horribly difficult to use.

    However, with the suggestions the county keeps on giving us (The "Drama" Director for the county is a glorified former English teacher) I doubt we will be getting anything new.
     
  12. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    Strand no longer makes the 300. They do however, make assorted newer consoles that are supposed to have much improved ML control - Basic, Classic, Preset and Sub Palettes.

    Also give a hard look at the Ion, maybe with a fader/sub wing. Excellant ML control.

    The Express sereis is very good, and ETC seemingly will continue to manufacture it, but as others have stated, it's not an ML console.

    For not much more, the Ion gives you vastly improved functionality and gets my vote.

    Steve B.
     
  13. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I strongly believe it is your machine, not your software. We have been running Horizon gold in two seperate spaces, plus a touring rig for over 4 years now, and never once have they crashed, locked up, or given us any problems what so ever.

    I can understand the the cost of upgrading. Are you aware they no longer have a silver edition, so the cost of the gold edition went down? I would suggest trying it on another machine that is only used for this purpose, nothing else (as you are doing now).

    I do find it odd that people find it difficult to use, as I have taught everyone from stubborn road dogs to middle school students to run it in a limited amount of time. Once people get past the fact it is a computer, they (as a whole) really seem to like it.

    It really sounds like you might have some infastructure issues if you are getting interfearance and have random triggering. Have you thought of trying to trouble shoot your DMX signal? This can cause things to flash on and off. Also, you might have power issues. I helped solve a long-time problem in a facility near by, by having them look into their power. It turns out that they had ridiculous amounts of harmonic distortion (THD) on their lighting power service. Since they were running ArtNEt, this reaked havoc on their control signal.

    As for loosing a show, they should always be backed up. One of the greatest things about Horizon is that your nearest computer is your back up counsole.

    Sorry for the long winded post. I am just trying to be helpful so you can, perhaps, stabalize your existing set up. Good luck!

    ~Dave
     
  14. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    If you can get the money, ditch the lightronics, and get an Ion or one of the new Strand Palettes. Don't get an Express, period. The Express line is NOT going to continue to be manufactured. It will be supported, because ETC is cool like that and they would still support Microvision. If you are familiar with Horizon, you might want to seriously look in the new Strand Palettes as they are built on the Horizon platform and may be familiar to you.
     
  15. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I hate lightronics with a passion. I bought a new dimmer and was having issues with it. I called their "tech support" which consists on an old guy who knows nothing about repairing anything, i was watching this new dimmer constantly reboot, until i applied dmx, and he was telling me i was full of crap, yet i was watching this happen. I was in the process of getting a budget approved to buy another 48ch lightronics road rack, and i said forget this. I cancelled everything, and said we'll go with leprecan or ETC for a nice little road rack. (we get a killer deal on lightronics, thats why i was specing it, but not when it cant be supported)
     
  16. djshabz

    djshabz Member

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    Hey there

    How about the Comulite Rave, it has both 512 or 1024 out, **** easy to prgram, stable as a rock. Cheap and small. Check www.compulite.com
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Agree 100% with everything Alex said. If you have no money and need to buy used get a Strand 300/500 or and ETC Express(ion). However all are out of date. The Strands are discontinued and the ETC's will be soon. If you want current technology from the best manufacturers you want either an ETC Ion or a Strand Palette.

    Although the Palette is based on Horizon software, the new O.S. version has given it a heavy Strand face lift so I doubt you will recognize much. I've got the Strand Classic Palette and I'm very happy with it. The main difference between the two products is ETC has decided to make one base console with add on wing panels. Strand went with the multiple board choices with the same software. There are very few things that you can do with one brand that you can't with the other. ETC has an excellent reputation for customer service. Strand doesn't have a great reputation however, there's been a big buy out and they seem to be trying hard to change that reputation... they have been very good to me so far.

    As for the debate of running intelligent gear on an Express. With my Palette (or an Ion) you can select an intelligent instrument, and browse the entire Rosco, Gam, Lee, and Apollo gel collection changing the light instantly. On an Express you have to spend 5 minutes guessing what combination of DMX values will give you Surprise Pink. Yes you can do it on an Express but you REALLY don't want to.

    Hey DJ, I mean no disrespect here, but I've never actually seen a Compulite product. I vaguely remember hearing of them and seeing the occasional add. Maybe it's bigger in your part of the world than it is here in the US... that being said I would take the Compulite sight unseen over a Lightronics.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If going compulite, get a Dlite. I have never actually used one, but have heard good things about them, and I've read through the manual a number of times, and really like it. Great ML support, and it thinks like I do. Read through the manual. If it doesn't think like you (ie the syntax and programming style don't seem to work for you), don't get it. It thinks differently than most other boards, so you have to really grasp what it does when you type something in to the keypad. From the manual that I've read and reviews and recommendations (mostly from overseas forums) that I've read, it acts kind of like an Avo in programming and kind of like a theatre desk in programming and playback style.

    However, if you can get an ION, get an ION. I used to recommend the Dlite over the Express, but now that the ION's out there, and ETC has real ML control at a decent price, I'd reccomend the ION over the Dlite unless you really like the Dlite's programming style (like I do).

    The Compulite Rave was not designed for theatre nor should it be used for theatre in almost any situation.
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I was wondering if it was really more of a DJ board.
     
  20. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    It is. It runs software similar to the Dlite, but the hardware interface, output spec, and programming style is aimed at high-profile DJs, clubs, and VJs/LJs for such events and establishments.

    However, the Dlite offers a really nice set of features for theatres with mixed rigs (conventionals, movers, and accessories) because of how it treats each of these different types of devices. The Dlite channel faders can act somewhat like Avo faders (in terms of ML control, fader controls intensity of the fixture, and flash buttons allow you to select fixtures) in one mode, or like standard faders on an Express in another mode. It also has the ability to reference libraries in a cue, like the Hog II can with Palettes.
     

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