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

Neo vs Ion

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by BillConnerFASTC, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    So, a vendor is pushing very hard for accepting a Neo as an equal for an Ion. Anyone want to comment? I guess I could live with it since they can toss the Neo and replace it - even if just with Nomad; but Visionnet instead of Paradigm is the harder one to accept, because there is no fixing it. I would love comments from users that have used both Visionnet and Paradigm.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  2. danTt

    danTt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    336
    Occupation:
    Master Electrician
    Location:
    NY
    No. No. No.

    Have you ever met a modern strand user that enjoyed the experience?

    I rest my case.
     
    Patch29 and RonHebbard like this.
  3. danTt

    danTt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    665
    Likes Received:
    336
    Occupation:
    Master Electrician
    Location:
    NY
    Not knowing the circumstances, I'd ask the vendor to provide a list of a few other professional venues that use the neo, and (if the vendor can find them) their experiences.
     
    RonHebbard and Amiers like this.
  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,352
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Not sure if it’s too late, but I’ve added a clause that the console must be available from a local rental shop. That pretty much rules out Strand as few shops have it available.
     
    RonHebbard and Colin like this.
  5. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,729
    Likes Received:
    275
    Location:
    Doesnt matter
    Considering I've yet to see a single on on the road from small pull behind bus shows to 12 truck broadway's. I doubt the NEO has the feature set of the ion.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  6. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    It may do more, but who knew? And it does do a lot and continues to be upgraded. But that's the rub for me - information and support - company and social media and friends. If you run EOS software - Nomad through Titanium (is that right?) you can ask so many different people for help IF youtube or ETCCONNECT doesn't have it. And I agree its a terrible situation to have only one - but I'm loath to make my clients part of my discontent of there being only one good option.

    I have been asking some this simple question. If you knew what you now know and suddenly were the auditorium manager for a new typical high school, is there any doubt that you’d do almost anything to have ETC instead of Strand?
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  7. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,729
    Likes Received:
    275
    Location:
    Doesnt matter
    I would absolutely make that a priority for purchase if the space didn't already have and ETC board. Support from ETC is par none. I've yet to find another Vendor that treats its end users with as much respect and understanding as ETC. That said its a standard for a reason. Not due to price point alone but feature set. Usability and the fact that pretty much anyone from experienced programers to a custodial staff can manage to work the console without much training. That doesn't exist in other consoles.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  8. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    480
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
    It happened to a client.

    We allowed a very similar substitution on a high school job. 1 year later I found they had bought Nomad and only kept the Neo for the janitors to turn on the lights. That's right, they preferred the Neo to the Vision Net buttons or touch screen. I never did find out why...

    Add to that the multiple issues in the process and we aren't likely to ever allow such a swap again. It took 5 rounds of drawings to get the Vision to truly match Paradigm. The installer was given little support (and that from the Rep!) that the system had major issues that prevented commissioning. On that later visit I found shorted DMX wires and silly dimmer rack settings. They can now function for shows, but it could have been so much better!
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    When I started there were at least 2, could say 3, viable stage lighting system manufacturers. Kleigle went and Colortran was OK. ETC emerges from the primordial Wisconsin fields and then Colortran faded. And sometime after that Strand seemed to stop working hard. I wish I could say there was a choice today in the mid sized and larger systems, but can't. (And fortunately won't have to for much longer.)
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  10. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,352
    Likes Received:
    1,291
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I’ve no clue if the Strand OS and consoles are viable consoles but I’d bet they do OK. Knowing Strand they can often times do things in innovative ways and I have had and used good Strand desks, but not in 30 years.

    The issue is who is Strand ?. Owned by Genlite once, now Phillips ?. Begs the question who runs the service dept., which has had a reputation for being marginal. Certainly they have great people working for them, Bobby Howell comes to mind and maybe he’ll chime in, but it’s really hard these days to match the ETC service reputation and when there’s a lot of ownership turnover like what a Strand has gone thru, can you trust that service will pick up the phone in 2 or 3 years.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  11. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    3,331
    Likes Received:
    1,552
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    I've had similar substitution requests. I couldn't find many people who had the consoles but in general, I would say the ratio of people who liked it was 1:3. In general though, it's just really hard to find people who have this console or have actually used it.

    Not sure if it's a pro or a con, but remember that with the Neo, Strand is outsourcing the software from LightFactory. Reading between the lines, it seems like Strand has some amount of influence on how LightFactory grows, but I doubt you'll see the long-term growth with major feature improvements that ETC has been able to offer for the last decade of EOS. Strand/LightFactory simply doesn't have the volume of sales and revenue to support that amount of R&D. Just like they'll have a harder time generating the high volume of training resources. Worth noting that Strand has previously been screwed by these kinds of partnerships because not all of their software IP followed them to Phillips, causing disruption to the long-term support/development of some of their products. As one dealer described to me several years ago when I was troubleshooting some issues with DMX nodes, "if there'e a major bug, the original developer will help them out, but otherwise he can be kind of a dick."

    I've had many other problems with Strand in the past that I won't rehash here, including pitching a relatively new LightPalette VL that Strand couldn't support, in favor of an Ion -- but in terms of modern Strand, the limited positive feedback I've heard from people is based on the support they've gotten from their local Strand dealers and less to do with direct customer and technical support from Strand itself. Interestingly enough, when I've rejected Strand in the past one of the rebuttals I got from the dealer was that they didn't have access to ETC. Well...that's not a qualifying nor compelling reason to approve the request -- propose something different as an equivalent and we'll talk.

    To that end, the positive feedback I've heard in conversations about the Neo has more to do with LightFactory running standalone, and very little if anything to do with the Neo hardware itself.

    Some references...

    Reddit's usually pretty good for technical questions. The Neo user base is small enough that basic questions get dead air.
    "Pleasantly surprised."
    Comment A: "Don't get strand. Phillips has ruined any value strand once had, and gives 0 shits about the live market." ---- Comment B: "Former Strand employee: this is true."
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  12. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,100
    Likes Received:
    897
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    I've used a Neo, albeit only for one show. It's a nice console and it can do all the tricks. The problems (which many people have already laid out and I'm sure you're aware of already) arise when you get stuck. Reliability aside, if it's not in the manual (or buried deep inside the manual), you're going to be stuck for a while. You can't throw a rock without hitting ten EOS users, but finding someone to answer an obscure Neo question can be more difficult.

    I guess that could lead to a positive thing - teaching students to think and research for themselves - but that means very little when the show opens the next day ;). And I guess being an accomplished Neo user probably isn't the most marketable skill.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  13. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    Not from hands on experience but I'd say Les is right on. Perfectly fine console but who knew? I think that's called marketing or lack thereof.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  14. IrishTechnicalManager

    IrishTechnicalManager Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Kildare
    Stay Away. It was the last significant purchase made by my predecessor and its turned out to be a pretty horrid decision.
    I'm in a medium sized regional venue in Ireland. We do a mixture of Theatre, Music, Comedy & Conference. For every 10 theatre shows that come through the door, 9 of them will totally bypass my desk and an alternative will need to be hired - sometimes at our expense, sometimes at their expense - depending on the contractual situation.

    First things first; its a decent console, especially if your rig is predominately intelligent. With two touch screen monitors it can be navigated in an instant.
    If your rig is full of Phillips gear, they don't take up any channels - a nice touch.
    The keypad is nicely backlit and well laid-out.

    However, its not what clients want. In Ireland, ETC has absolutely boomed in the last 10 years and most Venues (with a theatrical program) now have an Element, Ion or Eos - a Gio if the're uber Fancy.
    Other problems with the Neo: It doesn't have a delete button - not a big issue if they cared to include it in the documentation. Instead you need to battle the syntax until you realise that Shift-Edit equates to delete. Who builds a new console but doesn't include a delete button?
    There's virtually zero help online with regard to troubleshooting and problem solving (there's a series of tutorials on Youtube produced by a man with the worlds most boring voice. I challenge anyone to get passed 15 minutes).
    I emailed Strand->Phillips->Signify a few times about issues I was having. There's never an explanation about the issues, only a sequence of button clicks to temporarily solve the problem. I'm pretty sure even they don't know the problems until someone finds them.

    There's 4 Neo's currently in Ireland - 3 in Venues and 1 in Hire stock - in the entire country!

    Do yourself a favour, steer clear.
     
    DNT and Les like this.
  15. sotonfan

    sotonfan Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA
    We had a NEO as our main desk for several years. This year made the switch to an Ion XE20. The NEO had lots of interesting features, but we kept running into glitches during shows. Regrettably, once for the Beach Boys, once for 38 Special. In both cases, the LD from the show looked at us like: what is this piece of ### you are giving me? I ended up doing everything I could to have promoters rent a board for big shows.
    Every software update seemed to fix one issue, but create a new one. We had encoders go bad twice, as well as part of the main board. The Strand support folks were helpful (sent us several loaners over the years), as was Martin at Lightfactory, but we ended up feeling like we couldn't be SURE the console would work when we needed it the most.
    The Ion has been rock solid, visiting LDs are willing to use it (even if the rock guys want Avo or GrandMA). And as other have noted, the support community is excellent.
    Unless you have a very simple setup, or if money is really tight, I would say go for the Ion every time.
     
  16. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    I appreciate the posts.

    When I struggle with this kind of choice, I always try to focus on "what is in the owners best interest" and to be fair -to owner, contractor, vendors, etc. In this case I reached out to sales reps and vendors very early in design and asked what products they would propose and how would they approach the design intent. No response. I welcomed the vendor inquiry, pointed out some basic qualifications (a number of years in business and an ETCP certified tech - both of which they lacked) and no response. Could they not try to show they would be in business for a few years after the project and offer some proof of competency, other than self-proclaiming it?

    So now they go to the school's administration with claims my "standards" are too high (is that a compliment?) and that they, the sales force, should be able to "refine" the design. And I respected the person now making that claim, and had actually hired them as a freelancer for help on one of my projects some years ago. And they go behind my back like this.

    I'm glad I'm retiring, with just a very few more project to get under construction, and then watch nearly 20 get built.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  17. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,729
    Likes Received:
    275
    Location:
    Doesnt matter

    I feel like, and I may be wrong completely on this, that the vendor is letting his bottom line affect his decision rather than what works best for the client.
     
  18. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    3,331
    Likes Received:
    1,552
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    @DuckJordan,

    It's about winning the bid -- vendor isn't there to represent or protect the client's long term interests. They want to undercut the competition, and Strand will price aggressively to flip an ETC project in their favor. If 3 bidders are going after it with ETC and a dark horse shows up with Strand and possibly a discount from Strand for flipping the project, the project goes to that bidder and Strand.

    It's also possible this vendor has no ETC dealership and this is their only way to bid the project.
     
  19. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,428
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    Occupation:
    Theatre Consultant
    Location:
    Clayton NY 13624
    Yes, and yes to Duck. All i can say is thst whether you golow my recommendations or not, i'm paid exactly the same. Not quite so true for the sales rep or dealer.
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    13,029
    Likes Received:
    3,226
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    I'm late to the party... Sorry Bill... I am the person you were looking for. I have a 7 year old theater full of Strand gear and I desperately wish it was ETC. It all works fine, it's great equipment. But I can't get any support from Strand. My vision net software was abandoned and you have to run a windows XP computer to communicate with it. The console is great, but there's zero support for upgrades or repairs. Fortunately the good folks at Pathway (who own the Horizon software at the core of the Palette line) still care about their customers or I wouldn't even be able to get a new fixture profile. My dimmers are still rock solid, but I have seen the writing on the wall. The day they start having issues, I'm going to be in BIG trouble as Strand will definitely not be there to support me.
     

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