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Control/Dimming New light board for a high school

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by charding, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. charding

    charding Member

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    Hi
    My high school is currently looking to purchase a new light board. We use 5 pin DMX 512 for control. We have about 100 conventional lights as well as six gel scrollers which use 3 DMX channels each. We don't have any moving lights and it is unlikely that we will be getting any in the near future. Currently we use Horizon by Rosco for all our shows. We like the simple point and click interface used. I would like to find a board that has an interface similar to this so that I don't have to type every cue into a number pad. Also I would like to be able to name each cue instead it just being identified by a number. As well we have a 48 channel two scene preset board. We usually use this for contracts and simple events. i would like a board that can do both of these things. So it needs to have a cue stack and sub masters for simple events. I was looking at the Leprecon LPX-24 but I don't think this is what we want. Currently I started looking at the Strand basic palette or classic palette. However the basic palette says it only has 100 channels which would not be enough. I was also looking at the ETC ION but this doesn't have submasters. I would like to stay under about 6000 but this is stretchable.

    Thanks
    -Clay
     
  2. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    You say you have 100 lights, but use a 48 ch preset board. How many dimmers do you have?

    The Basic Palette can be upgraded to more channels, 100 is just the base. I don't know at what point it will become more cost effective to get a Classic Palette, though.

    With the Palettes, you can do point-n-click or the keypad depending on your preferences. Check with a local strand dealer, you can probably stay under $6k.
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Go with a Strand if you already know Horizon software. It will give you the same interface with a bit more power. You can easily pick one up under 6k.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Ion does in fact have submasters, you just need to add a wing to the basic Ion. This still leaves you in the basic price ballpark as the Strand consoles. I have not had any first hand experience with the new Strand consoles, but [user]gafftaper[/user] has one, and he may be able to tell you about it. As was said they do run an updated/adapted version of Horizon, so they may seem familiar. The ETC consoles are very nice too.
     
  5. charding

    charding Member

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    We only use the 48 channel board for simple contracts, for real shows we use Horizon. We have about 200 dimmers not including house lights and architectural lighting.

    The Strand consoles seem pretty good. Do the dealers have display boards that we can look at before purchase?
     
  6. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Do more research...the ETC Ion is capable of having up to 160 Submasters total. The wings are separate so you can upgrade over time...it's a great option for schools which may not have a lot of money up front but could possibly add more over time. The base unit + a 2x20 submaster panel and 2 LCD Monitors will run you around $6000.
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Considering my experience with the OLEs (not the physical consoles, so take that in to account in this opinion), I'd go for the Ion with a 2x20 wing panel and 2 LCDs. ETC programming style just makes a lot of sense to me, and I like the ION/EOS operating system quite a bit at its present incarnation. My only issue is the way that you access displays. I'm used to the display hard keys of Expression/Obsession series consoles.
     
  8. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    A high school with 200 dimmers? You're lucky.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    It would appear the Preset Palette 48/96 would most likely fit your shopping list the best. However, since it includes more hardware, it may not fit into the $6K budget.

    You realize that just because you have 200 dimmers doesn't mean you must have 200 channels, right? With 100 channels minus the 18 for scrollers, you still have 72 for conventionals. Elsewhere here, SteveB has shown how he fits his entire House Plot onto 48 channels.

    Note that the ONLY reason I would consider recommending a Strand console is because you like Horizon. Perhaps it's because it's all you've ever been exposed to. More importantly, is what your Drama Director likes or can teach. You'll be out of there in three years maximum. While many High Schools depend on the upperclassmen teaching the frosh, occasionally there are no students interested, the well runs dry, and the teacher must step in.
    So it needs to be his/her decision primarily, of course with students' input and opinions.
     
  10. mc2880

    mc2880 Member

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    If you're already used to Horizon, the Marquee would be the logical upgrade. The strand Palette uses the Marquee Software (modified). I like the Marquee console much better, and there are fader and button wing panels available for it.

    There are a few levels of Marquee;

    Marquee PC - Just a USB-DMX card w/ Marquee software. Standard is 128 Channels

    Marquee Console - Full console and PC w/ Marquee Software (it uses the same USB-DMX Card as in the Marquee PC, just mounted inside the console). Standard is 128 Channels

    Marquee ILC - Moving Light console w/ rotary encoders otherwise the same as the regular Marquee Console. Also, comes with 1024 channes of output


    On the console the main bank of faders can be assigned to Channels, Looks, ect.

    All are easily upgradable and all versions will support moving lights w/ good profiles for most lights out there. Also, if they don't have a profile available just e-mail them. The will usually have a profile within a day.


    My recommendation based on what you've stated would be the Marquee console w/ either the extra submaster wing panels or the button wing panel.
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    We've already chatted via P.M. I like the Marquee idea. It's a good console and does use Horizon software. The OS 10 software upgrade for Strand consoles has been completely "Strand-afied" and although it's Horizon under the hood there is very little Horizon left on the surface. Visually It reminds me more of CB's software than Horizon actually. I doubt you will have any major advantage learning the console.

    As I've ranted about quite a bit, there's a gap in the ETC product line between Smartfade and Ion. The Baby Palette fit's perfectly in that gap. 16 submasters, powerful software, easy to learn... with a list price less than an Express 48/96.
    Negatives:
    -less upgrade options... but you can upgrade the channel count.
    -no encoder wheels... not a problem for most high schools, churches, and small community theaters
    -Not ETC's legendary support... but so far Strand has been VERY good at taking care of me... things ARE different at Strand in the customer support department.

    Ion is a powerful console... but you are paying thousands for MANY features a typical high school will never use. The Palette is a powerful new generation console with features very similar to Ion... there is very little Ion or Palette will be able to do that the other can't add in the next software upgrade.

    You've got around $4500 to spend on a new light board what are you going to buy? Baby Palette vs. Smartfade isn't even close. The rest of the competition is the vast sea of ETC Express imitations. None of them are anywhere near as powerful as Baby Palette.

    Get a demo, if you don't know where to call for a demo post your location and we can help you find one.
     
  12. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I'd be tempted to go with something like an Express 250 or the equivalent Strand Newlightpalette, a midrange compact memory board with a few subs, if you're planning on keeping the two-preset board around. If not, I'd go with an Express 4896 or its Strand equivalent if you need two-preset capability too.

    Most shows I do (all, actually) fit plenty fine in under 100 channels. Most could be run on a two-preset 24, though 48 is much nicer.

    I do wish ETC had come out with a new Express-level series. Most theatres fit right into that category, and with the discontinuing of Express and the huge blaring gap between Smartfade (you can do something with that?) and Ion (where are the handles?), ETC I think is missing a major market. Thankfully Strand has the Newlightpalette series to fill that hole.

    Whose 48-channel two-preset board do you have already?
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Before anyone jumps in here and says get an ETC Express, remember that the Express is no longer produced... a dealer may have some on a warehouse, but it is out of production. It was an outstanding product line and will be useful for many years... but to try to find one now is foolish because it's 15 year old technology and the days that you can get parts for it are numbered.

    Wayne take a look at the Basic Palette and see if you agree with me that it's a great entry level fit below Ion/Jr. and all the other crap. The list price on the basic Pallet is in the high $5000 range (about the same as an Express 48/96 was). That means you should probably be able to get one for around $5k maybe a little under even depending on the package you are buying... a few thousand less than Ion and a wing panel.

    Compare this console to what else is available for less than $5 from places like Colortran and it's not even close.
     
  14. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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  15. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I didn't say it very well, but that was my point exactly. My background is with ETC boards, at least in college, so that's generally what I use as a basic unit of measure. If the Express line were current, one of those would be a perfect fit. And I agree, the Basic Palette looks to be a very good fit too.

    I don't mind old technology myself, but then again I have a Lightboard M 48/96 on my desk, between keyboard and monitor as I type this, that I'm in the middle of putting back together.
     
  16. coolbeam

    coolbeam Member

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    Electronic Theatre Controls will still repair a 1986 Vision. Wayne, why don't you try sending your Lightboard M in to its manufacturer for repair? I'm sure they'll send you a loaner while its in the shop. ;-)
     
  17. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    But why would I want to do that? It's a $50 Ebay find that just needed some TLC. Works fine as best I can tell. Plus, working on stuff is the fun part.
     
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    One thing that I don't understand about all the recent threads we have had like this one: Ion is the console that fills the gap that the Express(ion) "left." Ion can be as simple or as complex as the user needs it to be. If you only need a few subs and a cue stack, Ion can do that. If you need a bunch of MLs and multiple cue stacks you can do that too. You can do all that for the same price as Express, and certainly cheaper than Expression. Sure, it can be intimidating, but hey, so was the Express to a lot of people. With 10 minutes of training any high school music teacher or drama director could learn how to turn on lights for rehearsals.

    I am not saying that Ion is a better choice than a Palette, I am just saying that the Ion can have a place in venues like high schools.
     
  19. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    I have to agree with [user]icewolf08[/user] and the base Ion can be had for as little as $4,000...sure it has a lot of features that you may never use, but for the price...why would you buy a more expensive board that can do less. IMO The Ion is the best bang for the buck.
     
  20. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    I completely disagree. An express was much more in my high schools price range. An ION costs almost 2k more, without submasters, which have to be added on and purchased
     

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