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

New Non-Moving Light Console

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by NickJones, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Somewhere far far away, Vic, Aus
    Hi, Im looking for a new console for my school. At the moment we have a Zero 88 Jester 24. The chanses of us getting Movers is slim to non-existant, and the Jester just wont be up to the job. Hopefully we will have about 40 dimmer channels for lights, and a few LED PAR's. Maybe a few coulour rotators. The Strand 300 would be great, but they dont make them anymore. (Any ideas where to get one) I am currently looking at a Strand Sub Pallet or Preset Pallet or that kind of thing. Any ideas as to other consoles that are simmilar, cheap, and flexible? Or where I could get a 300 or 500 console second hand? Thanks.
     
  2. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,029
    Likes Received:
    1,253
    Location:
    North Wales PA
    Recently, where I work, we leased a new commercial copier. Now, we don't do any work in color, but the lease was going to be a long lease (6 years,) so we popped the bill and got one that will do color on demand. What has this got to do with a light board? Maybe you don't use movers now and have no plan to, but a board is usually something that is going to be around a few years. I think you should reappraise the concept. You may need it for a future show and if you lock the door, you will then not only have to rent the lights, but a board as well. A board that you will have to learn from scratch. This is a school. You might as well get a mover capable board and learn / teach those features even if you are not using them now.

    Above, I said "recently." That was a year ago. Now 20% of our work ends up in color.
     
  3. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Somewhere far far away, Vic, Aus
    Yeah, its a good point, I have also been looking at the Expression, I have tried them out, it takes a lot of setting up to get them to work, but I have only spent a few hours on one. They have ML compatibility, but prices are pretty steep. This is why the 300 or the 500 looked so great. But all there new desks, like the Pallette VL ect are all mainly moving light, and have only got about 20 or 30 submasters. And also ML's are hard to use on most consoles, especially with Macros, and I am not the only person to use one. Ideally, a 300 or 500 would be absoloutley awesome, if you don't know where to get one what would be ballpark prices?
    Thanks for your help,
    Nick
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,615
    Likes Received:
    2,629
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Here I go again... regulars can move on to the next thread because you know what I'm going to say... my apologies to ST and company.

    Check out the Strand Basic Palette. It's got 16 subs, 100 channels, the exact same software as the sub palette, preset palette, and even the $30k+ Light Palette series. So it has all those capabilities should you want to do a little upgrading in the future. You can also purchase a 512 channel upgrade down the road if you need it. You'll find it very easy to use with intelligent component gear: scroller, rotator, I-cue, etc. It's also cheaper than the preset and sub palettes. I'm the owner of the big brother "Classic Palette". It's a great console. But you don't need the 1000 channels and multiple universes, and you can get by just fine on 16 subs.

    If you have a few thousand more you might try to get an ION and wing panel... rumor is street price is around $6k for the package (price will vary greatly so get lots of bids). At this point it looks like ION is going to be the new king of the market. It's overkill for your needs, but you can handle ANYTHING in the future and it is likely to be an industry standard for a long time. The biggest benefit of ION is that students will learn to use a console that they will find widely used in the professional world. So it's a great learning option.

    Either the Strands or the ION are all light years ahead of your old console. Even if you just use intelligent components once in a while, you'll notice a huge difference in the ease of programming with these new consoles. All of them are excellent. I've been preaching way too much around here about how the Baby Palette is a great fit for schools, churches, and community theaters with simple conventional needs that just do occasional intelligent gear.

    Ion, Congo Jr., and the Palette consoles have all been talked about in detail in many threads over the last year. Search and you'll find lots of great debate on the topic.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,445
    Likes Received:
    2,845
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    So which is the wiser purchase?


    street price (USD) 4000? |street price (USD) 6000?
    100 channels | 1024 channels
    16 submasters | 20 faders
    add'l submasters avail=no | add'l faders avail=Yes
    one VGAmonitor (add’l cost) | two DVI touchscreens (add’l cost)
    ML encoders=no | ML encoders=Yes
    Strand customer service/history? | ETC Customer Service/History!
    other|other
    other2 | other2
    Feel free to list other differences and I'll edit the table.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,615
    Likes Received:
    2,629
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Some random thoughts...

    ETC has a golden customer service record. Strand's old reputation is not the best. However, there have been a lot of changes at Strand in the last few years. So far I've had outstanding customer service. They've worked very hard to make things right. I'm convinced things are different. However, it's going to take a while to convince the whole community that things are different. There is one big exception: if it's a Sunday Matinee and the curtain goes up in 20 minutes and your console doesn't work. ETC will answer the phone. Strand will call you back on Monday during business hours. :(

    In the lighting world ETC vs. Strand is sort of like Mac vs. PC. The larger group are ETC guys. There is a smaller but very dedicated group of Strand fans. In this industry you tend to get one shot. If a system fails you in a show it'll be a long time until you give it a try again. We've got CB member Icewolf who is a big Strand fan based on years of positive experience using their consoles. Derek had a Horizon system crash on him a few years back and he's now highly skeptical of the Horizon software being used in the Palette systems. I'm not saying that's good or bad... it's just a reality of the industry for you to understand as you are reading about the two products. Beware of people's biases. As a result, we've had some amazingly unproductive debates around here about who makes the best cheap gear. It seems that every product on the low end has a avid lover and bitter hater. Personally I've had great experiences with both ETC and Strand.

    One thing left off Derek's chart above is the educational oportunity. ETC has been #1 in the industry for a while. It's looking like they will continue their reign with Ion and Strand will be #2. This means if you are able to get an Ion students will have the oportunity to learn lighting on a console that they are more likely to see around the industry. That's a big plus even if you don't use many of it's capabilities.

    Software wise, there is very little that Ion can do that any of the Palette consoles can't do (and vice versa). Both are just PC's that run software. If Strand comes up with a cool feature that ETC doesn't have, it can probably be added to the ETC console in the next software update.

    The big difference between Basic Palette and Ion is hardware differences like encoder wheels and touch screens... but do you need those things? Can you afford the touch screens? Would your couple thousand be better spent on something else? The real negative side to the hardware differences for the Basic Palette is that Ion gives you buttons and encoder wheels for just about everything. With the Basic Palette things are buried in a series of soft keys or keyboard shortcuts. You will find yourself using a keyboard and mouse a lot... with Ion you'll be on the console all the time. It's different... If you were programing a ton of intelligent gear you would hate it. But you aren't so it's probably not that big of a deal to you. You also get 1000 channels and multiple universes instead of 100 channels in one universe... that's not a problem for you. If you need to upgrade down the road you can upgrade the Basic Palette to 512 channels. Being that it's a school you aren't likely to live to see the need for that upgrade... but it could happen.

    You mentioned Preset Palette and Sub Palette. There really is very little need for a 2 scene preset console in the modern lighting world (thus the reason ETC stopped making them in their professional line). Unless you are doing a lot of busking you probably don't need a sub palette. The price of Sub Palette and Preset Palette are both very close to the price of Ion with one wing panel... you have to buy the wing panel or you won't have any subs. If you decide you need more subs... just buy another wing panel. A cool expandability feature. I believe you can even install one wing panel in a remote location to allow submaster operation from different places in the theater.
     
  7. sclausenETC

    sclausenETC Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Holzkirchen, Germany
    Hi there -

    I'm going to pop in here and not recommend any consoles since my opinion is biased anyway. ;-)

    However, I would like to make my case for what one should expect to find in a new basic console nowadays, and that is capable moving light control tools. Let's leave the lighting world for a moment and look at the automotive industry and how our expectations for basic features have changed in the past years - can you find a new basic car without air conditioning or a radio anymore? These optional features of old have become basic expectations. I would like you to think of the tools that moving lights have brought to control as features of this kind. Once optional and rare, these tools are now basic and quite helpful. You mention you may never use moving lights but you will use LED pars and other fixture accessories. While this does not mean a rig of 60 movers, the same tools that those movers use can make your life with RGB and other accessories much easier.

    As a manufacturer, we do not look at these tools as fancy extras anymore because the nature of a 21st century lighting rig makes it irresponsible to sell a new console without these tools in the basic feature set. LED fixtures alone require the ability to create repeatable color mixes quickly and what better to do that than color/gel pickers and color palettes? Why treat color scrollers and other conventional fixture accessories as dimmers when they are not? Why not treat them as parameters of a single multi-function fixture? Have any I-Cues in your inventory? Guess what - you have moving light! :)

    Take this as my plea to start thinking differently about those "extras" you see on new consoles. These tools can be used with any number of fixtures, many of which have no pan/tilt motors. Take another look at the new batch of consoles available for small systems today and see how these traditional "moving light" features can actually make your life easier in non-moving rigs.

    Stepping off my soap box now...

    Sarah

    Sarah Clausen
    Controls Product Manager
    ETC, Inc.
     

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