New Products from ETC - March 30th, 2021

tjrobb

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I do like that the front barrel resembles the "classic" S4 while still making improvements. Kinda like a family tree or genetic heritage.
 

theatricalmatt

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I'm going to miss the old T-handles, though. (And is the new gel-frame slot easier or harder for students to figure out than the old gel clip?)

Also, this might force everyone to finally get consistent on color-coding lens tubes. :p It's not the same color-order as Ovation lens, huh?

Lastly ... MSRP is lower than what Luster 2's are going for...! I wonder how this will impact the ColorSource and CS-jr line.
 

dvsDave

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I'm going to miss the old T-handles, though. (And is the new gel-frame slot easier or harder for students to figure out than the old gel clip?)

Also, this might force everyone to finally get consistent on color-coding lens tubes. :p It's not the same color-order as Ovation lens, huh?

Lastly ... MSRP is lower than what Luster 2's are going for...! I wonder how this will impact the ColorSource and CS-jr line.
New gel frame is easier, IMO.

Yes, the color coding is actually exactly like the Ovation line.

Don't think it will impact CS and CS Jr lines pricing at all.

They have dropped the price of the S4 Series 1, and the Series 2. They are also discontinuing all of them no later than October 2021, except for the Series 2 Lustr, that is staying in rotation.
 

Van

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OK, So I had a bit of a discussion with some folks on FB last night about one of my major concerns with this fixture. Not to be the dirty bubble in the hot tub but... I really get an "All-in-one Printer, scanner, copier, Fax machine" off of this. Is it too much? Cramming this many systems and this much electronics technology into a very small, very hot space, especially in a lighting fixture that moves around and get's jostled a lot, is it a good idea?
One of my friends said, "Hey ETC is fantastic about their warranties and will always go the extra mile to help you out." to which I can only reply, Sure, as long as the fixture is under warranty and any fault isn't yours. In a school setting, I think we all know, a fixture package is purchased and might get an upgrade in 15-20 years, maybe. While I have no doubt that the LED array will last that long, as long as the heat sink doesn't develop problems or the Array board doesn't develop corrosion issues, will all the bells and whistles continue to function and if one system goes do they all? Granted I haven't seen the inside, yet, but to fit everything there has got to be some major consolidation of circuits onto one board going on.
"back in the day" you had a 360Q it was a workhorse that you could bang around all day; development was reserved for the accessories and supplies. No, I'm not suggesting everyone buy 360Q's and put them on saltwater dimmers but I am a big fan of simple systems. Why have an all in one that cost twice as much which when breaks costs a fixture price to get repaired.

I'll take my answer off the air.

:angryoldman:
 

macsound

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OK, So I had a bit of a discussion with some folks on FB last night about one of my major concerns with this fixture. Not to be the dirty bubble in the hot tub but... I really get an "All-in-one Printer, scanner, copier, Fax machine" off of this. Is it too much? Cramming this many systems and this much electronics technology into a very small, very hot space, especially in a lighting fixture that moves around and get's jostled a lot, is it a good idea?
One of my friends said, "Hey ETC is fantastic about their warranties and will always go the extra mile to help you out." to which I can only reply, Sure, as long as the fixture is under warranty and any fault isn't yours. In a school setting, I think we all know, a fixture package is purchased and might get an upgrade in 15-20 years, maybe. While I have no doubt that the LED array will last that long, as long as the heat sink doesn't develop problems or the Array board doesn't develop corrosion issues, will all the bells and whistles continue to function and if one system goes do they all? Granted I haven't seen the inside, yet, but to fit everything there has got to be some major consolidation of circuits onto one board going on.
"back in the day" you had a 360Q it was a workhorse that you could bang around all day; development was reserved for the accessories and supplies. No, I'm not suggesting everyone buy 360Q's and put them on saltwater dimmers but I am a big fan of simple systems. Why have an all in one that cost twice as much which when breaks costs a fixture price to get repaired.

I'll take my answer off the air.

:angryoldman:
Not to jump on the pessimistic bandwagon, but I agree.

Those knobs and antennas are going to last about 1 month in a busy hotel or on tour, in a school, maybe one school year. They make more sense in the fos line where there may not be a controller connected and it's just one light on a C stand in a studio, but flown, eh.
And as much as we all hate options because it drives the price up, having one with and without wireless, with and without a hard wired tail, one with and without a screen. Personally, I'd love one of these with an old-school red segmented LED display with 3 buttons and an RJ45, like the Source 4WRD. To me that was progress, to make addressing clear and use a generic cable.

On an emotional note, I miss the silhouette of the source four. Seems like a weird move to change the exterior body shape. We're all nerds here and its just like BMW ditching the classic kidney grills. The stepford wives didn't even know they existed but the BMW nerds lived for those kidneys.

At a show I love looking up and identifying whats in the air, so I guess this is just a new fixture, unrecognizable from a source four.
 

Van

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@macsound
I am NOT a Pessimist!

<most of the time>

:angryoldman:
 
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SteveB

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OK, So I had a bit of a discussion with some folks on FB last night about one of my major concerns with this fixture. Not to be the dirty bubble in the hot tub but... I really get an "All-in-one Printer, scanner, copier, Fax machine" off of this. Is it too much? Cramming this many systems and this much electronics technology into a very small, very hot space, especially in a lighting fixture that moves around and get's jostled a lot, is it a good idea?
One of my friends said, "Hey ETC is fantastic about their warranties and will always go the extra mile to help you out." to which I can only reply, Sure, as long as the fixture is under warranty and any fault isn't yours. In a school setting, I think we all know, a fixture package is purchased and might get an upgrade in 15-20 years, maybe. While I have no doubt that the LED array will last that long, as long as the heat sink doesn't develop problems or the Array board doesn't develop corrosion issues, will all the bells and whistles continue to function and if one system goes do they all? Granted I haven't seen the inside, yet, but to fit everything there has got to be some major consolidation of circuits onto one board going on.
"back in the day" you had a 360Q it was a workhorse that you could bang around all day; development was reserved for the accessories and supplies. No, I'm not suggesting everyone buy 360Q's and put them on saltwater dimmers but I am a big fan of simple systems. Why have an all in one that cost twice as much which when breaks costs a fixture price to get repaired.

I'll take my answer off the air.

:angryoldman:
You don't need to use wireless. There are DMX in/out's.
 

almorton

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We all know it has dmx connectors but not every venue that is already using wireless is using multiverse, so for them it's a facility they either won't use or will have to change existing infrastructure to do so. If they arent going to use it, why pay for it?
 

DrewE

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We all know it has dmx connectors but not every venue that is already using wireless is using multiverse, so for them it's a facility they either won't use or will have to change existing infrastructure to do so. If they arent going to use it, why pay for it?
By the same logic, if you aren't going to use gels with these fixtures (and I suspect many users would never have need of doing so), why pay for the frame/clips?

Wireless support probably does not add much to the cost of the fixture. The additional hardware is fairly minimal: a Wi-Fi chipset (presumably packaged in a City Theatrical multiverse module) and antenna, maybe a few dollar's worth of stuff in production quantities. If the wireless support were optional, they'd have to make two versions of the processor board (or build it on a daughter card, and have extra cost for connectors and fasteners and another PCB) and maybe two versions of the outer case. The inventory work would involve more different parts. The software development of the firmware would require two different versions be maintained and tested whenever updates need to be made. I would not be the least bit surprised if it costs less overall to make them all the same, with Wi-fi support, than to make some with it and some without.

It's likely a similar thing for the touchscreen, too. A small touchscreen is not a lot more expensive than a handful of seven-segment LED displays and switches, and the savings from not having to develop software for and support variant versions is not insignificant.
 

MNicolai

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I think it's important to recognize this fixture will be in the ETC lineup for likely the next 7-8 years and next to Colorsource Spot Jr., is one on the first "ground up" major redesigns of the Source Four concept since its inception. That means it will bring to the table some features you don't know you need today but in 10 years you will wonder how you ever did without. It offers a new paradigm to the market for we think about deploying LED fixtures. Many existing venues are already bought into wired DMX distribution -- but not all, and of those who are, some are not prepared for RDM or might only be set up for 1 universe that gets split to every corner of their venue.

Consider that the future is likely a largely wireless distribution scheme (some exceptions apply, obviously). In many cases wireless DMX pays for itself by eliminating cabling, conduit, nodes, gateways, and labor. Labor costs for stringing out and setting up DMX right now are a major new addition to venues that were used to being fully tungsten -- and it's a cost you incur on every single show you move fixtures around on. By going to wireless DMX, all you really you need to do is bring power to the fixture and patch the fixture into the console or the console into the fixture and you're good to go.

In a new installation, DMX costs are not insignificant. Let's say a venue has 100 LED fixtures:
  • $35-50/fixture for portable cabling, x 100 fixtures, $3.5-5k.
  • $15-25k for DMX gateways
  • $25-40k for installed cabling, conduit, wall plates, connector strip plates, etc.
  • Labor -- 2.5 minutes per fixture to cable DMX, $30/hr -- 2.5 min * 100 fixtures * $30/hr / 60 min/hr = $125 (incurred every show where a sizable number of fixtures move around.
So your wired DMX infrastructure ends up totaling about $43,500 to $70,000, or roughly $435 to 700/fixture. Generally you won't be killing all of your DMX infrastructure if you do wireless, but even if you cut that in half down to $215-350/fixture, that leaves a lot of budget for purchasing fixtures with the added wireless chipsets. Plus the labor savings every show, of which I think $125 is very conservative -- but if you do even just 25 load-ins a year, times the 10 year LED array warranty, that's another $31,250 over the life of the fixtures (not accounting for wage inflation over 10 years).

We all know it has dmx connectors but not every venue that is already using wireless is using multiverse, so for them it's a facility they either won't use or will have to change existing infrastructure to do so. If they arent going to use it, why pay for it?
A wireless transmitter is less than the cost of one fixture. Some might want distributed antenna systems or something more complex, but most places that are buying 50 or 100 new fixtures are going to buying more than $3k of DMX cables or nodes/gateways/etc at the same time -- even if they have an existing stock of cables. The buy-in cost to wireless is basically pennies.
 
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SteveB

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The MultiVerse system is a 10 DMX universe system. I never conceived I would use such a system, then found myself setting up a 17 universe system, not for the needed addresses, just that it was easier to assign a universes to a position. Thus 10 seems limiting. But maybe not.

As well. If I get the funding to replace a 300 unit incandescent system with mostly LED's, and then go wireless, I have to worry about an adjacent space also getting new series 3 units and now needing to share those 10 universes, so as to plan to avoid conflicts.
 
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dvsDave

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To add to the discussion, for dealers to add this to their systems to order it, there are already 48 SKUs (2 engines w/ and w/o shutter barrels, in 3 colors, with 4 cable options) Making the radio optional would make the # of SKU's 96. Please, please don't do that to me.

I have to worry about an adjacent space alsoe getting new series 3 units and now needing to share those 10 universes, so as to plan to avoid conflicts.
The signals are ID-coded so two different multiverse systems can't cross-talk accidentally. The way that multiverse pulses the signal only when there are changes actually makes it pretty efficient. Definitely worth a deep dive if you are concerned.
 

MNicolai

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To add to the discussion, for dealers to add this to their systems to order it, there are already 48 SKUs (2 engines w/ and w/o shutter barrels, in 3 colors, with 4 cable options) Making the radio optional would make the # of SKU's 96. Please, please don't do that to me.
But hey, you'd have lots of job security even though you'd probably wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat panicking if you used the wrong SKU in a big order.
 

Van

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But hey, you'd have lots of job security even though you'd probably wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat panicking if you used the wrong SKU in a big order.
That happens all the time anyway.
 

macsound

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To add to the discussion, for dealers to add this to their systems to order it, there are already 48 SKUs (2 engines w/ and w/o shutter barrels, in 3 colors, with 4 cable options) Making the radio optional would make the # of SKU's 96. Please, please don't do that to me.



The signals are ID-coded so two different multiverse systems can't cross-talk accidentally. The way that multiverse pulses the signal only when there are changes actually makes it pretty efficient. Definitely worth a deep dive if you are concerned.
They offer them without shutter barrels? What do they come with instead? Or is this a retrofit version?
And what about the cable options? I saw they were trueCon. What are the other options?
 
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almorton

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If I were given a free hand I'd think, yeah, great, and if I was kitting out somewhere with 100+ fixtures from new, yeah, great., absolutely.

I'm thinking more of smaller houses where they are already invested in some wireless system, already have some ETC (and maybe other manufacturer's) LED fixtures, and a load of conventional and are only replacing part of the inventory year on year, or aren't a big budget house (after the pandemic abates are there going to be as may big budgets?).

The other advantage I can see to modular construction is when a new, even better wireless system comes out. You can't just swap out the module when it's built in, whereas if it was a pluggable module you could. Making the module pluggable gets around the SKU hell too - you don't have to carry two different profile engines and two different Fresnel's (and two different cycs, and battens and so on) - you have one of each and a pluggable wireless module. One extra SKU.

Don't get me wrong, I think they're great fixtures, just somewhat surprised at the way some of the design decisions have been implemented. Do I want them in my inventory? Hell, yes.
 
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dvsDave

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If I were given a free hand I'd think, yeah, great, and if I was kitting out somewhere with 100+ fixtures from new, yeah, great., absolutely.

I'm thinking more of smaller houses where they are already invested in some wireless system, already have some ETC (and maybe other manufacturer's) LED fixtures, and a load of conventional and are only replacing part of the inventory year on year, or aren't a big budget house (after the pandemic abates are there going to be as may big budgets?).

The other advantage I can see to modular construction is when a new, even better wireless system comes out. You can't just swap out the module when it's built in, whereas if it was a pluggable module you could. Making the module pluggable gets around the SKU hell too - you don't have to carry two different profile engines and two different Fresnel's (and two different cycs, and battens and so on) - you have one of each and a pluggable wireless module. One extra SKU.

Don't get me wrong, I think they're great fixtures, just somewhat surprised at the way some of the design decisions have been implemented. Do I want them in my inventory? Hell, yes.
It's not that easy, different radio systems have different power needs and will need to interact with the fixture differently. They won't all pinout the same way. ETC would have to increase the cost of the radios and the fixture to build a shell around the radio modules to make it a common plugin setup. Not saying it's not possible, but it's a lot of work for what I would expect to be edge cases.

Also, you haven't considered the exclusivity factor. I would expect, as a radio system manufacturer, if I were to allow a manufacturer to directly embed my radios in their products that there would be an exclusivity clause in the contract. That's just speculation on my part, but that's what I would expect to be negotiated in a discussion at that level.
 
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