Control/Dimming Small concert series controller

CCPA

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Location
Montana
We are a small community concert provider in Montana and acquired some moving lights with expanding to more later, (2 now more later) and am trying to find a affordable controller (new or used) that would fit the bill for both moving and non-moving dmx fixtures. Some of the ones I have looked at are, ( computer) freestyler seemes to be a viable solution and for a board, am looking at the hog 1000 or so series of controllers because of the availability of training, etc. So, would really appreciate the info on recommendations. We are small group and am trying to get things going in the right path for upgrades and have the capabilities that would keep the audience ( school age up to gray hairs) entertained. thanks
 

CCPA

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Location
Montana
budget, hopefully under a grand, age, I'm 68 and do the sound and lights, trying to recruit where the labor pool is shallow is challenging, controller now, sushi for the pucks and strips we have, tried it on out 2 moving lights and need something differnet for that
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
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Jeff Lelko

Active Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Location
Cape Canaveral, Florida
So just a few thoughts...

I'd strongly advise against a Hog 1000. Those boards are ancient and the market's current offerings can run rings around one. Don't let the attractive prices fool you - you get what you pay for. I personally don't buy used consoles. I'll buy plenty of other things used, but not that. They're just too critical and (usually) too expensive to deal with if things start going south. For what it's worth ETC's Smartfade Series is also discontinued, but only recently. Honestly, there aren't too many hardware consoles worth owning that are under $1000. I think you'd be much better served with a software or software + wing option, but if you must have hardware (which is understandable), I wouldn't consider anything less than maybe something from the ETC ColorSource Series or maybe an offering by Jands or Pathway. They're very approachable and tend to do well in a volunteer environment. Otherwise, you don't start getting into "real" consoles until you grow your budget to the 4-7000 range, give or take, and that's still considered cheap.

Going the software route, Freestyler is okay. I never really cared for it but there's a loyal fanbase out there. Chamsys's MagicQ PC and Martin's M-PC are two of the more popular software platforms on the market right now. I was a MagicQ PC user for nearly a decade before buying an ETC desk. Both software programs can be up and running for about $100 so long as you have an existing computer to use with your DMX interface. Additionally, you can buy hardware "wings" that give you hands-on control of select features. For less than half your budget you can get an M-Touch to go with M-PC. It's probably the best you're going to do for under $1000 and still give you plenty of room to grow. Both software products let you download a free demo, so give both a try and see if it's something you like. Good luck!
 

Chris Pflieger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Location
Indiana
I'll recommend Jands Vista.

We use an M1 playback wing, but we could just as easily do everything with software only. I believe you can get a USB converter and low channel count key for under $1000. As you grow, you can add channel licenses and wings as needed. There's a bunch of YouTube training videos on Vista software (if you can stomach Australian accents). Perhaps it's a location thing, but I see more Vista installations in Ft. Wayne than anything else.


It's really easy to learn, yet powerful. I found out the Glass Animals concert was run on a few M1's and an S3 and was amazed at what it could do.
 

Amiers

Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
Joined
May 28, 2009
Location
Phoenix, Az
I love the M1 for little one off busk shows. I’ve used it a handful of times. Although it did take me half a day to power through the videos cause of the accent lol.
 
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