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Strand-UK/Strand-USA

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by fredthe, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    This seems to be an overly broad statement. Strand Lighting is alive and well, both as a company and a brand... see Strand Lighting - A Philips Group Brand. Are you saying that Strand Lighting doesn't exist in the UK now?

    As for 520 users, the new Light Palettes have been designed to mimic most of the old syntax, and even read 520 show files. So I'm not sure why that is discounted as a viable option.

    edit to add: Strand certanly seems to exist in the UK, their European Headquarters is located in Crawley, West Sussex, and their website lists a UK sales manager. Sure looks like they're alive and well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  2. toshiboy

    toshiboy Member

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    Re: PLASA2008 Review

    Well as a UK technician and spent two days at PLASA, I thought the strand pitch was bad, I spent nearly 30mins on the Palette and hated it, I am a very big user of the 500 series consoles and for someone to say that the Palette was made to mimic the 520 syntax is a load of bull. It is completly different and confusing, Strand have gone completely in the wrong direction and should go back to basics instead of making a naf comeback which was terrible.
     
  3. indyLD

    indyLD Member

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    Re: PLASA2008 Review

    I am saying that Strand has a lot of ground to cover with it's current model range to become a force to reckoned with in the UK console market again.

    Although the piece is opinion, it also reflects real life in a significant part of the UK professional lighting scene. The whole article is a comment on some aspects of the PLASA show and the manufacturer picture at the moment.
    It is not a "which desk will, on paper, do the same things as some other desk" nor a mouthpiece for industry manufacturers. There are plenty of other online resources for regurgitated press releases.

    In short, I talk to plenty of people at the coalface and write it up.
     
  4. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    Re: PLASA2008 Review

    Rob, thanks for clarifying the UK's view of Strand... they certanly seem to have been hurt there by the whole bankruptcy (if that's the correct term) process. I get a different view here in the US, it's an interesting comparison.

    Jrainsforth, your view is certanly interesting. I've also used a 520 (along with many other boards) and had no problem picking up the Palette after a 10 minute intro...
     
  5. paulears

    paulears Member

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    Re: PLASA2008 Review

    I've been a confirmed Strand user here in the UK since about 1972. The feeling over here is that the name on the door may well be Strand, but it means very little. UK based users feel cheated and pretty well dumped. Strand have a huge user base, but it's leaking away very quickly. The Pallette range was not received well when first released, people just didn't seem to like it. They'd got used to each new Strand model building on the previous features with an easy learning curve. Strand seemed to ignore the needs of their customers, and kind of just assumed we'd all follow. Many considered that the UK had been just cut out, forcing us to accept the kind of products our US friends had been using for years when we wanted products we were used to. The range of fixtures just went 'American' virtually overnight. there's nothing wrong with them, but we just liked what we had. Most of our contacts we'd known for years vanished in the changes, the Scottish factory shut and now all the 500 sries spares have, we're told, been sent to California for centralised service distribution. The quantity of spares is tiny for the user base - so man venues over here are sitting on a control that will soon be as useless as a PC with windows 3.1! We're not supposed to feel cheated by all this, and we're expected to buy a Pallette - even when the promise of old Strand style syntax never seems to really happen.

    I'm trying to think of a way to explain how many of us feel that makes sense to those Stateside. I guess our love of the company going back to the days of the old Strand Electric Company is a little like you getting up one day and finding Harley Davidson is suddenly owned by somebody you've never heard of, who instantly scrap the old Harley and produce something that looks like a Yamaha, with a Harley Badge. After a period of telling you how good they are and insisting the new bikes are much better than the old originals, they then get bought by somebody in Europe who makes automobiles and they have all spares sent to Cologne where they will be able to service their North American customers efficiently. A few old Harley specialists are still about, but need to refer constantly to Germany.

    We've a few dealers here in the UK who have built up a stock of second hand parts to keep 500 series going, but one circuit board is unique and if this needs replacing, the price is likely to be at least $2000!!!

    I have been a confirmed and very happy Strand user for as long as I can remember, but they are no longer producing products us Brits want. I know personally a friend who has a Pallette. He hates it, and even once it was repaired after being out of action for a while - they don't use it at all - they use a different brand and reports are good. My own venue have dumped Strand and we have an alternate make who we like better.

    Strand just seem (over here) to just take it for granted that we will do what we used to - just buy their latest kit. The snag is that if you can't have an 'upgrade' - why stay with the brand? Strand are now selling the products soley on it's operation, build and price - just like everybody else, and frankly, many of us feel we can get better elsewhere.

    Strand is no more Strand than Fender or Gibson who now have their guitars made in China.

    This is really a British problem - no doubt Strand America does what you guys want - and maybe have always been used to. You don't have the history and just that bit of 'ownership' we were used to. I hope my Harley comparison lets you feel how let down many of us over here.

    Strand is NOT the Strand we knew and loved - that is for certain.
    cheers
    Paul
    Who registered a while back but never posted until I heard you were a little confused why we're so anti.
     
    fredthe and (deleted member) like this.
  6. LightStud

    LightStud Active Member

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    Re: PLASA2008 Review

    Thank you for that perspective, paulears.

    From a US view, we were somewhat pleased when Rank-Strand purchased the assets of Lighting Corporation of America including the name Century, and formed Century-Strand in 1974, was it? I, for one, am just recently finding out about the strife that existed between Strand-UK and Century executives Ed Kook, Chuck Levy (son of Joseph), and Wally Russell. Strand didn't want Wally to create the Light Palette; they wanted to sell the, much more expensive, Richard Pilbrow-inspired, Lightboard. But Wally went against orders; the S/C Light Palette, CD-80 dimmers, and black LekoLites revolutionized the industry, and Wally left Strand-Century in 1982. Kook and Levy retired about the same time. In any case, Strand-Century flourished and led the market throughout the 1980s and then, perhaps coinciding with the dropping of the Century name, (what year was that? 1989? 91?) lost huge market share, exclusively, to that little company from Wisconsin who "would rather be sailing." Strand US has yet to regain the stronghold it once had, and I doubt it ever will.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Thanks to our UK friends. This is fascinating! It's amazing how different the attitude is over here.
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Member

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    I suspect that the reality was that we both liked our own 'versions' of Strand. The web site, before the problems was a good example, the kit available each side of the water was quite different. People like Richard Pilbrow probably did a great job in letting us both know what went on in the other country. I remember seeing these weird 'Leko' things, and reading in the books about how our American cousins used nothing else. I looked at the equipment I was using at the time - all very square, chunky and British and looked at these odd round things and decided I'd stay square! Accidentally putting a Strand control into the strange 'tracking mode' was horrible - things didn't come back on until you went back a bit. I re-read the chapters in the manual to explain why anyone would possibly wish to work this way. Even the syntax was different. So I, and I suppose many other Brits simply made each control work the way the previous one had. I think we have to just accept that American influence, no matter how hard we resist, is just evolution. PAR cans arrived - but we had to series up two to make them work on our 240V supplies. Took ages before anybody bothered to make 240V lamps. Those readers on the US side of the water may not realise that European harmonisation has required that we move from 240V to 230V. Again, with true British resistance, we made sure the specs had a +/- allowance built in. The numbers very carefully chosen so we didn't have to change a thing. We are now officially 230V, but our power is still really 240V (it comes just inside the deviaion figure!)

    Strand Electric, then Rank Strand, then Strand Lighting - we didn't really care because the people were the same, the products flowed from one to the other, including the odd turkey, which again, in true Brit style, many of us simply accepted and even loved! Reps from the other lighting companies would regularly visit venues, and not actually expect to be even considered. A few venues with non-lighting people in charge of finance did go for different makes, but every venue with an old lighting man, just said they'd wait for the new Strand - without an real thought of change. This is where New-Strand made their first error, assuming the buying pattern would continue. If Strand had had the promised new control about 7 years ago, it probably would have. They didn't, though - expecting customers to wait. Some did, others, through need had to buy something else. Touring shows going through venues had new and exciting controls - the excitement leaked and old Strand venues tried new kit - and liked it! They seemed, to me, to have just lost the plot! When I first saw a pallette, I wondered why on earth there was no grand master - a feature found on every strand desk for 500 years (well, almost) - the explanation was that if you wanted one (if???) you could make another fader do the job. Every other modern desk had nice little LCD windows for labelling. Strand's didn't? It made me think about when I bought a 300. There was a fader to set fade time, but somewhere they'd forgotten to add a button to turn it on!

    So I suspect the UK's love affair with Strand is over, and her replacement could be almost anyone. I myself had to drag myself into the world of Hogs and Avos. Hated them with a passion till it finally dawned on me they were just different in one aspect - the lack of the word Strand. We're now sitting with a Chamsys in the venue - and I have to admit it's rather nice. Multiply this by a the number of venues in the UK with an old Strand - and work out what market Strand have just flushed down the toilet by assuming that the American market is similar to the UK. Moving the spares to California to improve service? For whom?

    Last night in our venue I looked at the quantity of old Strand equipment still rigged and in daily use - it was quite surprising, we won't however, be buying any more - they don't make anything like it anymore!
     
  9. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Most interesting. Perhaps another US comparison might be Heathkit of pre-Zenith and post-Zenith: Zenith of course only bought Heath for their computer design, and they quickly spun off and threw away the rest, the part that we all loved. A real Heathkit has big iron transformers inside and is a work of art; the brown line of radios from the '80s is made by one of the other names overseas and is not a Real Heathkit.

    I've got one-and-a-half Lightboard Ms, a MLP, and a LP90 surface. I really like old Strand .. heck, I really like old anything .. and sure would love to get behind some of the old consoles sometime. I'd even love to just see some of them sometime.

    Interesting .. I never knew there was so much tension between LP and LB lines.
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    The only aspect shared between the 1976 UK Lightboard and 1987 US Lightboard M is the name. They are two totally different animals.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

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