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Took delivery of an ETC Ion-First Impressions

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jufam44, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. jufam44

    jufam44 Member

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    Hello All,

    Approximately two weeks ago my theater took delivery of an ETC Ion console, and I thought I'd share some first impressions.


    The console is tiny-it's approximately a 20" square. We also have a universal fader wing-more on that later. The physical keys are hard plastic, but are fairly easy to push and make a satisfying tap when you push them down. The blackout and A/B faders are harder to manipulate than those on our old 48/96, but they're workable. My one complaint about the physical keys is that the fader covers are made out of plastic, as opposed to the rubber on the 48/96.
    The encoder wheels (4) are easy to use, and are both an encoder and a button, so when you push them down they can act differently than simply rotating them. There is a primary intensity wheel that makes it very easy to adjust intensity on the fly, and the various encoder pages assign different non-intensity parameters to the encoder wheels. (It makes programming very easy!)

    I like the new operating system. Patching movers (in our case Mac 2k Performance II's) is a cinch, and it took me all of about two minutes to patch all five lights. Once they're patched and you're in the ION environment, moving them and color changing is a blast to do. It's intuitive and easy to use. The displays tab gives me a color picker for the CMY, and you simply click the color on the screen and poof, it comes out of the light. There are also pre-calibrated gel colors-If you wanted R52, you could just click on R52 and on lights with CMY the color is made. Recording cues is easy-move it where you want it, type [Record] [Cue] {x} [Enter] and you're done. The display is logical and well laid out, and the soft keys are extremely useful. If you hold down an encoder wheel, for instance, and you're in a page that controls beam effects (gobos, color wheel, animation wheel, strobe, etc.), the softkeys become three options-Home, Min, Max. (or in the case of Gobos or colors, Home, Last, Next). Pressing the key advances the gobo, or max's the strobe, etc. It makes running movers a blast. But what about conventionals? Well, the software has a neat layout that shows you whether the light is currently in a cue, fixture information (S4 750w), whether it's coming up in a cue, and just about anything else you might want to know. I really enjoyed the software, and it's super intuitive to use.
    Overall, I really like the board, and I'll be using it in a show in about a week, so I can comment on it's effectiveness then.

    I'll post a separate review for the extension wing.
  2. Nathaniel

    Nathaniel Member

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    Boston, MA
    I got a chance to use one and was trained on it yesterday, I really like it. I especially like the Focus/Beam/Color palettes, they're quick and useful.

    One downside I found is recording groups from live: if a channel has been selected and then taken out (ex: chan 5 @out or chan [email protected]) it's still included in the group, any channel that has been captured since the last Go To Cue 0 command will be recorded in the group. (unless there's some way around this?)

    I also like the multiple cue lists and being able to assign submasters as playbacks, looks to be useful.
  3. azylka

    azylka Active Member

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    Sorry to resurrect this, but, there is a way around recording all channels in a group. Simply select the channels you want to put in your group, then record the group.

    Like this: Chan 1 + 2 + 7 [Record] [Group] 1 [Enter]
  4. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Well-Known Member

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    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    My preferred workflow for creating Groups is to do so ahead of time in the Group Display. There is a three fold benefit of doing this: 1. it allows you to more easily see which channels are in the group 2. it requires less keystrokes to complete each Group 3. it jump starts the process of getting to know the groups you are using/need.

    Recording Groups in Live works well for adding a single group you've found you will be using, but is more prone to error.

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