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Control/Dimming Upgrade Path for ETC Insight 3

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by LitUp, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. LitUp

    LitUp Member

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    Are there any current generation boards that really replace the Insight console? One of the theatres that I'm acting TD at has asked me to develop an upgrade plan for our current Insight 3/ETCNet control system. (Mostly because our stage level ETCNet node is beyond repair, and we're currently using a loaner board from ETC because the AB fader pair on our house board stopped functioning about a month ago.)

    The problem I'm running into is that there really isn't any console I can find that offers the "more faders than you'll ever know what to do with" style of control surface anymore while still allowing for theatre-style programming (tracking cues, etc) when it's needed... which at our house is generally a few hours before curtain. (It's a different show every day here with only rare exceptions.) Programming a 300+ instrument conventional rig on the fly with a keypad is tedious at best. It's much easier when you only have to juggle two pages of subs for the entire house rig - one all HTP, one all inhibitive.

    The money available for upgrade all depends on what we can get in donations and grants... yay nonprofits... but I'm looking to spec something that's roughly the same list price as the equipment it's replacing - an Insight 3 console and (I think) 2 ETCNet 1 RIUs from 1999.

    And now for the lists!

    Features I need:
    • Lots o' faders :p
    • Artnet compatibility (at the console at least... remote nodes can be whatever.)
    • remote focus unit, either something that can use ETC style 6-pin XLR or a wireless unit.
    • "Dimmer check" functionality - Only one of our overstage electrics is labeled with a bus bar and everything, the rest are all socaplex breakouts tied to batons... worst cost-cutting measure ever. The ability to scroll through dimmers without patching them individually is a lifesaver.
    • Minimum 2 universes of DMX at the board and 500 logical channels.
    • One, preferably two DMX over IP nodes. Can be artnet, etcnet, whatever is compatible.

    Features I want:
    • Cue Stacks on faders... or anything better than ETC's useless "effect" subs. Just the ability to manually advance steps would be nice.
    • Tap tempo for chases - good for the rock shows we get in, they're always asking for it and we can never provide anything of the sort.
    • Decent moving light support - Right now our rig is mostly conventional, but I'd like to futureproof.

    Features I don't need at all but would be really cool if they happened to be there:
    • Motorized faders
    • Label displays for subs - the less sharpie on my board the better
    • Space Invaders
    • Yeah I really don't expect any of the stuff in this section at all.

    Also, I'm not tied to ETC consoles, they just happened to be what was originally installed... I'll look at anything as long as it's reliable... since it'll be ten years till we can upgrade again!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  2. theatre4jc

    theatre4jc Active Member

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    If you find this I want one too!!! I'm currently on an Insight 3 and want to get something a little newer and that has better ML support. If I'm able to replace mine and my boss will let me sell I'll let you know.
     
  3. fredthe

    fredthe Active Member

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    I don't know the cost (but it is likely expensive) but the Strand Light Palette Live should meet all your requirements.... 10 pages of 48 subs, plus 12 playback (que stack) faders. Talks Artnet & Shownet, has nodes available, does moving lights really well. I don't know if it has the tap tempo, though.

    Edit: The Palette VL would also be a good choice, and should be considerably less expensive.

    -Fred
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  4. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Occupation:
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    Personally, I would recommend the ETC ION with 6 Full 2x20 fader wings for a total of 240 Submasters. While it doesn't have "a million" submasters, you can have almost 1,000 pages of submasters. You can also label the submasters on the built in LCD screen situated between the submasters which kills the need for board tape labels. Plus it adds moving light control which might be useful in your future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  5. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    i have to second the ion with several 2x20 wings. Great console and with a 2x10 wing i can run show for a 500 seat venue with 72 conventional dimmers as well as LEDs if i really plan out how i want to use the subs. The ML control on the board is great for what the console is and the console can grow with you by adding more wings.
     
  6. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    Plus I'm pretty sure the Ion can do LTP submasters (or is that just the Element?) which would also negate the need for Inhibitive Submasters.
     
  7. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Yeah the Ion fills most of your criteria, I would link to the Ion's homepage but I,m on the iPhone so I get the really lame version of CB it's driving me insane the faders aren't motorized nor are they like the Strand 300 submasters that let you stick labels underneath them. Instead they have little LCD displays under each one. As for tempo control can't remember off the top of my head but it has MIDI which is in some ways a lot better if you can master it. I'm running out of battery now so that's as much info as I can give you. Ion of Eos should be your best bet.visit the ETC site for more info.
    Hope I helped
    Nick
     
  8. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    LTP subs do not negate the need for Inhibitive Subs. LTP just means that the sub will take control as you move it, however, a cue could override that. With an Inhibitive sub, it will hold channels out despite what other functions try to call that channel.

    It seems that everyone has recommended Ion, which is a very good choice. So I won't say more about it. You should also look into the Strand Preset Palette. It is built for people who want handles, but has all the same functionality in the software as the higher end consoles in the line. So you get multiple cue stacks, moving light support, lots of output options and you simple manual control.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    It seems to me that the Insight 72/108 was always an odd duck in ETC's line. Great to have all those submasters, but as the cost was the same as (or possibly greater than, due to the cost of the additional handles) the flagship Expression, it never sold very well.

    Since 1980's ELC, 24 submasters has been the standard (blame it on Disney, as it was their spec.).

    [user]LitUp[/user], for your application, I second the notion of the Preset Palette, or Eos/Ion with up to six 2x20 fader wings. As moving lights become more affordable/available/reliable there will be less dependence on individual channel handles/submasters--it's been coming for the past fifteen years or longer, see http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/8041-scene-not-too-scene-alas-poor-express.html (sorry to bring this up again).:)
     
  10. sclausenETC

    sclausenETC Active Member

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    I don't usually get involved in threads like this one, but given the detail you provided in your spec I would like to also recommend that you take a look at the Congo. If you are in a space where you do a lot of on-the-fly as well as preprogrammed sequential playback, you might find the Congo or Congo jr a good fit.

    Where are you located? Regardless of where you start looking for consoles, please make your ultimate choice only after you've had the opportunity to actual get a demo of any of the consoles mentioned. :)

    Thanks -

    Sarah
     
  11. LitUp

    LitUp Member

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    derekleffew: While I agree that the era of two-scene operation is dead and gone, (I haven't used it since high school,) I don't agree with the sentiment that the era of faders is gone entirely. I view it much like digital audio consoles - sure the auxilary functions have been moved to touchscreens and multipurpose encoders, but the basic control is still right there in front of you, which is an important thing to have in unrehearsed or poorly rehearsed shows, and a keypad + magic sheet is no substitute in my experience. (Ask me about programming a dance recital in this house during final dress on an express 250. :lol:)

    But anyway, enough with the offtopicness.

    sclausen: While I love that the Congo uses RPN (I'm an HP calculator die-hard... still use my 48G for everything) I got the opportunity to play with one at the Barbizon Lighting Expo last August, I think, in DC and it looked like its focus was more on moving light control in the short demo I recieved. Of course, I'm willing to try anything once... or twice if there's a good argument behind it. :) Oh, and I'm located in South Central PA.

    everyone else: Thank you for the suggestions, I'll take a look at them - it looks like an Ion or Eos with 3 2x20 wings would do well to replicate our current setup, although I'd love to improve where improvements can be made.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  12. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    We went from an Insight II to a Congo Jr. last year, and it's amazing. We needed moving light support, but 90% of our lighting is still conventional.
     
  13. tomed101

    tomed101 Active Member

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    Just thought I'd point out that regardless of how many fader wings you stick on an ion or how many fader pages you use, you are still limited to 300 recordable subs. You can use the remaining faders for playbacks etc but only 300 subs total across all faders and pages.
     
  14. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    300 subs is still more than enough. You aren't going to want to put each fixture on it's own individual sub, because that would make programming take forever, chances are litup would have 10-20 main subs. Litup also mentioned that
    so an Ion or Pallet would fill his criteria. (Mostly) As for the sugestion of using a Congo, it makes a lot of sence? Whats a ballpark price for a CongoJr and an Ion?
    Nick
     
  15. LitUp

    LitUp Member

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    Oh god no, our rep plot is anywhere from 260 to 325 conventionals (depending on if booms are used, et cetera,) putting each of those on a separate fader would be impossible to handle, and probably harmful to my health.

    E: I can't even remember when I've used more than two pages on our Insight, and that's only 216 subs there, so a hard limit of 300 shouldn't be an issue. (Although I always get annoyed when programmers choose/are forced by marketing to not follow the "0, 1, infinity" rule... but that's a story for another thread. I only wish MagicQ would come out with a board for us low-tech LDs.)

    As it stands, I group them out to 72 subs, which is more than enough control for programming on the fly, and it still gives me some scratch space on each page to save looks I may want to reuse or use for other scenes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009

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