What console should I buy?

Max Garloff

Hello I am originally from Oregon but due to lack of work I moved to Las Vegas. I didn't find a criteria that really matched my skills. My profile currently says rep but there really isn't any rep in Vegas and it looks like my career is moving toward music and conventions however rep is my background so it seamed appropriate. I am hoping to find a band and perhaps go on a tour and market myself as an LD. I am currently looking for a good console to buy and I've always enjoyed etc boards but they are primarily designed for theater. I am looking at the Cobalt and it seams promising but I haven't found to many reviews. Is this a good board for touring and arena work? I like etc because they are durable and have never failed me and are much more budget friendly. Would any of you recommend this board or am I better off getting a Grand MA? Or are there any other boards that are more budget friendly that people would still take me seriously with?
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Well, it all depends on what you want to do. All light boards do roughly the same thing, although go about it in completely different ways. The GIO5 is portable and pretty promising, yes you can busk on EOS. I do and I enjoy it, although I currently don't do a whole lot. My board of choice would be an EOS Ti.

I don't think I could recommend the Cobalt. I love the button layout of the Cobalt 20 but im not in love with the software, plus the forums have quite a few complaints of random crashes, although most seem to be caused by massive showfiles...

I don't think I could ever recommend a Hog at least right now, besides the recent purchase of High End by ETC I've seen too many of them crash either just before or during a show. The last guy had his rig at our venue go down right in the middle of a set and he says "Did you see how fast that reboot was? SSD's are awesome!" and im like "You see this ION? its never crashed!" lol

GrandMA is awesome for live events, although I see it as the same thing as direct select with EOS, plus EOS has Magic Sheets ;-) I have seen 1 GrandMA2 go down before a show, but not during, and it only happened once, so i wouldn't really hold that against them. I think its a great system and there are a ton of forums and videos dedicated to learning the system, it has a great community, although people dont seem to be as open on busking 'secrets' as they are on other consoles. Also, i don't think any system is as good GrandMA with MTC if that's something you are interested in. Also linking multiple consoles in the same system seems to be more friendly than EOS, (meaning the system is more open with artNet rather than ETC's net3) if you'll be running backup systems or programming wings. It also comes in fairly affordable and roadworthy setups like the MA onPC, and something in every budget.

Chamsys is definitely worth a look, at least the stadium consoles like the mq500! I haven't tried one yet but I am itching to get my hands on one. Reasonably priced, well built and the newer software has definitely caught my attention. I'd pass over the smaller boards with them but the stadium series i'd at least give a shot.

Also Jands Vista is a pretty awesome system, super easy, super fast... I hate it! lol, it's like ADJ's myDMX on steroids. it takes all the technical skill out of lighting design in my opinion, also, in my opinion, its way too over priced for its ease of use... just my opinion

My best advice, if your in the Vegas area go check out 4Wall, they rent and sell dang near any console, new and used, and you check out the consoles for yourself. Also, almost all of them have an offline version of the software that you can download for free to get a feel for how the software works... they all do the same thing, its just how they go about it that needs to be comfortable for your needs.


Well-Known Member
Cobalts are very scarce in the US. GrandMA2 is the standard, with Hog 4 and Avolites Titan as distant seconds in the market. Often you can get a console from the rental house you are renting your gear from. If you tour, it's good to have a standard console that a lot of shops carry so if you have to do fly dates and cannot take your desk you can find one locally. You can get in to an MA Command Wing setup for much cheaper than a proper console. I've attached a picture of the MA wing setups that I made up, with cases by STL Case.


Jeff Lelko

Active Member
I'm a happy owner and user of a Congo Kid. As much as I like the Cobalt server, I agree that Congo/Cobalt users are somewhat rare in the wild, at least in the United States. Cobalt is a great platform for busking but is nonstandard syntax, so a bit of realignment if coming from the Eos/Express background. It's still my go-to board for freelance work on medium-sized shows (or really what can fit on its two universes). Unless you already have work lined up and know exactly what you need to buy, I vote renting the desk you need for the job at hand until you settle into a market. Cobalt works well for me, but there are other options out there that might be better suited to your eventual niche. Hope this helps!
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