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Just started working in a theatre and they are runnig the strand 520, as good as they are it's time to upgrade and I want a console that is not as time consuming with programming, LED's mover's and av so I thought this would be the best place for advice

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Ok, So let's start with a few questions...
1. What equipment will you be running on these consoles? Mostly conventionals and a few LEDunits and movers, or a bunch of multi channel units and a few movers, or are you looking for a jack of all consoles?

2. Budget...times are lean, what are you looking for? New, used, any particular pricepoint?

3. Who do you know? Who is your local rep, and how much attention will they give you? This will determine how much support you'll get. If you have an established relationship with a vendor who you call once or twice a week with Gel orders, and gobo orders, and cable oreders (etc. etc.) this is the person who you want to be your console dealer. They know you, they know what kind of performance you're doing, and they can steer you in the right direction. They care about their relationship with you more than a single purchase order.

4. What kind of shows do you do? This is going to be a major indicator of what you can expect of your light rig. If you're in a touring house, you need to have something that the touring LD is used to. If you do a lot of live music, you may want to consider a Ma, or Maxxys (even Maxxys PC with a couple of touch screens). If you do a lot of Theatre, you might want to lean more towards an ETC or Strand console (I prefer ETC, but that is really a matter of taste). If you do a lot of Dance, you may want a console that lends itself to movers well, but can still handle conventionals easily...

5. Finally (and to me near the top of the list), What are you comfortable with? What sort of syntax, what consoles have you used in the past. For theatre I've been a big fan of ETC consoles. I recommended the Element to one of our local venues, and they have been estatic. The Eos and Ion are quite powerful. For the major ML rigs my console of choice is the recently "red-headed stepchild" Hog II. You may be able to get one cheap since they've said they're not supporting them anymore...and if Carl Wake is listening this is a great opportunity for LightParts.

I hope that helps... A console is a very subjuective choice, and really depends on a lot of variables. Personal taste is one, and an important one. What you are going to be comfortable with matters...especially if you're making a long term commitment to this facility.

-Ford
Yes we are running mostly conventionals we do have 12 light emotion led's and will be getting more we also have 10 robe 575 and verious effects, we do get a few shows that run av off the console aswell . the theatre will only purches new consoles , we have a strand rep but I'm not a fan of the new strand range and we do most of our dealings with bytecraft and I was just interested in what people have to say that work the console not just sell them . I have been reading up on the ETC range and I like the specs, we do everything from live tv to local dance companys .
I have used GMa vista Hog avolight strand but am new to theatre .
The element is the main console I have been looking at but have not seen it running as of yet, yes your advice has been most helpfull and I appreciate you time Thank you

Ford Sellers said:
Ok, So let's start with a few questions...
1. What equipment will you be running on these consoles? Mostly conventionals and a few LEDunits and movers, or a bunch of multi channel units and a few movers, or are you looking for a jack of all consoles?

2. Budget...times are lean, what are you looking for? New, used, any particular pricepoint?

3. Who do you know? Who is your local rep, and how much attention will they give you? This will determine how much support you'll get. If you have an established relationship with a vendor who you call once or twice a week with Gel orders, and gobo orders, and cable oreders (etc. etc.) this is the person who you want to be your console dealer. They know you, they know what kind of performance you're doing, and they can steer you in the right direction. They care about their relationship with you more than a single purchase order.

4. What kind of shows do you do? This is going to be a major indicator of what you can expect of your light rig. If you're in a touring house, you need to have something that the touring LD is used to. If you do a lot of live music, you may want to consider a Ma, or Maxxys (even Maxxys PC with a couple of touch screens). If you do a lot of Theatre, you might want to lean more towards an ETC or Strand console (I prefer ETC, but that is really a matter of taste). If you do a lot of Dance, you may want a console that lends itself to movers well, but can still handle conventionals easily...

5. Finally (and to me near the top of the list), What are you comfortable with? What sort of syntax, what consoles have you used in the past. For theatre I've been a big fan of ETC consoles. I recommended the Element to one of our local venues, and they have been estatic. The Eos and Ion are quite powerful. For the major ML rigs my console of choice is the recently "red-headed stepchild" Hog II. You may be able to get one cheap since they've said they're not supporting them anymore...and if Carl Wake is listening this is a great opportunity for LightParts.

I hope that helps... A console is a very subjuective choice, and really depends on a lot of variables. Personal taste is one, and an important one. What you are going to be comfortable with matters...especially if you're making a long term commitment to this facility.

-Ford
Ok, With the number of movers you're talking about the Element may not be the bast console for you. It was introduced to appease the masses of folks (like me) who loved the Expression line, but does not have the sheer muscle of the other ETC Consoles in terms of processing, and ML features.

GMa and AVO can do theatre fairly well. ETC Excells here, but had (notice the past tense) had issues with tracking and specifially efficient programming of movers. I did (ME'ed)a rig with a dozen movers, and about 60 LED washes, and 250 conventionals recently, and found it easier to split the programming between two consoles (ETC Expression II, and Maxxyz). The Maxxyz just doesn't have the faders I needed for conventionals, and the ETC couldn't process all of the movers (it uses a Pre Pentium processor, I think).

I would look hard at the ION, and the EOS. if they're intuative for you, or if you can get some local support, that is where I'd lean. I too am not a Strand guy. It is purely a matter of taste, but I never have been. I do know people that swear by them, but I have always preferred ETC for theatre, and HOG or GMa for large "intelligent" rigs.

Your Mileage May Vary,

-Ford
Hello. I have had the opportunity to test the GrandMA2 9.1.20 beta and it is getting really theater friendly now. They have technical managers from the largest UK theaters empoyed in their development team to take care of the traditional lighting philosophy. For me this is very important in a time when the industri is totally focused on movers, LED and mediaservers. So my recommendation is the GrandMA2 light.
How Many Dimmers ?
we have about 450 dimming channels in the main theatre and 150 in the small, I would love an gma2 I did price a full size management said I was funny but I'm going to try an get an ultra in for a trial .
I have just downloaded a few things about the ION and the EOS and will spend the next few days taking a look I'm hopeing to get about 4 or 5 consoles on trial
I;m a big fan of touch screen and anyway of cutting progrmming time down the strand is very time consuming for the simpelest of things ,I like haveing a nice pallate structour easy to use on the fly and someting that is going to program the movers and leds blind alot easyer and quicker
I think I used a Maxxy once last year with leds and movers only and realy like that console for leds and never even thought of that console I will look into that one to thanks guys
terry schwartz said:
How Many Dimmers ?
Last Summer we went to the WHole EOS family. you name it we have it. I believe the system is AWESOME!! very user friendly. Extremely easy for LED & Movers. i suggest for theatre & it is in your budget look closely @ the ION by ETC... enjoy...oh definitely get the Touch Screens with it. Oh and a 2 x 20 fader Wing...
Have you check out soundbroker.com? They don't have a whole bunch in the way of lighting gear... but if they don't have it listed... they will help you find it.
Try getting a demo of as many boards as you can. Also, is remote focus capability a priority? If you go Hog, you'll need a tablet PC/laptop running Hog software and networked to the console. With ETC, they have really great remote controls. And with the Congo, you can even plug in a cordless home-style phone for a basic remote control!!

High End Systems/Barco Road Hog consoles are really fast and easy... They just don't have as many faders as I would like (with out adding multiple wings). Feeling extremely comfortable with the Hog syntax and operation, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone a little, so....

My theatre just purchased an ETC Congo. It's got 1 master playback, 40 faders and 40 Direct selects. I can't say for sure if it's any less time-consuming yet, as I am still learning it, but it seems pretty powerful and very flexible. I'll let you know my opinions as I get to know the Congo better.

We have an extremely wide variety of shows. Touring rock acts, plays, musicals, comedians, solo artists, magic shows, science shows, kiddie shows, movie premieres, and a ton of others I can't think of right now... We do it all!! I think the Congo will stand up to the challenge...

Let us know what you decide to get!!
Also, look at the video tutorials under the support tab at etcconnect.com

There are ones for the Eos, Ion, and Congo... Check them out! Highly recommended!
Given everything you've mentioned so far, I'd recommend a very long look at ETC's EOS. I was introduced to it a couple years ago and have been incredibly pleased with how it blends the best of theatrical and concert consoles into one desk. Plus, in my experience, no one supports their gear and listens to their customers like ETC. That alone is worth it's weight in gold. If it comes down to price, you may want to consider the 3072 channel version of the ION. It's a really good desk, expandable with fader wings, and it's the same software as EOS, so it's easy to transfer your skills when it comes time to buy a larger desk. The price on both consoles is very competitive, and a fully loaded EOS is significantly cheaper than the GMA2, with much of the same capability. Hope that helps!

kc
www.kcwilkersondesign.com
Certainly it is essential to try the consoles out.

I am principally an MA programmer andf use the series 1 with media servers and large rigs. I find it to be totally flexible and reliable. If you need to load older shows the MA2 has a great import for Strand 500 shows....

However I am also very familiar with and often specify the Zero88 / Cooper Controls range of consoles on shows and installs - the new OrbXF which officially launches at PLASA has a great hybrid of rock and roll, theatre and theatre functions and is priced much more competitively than the ETC platforms. It's built on the ZerOS which is now a tried and tested (and stable) platform. I have previously used it for large stadium shows as well as small theatre events, media servers, leds and the rest. .....There is a great remote app for Ipod/phone/pad.....

You may want to consider tracking back-up solutions - this is available on MA of course and on Zero88 (cooper controls) consoles - I'm afraid i can't speak for the ETC range as I don't generally use them. I would say this has been a major factor for me in ensuring show support and back-up solutions.

Cheers,

Ben

www.benmrogers.com

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