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Lighting controller help
Old 27th December 2018
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
Lighting controller help

OK, me first... I am a mostly retired 35+ year TV Broadcast Engineer with both recording and FOH audio experience. I have some experience with studio and theater stage lighting.

The audio rig... All my personally owned equipment... Mains are home-built 18" subs with 2- three way top cabs. Normally I use one top cab per side but have the extra cabs in case I need more punch. I have six home-built 2 way floor monitors. All Crown amps driving the cabs. All the necessary microphones in my cabinet. All the usual extras (stage snake, sub snakes, mic cables, stands, stage power distro, FOH rack, and mixer desk). I am an analog kinda person so my FOH rack is all analog and I'm using a 40-channel Soundcraft Spirit 8 desk. More mixer than I need but the eBay price was too good to pass up and I have personally gone through every channel using professional test and repair techniques and equipment. It is -c l e a n-...

The gig... Some friends have a 6-person spiritual/folk group. They are bringing a 3-person spiritual/folk group with them when they tour the US later in 2019. We will be playing indoor and outdoor gigs. I will be traveling with the bands for around 4 months with (hopefully) two to three gigs a week. I thought retirement meant that I didn't have to work anymore! LOL

OK, now that you know the background, here is where I need help...

I purchased eight 4-light trees from a local DJ who bought a bunch of lighting stuff and then immediately went bust... I got it all for barely half what eBay stuff is going for. I have 32 no-name DMX-controlled RGB LED fixtures, 8 T-bars, 8 stands. I know the difference between audio and DMX cable so have DMX cable on order. I also have 16 white-only LED pinspots, 8 single-channel DMX dimmers, and a 2.4G wireless DMX transmitter w/ 10 receivers on order.

Sooooo... What's missing is a controller. Yes, I am going to be running mains, returns, and lighting from FOH. I, as in me, myself, and I... Yes, you can start laughing... An audio person running lights... Hey, both desks have faders, they work the same, don't they??? LOL Did I mention that I am the -only- tech on this gig? I'll have muscle to help me load in and out, but other than that, I'm pretty much the entire tech crew.

My plan is to have 4 RGB fixtures and 2 white pinspots on each T-bar, prewired so all I have to do is feed a single stinger to each tree and point the light. The RGB lights are 7-channels each. In general I want a red, green, blue, and white fixture on each tree. Does this mean I need 38 channels just to control the RGB's? Plus a few more for the pinspots and fogger? Is there a simple analog controller that I could just use 4 faders and "hide" the unused three, repeat for each fixture? As in R1 R2 R3 R4 G1 G2 G3 and so on? Or am I stuck with R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 and so on?

I specifically do not want a computerized lighting desk, just a simple analog, since all I'll be doing is occasionally changing color washes and intensity. Punch the "all up", blinder, and black out button a few times. I don't want something that I have to babysit or chase a mouse around on a screen. Just reach up and move a fader or two.

There won't be many lighting changes through the show, just between some songs. Total light levels may change depending on the venue but not by much.

Thanks for the help, you can stop laughing now... Really, you, over there, stop laughing...
Old 22nd March 2019
Here for the gear
Why not look at a PC system?


Yes, I understand mainly your reasons, but.... if you were to spend a little time investing in the creation of the light show, then you can drive it all from a cheap laptop and only have to hit start and stop either per song or once for the entire show...

Get a bit sexy and run this against MIDI while supplying your drummer with a click track and everything will then be bar/beat synced, if you use a cheap bit of software such as Cubse Elements. (I’m sure you can get free daw
Software to do path is but my experience is just Cubase)

Add another audio track and you can supply cues or have samples, noises or whatever out over the PA.

With a money-no-object type budget and a digital desk you can program Ll your audio movement into the system as well and then as soon as the gig starts, press one button and then go to the pub until the end ?.... ok that last bit, while possible, is a bit overboard, but oh get the general idea.

Back to your original question. If you must go for analog, and remember, every RGB LED can will need at least three DMX channels, you need to find one that has a shed load of channels, which is going to be costly, or design your trusses etc to group more than one fixture per set of DMX channels.

So, with that in mind, take a look at the Showtec 1024 Pro or the Robe 1024

Hope this helps a bit

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