Lighting console manufacturers are packing more and more power into increasingly smaller packages, with wireless networking and multimedia support raising the expectations of designers across the world. S&S reviews some of the leading lighting control consoles on the market.
Already one of the most recognised manufacturers of lighting control consoles, MA Lighting is looking to build on this success with the release of its new grandMA2 series consoles.
The main areas of improvement have come with the displays, which have been upgraded to improve clarity and colour optimisation.
The full-size model features three internal 15-inch TFT wide-mode touchscreens, two external TFT screens and a nine-inch internal multi-touch command screen.
Visitors to this year's Prolight + Sound exhibition were given the first glimpse of the new family of consoles.
The show also marked the release of new software upgrades to complement the three new consoles introduced, with the grandMA 3D and video software packages receiving major overhauls as the company looks to increase the multimedia capabilities of its product range.
Current grandMA users will have little difficulty switching to the new series, with the identical syntax used for commands as with the original grandMA line.
Independent from user interfaces, for theatre programming applications or concert touring multi-user programming sessions, grandMA2 also includes fader wings, capable of supporting up to 90 faders per console.
The grandMA2 full-size can support a maximum of 65,536 lighting fixtures in as many as 256 DMX universes.
Middle East distributor: MA Lighting Middle East/India (UAE).
The Vista I3 takes a rather different approach to lighting consoles with the emphasis very much on size.
The I3 features the software, processor and control elements of the company's flagship T series while being streamlined, making it highly portable.
Users simply have to add a mouse, monitor and keyboard to the Vista I3 in order to create a fully functioning console with all the features of the Vista T series.
The full-size Vista features up to 8192 DMX channels however, in order to offer customers a scalable price option the I3 offers DMX in 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 or an unlimited number of channels dependent on the 'dongle' users purchase with the console.
Seven USB ports and four DMX outputs offer users the chance to connect lights and dimmers to other products from the Vista range, such as the S1 and M1 compact control surfaces.
As many as three monitors can be attached to the I3, with room for two external DVI or VGA monitors and an optional monitor arm on the side of the console.
Alternatively, a pen-tablet can also be used as the main monitor if preferred.
Middle East distributor: AC Lighting (UK).
Martin Professional's popular Maxxyz lighting console is now available in a compact form offering full Maxxyz functionality in a modular mid-sized design.
Built of a heavy-duty, long lasting aluminium chassis, Maxxyz Compact has been designed to withstand the rigours of the touring and rental market.
The console features four modules that are easily assembled requiring only USB and power connections.
According to Martin, the modules - Cerebrum, Programmer, Motorised Playback and Master - increase the system's flexibility and offer easy upgrading or expansion in the future.
The Cerebrum module is a powerful touch-screen computer, running the software on Windows XP Embedded that controls Maxxyz Compact. It can control up to 32 DMX Universes (four direct, 28 via Art-Net or Universal USB/DMX).
The Maxxyz Cerebrum can also be used as a stand-alone system in a range of installations.
The Programmer and Playback modules make creating and running shows easier, quicker and safer. The Master Module has two faders - Grand Master and Flash Master - by default.
The console comes with an embedded touchscreen that offers the option of connecting an additional external screen for greater flexibility.
The Compact has also been fitted with new LED strip illumination to increase the visibility of the controls in dark environments.
A powerful effects engine, Maxxyz Compact can control up to 16,384 fixtures, and allows up to 1000 cuelists, with motorised fader control and 1,000 cuelists using playback control buttons, with parallel execution of multiple cuelists. Sub-master, group master, and override functionality is included, and the Graphical User Interface is customisable.
The console also features responsive digital LCD buttons that offer fast and direct programming.
Five LCD function keys and five banks of customisable function keys are available; useful for direct access to functions like save show, banks, patch, record, and many more.
Maxxyz Compact is fully compatible with the Maxxyz controller series and networks with Martin's Maxedia media server.
Maxxyz Manager Software allows for programming and triggering via time and calendar schedules, and Maxxyz Compact communicates with Martin ShowDesigner Gold, Silver or Visualiser software packages.
Middle East distributor: Martin Professional Middle East (Lebanon, UAE).
The Pearl Tiger is the most recent addition to Avolite's popular range of Pearl lighting control consoles.
The Pearl Tiger is a more streamlined, 10 roller playback version of its larger sibling, the Pearl.
Avolites launched the latest in its popular series of pearl consoles - The Pearl Tiger - at PLASA 2007.
Avolites claims the console offers everything LDs require for quick and easy programming of small- to medium-sized applications in theatres, conferences, schools and colleges, small- to medium-scale productions or production companies, tours, venues and nightclubs.
It's small footprint, powerful functionality and familiar operating system make it the ideal choice for jobs requiring quick set-up whereby the operator needs to be in full control for last minute changes, claims Avolites.
The Pearl Tiger is fully compatible with the Pearl 2004, 2008 and Pearl Expert programme sequences.
The Pearl Tiger features 2048 channels to 240 moving lights on four isolated DMX outputs, 10 playback submasters, expandable to 15, with external playback wing and the ability to save multiple shows instantly to internal USB flash disk or external USB memory stick.
Middle East Distributor: Venuetech (UAE).
High End Systems
The most recent addition to High End Systems' (HES) extremely popular Wholehog console range is the Roadhog Full Boar.
Equipped with the same Flying Pig Systems software as its predecessors, HES claims the Full Boar boasts an enhanced power courtesy of two operating systems.
Both Windows XP Embedded and the proprietary Wholehog operating system work to provide as much power as possible, with an unlimited number of simultaneous crossfades possible and an unlimited number of DMX channels on offer via Ethernet DPs and 2048 available via 5-pin XLR.
HES also offers several memory options, with an internal hard drive, internal DVD-RW and a removable USB flash drive all included with the Full Boar.
The console includes two 12-inch high brightness internal colour touchscreens, with two further external touchscreens available as add-ons.
A range of additional hardware is also available to upgrade the console, including a full-size expansion wing and smaller playback and touchscreen playback wings.
Middle East distributor: HES Middle East.