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DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

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DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Can anybody recommend a cheap and easy to use DMX controller, please!

It can be hardware or software with box. I don't care, just as long as I do not need to spend weeks learning how to use the damn thing and it can be used quickly to set up a specific lighting set for video shoots, without having a Ph.D. in light programming!

It is 'just' for studio lighting - we have 24 PAR cans on DMX dimmer bars, two 1.2kW scanners and four 500W scanners and a few bits and bobs, like pyrotechnics and smoke and I am thinking of adding some LED bar-lights and floor lights some time later this year.
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby The Korff » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:00 pm

There's a dirt-cheap Behringer one somewhere... ah, here it is:

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/LC2412.aspx

Apparently you can get them for £150, give or take, so maybe buy a couple in case one fails during a shoot?

Cheers!

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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:04 pm

Considering that I have never ever bought anything from Behringer that either didn't break, or didn't work properly in the first place (except one DJ mixer and a DI box) I'll pass on throwing £150 out of the window!

What about this thing? Has anybody tried it?

http://www.thomann.de/gb/american_dj_mydmx.htm
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby skipper01 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:45 pm

Funnily enough I'm in a similar position with an interest in going DMX for my piano/vocal and DJing. I've got desires to better manage and control my LED PowerBar, Scanners and MirrorBall effect with quick access Presets/Scenes. I'm feed up with footcontrols and handcontrols and am finding the sound modes quite OTT for Ballads and my piano sets.

I don't know too much about DMX yet but am thinking (through some investigation and what I've learnt) of getting a small PC laptop to run American DJ MyDMX software. Apparently a Mac version is going to available by the Spring (rumours!)

Ideally I'd like a hardware controller to run the Scenes that can hook-up to a computer/software rather than carting a laptop around.
I found a KAM product called KAM Standalone Controller that works in conjunction with Chromatex DMX editor software. I was advised that this software was not as easy or effective as the American DJ software - I can't comment as yet!

Good luck!
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby BOD2 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:46 pm

I've briefly used one of these in a school setting for basic stage lighting -

http://www.lancelynoxford.co.uk/products/zero-88-alcora-1224-lighting-desk-secondhand

It can control 12 or 24 separate DMX fixtures. You can operate it manually using the faders or you can store the fader positions in memory and recall them as required.

I spent an hour or so looking through the manual (readily available online) and it mostly made sense from that.

Seems to be fairly robust.
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby Dave Gate » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:54 pm

If you don't mind using a software controller then ChamSys is a professional product that can be run on any laptop; you'd just need to add a USB DMX interface.
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:33 pm

That looks really interesting - thanks! I'll call them tomorrow for recommendations on interface!
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby Dave Gate » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:57 am

We used to see a few LDs passing through our venue using it with a rack-mounted PC (always a PC for some reason, never a Mac), with a couple of touch screens and a hardware controller. We used it as a backup for if a desk packed up, on a fairly bog-standard Samsung laptop with a cheap interface that my mate had (I think he got it from CPC). You lose some busking ability by not having the touch screens and external faders and things, but it's perfectly usable without them.
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:42 am

I've just ordered one of their basic systems, so if it's pants, I'm blaming you!

I'm sure it'll be OK though - and this is one of those rare occasions when this forum works the way a forum should. Someone asks for advice, someone knowledgeable gives advice and the person doing the asking actually accepts the advice (as opposed to listening to the voices in his head!) and acts upon that advice!
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby grab » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:13 am

Beware of the voices in your head. Especially when they tell you that the teddy bears are plotting to take over the world, and the daffodils all hate you.

Oh, hallo nurse, is it time for my pills again...?
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Re: DMX controllers - cheap and easy to use?

Postby MarkPAman » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:48 am

BOD2 wrote:I've briefly used one of these in a school setting for basic stage lighting -

http://www.lancelynoxford.co.uk/products/zero-88-alcora-1224-lighting-desk-secondhand

It can control 12 or 24 separate DMX fixtures. You can operate it manually using the faders or you can store the fader positions in memory and recall them as required.

I spent an hour or so looking through the manual (readily available online) and it mostly made sense from that.

Seems to be fairly robust.

Just to correct something here. The Alcora can control up to 24 channels not fixtures. Way too small for what the OP has.
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