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New lighting rig - thoughts welcome


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Hi all,

newbie here looking for your comments and suggestions. We've decided to start upgrading out lighting rig (mainly used for 6pc live soul band) and I have proposed the following:


8 x PAR56 300w cans (2 x tripods)

4 x Martin SCX500 (rear truss)

4 x Martin Acrobat (rear truss)

4 x Martin Minimacs (on or in front of stage)

JEM Hazer Machine


I'm open to any alternatives, maybe LED PAR's, scanners with rotating gobos, better moving heads, anything really!


We have a cheep and cheerful Showtec 48ch DMX desk which we will replace eventually, it was just to get us started really. I've been playing with Light Jockey a bit and think I'd like to go that route eventually.


Any thoughts??

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Seems a mighty fine list assuming you want to look like a disco?


What do you need - highlighting for individual band members, general wash in multiple colours?


Do you have an op, or is it a push button and let it get on with it rig?


Maybe a hazer will let you see the beams? With the disco style kit, the beams would look quite good. The only thing I'd watch is that lots of your kit are quite narrow beam angled lighting - so used close in, they don't actually do much?

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well cheesy disco isn't really the target, the desk will be operated by our young trainee LD! I'm of the opinion that sometimes less is more, I definately do not want everything on all of the time with random rainbow colours flying all over the place. I'd like to make full use of the Stage Washes and only use the Scanners for effect when required.


We just want a good classy lighting show really. I'm not 100% sold on the Acrobats for stage use and many reports I've read of the Minimac suggest it is no use on a band stage competing with PARs.


I'm open minded so will investigate all suggestions really :blink:

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I don't have any experience with any of the lights talked about, but just got the martin acrobats up on there website and watched the video. I think with a soul band they would look a bit cheesy unless they are controlled well with DMX, also, don't take my word for it but you may not be able to see them with the 8 pars as well. I think it may be a similar case with the SCX500's.


I think maybe if you got just 2 of them and then used them affectively they would be good but I think 2 of each will be enough and you can spend the rest on something different.


I think apart from that, they will be very good. Maybe a option would be to get a few more par 56s and put them on the rear of the stage facing forwards onto the band with blues, whites gels in them.


Just a thought,



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Hmm interesting. Rear PAR's always looks well when done right I will admit. I'm thinking of scrapping the Acrobats altogether and as you suggest about only getting 2 of each perhaps looking at a better fixture.


I will insist upon the useage of scanners to remain tasteful at all times and let the following DJ take care of the cheesy Phoenix Nights lights :blink:


Keep 'em coming folks!

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No disrespect to dayve, but he said he has no experience of any of this kit and has watched the video on the web site. So maybe this should be considered as a kind of guess?


Assuming you want a decent look, then you need to consider two aspects here.

1. What the band look like when lit by the equipment, and

2. What the lights themselves look like, as an effect.


I think if I was doing this project now, I would give some serious thought to LED PAR washes - they are individually not that bright - still less than your PAR56-300W fixtures you were thinking about. The difference is that let's say you want a three colour wash - red , blue and yellow. This means that only a third of your PARS will be on to generate this - with the LEDS, they'll all be on . Close in they might be just the thing. Maybe even a row at the back with conventional PAR 300W versions on the front stands - that way you could have front light that is punchy, and back light that can be any colour - or, witha decent control, used as an effect with loads of chase and flash possibilities. How about some colour changers floor mounted that you can make fan shapes, crosses etc with? Stuff with gobos may work if they get to spread enough. Movers will in small stage areas, just be waggle about things - they move and change colour but can't do much else. To use them as 'features' that can perhaps select the drummer on cue, or isolate band members does need a bigger space and some way of getting them up and further away - which might be difficult.


My advice is stop worrying about brands and concentrate on what you need them to do - then you'll be able to produce a shopping list.


Disco kit can (and frequently does) produce horrible 70's disco effects when used poorly. You'll also need to be careful about how much power will be required - do the venues you use have more than just a few 13A sockets dotted around? Without a decent power supply, then you may not even be able to power it all up?


I've done this kind of thing for long enough to squirm at bands with poorly thought through lighting - some are really good, but the audience rarely see faces, just flashy flashy splodges of colour that leave them mostly playing in the dark.

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Yep, I'm with adam on that - original Mac 250s are really quite cheap these days, and I've never heard any really good reports on the minimacs. Perhaps, instead of four, you could go for 2 macs, and a few CP miniscans, or smaller martin roboscans (518s?) for the back truss.
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I would go with the Robe fixtures, and I believe that they do have a better build quality etc, and they may work out cheaper.


But this is getting back into the same old 'which mover is better' thread.


And with your mention of LED fixtures, I would invest in four, if not eight, to use instead of Pars. They can eliminate the need for dimmer racks, as they will run on 13A, as long as you get your power calculations correct.

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Ok let me catch up!


Budget is unspecified at the mo, but as we'll be purchasing in sections over the coming months it is possible to perhaps look at some of the more costly fixtures. Mac250's are definately an option I had considered, them and the Minimacs are about the only Martin heads we could realistically afford. Anything bigger is just way out of our range.


I have looked extensively at the Robe website and have heard very good reports, they do a 250w Profile head for around €1200 which seems decent enough. That said, for a couple of hundred quid more we'd get some Mac's. We currently own one Minimac which works well for a small stage wash or minor use but I will admit I doubt it's ability to perform powerfully in a bigger rig. Pity!


I've no preference to a particular brand name, but in fairness the Martin gear is a good reference point to which I can reasonably compare price and spec. And the videos on the site are handy but probably not a true representation of their real world application.


Regarding power, I have to be prepared that most of the rooms will not have dedicated lighting phase power so I have to be very aware of the power draw. With this in mind I am seriously considering the LED's for stage wash due to their low power & heat consumption, my main worry is that the LED's may not match the warmness of traditional PAR's. But I've some LED's on the way so I can do an A-B reference in the next fortnight.


I'm having a bit of a mind melt trying to decide what scanners or moving heads to consider though!

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I Haven't done much posting here for a while so thought I'd say something.


From what I gather you currently have:


1x 48Ch DMX desk

1x Minimac..


..and you Require:


1)Run off standard venue 32A ring main (13 skt's)

2)easy to use (Trainee LD)

3)easy maintence (Trainee LD)

4)Classy Effect

5)easy setup (Band setup time restraints?)

6)occassional special


On that basis, I would definately go for LED's for main washes (covering point one).


In this case, I think you need to plan this rig carefully, building up from the necessities.


Step 1) General Wash


Here, I would go for two T bars, with 4/6 LED Par 64's on each. Each bar could be prewired and then the entire bar, with pars attached, could be removed, and placed in a flightcase for easy rig/ derig, transport and storage (easy setup, point 5 covered). Mount these on two powerdrive/ similar stands. For now keep the 48 Ch desk, as you can run multiple pars off the same DMX channels as required.


You will also need DMX cable. Power distribution won't be too bad as you are running DMX units, but you will have to run a 13A feed to each T bar.


Step 2) Expansion


Things get a bit more varied here, and there are loads of ways you can go, depending on budget, space, transport ability, requirements, etc ........, you get the idea. But I would be looking for things such as:


1) backlight across back of stage

2) Sidelight

3) Uplighting drum riser

4) Use of specials (moving heads/ scanners)


This is where I feel the LD's individuality comes into play, only the person who can see the stage and works with the band knows what will really work and what won't, we can just make guesses (Be them educated or not).


May I advise, that you stick with a basic setup as above for a few shows, get familiar with that setup, and then see what would like to add to it. Remember you can always hire kit in for a few shows to see if it works or not.





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Cheers Daniel some good comments there. Along with the Minimac we also currently have some PAR's, an MX1, a CX2 and 2 cheapo DMX disco lights.


I've some LED's coming soon so I'll have a better idea about them very shortly, they certainly seem to solve a few problems in one, I just want to see how they look to my naked eye.


I like your suggestion about the T Bars pre-wired and flightcased, that was something I was aiming for all along, just have to get a case to fit. It really looks like the LEDs could be ideal for our application and I'm hoping they don't let me down!


Regarding expansion, we have 3 vans so the option is there should we decide to add on later. The main thing is that we can add on if or when the time comes. More and more I'm coming round to the idea of some kind of rear and side washes, if not traditional PAR's then maybe those new Floor based LED wall washers? We rarely get the luxury of a drum riser so a bog standard floor par could do for that I think. The moving heads & scanners is where I think I really have to be careful. We were seriously dissappointed with the MX1's durability, especially the overly exposed mirror which needless to say we cracked in no time. The CX2 just doesn't do enough, although I can probably see some advantage in hanging onto it for rear spots.


Our trainee LD will be under my close supervision, we couldn't find any experienced LD's so instead decided to train in a youngster to serve our needs and show him step by step what we want. It's minimal cost for us and a good work experience for him. Eventually I will get working on some Lightjockey scenes and maybe run everything from a laptop but I may reconsider in favour of a decent lighting desk. But I think the desk we have now will do for the time being.


What I am now considering for the is the following:

2 x EFX800 (or perhaps Wizard??)

2 x SCX700 (with rotating gobo's & separate colour wheel)

2 or 4 Mac 250's or an alternative like Robe Colour Spot 250 (on floor)

Some rear & side Colour Changing PAR's

6-8 Front Washes (hopefully LED)


That sound better?



Why not speak to the distributors of Robe and Martin in your area. They may be able to come up with some kind of 'package', which will fit your needs.

The Martin dealers around Dublin are mostly AV companies who we have found less than accomodating. Also their sales dept for bands is virtually non existant, they mostly gear towards the large venues & corporate sector. That's kinda why I've ended up here! :blink: :(

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