Jump to content

Best desk for small touring theater


Recommended Posts

Hello! What is the best light desk for small touring company?


We use less than 40 light points, usually 12-24 channels, no inteligent lights. We do not want to lose time and energy for cueing every time diffrent light desk.


So the ideal desk should have:



cueing possibility, with fade in, fade out times.

possibility to insert cue between two cues.

way to store diffrent shows (memory card, floppy, posiility to connect computer)


DMX patching


these features are optional:


0-!0V output

support for moving lights

VGA output

MIDI support


Price is main issue. Will any computer system (dongle + software + computer) be cheaper than "normal" desk?





Link to comment
Share on other sites

If price is REALLY an issue, perhaps a Zero88 Alcora would fit the bill - fine for simple sequential playback of up to 99 cues. Or maybe even a second-hand Sirius - in many ways they're the work of the devil, but there's lots of them around on the second-hand market right now and as long as you only want to do fairly simple stuff and don't mind working with a very bizarre programming method they're OK.


If you can afford it, though, you'd be better off with one of the smaller models from either the Strand 300-series or ETC Express range. Both are very accomplished, extremely capable theatre style desks which will do everything in your list apart from 0-10v output.


Will any computer system (dongle + software + computer) be cheaper than "normal" desk?

No. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If price is REALLY an issue, perhaps a Zero88 Alcora would fit the bill

I don't think so, for several reasons...

* the OP asked for "fade in, fade out" times, which I read as different up/ down times, and the Alcora uses a common up/ down time (which is also not stored with the cue, it must be recreated manually each time using a non-linear rotary control!)

* you can't create insert cues on the Alcora

* no submasters (need the Elara for that, which IIRC loses you the stack capability)

* don't think it's got DMX patch either, but I could be wrong on that


It also misses most of the optionals as well...


If the OP can run to a 300, that would definitely do (very) nicely.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just making some small assumptions re. the Alcora and the Behringer desk - I've never actually used either of them (I don't tend to encounter desks of that size very often!).


I know you said that budget is an issue, but it seems to me that if you can get the funds together your best course of action would be to buy one of the small Strand 300-series desks. You can get a bottom-of-the-range one (the 24/48 with 50-channel software) for around the £3k mark (possibly a little less) if you shop around. This is more expensive than the smaller desks which have been mentioned in this thread so far, but you do get a lot of desk for your money.


I notice you're based in Poland - I don't know what the lighting desk market is like over there, but in the UK at least the Strand GeniusPro software is very popular - the majority of theatres have desks which run it (300 or 500 series). The advantage here would be that you'd have show files in a format that could be used on many in-house desks in touring venues - just insert the disk, load the file, and go - as an alternative to unpacking your own desk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have recently had the chance to play with a some very nifty little desks, which seem almost perfect for you, with-out costing much at all. I remember being suprised at the price. These are the zip desks, they come in 6, 12 and 18 fader sizes and output 24 DMX channels (36 for the 12 and 18), they also have analogue outs, which is what I liked most (flexiblilty is key for a tech. production company!)





I have the price in the office somewhere (I'm at home now!)... mail me at mark@evolutionlondon.com if you're interested after reading up on it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you can pick up a Strand GSX second hand, then grab it! IMHO it's an ideal touring desk as it's very compact for its features and easy to use. Has VGA, MIDI and D54 outputs, which can be handy sometimes. It can cope with scrollers but not moving lights so easily.


If not then probably a 200 series. I've not used one, but it appears to have slightly less features.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.