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Cheap Intelligent controllers?


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It appears that all the club lighting guys in this city are unreliable cokeheads http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/images/smiley_icons/icon_confused.gif As a result I've taken on the responsibility of searching for a new intel controller for one of the clubs I do sound at and will be programming it myself.


Upon a recent search of lighting desks I was amazed at how cheap some of these boards are that seem to have quite a lot of memory and features for 1-3 hundred dollars. The only other intel desk I'm familiar with and operated for two years is the Leviton MLC 16D. This board sells for over a grand and thats what I thought would be the ballpark of what the boss would have to spend.


We already have a Leviton N7016 for the par cans. Is it recommended to ditch that and get a hybrid that controls both?


Forgive my ignorance of lighting companies but how well does something like a Chauvet DMX-40B perform? I see it being sold for 120 and I can't get it out of my head that somehow we should be spending more money on an intelligent lighting controller. Even though its features list is plenty for what we'll be using.


Eventually we may have up to 10 trackspots, in two different sections of the club. Realistically I'll probably never use more than 30 to 40 scenes for this club.


One of the hybrids I was looking at is the Elation DMX Operator Pro. Again I was amazed that for under 400 you can get control of intelligent lights and par cans in one board.


I'd love to save the boss some money but is only spending a couple hundred bucks or less on an intel controller gonna lead to problems down the line?

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Main problem with cheap desks is lack of facilities to back up your programming. If the desk develops a fault / gets beer spilled over it, you'll have to start your programming from scratch, which can take many hours if your lighting rig is a decent size. Having said that, the Chauvet DMX-50 can dump its programming to another DMX-50, so you could buy 2 and keep one as a spare. (sorry, don't know if the DMX-40 has the same capabilities). I can certainly recommend the DMX-50, good build quality and nice blue leds! The Stairville DMX Master 1 (See Here) is very similar but a lot cheaper, although it doesn't have the dedicated strobe button.
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