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Congo jr and a leapfrog desk


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Get demos, read the manuals, see how easy they are to program. It's pointless us recommending one or the other, given that it's you that has to actually use the thing.


Alternately, what are you wanting the desk for, how many conventional channels, how many intelligent. What have you used before? What are you familiar with? That sort of thing.

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I'd go for the Congo Jr over the Leapfrog every time. A vastly superior desk, with the ability to run rings around the Leapfrog in almost every situation that I can think of (as long as you get the extra submaster wing as well!). But as others have said - get a demo of both, and see which one you prefer.
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It really depends on the situation. For us usability was a massive issue with such a large turnover of operators, and we really had to consider how easy the desk could be to use. Easy access to faders for channel levels was a useful benefit of the LF over the Congo Jr. On paper one may be much better than the other, but you definitely need to get your hands on them to have a closer look. Also consider the regularity of updates and quality of support etc.
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I prefer the Congo jnr. HOWEVER It takes time to learn and I would say it is alot less stable than the one we have. If we make any attempt to move the desk it gets stroppy and spends the next week or two crashing. We have also had instances of it deleting and modifying cues of it's own accord.
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HaHa - we all know Gareths hatered of anything Zero88 but they are both good desks I think.


As said, it all depends on your "useability" factor. Personally I prefer the LF only because of its immediate ease of use, but overall the JR comes out trumps in terms of what it can do - but the one downer is that, as said, its a little harder to get to know it.


Its horses for courses mate. Demo them both - get the reps to go through them carefully with you, making sure that you detail to them the venues and client user requirements. But dont just listen to sales blurb. Try and get to use both desks on a gig - and by then you will know which desk does the job to your satisfaction.



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It's not a 'hatred' - there are many things in life that I loath and despise far more than I do Zero88 desks. They have their merits, and there are situations to which they are quite suited. But the OP wasn't asking about Zero88 desks in isolation - he was looking for comparisons between a Leapfrog and a Congo Jr., with particular reference to reliability, ease of use, and personal preference (he specifically asked which one we'd each prefer!). I can't really comment on reliability (not really sufficient front-line experience of either desk to be able to comment on their resistance to falling over or breaking down when really pushed hard) ; for any user, apart possibly from one with absolutely zero previous experience on a memory desk, the Congo is, IMO, the friendliest desk (the initial learning curve might be a bit steeper, but once you get past that a Congo is going to leave a Leapfrog standing) ; and as for personal preference - well, I think that's quite clear! :P
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Hi Carwyn!


After hiring both desks for conferences to make a decision on which to buy as a replacement desk for our venue, I finally decided on the Congo Jr.

To be honest there was no contest from the start, but I wanted to try the LeapFrog for budget reasons. If we couldn't afford the Congo Jr, I wanted a second option.

Having used the Congo though, the decision was made for me. It IS a far superior desk. It DOES take time to get used to (especially as I'd never programmed an ETC before) but I've found that once it's set up, moving light busking is nearly as easy as a PearlI reckon it is the closest thing , programming is easy. Remembering how to do it next time is either not easy, or my memory is going...

I reckon it's the closest thing to a Strand 500 / Avo Pearl Hybrid in existence at the moment!

With a name like Carwyn I guess you're in Wales? If so, and if it's not too far, you're quite welcome to come to Caernarfon for a play. PM me if you wish.




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I reckon it's the closest thing to a Strand 500 / Avo Pearl Hybrid in existence at the moment!


Wow, my worst nightmare (Ok, that's really a 300) and one of my favourite consoles - all in one! That's a bit of a conundrum.


Well, what I reckoned is the desk has good Theatrical Playback (like a Strand 500) but also the Busking Capabilities (like a Pearl, which from my experience is PANTS for theatre stacking)


Either way, It's miles better than my worst nightmare, a Zero 88 Bull Frog, which was replaced by a Congo Jr.

(By the way, The Zero 88 fat Frog, I used to use ALL the time on conferences and gigs, and I quite liked. the Bull Frog for a Theatre I hate though)!!!


Cheers, peeps!

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First of all thank you for your comments.

is you probably guessed I'm from south wales (20mins from swansea)


I'm currently running a strand action 48, which has just broken down on me for good so I was looking for a desk that would basikally run anything in current theatre. and we are thinking of getting a fiew robes and a fiew scrollers. and as for training on a desk as I have heard from you guys it's probably best for me to have a congo jr as we have a phew touring company's in and quit a phew amature & professional groups in so as for getting to know a desk I might as well get myself familiar with a congo jr


any more coments are welcome :P

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I can't comment on the 'frogs, as the last generation of Z88 kit I was at all familiar with was pre-moving lights - sirrus series.


But I can say that the congo jr will be a huge upgrade on the Action 48, and will put you on a par with most professionally equipped theatres in terms of control.


worth the learning curve, I'd say.

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I have had real front line experiance on both the fat frog, and the congo jnr. The venue I spend most of my time in has both. Here is my opinion. Over all I would go for the Congo jnr.


Congo jnr (the good!)

  • I like the jam mode and buskability.
  • Once you get yourhead around direct selects they can be very usefull.
  • The palletes work in a very simular way to the pearl.
  • The theatre stack is very good once you get used to the prgramming (remembering to hit the all button :nerd: )
  • Programming subs is a doddle, I also like the fact you can name them without having to stick tape every were.
  • I like the fact you can use the mouse to select things, (I'm guessing you could use a touch screen to do this?)
  • The fact you can make up plan views with different symbols, We have found it very usefull having lots of visiting companyies coming in who don't know the rig or the desk.
  • I like the 'tap' feature for setting timings on chases live.
  • I like the fact I can home only certain attributes.
  • I like the fact I can choose EXACTLY what I do and don't want to record into each cue.

  • Congo jnr (the bad)
  • Our desk hasn't been the most reliable. if we move it say to the auditorium it has a tendancy to start crashing and loosing information.
  • We have had it less than a ear and it has already been sent off twice.
  • I don't like the fact you cant put times on colour palettes or beam palettes.
  • The radio riggers remote is the stupidest most annoying piece of rubbish ever.

  • Frog (The good)
  • Easy to use.
  • Cheap.
  • Reliable never had any issues.
  • Has palletes.

  • Frog (the bad)
  • Lacks a keypad for selecting lamps.
  • Limits the amount of channels and moving lights you can have.
  • I find the screen and GUI a bit rubbish.
  • Controlling movers is very sensitive.
  • No times on palettes.

All of these are my views only.

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Andy, Gareth and others... I think its worth pointing out that the OP is looking at the Leap Frog 48 (or 96) which are the new desks, running entirely different software and hardware to the 'original' Frog range which you are familiar with.


To address Andy's "bad" comments above, the Leap Frogs (new generation) have...


*MFKs, selectable in Keypad mode for channel access

*2048 channels directly outputting from the desk, patchable any way you wish.

*A much improved GUI

*Adjustable wheel sensitivity

*Timed palette crossfading


As well as the above, there are many improvements which were driven directly from feedback on our own forums, the Blue Room and from end user development meetings. If you'd like any more information, take a look at the Wiki entry and our website.


If you'd like to pop along to the Zero 88 offices or any of our dealers and take a look at the desk, I'm sure you'll be very surprised by what we've done with the range.




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