Console Series Comparison Guide

  • Hi,

    Will a series comparison guide be released soon? I was really looking forward to the launch of the new series because it might fit our venues better, but I'm really concerned by the incompatibility with other MA Product lines mentioned in the forum.

    We have two venues still running Full-size MA1 consoles, and two running onPC command wings. We have several smaller venues we would like to upgrade to MA consoles, but they are too small to justify the cost of MA2 light. We would however like the capability to move consoles between rooms for rare special occasions. Also, one of our big reasons wanting to switch the smaller venues to MA is standardization. Dot2 looks similar, but different which might not help on the standardization front.

    Anyway, will you be releasing a guide which will help determine which console family will be most appropriate in various scenarios? If so, when?



  • In my opinion, the difference of the two ranges, is more about the user(s) than the type or size of venue or rig:

    the dot2 range is suitable for people who do not work full time as a lighting operator, while the grandMA2 is suitable for people who operates consoles for a living.

  • Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for the response.

    I can understand creating a separate GUI interface for different user types. Further, I can see that benefiting from changes to the physical interface. I am very saddened however by having a completely incompatible back line. We are an environment that would benefit greatly from an optimized interface for non-full time lighting designers in some venues, but not others. As a facility however we would like to standardize our equipment. From a systems perspective I would prefer interchangeable nodes and consoles that can talk to each other.

    I was really hoping the new MA console would be a great fit for our smaller venues at a proportionally lower price point. I was really gungho on GrandMA all the way. Now however, I'm going to be taking serious looks at competitors products now. Going with a competitor is now no more difficult perhaps even easier and more affordable without paying the MA premium.

  • Hi Bill,
    Where are you.
    Have you been in touch with your local MA Distributor to discuss your requirements and concerns.

    Meanwhile I will attempt to address some of the issues you raise;

    -Compatibility of Consoles-
    Easy to say, but what does it really mean.
    How many shows do you have that are 'Pre-programmed', and how many are Programmed 'From Scratch', starting fresh from Set-up/Load-in through Rehearsals or Sound Check. How often do you need to transfer a 'Show File' from one Console to another.

    Considering transfer from gMA2 to dot2. There are obvious challenges here, the dot2 Executor Fader has only 2x Function Buttons, so for every gMA2 Executor one Function Button is lost, how to determine which one. The gMA2 Executor Buttons and Fader Function Buttons can have many Functions assigned to them, not all of these are available in the simplified and reduced Button Function Options offered in dot2.
    The compact form of the dot2 Consoles mean that the Touch Screens are much smaller than gMA2, what happens to gMA2 Views in this case.
    That's just scratching the surface, if you dig deeper there are endless combinations of gMA2 'Setup' options and 'User' choices that would be difficult or impossible to map into dot2, not to mention all the ways that Playbacks can be configured.
    To enable gMA2 to be imported into dot2 would need dot2 to be gMA2 in a smaller box, thus you'd have massive 'Feature Creep' taking the dot 2 away from its intended purpose of being an Easy To Use Console for Less Experienced Users, and burdening it (and the User) with all the complex configuration options that could be so off-putting to someone when first confronted with gMA2.

    Moving a Show the other way, dot2 to gMA2 is more straightforward, I believe there is a Showfile Converter 'in the Works'. And there is the precedent of how gMA1 Shows could be imported into gMA2.

    -Compatibility for Users-
    The overall 'Look and Feel' of dot2 and gMA2 is quite similar.
    Doing some recent Demos of dot2 for a Lighting head of department and a Company manager, (both might be characterised as gMA2 Power Users) they agreed that this console would be perfect for their less experienced staff, and ideal for the Technician who is sometimes called upon to also Operate a straightforward show after rigging the fixtures.
    More interesting was their conclusion that they themselves would be happy to stand behind the desk to run a show that didn't need especially complex programming. The 'Conversion' of a gMA2 User to dot2 takes only a very short time.
    We also considered that for someone who has built up some time using dot2 and become comfortable with it, everything they learn there would be a good stepping stone to later move on up to gMA2.

    -Compatibility of 'Back End'-
    Whilst it is true that gMA2 and dot2 Nodes are not compatible there is a common Protocol that can to some extent alleviate this. Both types of console can output Artnet, and gMA2 Nodes (and NSP) can receive Artnet. So where the DMX does not come directly out of the Console, but is distributed via network, there is at least one solution.
    In either the case of a 'Pure' dot2, or gMA2, networked system the same Cat5 or Fibre infrastructure can be used.
    If the Nodes are 'loose' or 'freestanding' and not physically installed in Racks or wall-mounted, then they could 'travel' with the Consoles between venues and hook into the installed Network and DMX lines when they arrive.
    I agree it could be frustrating that gMA2 and dot2 Nodes are not currently interchangeable. I'm not privy to the ultimate reasons for this, so I can't comment further.

    -Optimum use of inventory-
    Without knowing your circumstances I can only speculate.
    In a typical 'Small Space' used for, say, Studio Theatre, Conferences and Presentations a dot2 Core would be a good start, with a Main Playback stack for a 'Cued' performance and some Fader and Button Executors for 'Specials'. Alternatively where only simple Scenes or Moods are needed then one Fader or Button Executor per 'Look'.
    If there are Musical Performances where the User does not have the luxury of programming 'Page per Song' but is 'Busking' or 'Punting', the the addition of one or more F/B Wings would be an advantage if not a necessity. If the Space is used predominantly for Music, then consider an XL-F for starters, with the option to add another Wing as needed.
    It may be that equipping each Space with a Core or XL-F whilst holding one or more Wings to share and allocate as needed could be a suitable solution.

    In the spaces that currently have gMA1 then an XL-F + F-Wing would be a reasonable 'Drop-in' replacement. My own experience is that many shows run on gMA1 often end up using only one Page of Executors, each with a single Cue, whether this is for a Conference, Fashion Show, or 'one-off' Concert. I can think of quite a few shows I've done with gMA1, or even gMA2 that could just as easily have been done with dot2.

    Where the requirement is for more Advanced Programming you already have your gMA2 OnPC, and considering that a Command Wing and 2 Fader Wings combined with an 'All-in-One Touch PC' and Touch Monitor gives most of the functionality of a Full Size, minus the Motorised Faders, you have a credible solution to offer when a gMA2 Light or Fullsize is specified for the Show.

    I would not be surprised if over time some of your dot2 Users might develop the curiosity and ambition to graduate to gMA2.
    It is not inconceivable that there is a combination of dot2 and gMA2 components that can meet your operational and budget requirements.

    I would be curious to know what other brand of Lighting Control System you might consider, and how well it too could suit all your circumstances.

    Once again, I suggest that you discuss your requirements with your local MA distributor, or you could post here detailing more specifically your situation to see what alternatives may be suggested by the Forum members.


    Edited 3 times, last by Nige Lites (April 8, 2015 at 5:34 AM).

Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!