Control Consoles

Parlights offers a wide range of lighting control consoles to meet the requirements and budget of every facility. From manual two-scene preset desks to full featured Broadway-level consoles (and everything in between) we have the resources and the expertise to match you with the best console for your application.

We also offer a full range of signal converters, DMX “snapshot” backup controllers, and lighting control accessories.

What follows are descriptions of the various levels of control consoles available today, along with a sampling of the consoles available from Parlights. Other makes and models are available, so if you don’t see what you want, or if you have any questions about what controller is best for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We love helping our customers find exactly the equipment they need!

 

 


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING A CONSOLE: 

  • Not all consoles are created equal. Speak with our knowledgeable staff to find the best console for your needs.
  • Before buying, ask if you can have a demonstration of the console. We would be happy provide a demo for you.
  • You should always ask for at least one on-site training session on your new  console.
  • For High Capacity and Mid Range consoles, a second training session, about six months after the initial session, can be helpful to answer questions that come up once you’ve used the console on a few shows.
  • If your venue has frequent staff turn-over (at a high school or college, for example) you should ask about annual or bi-annual training sessions.

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High Capacity Control Consoles – Representing the State of the Art in Lighting Control

High capacity control consoles are designed for users who need to control large numbers of dimmers, moving lights, LED fixtures, and other devices; users who frequently program complex shows; or applications where a single console may be used to control multiple venues at once.

These consoles have the ability to output several universes of DMX512 across hundreds – or even thousands – of control channels. They also come preloaded with a library of intelligent lighting fixture attributes, simplifying the set-up and patching of those fixtures, and a library of effects to create complex patterns of light, pattern, and color.

Complementing the software, high-capacity consoles also have dedicated hardware features for control of moving lights. The most common of these are encoder wheels or knobs, which allow the programmer to quickly select position, color, and gobo attributes across multiple fixtures.

While a high capacity console allows a programmer to create Broadway quality shows, most are designed with a gentle learning curve. With a basic training session, new users can quickly learn to operate the console at a basic level, building more complex programs as they become familiar with the advanced features of the desk.

PERFECT FOR:

  • Users who demand the maximum level of control over their lighting.
  • Professional theatres & “road houses,” where the user may be required to create complex lighting shows in a limited amount of time.
  • Any venue that frequently uses moving lights, LED fixtures, color scrollers, or any of the many other DMX-controlled devices available today.

Strand Lighting's Light Palette Classic

 

The Light Palette Series by Strand Lighting

  • Computer-controlled consoles with Windows embedded OS and Dual Core processors for maximum performance.
  • Abstract Control Model allows the programmer to “talk” to intelligent lighting fixtures using real-world coordinates and language. [note:
  • PaletteOS software can be operated in command line or “point and click” mode, making it accessible to beginners, yet fast and powerful for experienced programmers.
  • PaletteOS software connects to Strand Lighting ShowNet for DMX distribution, remote focus units, remote video, tracking back-ups, multiple console environments, and more.
  • Four DMX outputs to connect to traditional / non-Shownet systems.
  • Operating software controls a maximum of 8000 channels / moving light attributes.
  • Cue list can hold an unlimited number of cues.
  • PaletteOS can read show files from legacy Series 500 and 300 consoles, making it a great choice for upgrading an existing console.
  • Off-line editor software is identical to console software, allowing programmers to write complete shows as if they are sitting at the console.
  • Computers running the PaletteOS off-line software can log into the console via a wired or wireless connection, allowing them to serve as designer’s remote stations or remote focus devices.
  • Internal hard drive and USB “thumb drive” for show storage and loading.
  • Dedicated wired and wireless controllers are also available.

The Grand MA Console from MA Lighting

The grandMA2 by MA Lighting

  • Real-time control for up to 65,536 parameters per session in connection with MA NPU (equivalent to 256 DMX universes).
  • 6 DMX outputs for connection to traditional DMX systems.
  • 3 internal 15.4” LCD touch screens.
  • 1 internal 9” multi-touch command screen.
  • Support for 2 external LCD monitors – either standard or touch screen.
  • 30 motorized executor faders.
  • Built-in uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
  • Individually backlit and dimmable silent (clickless) keys.
  • GrandMA2 consoles can read grandMA ‘series 1’-showfiles and is able to run in a special ‘series 1’-mode. That means full compatibility with ‘series 1’-sessions.
  • Optional wireless control software runs on Apple iPad (iPad included).

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Mid Range Control Consoles – Professional Features in Affordable Packages

Mid range control consoles include many of the same features of high capacity consoles. They are designed for users who need a similar level of control as that available in the high capacity consoles, but who are willing to give up some features and ease-of-use for the sake of affordability.

Like high capacity consoles, mid-range consoles can be programmed with cue lists: sequences of lighting looks that are played back simply by pressing a “go” button. Using cue lists, a more experienced programmer can create a complex show that an inexperienced console operator can run.

Mid-range consoles typically come in a “two-scene preset” configuration with faders for individual lighting channels and submasters to control groups of channels together. This configuration provides an intuitive means of control for the  inexperienced user; move a channel fader up and the associated light comes on.

In two-scene mode, the user can have one lighting scene or “look” running on one half of the console, while the next scene is being set-up on the other half. A pair of cross-fader sliders then switch the console to the next scene.

A two-scene preset console can also be operated in single-scene mode. In this mode, both halves of the console are combined and the console can control twice the number of channels. Single-scene mode is used to program submasters, or for shows in which multiple looks are not needed.

The most common two-scene configurations allow control of 12, 24, 32, or 48 channels in two-scene mode, and 24, 48, 64, or 96 channels (respectively) in single-scene mode.

Because mid range consoles provide both cue list and two-scene operation, they are a good choice for middle- and high-school theaters. Students start by learning “this slider brings up that light,” and move on to programming submasters and creating cue lists.

PERFECT FOR:

  • Users who need control similar to that of a high-capacity console, and are willing to trade some ease-of-use for the sake of affordability.
  • Churches, universities, and high schools where both experienced programmers and inexperienced operators will use the console.
  • Venues that use some intelligent lighting fixtures and DMX devices.

Strand Lighting's Classic Palette II

The Palette Series by Strand Lighting

  • Manual / memory consoles offer traditional fader operation plus memory
  • Graphical user interface with mouse for “point and click” operation.
  • Abstract Control Model allows the programmer to “talk” to intelligent lighting fixtures using real-world coordinates and language.
  • Connects to ShowNet for DMX distribution, remote focus units, remote video, tracking back-ups, multiple console environments, and more.
  • Two DMX outputs to connect to traditional / non-Shownet systems.
  • Available with up to 3000 channels of control.
  • Cue list can hold an unlimited number of cues.
  • Independent Crossfaders with “Go” buttons
  • Support for two video monitors (LCD or touch screen).
  • PaletteOS can read show files from legacy Series 500 and 300 consoles, making it a great choice for upgrading an existing console.
  • Off-line editor software is identical to console software, allowing programmers to write complete shows as if they are sitting at the console.
  • Computers running the PaletteOS off-line software can log into the console via a wired or wireless connection, allowing them to serve as designer’s remote stations or remote focus devices.
  • Internal hard drive and USB “thumb drive” for show storage and loading.
  • Dedicated wired and wireless controllers are also available.

 

Pathway Cognito Control Console

 

The Pathway Connectivity COGNITO

  • Up to 1024 output channels
  • No practical limit on the number of Memories, Cues or Playlists
  • Pathport Protocol, ANSI E1.31 sACN and Art-Net
  • Power-over-Ethernet operation
  • Convection cooled – fanless, silent operation
  • Natural language control uses”real-world” terms and values, not channel numbers and DMX levels
  • Continually maintained fixture library of over 1000 commonly available multi-attribute lights
  • 7″ capacitive touchscreen
  • Context-sensitive help overlays
  • Color backlit faders, buttons and encoders
  • Twenty pageable channel/memories faders with configurable bump buttons
  • Two playbacks, each with an intensity fader, GO button and PAUSE button
  • Four rotary encoder wheels with associated tool buttons
  • “PIN” button for 2-scene operation
  • Four shortcut buttons for selection of Intensity, Color, Position and Shape fixture attributes
  • Four shortcut buttons for Help, Edit, Record and Release functions
  • Two DMX512-A output ports
  • One DMX512-A input port
  • DIN5 ports for MIDI IN, OUT and THRU
  • Two USB ports on the top panel, for saving shows or powering LED worklight (not included)
  • Two USB ports on rear panel for peripherals such as mice and keyboards
  • Rackmount option
  • neatoTM  iOS app extensions for remote control of lights and memory playback

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Leprecon's LPX24 Console

The LP-X Series by Leprecon

  • Fader and keypad control up to 192 control channels.
  • An up-to-date library of intelligent fixture attributes is included.
  • Control of color, beam, intensity, and focus attributes, with individual fade times for each.
  • Effects generator allows for quick programming of moving lights.
  • 20 Pages of 6 Playbacks can be used to run the console in concert (or rock-n-roll) mode.
  • Theatrical cue list with “go” button can hold up to 1,000 cues.
  • Two Littlelite Worklamps are included with the console.
  • Support for 1 external monitor (LCD or touch screen).
  • Up to 1024 DMX 512 outputs via traditional DMX connections.
  • Internal 3.5″ disk drive for show storage and loading.

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ENTRY LEVEL CONTROL CONSOLES – VALUE, FUNCTION, AND RELIABILITY

Entry level control consoles are designed for users who don’t need the advanced control features of high capacity and mid range consoles. These consoles have basic two-scene or single-scene operation, sometimes with submaster capability and a cue stack.

Entry level consoles come in a “two-scene preset” configuration with faders for individual lighting channels. This configuration provides an intuitive means of control for the  inexperienced user; move a channel fader up and the associated light comes on.

In two-scene mode, the user can have one lighting scene or “look” running on one half of the console, while the next scene is being set-up on the other half. A pair of cross-fader sliders then switch the console to the next scene.

A two-scene preset console can also be operated in single-scene mode. In this mode, both halves of the console are combined, allowing the console to control twice the number of channels. Single-scene mode is used to program submasters or for shows in which multiple looks are not needed.

The most common two-scene configurations for entry level consoles are 12 or 24 channels in two-scene mode, and 24 or 48 channels (respectively) in single-scene mode.

An entry level console, in combination with portable lighting stands and dimmers, can make a good portable lighting system for outdoor venues or temporary performance spaces.

PERFECT FOR:

  • Users who only need basic control of a few dimmers or DMX devices.
  • Small churches, elementary schools, night clubs, coffee houses, and other small performance venues.
  • Touring performers who need to provide their own lighting equipment.

Leprecon LP-600 Console

The LP-600 by Leprecon

  • Two scene preset mode allows manual control of lighting.
  • LP-600 consoles can control up to 96 dimmers on 12 or 24 faders.
  • Chase memory function makes it easy to program chases and make lighting run a continuous pattern.
  • LP-600 consoles include a cue stack with “go” button, for playback of a show using one button to advance scene to scene.

Strand Lighting's 200+ Control Console

200 Plus by Strand Lighting

  • Six available operation modes: Single Scene, Two Scene, Submaster, Moving Light, LED and FX Playback.
  • Control 512 channels, 12 moving lights, and 12 LED fixtures.
  • 12 FX stacks, with 48 steps per stack.
  • 12 submaster pages, with 24 submasters per page, for a total of 288 submasters.
  • Support for external video display.
  • USB “thumb drive” for show storage and loading.

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Snapshot / Preset Recall Controllers – Reliable Back-Up For Your Control Console

Snapshot, or preset recall, controllers are designed to be used in conjunction with a DMX control console. These controllers record the output of a console (the “snapshot” function), and can then play back or “recall” that output even when the control console is not connected to the system.

A preset recall controller is often used as a back up to an existing control console. In the event that the console should fail or otherwise be taken out of the lighting system, the preset recall controller can offer basic control over the lights. This allows the user to continue using the lighting system until the main console is restored.

Because a preset recall controller is a simple push-button device, it is perhaps the easiest lighting controller to use. Once a scene has been recorded, all a user needs to know is “for this event, I press this button.” This makes a preset recall station a good choice for situations in which the lights may need to be controlled by volunteers or other untrained personnel.

Preset recall controllers can also be useful in situations where access to the control console needs to be limited. A preset recall controller mounted on a wall outside the control room allows students and staff to control lights, without risk of the main console being damaged or stolen.

PERFECT FOR:

  • Users who want peace of mind that their lighting system won’t go dark if their main console should fail.
  • Churches, restaurants, night clubs, and other venues where untrained staff will operate the lighting system.
  • Users who need to control access to the main control console.

Lightronics SR-516W

SR-516W Snapshot / Preset Recall Station by Lightronics

  • Snapshot recording and control of up to 512 DMX channels.
  • SR-516W can store up to 16 scenes in 2 banks of 8 scenes each.
  • Scenes can be programmed to play back with fade times from 0 seconds to 99 minutes.
  • The controller also includes an off switch to shut down lights when the space is not in use.
  • Scenes can be played back in either “pile-on” or “scene exclusive” mode.
  • Lockout function (selected by a dip-switch setting inside the device) prevents the accidental overwriting or erasure of pre-recorded scenes.
  • Three configurable contact closures allow the SR-516W to be controlled by Lightronics Simple Remote stations or other non-DMX devices.

Doug Fleenor Design Preset 10

Preset 10 Architectural Station by Doug Fleenor Design

  • Snapshot recording and control of up to 512 DMX channels.
  • Preset 10 can store up to 10 scenes.
  • Presets can be programmed to play back with fade times from 0 to 999 seconds.
  • When the Preset 10 detects DMX output from the console, it will go offline and the console will operate normally.
  • If no DMX is present, the Preset 10 will either return to its last preset, or hold the last look generated by the console. (Selectable via a jumper setting inside the device.)

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DMX Signal Converters & Splitters – Take Control of Any Device

In some situations, you may need to convert a DMX-512 signal to an older multiplex protocol. This allows you to connect a new control console to a legacy dimming system. Occasionally, the reverse is true: you want to upgrade to a new dimming system, but aren’t ready to upgrade the control console as well. These situations call for a protocol converter, which can “translate” between DMX and other control “languages.” A DMX converter has receptacles for the DMX connectors and the connectors for other equipment.

It is important when choosing a DMX converter to discuss your needs with a theatrical equipment dealer. Your dealer can help you choose the correct converter for the equipment you are using. Not all converters will communicate with every device, so be sure to tell your dealer what equipment you are using.

In other situations, you may need to send the signal from a DMX control console to multiple devices. For example, you may want to control dimming equipment as well as LED fixtures or moving lights. A DMX splitter provides a simple means to do just that. DMX splitters have a single DMX input receptacle and several DMX output receptacles.

You should never build or purchase DMX “Y” cables. The DMX protocol requires devices to be connected in a daisy-chain to prevent signal corruption. A DMX splitter with isolated outputs allows a single DMX input to be split across multiple outputs without the signal being corrupted.

PERFECT FOR:

  • Users who need to connect legacy equipment to new equipment.
  • Users who wish to send DMX signal to multiple devices.
  • Users who often rent additional dimmers or intelligent lighting equipment.

Pathway  DMX Ultimate Convertor

DMX Ultimate Converter by Pathway Connectivity Solutions

  • Converts between DMX and multiple other protocols.
  • Most multiplex control protocols are supported.
  • Configuration is via an intuitive menu, on a backlit LCD screen.
  • Lockout function prevents accidental re-configuration of the converter.

Doug Fleenor Design DMX Splitter

DMX512 Isolated Splitter / Amplifier by Doug Fleenor Design

  • Allows DMX signal to be connected in a “star” configuration, instead of daisy-chain.
  • One DMX input can be split into 3, 5, or 11 DMX outputs. (Depending upon which model is purchased.)
  • Isolating individual control signals means that a failure in one DMX cable will not take down the entire system.

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