How to Choose a Basic Lighting Console (Software vs Hardware)

How to Choose a Basic Lighting Console (Software vs Hardware)

If you are brand new and just getting started with lighting you have come to the right place. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with others and helping them get started with lighting.

You have probably seen many different consoles to choose from. How do you know which is the best fit for you and your needs?

Some Questions to Consider

Without a doubt, there are clearly many options available for both hardware and PC based consoles. However, before choosing the one you want, seriously consider the following questions.

What do you need the outcome to be? How much control do you need over your lights?

These questions are often overlooked and this results in time and money being wasted. Before moving forward, you want to consider what it is you are wanting to get out of your lighting console and the amount of control you would like to have.

Hardware-Based Consoles

Hardware-based consoles are very common to get started with and one of the more popular units is the Chauvet Obey 40. As you would see in the video this is a very simple and basic console.

You have the faders that you can use to control your lights and the capability to record scenes.

The downfall with working with this type of console is that you won’t be able to record a lot of scenes, it is cheaply made and the buttons are loud, and lastly, the fade from one scene to another is not there.

If you are just looking to be able to switch a couple of lights, add some color, and the fade between the scenes doesn’t matter to you then this type of unit would probably work well for you.

But if you are looking for more control over the fading in between the scenes and being able to control your lights on the fly you’re going to want to consider a different option.

Software-Based Consoles

If you are just getting started and want to work with a console that is easy to learn but gives you more control over your lights then ENTTEC’s DMXis may be a great fit for you. This is a software that I recommend to many beginners that want a basic console but are looking to have more control over their lights.

ENTTEC’s DMXis software can work with a PC or a MAC. What I personally like about DMXis is that it’s very stable, bug-free, and it’s a great program for beginners.

The benefits of using DMXis is that you have the ability to program multiple presets, you can name them and organize your presets the way you want, and you have the ability to control the fade between your saved presets.

Also, with DMXis you even have the option to set it to sound reactive for certain colors or movements.

Those are the two more basic consoles for those just starting out. Before making a decision you want to consider what capabilities you want to have over your lighting console.

If you just need some basic colors options and the fade between the scenes isn’t important than a console similar to the Chauvet Obey 40 may be a good fit for you.

If you are looking for a console that offers more control and capabilities with your lights then a program like ENTTEC’s DMXis might be a good choice.

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