When it comes to choosing a basic lighting console there are actually two different types to choose from.
You have the “old-school” hardware based consoles and then you have the newer software based consoles. What is the difference and how do you choose which one is best for you?
Regardless if you’re working as a DJ, church volunteer, or in a band it’s very important to choose the right console for your setup. In most cases the latest and greatest isn’t always the right fit.
Choosing the right console will help make your life much easier as far as functionality and programming your lights. In this post, let’s take a closer look at the difference between hardware based consoles and the software based consoles.
The more hands on and old school basic consoles would be something similar to the Chauvet Obey 40. This is more of a hands on console that allows you to set up faders and scenes.
The downside to working with these type of consoles is that the buttons are louder (you hear a click when pressing buttons). You can store scenes or cues in the upper button row and there’s no transition or fade in between lights.
With these type of consoles you’re going to be very limited on where you can save your scenes and cues as well as what you’re able to use the faders for.
Software Based Consoles
The more basic software based consoles would be a program like ENTTEC’s DMXis. These types of programs generally don’t take to much to run off of a computer, making it easy to find a computer to work with.
These consoles have come a long way but I will say that some programs are still very buggy especially if it may be a free program. That’s why I do recommend using a more known program such as ENTTEC’s DMXis.
When using this program you have the ability to patch in your lights and DMXis will be able to automatically recognize what the lights are. You also have the capability to double click a fader and it’ll automatically select the similar lights at once.
Inside of DMXis you can record your presets or cues and those are saved into banks or folders. You will also have the capability to set the fade time and fade type between your scenes.
You are able to output MIDI control with DMXis which allows you to use other pieces of equipment in your show and you can even incorporate using a foot pedal so that you can run the lights from the stage.
While a software-based console is being used on a computer and it may not be hands-on like a hardware-software, but you have so much more capabilities with a program such as DMXis.