Tips on choosing a new lighting console.

Tips on choosing a new lighting console.

Posted by Tristan Hils, Technician on 9th Jul 2018

Colotran PatchmanLet’s face it- your old lighting console is just that: OLD. It may not be able to control the newest lighting technologies, heck, it may not be able to control much at all! But, you know your console. You know what it can do, and you know how to work with it. You may just not be able to face looking through all of the options out there in order to find a new console that works for you.

FEAR NOT! At Knight Sound and Lighting, we have put together a list of considerations and things you should look for when you’re shopping for a new lighting console.

Before you start: Take a look at your console and think about the functions that you use on a daily basis -- that you just couldn’t live without. Now, think about what functions your existing console does not have -- those that you really wish it had. Go on, write out a list!

Question 1: What is your budget? This one can be painful, but it really helps us to narrow down your options. Go on, treat yourself.

Question 2: How many channels do you have? How many do you want to have? In a system with regular lights, this would be equivalent to how many lights you are trying to control.  This also applies to LEDs and moving lights with newer consoles- the console is smart enough to roll them all into one fixture!  On the other hand, if you’re trying to control LEDs or moving lights with an older console, you may have quite a difficult experience.

Question 3: Do you use ‘cues’ when you are operating your lights? This is more common if you’re using the lights for a theatrical purpose, while potentially less likely if you’re a live band, etcetera. Essentially, if you want pre-programmed looks that you can return to over and over, you want cues.

ETC EOS Ti

Question 4: Do you use submasters when controlling or programming your lights? This allows you to assign a light or a group of lights to a physical slider on your board, and lets you control them all at once. Submasters are commonly present on more advanced lighting consoles  

Question 5: Do you use moving light fixtures, or do you want to in the future? Future-proof yourself, and make sure that your console can grow with you! Not all consoles support controlling moving lights, so make sure that the one you want can handle it.

Question 6: Do you use LED (or ‘intelligent’) lighting fixtures or do you want to add them in the future? Just like with moving lights, LED fixtures are a bit trickier for some boards to control, so it’s best to know if you’ll want to use them, or just stick with conventional lights.

Side note: If you’re looking for LEDs or moving lights, we can help you with that as well! You’ll find all varieties of LEDs and moving fixtures in our LED lighting category.

Question 7: If you or other people who will be working with the console are not as well-versed in technology, would you like ‘manual’ sliders for turning on and off the lights? Several boards are transitioning to use just a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard, so if having a physical interface is important to you, this is good to know! If you still want sliders, you might have a look at the Blizzard Kontrol series for a quick start, or an ETC console for more advanced needs.

Once you can provide answers to the questions above, please reach out to us and we’ll be happy to make a recommendation for a perfect lighting console for you! You can reach us at 866-457-5937 or at info@goknight.com.

We look forward to working on this process with you, and we can’t wait to get started.