In The Market for a Lighting Console?: 10 Models for Churches to Consider

While the cost of an inexpensive console might be where one might initially gravitate, it’s best to recognize each unit’s mix of pros and cons.

In The Market for a Lighting Console?: 10 Models for Churches to Consider
Have the goal of selecting the right tool, as will go a long way in being able to do the job well, and doing it much easier. A good place to start is to recognize how many lighting channels and fixtures you currently have at your church, and how many the console will need to control.
In The Market for a Lighting Console?: 10 Models for Churches to Consider
Have the goal of selecting the right tool, as will go a long way in being able to do the job well, and doing it much easier. A good place to start is to recognize how many lighting channels and fixtures you currently have at your church, and how many the console will need to control.

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In The Market for a Lighting Console?: 10 Models for Churches to Consider

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When considering lighting consoles, just because a certain unit might work fabulously at the church down the street, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it’s a match for your worship space.

One of the first aspects that cannot be ignored is how well, and how quickly, your staff would be able to learn the intricacies of your newest piece of gear. Without the comfort of knowing whether your staff will quickly understand how to use the console well, they could easily find themselves frustrated trying to get a grasp on how to best use it.

To help them avoid such angst, we recommend that prior to the start of service the staff tests every cue that is programmed into it. By doing that, your staff won’t unexpectedly be thrust into any surprises. And remember to also allot enough time in advance of the service for programming. Such preplanning will go a long way in limiting your stress, as well as those who are tasked in handling the lighting during your services.

While some church lighting designers might aspire to someday own a $44,000 High End Systems Hog 4 console, we here at Worship Tech Decisions recognize that for most churches considering either an upgrade or are looking to buy their first console, their specific budget line for a new unit is nowhere near that stratosphere.

And if you’re in the market for a new console, it’s best to talk with your integrator about arranging a demo of at least a handful of consoles you are considering which would best fit your worship space.

In looking at the bevy of options from all the lighting console models and brands, WTD opted to narrow its focus to 10 models, ones running as low as $199 up to $3,900. Included are units from brands American DJ, Avolites, Behringer, ETC, Jands, Leprecon, Leviton, Lightronics, Pathway and Strand Lighting.

While the cost of an inexpensive console might be where one might initially gravitate, it’s best to recognize each unit’s mix of pros and cons. The great benefit (beyond its low cost) for most low-cost units is their simplicity, which will likely not make them much of a challenge to teach to your staff and volunteers. But that simplicity often also adds up to a console not having all the features you might want, and are instead likely part of a full-featured unit.

Have the goal of selecting the right tool, as will go a long way in being able to do the job well, and doing it much easier. A good place to start is to recognize how many lighting channels and fixtures you currently have at your church, and how many the console will need to control.


More About Andres Caamano
Andres Caamano is the site editor for Worship Tech Director, which aims to inform tech directors, audio, video or lighting directors, creative directors, music directors and worship leaders about the latest technology, while also bringing to the forefront some of the most notable examples of leadership and completed projects that can be of benefit to houses of worship of all sizes. Andres joined WTD in 2015, and is focused on taking an engaged approach to the market; one that is encouraging, creative and set toward ministry purpose.
Get in Touch: acaamano@ehpub.com    More by Andres Caamano

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Comments

By Joe Johnson on February 5, 2016

Sorry Andres, I made it through the article but got distracted and didn’t make it all the way through the slide show. The biggest thing I look for when buying a console or selling one is how easy it is to use and what abilities it has. You can look at something like a GrandMA 2, it’s not cheap, it has a ton of ability, but isn’t the most easy to learn or understand. You can run into the same situation with the lower end consoles too. Everyone’s brains work differently and you have to find the console that covers your needs and also speaks the same language as your mind. That is why I prefer working on either Vista’s or Eos family. Consoles such as the smartfade have the ability to work a number of movers and LED’s but it doesn’t work well with how my mind processes. Same with an Avo console.

My thoughts are get demo’s and figure out what fit’s your needs as well as give you the ability to communicate with the console in a way that makes sense to you. As I’ve stated I prefer either Vista or ETC Eos, but I can also use Hog or Martin. And often times it’s worth it to spend a little extra money to give your staff and volunteers something that is easy for them to use and gives you the ability to grow and expand in the future. smile

By Andres Caamano on February 5, 2016

Joe:

Thanks for the comment.

Actually, the Jands Stage CL is the eighth item featured among the 10 in this associated slideshow.

And while I’ve thought for this feature and in the past to highlight two different models that are designed by the same brand, I try my best to look across as many brands as possible, and by my including the ETC Smartfade 1296 in this feature, I ended up not digging much into the ETC Element.

I imagine that when I look at the higher tier of lighting consoles than were reviewed in this piece, that could include the High Ends Hog 4 console, or the Jands Vista i3 console, that the ETC Element very well might be included in that feature.

Thanks as always for the feedback.

Andres Caamano
Site Editor
Worship Tech Decisions

By Joe Johnson on February 4, 2016

Another great console coming in at a list price of $1,495 is the Jands Stage CL. One universe of control, up to 24 individual fixtures or groups of fixtures all controlled by an extremely easy HSI system(Hue, Saturation, Intensity). No need to worry about having 4-8 individual channels or faders to work an LED colored fixture, just hue and saturation. For smaller rigs consisting of LED and incandescent’s, this board is extremely easy to use.

Also if you have a little bit higher of a budget, the ETC Element is massive in the church market. Two universes of output, theater cue based, and the ability to easy control details of many LED’s incandescent and moving lights. Priced closer to the $5,000 range it’s very powerful for small to mid sized churches. In the same price range is the Jands S1 control surface though you’ll need a computer running the Vista 2 software. I’ve done a lot of programming on the ETC Element, Ion, and Gio as well as the Jands Vista platform. Both give you an extreme amount of power and control, the difference is in how your mind works and thinks because each console is very different in how you achieve the end result. Work with a dealer or integrator to get yourself demo’s to see what board works best for you and your programming style and needs. Sometimes spending a little extra money up front can save you in the future as you grow, from having to make another console purchase.

Just my 2 cents.


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