The Perfect Control Surface?

touch
m-series
m-pc

#1

I’ve been searching for a robust control solution for our black box theater and occasional outside gigs. My work is an equal combination of busking dance, music shows and traditional cue-based plays and musicals. Onyx seems a pretty capable software platform and although M-Touch is an interesting control surface/DMX addition the lack of labelling capabilities feels like a pretty big barrier to me.

Are people using touch screen monitors to solve this problem or just living with it?

It seems like the addition of LED Scribble Strips (or similar in function) would be a huge improvement in the visual feedback available. Such a device would command a higher price but would be worth it!


#2

I got a touch screen… But you just need it not only because of labeling but rather for programing and controlling. Even the consoles have touchscreens. You just cant work properly only with a mouse
When you look at the software there are these fields in the lower end, THese are the playback faders u have on your M touch. Only annoying thin about these is that dependent on the size of your screen and position of your m touch they wont be above the physical faders. But you get used to it after some time and can orientate by screen and the colours of the faders ( and the numbersare also printed on the M touch keys.


#3

I’m assuming your talking about having small LED screens by each fader/executor directly on the console like on the M6 (https://www.elationlighting.com/m6).

I’ve never missed individual LED screens with each fader/executor on my M-Touch - or any other of the numerous brands/models of consoles that I’ve used over the years, almost all of which didn’t have LED screens for labeling along side each fader/executor directly on the console. (That’s what tape and a sharpie are for. :slight_smile:) In fact only a few consoles have LED screens for labeling directly by each fader/executor on the console. Most just display all the fader/executor labels (and related information) on the main screen.

In Onyx, the executor label (and related information) is displayed very well on the main screen - concise and well laid out - and it has never been an issue for me to relate which fader goes with which executor label/information on the screen.

And I certainly wouldn’t like the huge price increase that would be required to add them to the M-Touch/M-Play. One of the best things about the M-Touch/M-Play is the low price point - providing a great point of entry into a great high end lighting console system for those just starting out or otherwise on small budgets. In my opinion, there’s no other upper tier lighting console brand that has anything like it at the current price point. The price increase that would be necessary for individual LED screens would price them out of that sweet spot.

(All just my opinion and personal experience, of course. YMMV)


#4

Tape and a sharpie are great but in today’s world IMHO there’s no excuse for not having a more robust solution. As Behringer has already proven with their X32 line of digital mixers, one can produce an inexpensive kit with led scribble strips and motorized faders and wind up disrupting much of the industry.


#5

The M-Touch/M-Play are < $500.

I’m not aware of any Behringer X32 with LED scribble strips that is anywhere near as inexpensive as that.

As I said, M-Touch/M-Play provide a great ultra-low point of entry to bring people into the Onyx family (a great high end lighting console system), for those just starting out or otherwise on very small budgets. It’s a great marketing move, in my opinion. Help them get started in Onyx with an extremely affordable, but also very useful, control surface. Then many of them will eventually need/want to move up to bigger (more expensive) consoles, and guess what brand their more likely to buy?.. The one they’ve been using for years, and have familiarity and experience with.

Sure, adding LED scribble strips like the X32 to the M-Touch/M-Play would be great… but that will take them up towards the price point of an X32 which means they no longer fit that “ultra-low option to entry” product.

I’d rather pay < $500 and not have LED scribble strips, than have to pay up towards $1000 just to have LED scribble strips. But that’s just my preference.

Now if we made the argument about “LED scribble strips and motorized faders like the X32” when talking about the M2PC and M2GO… I don’t know that I could disagree with that too much.

Again, just my opinion. And I respect and understand yours.


#6

I’ll try to put a finer point on this. Regarding cost, the Behringer X-Touch usb/midi controller is a pretty good analogue to the M-Touch, M-Play. It’s $450 street price offers motorized faders, 8 scribble strips, rotary controls and a ton of other stuff. It’s purely a control surface just like the M-Touch/M-Play/M2PC.

The street price of the M2GO is over six times that of the X32 Compact (similar footprint). One could argue that the build quality of the x32 isn’t as high but part of the reason x32s are so popular is they’re pretty reliable for installs and light touring, cheap and easy to replace. I haven’t done a detailed comparison but I’d guess the X32 has more function points than the M2GO.

If someone like Behringer decides to get into the lighting control space in a meaningful way it will be as disruptive there as it’s been in the music/audio space. Anticipating such a move by aggressively improving price/performance would be a good strategic move for Elation.


#7

Interesting.

I’ve never really dug into what Behringer offers, and wasn’t aware of their X-Touch at $450 (and whatever other similar offerings they have at that low a price point). So thank you for cluing me in to that.

I have seen and touched an X32 and the build quality seems acceptable for, as you say, installs and light touring. I’d be curious if the X-Touch - at $450 - is that same build quality, or if it’s made with cheaper (lower quality) components to get the cost down to that point.

I definitely agree that if the major lighting console manufacturers don’t move towards having low price point consoles, not just their top-end console, with those things (motorized faders, scribble strips, etc.) they do risk someone disrupting the market - either one of them, a second tier or lower lighting control company, or someone completely new (like Behringer). (Or maybe a lighting control company partnering with the likes of Behringer… e.g. Onyx software fully integrated with a purpose built surface by Behringer, for example.)

But…
Personally, I still don’t “need” LED scribble strips. They’re a “nice to have” for me and my needs. If I can get the same low priced console without LED scribble scripts for almost half the price of the version with LED scribble strips, then I’m saving the money and getting without. But that’s just me and my preferences.

Now motorized faders on the other hand… I personally consider them to be a HUGE benefit for which I would definitely pay extra (as long as I liked the system/software). But that’s just my preference.

Definitely thanks for giving me some new perspective with the X-Touch information. You’re right that it definitely impacts what lighting console manufacturers should be doing – and I suspect one or more will make some moves that way.

I’ve said pretty much all I have to say. So I’ll say, thanks for the conversation and hope to see you around.


#8

Good conversations all around.

Thanks!


#9

Keep in mind the volume on audio products is easily 10x that off lighting, that explains a lot of the pricing or more features possible.
When I envisioned the touch surfaces and how they turned out they are already the lowest cost dedicated lightigng usb wings in the market. I’d say we disrupted it pretty good.


#10

Ah. That’s a good point. Completely didn’t think about the level of demand. That’s definitely a significant factor in the subject of this conversation.

And I absolutely agree the touch consoles definitely did disrupt quite well, and are in a class all by themselves in a great - obviously previously undeRserved - sweet spot.

(Oh, wait… earlier I had said that was all I had to say. :upside_down_face::confused:)


#11

PLUS… then there is this, that I don’t know that any other lighting console or Behringer console would fair anywhere near as well :smile: :

“We have pictures of people using them at Burning Man. They were so full of dust and dirt that you could barely read anything, but the M-Touch continued to operate. Because the surface is an all-in-one touch membrane, it is very rugged,” he said. @Matthias