Showtec Creator Compact
For many of us, DMX is a bit like the good-looking girl at school who you were too nervous to talk to; you wanted to get to know her, but you were worried about making a fool of yourself. This caution around DMX isnt really necessary, especially when controllers like the Showtec Creator Compact are making it even more accessible for mobile DJs. It may look like your usual DMX controller, but it provides the kind of advanced features usually reserved for much more expensive models, while managing to remain easy to use and affordable
Most controllers of this size offer a similar layout, but, nonetheless, Showtec has ensured that the Creator Compact is laid out in a user-friendly, easy-to-understand way. On the left hand side are 16 independent selectors, for control over a total of 32 fixtures. In the centre, youll find your faders and two channel banks allowing control of up to 24 channels per fixture. Running along the top, above the channel faders, are 12 playback buttons and the controller offers five pages for the storage of up to 60 scenes/chases. On the right hand side of the controller is where youll find the LCD screen; buttons and corresponding menus for Shape, Scene, Chase, Delete, Time, Patch and Setup; and two assignable dials that proved to be incredibly useful when I delved deeper into what this controller has to offer.
Completing the layout are buttons for Output (switching between DMX A and DMX B), Channel Bank, Mode (Manual or Playback), Black Out and Clear. On the rear panel we find a power input and our two 3-pin XLR DMX output connections (A and B). The DMX A output controls 16 fixtures (up to 384 channels) while DMX B offers control over a further 16 fixtures, and these correspond to the aforementioned Output button on the main control panel.
Its worth noting that many mobile DJs will require no more than 16 fixtures, therefore the DMX B output will not be needed, but one thing to look out for is knocking the button and accidently changing the setting to DMX B. At one point I had DMX B selected and was sat there wondering why nothing was happening! When DMX A is selected the LED will be off; when DMX B is active it will turn on.
It's also worth noting that the Creator Compact is fitted with rack ears and that Highlite offer a flightcase purpose-built for protecting and transporting this controller.
So, the layout of the Creator Compact is practical and its pretty clear what each feature does. The first hurdle, however, was actually setting up the controller to work with my fixtures. I started off by connecting the lights via XLR and setting the DMX addresses: channel 1 for the first fixture, channel 25 for the second, etc. I then linked the first fixture to the Creator Compact and turned my attention to the controller, where I selected the first Fixture button before adjusting the channel faders to test out the response from my moving heads.
The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 71, Pages 64-66.