Archive for the 'Light and laser shows' category

Martin Roboscan Pro 518s For Sale

I’m selling my Roboscans!

After many years of careful ownership – really – I’m selling up my main scan rig. They’ve not seen any gigs in the last couple of years and various changes in my lifestyle mean that they are unlikely to, so here they are for sale.

12x Martin Roboscan Pro 518s for sale

There are 12 in all, and 2 large, wheeled flight cases with lots of handles, good casters, caster brakes etc.

I’m happy to sell Roboscans separately, but the whole lot has to go so the more you buy, the better the deal. I’m looking for £69 a scan, or £350 for six with a flight-case. Or £600 for all 12 with both flight cases. There’s also a big plastic tub full of spare parts that I’ll chuck in when the final unit sells.

All mirrors are in good condition with no cracks. All units have working bulbs, and come with a mains lead. They do not come with DMX leads or controllers. All motor functions work: pan/tilt, colour wheel, gobo wheel, rotating gobos and effects wheel.

The last time I used these, everything worked on all of them. The units are of course old and used and their condition reflects this. They are sold as seen, with no returns, but I’ll be happy to go through and test them with you when you come to collect them.

The scans are in Woking, Surrey. Interested? Mail me at

What is Intelligent Lighting?

Why worry about the light show?

The value of a good light show is hard to measure. Does it translate to more bar spend? Maybe. Does it mean people are likely to remember the gig for a long time to come, tell all their friends, and come again? I think so, and I believe I know how to do it.

Dub Optic NYE 2012 lights onTo pick an extreme, remember how you feel when the house lights come on at the end of a gig. It shatters your state of mind, reveals all blemishes on faces and décor alike, and is a pretty blunt instrument designed to make you naff off home.

Only the very best gigs can maintain a party with the house lights on. Dub Optic managed it on New Year’s Eve 2012, but it’s a tough stunt to pull, and therefore very rare.

In the middle of the spectrum, it’s dark enough to hide the grottier aspects of the evening, and there are some flashing colours of light. Maybe the colours change, or the beams move, with the beat of the music. That’s a bit more like it. To many people’s minds, that’ll do, but I don’t think it will.

That’s certainly not how it works at high quality productions, is it? Whether your benchmark is Lady Gaga, The Prodigy, Fabric, Metallica or Hospitality. You’ll find their productions to be visually stunning and stimulating from start to finish. How do they manage that?

laser and 'zap

Intelligent Lighting – the make-up of a high quality production

Co-ordination. Understanding of the music and the emotion it stimulates. The ability to translate this into a cohesive display of light and colour that’ll really enhance everyone’s experience at your event. A fantastic blend of technology and passion. The technology arrives in the form of automated lighting – lights that can be computer controlled to work together. The passion comes from the lighting engineering.

Some consider the technology alone to be Intelligent Lighting, but it isn’t, it’s just automated lighting. It can be programmed to move and change colour to produce a cohesive light show. The lighting engineer provides the passion and the talent to control the technology.

The result of all this is Intelligent Lighting.

Intelligent Lighting transforms a venue, inspires the acts, and unites a crowd. It’s essential for a party that blows everyone’s mind, that’s talked about for ages, and has punters queuing up for more next time.

So if you’re planning a party or event at any venue, from pubs to clubs, halls to fields, let’s talk about getting Intelligent Lighting working for you.

Getting back into sound and light

The last six months or so have seen me getting back into sound system and light show engineering. I emerged from school as a bit of a DJ with the requisite tools and a basic sound system, and while my primary profession turned out to be software engineering, I continued to grow my sound system and complemented it with a bit of lighting.

Neil, Ben, and 8 M2 boxesAt its peak, in around 2003, the sound system looked a little bit like this. I was also much thinner, as you can see. I actually built another couple of these bass bins for the more demanding drum and bass events we did. It was a nice little system. Around half that lot stacked up smartly enough for corporate functions, and the whole lot made a reasonable impression on Guildford’s old Civic Hall.

In the ten years since much has changed. In 2006 I sold all those speakers, my amplifiers and my lights. I put the money towards kicking off the E30 M3 project which established readers will know all about.

This rise and fall of interest coincided with that of a good friend of mine. Jon Evelegh, a school friend at first, had built up a rather larger sound system, and sold it as his primary interest turned out to be marine towage. So after his departure from the scene in 2002, and my complete sell-out in 2006, my world became a much quieter place. Recently however, that situation has been completely reversed.

In 2010 Jon re-acquired his system. Having overhauled it completely, and greatly increased its size, he’s ready for business. His system is custom built, unique, and devastatingly good in a way that’s very hard to quantify. On the date of this article, Jon’s RC1 Sound System has 1,132 Facebook likes. That’s an awful lot of people, many of whom are big name DJs, who follow his movements and just want to know more.

Last May, Jon asked me to come along to a gig he was doing down in Bournemouth. He was putting a 16 box system in a nightclub called The Old Firestation for a night called Dub Optic.

It was at this point I realised how much he had moved the game on. For a start, when I had a 10 box M2 system, Jon had a 12 box RC1 system. The RC1s were already considerably louder and generally more capable. Yet here he was wandering around with a 16 box system. Here’s a picture of me in front of a stack.

Neil in front of 8 box RC1 stack

Bass at head height! The sound was incredible. Not just powerful, but so musical and such high quality. I left that night knowing I’d just got the bug again.

Which brings us in a long, rambling way back to the present. I’m very excited by sound and light engineering again. I’ve built up another small sound system and a much larger light and laser show designed to accompany the RC1s on their journey to stardom. I’ll blog about my light and sound separately. I’ll probably blog more about RC1 in the future too come to think about it!

I’ll sign off though with a picture of Jon atop one of his 13 box speaker stacks at the London O2’s IndigO2 bar just before Christmas. That was quite the gig!

Jon on a 13 box RC1 stack