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Thread: Pango LA Freak vs Mamba Black

  1. #1
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    Default Pango LA Freak vs Mamba Black

    Hello Everyone. Been looking in here for a little while now and finally found the need to register and post! I know a few members from other lighting/sound/technical forums so hi to you all too!

    Great forum by the way, it's refreshing to find one that is laid back and friendly whilst still covering the technical bits in detail, without resorting to the usual one upmanship and put downs!

    So, to the title of the thread....

    I've been reading with great interest all of the different threads of late regarding the 2 software/dac packages Mamba Black/Easylase and LA Freak.

    I currently own 2 100mW green projectors with the Scaneco 10 and 20 scanner kits respectively. So far I've been running them DMX as I do lighting (and sound actually!) as a hobby, and recently acquired an AlphaliteXC dac and software. Whilst a seemingly ok piece of software, i have become aware of it's shortcomings as a product that may be pressed into use for shows rather than at home, particularly around some of the errors and freezes.

    To date the Mamba setup was the clear winner, I've been really getting to grips with the demo, it's not crashed too much and I've been encouraged reading the threads with input from old_grumpy, that it's going to become a very stable and greater featured product.

    Then i started reading about the LA Freak setup and some doubt was cast in my mind, as it is about 150 cheaper than Mamba, and everyone seems to rave about how good Pango kit makes their lasers look (and lets face it, mine need all the help they can get!)

    My big concerns are as follows:

    The FB3 seems to be designed for integrating into a projector housing, and I would definately want to build it into some sort of case like any other DAC, and run the longer signal run on the DB25 cable. Is this going to provide any problems?

    I'm a hobbyist, but 'will work for beer and pennies' a couple of times a year I'd say, but wouldn't say that I'll ever turn any sort of profit from it - purely to mitigate some of the outgoings. Would you say that this would conflict with the 'hobbyist' license of LA Freak, as I'm wanting to do this properly?

    How does the software compare between them? I like the fact that Mamba seems to be all integrated rather than distinct different applications for different purposes (LA suite) but is this simply a case of getting used to a different way of working?


    For those who own or have used both systems, can you provide any real world commentary on the differences that are noticeable to you please?
    Is the output noticeably better on one or the other?
    Is the software annoying doing certain jobs thats seamless on the other?
    How are things like 'busking' in the applications? (I use a Chamsys MagicQ lighting desk and the buskability is something that i like when lighting, and would want to have a certain amount of flexibility in the laser software too. I have a variety of midi controllers with buttons, CC pots, faders, etc so could be easily employed where supported)


    It may be that Mamba is the better application 'out of the box' whilst LA Freak is the one that will shine with time - the other consideration i have is one of my few gigs that i do a year is about a month away, so a solution nneds to be sourced soon to allow some lead time on the config/getting to know you stages - again, the time spent with Mamba will pay off here. As you might've detected i'm leaning towards the Mamba route but I leave it you to perhaps convince me otherwise!!

    Many thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
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    Well, if you go with an EasyLase DAC there is a good chance that you will be able to use it with my Spaghetti software some day since there is an open API for it.

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    Buy both , play with both , learn both see what suits your needs best and sell off the one that doesnt suit ... both will hold their value well on the second hand market and you will gain lots of info from the learning curve on both.

    Or detail clearly what you will expect of both and a few will chip in with which will suit your needs best

    PAUL
    In the beginning there was none. Then came the light - #1 UKLEM - 2007
    BUY UK LEGAL LASER POINTER :: NEW - Blue 460nm Laser Pointers

  4. #4
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    Buy both , play with both , learn both see what suits your needs best and sell off the one that doesnt suit
    Oh how i wish that was a possibility! I'm in the process of buying my first house so unfortunately money is pretty tight right now, hence the reason for asking for some informed opinions.

    detail clearly what you will expect of both and a few will chip in with which will suit your needs best
    I'm not sure that i know exactly what i need to spec. I'm looking at beam shows primarily because of the speed of my scanners, and i also want to be able to busk scenes fairly easily. Everything else is open to suggestion, thats why i ask for opinions from people. If they do or don't like something between the software then thats what i want to hear about, because it might not be something I've even realised is an issue yet!

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    Ok , based on you dont know what features you exactly need and you wont know what you need until you start playing ..go with pango ..its a decision i have never regretted

    *IF* suddenly you find a feature you must have thats in any other software or maba ..you will sell the pango in two blinks of an eye ..although personally i dont think i will ever part with it ... its made my life sooo much easier since i got it for troubleshooting and it simply plays images better !

    PAUL
    In the beginning there was none. Then came the light - #1 UKLEM - 2007
    BUY UK LEGAL LASER POINTER :: NEW - Blue 460nm Laser Pointers

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    its made my life sooo much easier since i got it for troubleshooting and it simply plays images better
    This is exactly what i'm after, anecdotal evidence on which to base a purchasing decision. So the image quality is better (than Mamba?) How has it made you life easier? It may be that your issues will be my issues in 3 weeks time?

    Given that all software seems to support a timeline of some sort, its the detail of how you interact with that timeline, apply effects, morphs, etc that count.
    There are numerous pieces of software out there in all fields that promise lots but have varying degrees of implementation success, often making the touted features effectively useless. I work in Business Intelligence/Database reporting by day and the various products on the market all say they do fairly similar things, but some are just downright infuriating to use, or integrate into systems.

    One other demo i tried was Zion/Millenium which has by far the nicest UI to get to grips with, simple uncluttered layout, and can do much of what the others seem to do. The only downside is cost of entry compared with the systems i'm asking about.

    Thanks for your input so far.

  7. #7
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    "The FB3 seems to be designed for integrating into a projector housing, and I would definately want to build it into some sort of case like any other DAC, and run the longer signal run on the DB25 cable. Is this going to provide any problems?"

    I run mine on a 50m DB25 cable without any problems!

  8. #8
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by norty303 View Post
    The FB3 seems to be designed for integrating into a projector housing, and I would definately want to build it into some sort of case like any other DAC, and run the longer signal run on the DB25 cable. Is this going to provide any problems?
    Hi Norty! Welcome to PhotonLexicon. Hope you like it here.

    The FB3 is designed to be *able* to be integrated into the projector, but it certainly doesn't have to be. You can install it in a small plastic project box and sit it next to your computer if you want, and then run a long length of 25-pin cable to your projector. Several folks here are doing exactly that. However, you can also build it into the projector itself if you wish. (This is a unique feature compared to the other Pangolin controller, the QM-2000. The QM-2000 must be installed in a PCI slot. That's why it's advertised as a feature on the FB3; it's something you can't easily do with the QM-2000 board.)
    I'm a hobbyist, but 'will work for beer and pennies' a couple of times a year I'd say, but wouldn't say that I'll ever turn any sort of profit from it - purely to mitigate some of the outgoings. Would you say that this would conflict with the 'hobbyist' license of LA Freak, as I'm wanting to do this properly?
    If you feel that it may conflict, then pay an extra $95 and instead of buying the LA Freak kit, buy the FB3 evaluation kit. You get the DMX input daughterboard for your extra cash, plus no restrictions on commercial use.
    How does the software compare between them? I like the fact that Mamba seems to be all integrated rather than distinct different applications for different purposes (LA suite) but is this simply a case of getting used to a different way of working?
    Definitely a matter of getting used to a different way of working. I own both Mamba Black and the LA Studio software. I have to admit that Mamba Black was easier to learn. However, it has a tendency to crash. Not as bad as the alphalite software (which I also own), but still it's bothesome. Never had LA Studio crash.

    LA Studio has more features, key of which is the abstract generator. But there is one shortcoming: LA Studio is cumbersome if you're trying to script a show that will be syncronized to music. It can be done, but it's not nearly as easy to do this in LA Studio as it is in Mamba Black.
    Is the output noticeably better on one or the other?
    In my experience, Mamba Black has some timing issues. Cues that are dead-on at the begining of a show will drift as the show progresses, so that at the end of the show you are out of sync. LA Studio has none of these problems. More to the point, the Easylase USB DAC has some serious sample jitter. The FB3 is solid as a rock. (The folks that attended the original Florida Laser Enthusiast's Meeting back in January of 2007 saw a first-hand demonstration of this effect, and indeed it was the primary reason that Astroguy sold his Mamba Black / Easylase combination and is running Pangolin now.)
    Is the software annoying doing certain jobs thats seamless on the other?
    See the issue of audio syncronization above. Others may be able to expand on this a bit. (Mliptack? Got anything to add here? Know you've been playing with this more than I have...)
    How are things like 'busking' in the applications? (I use a Chamsys MagicQ lighting desk and the buskability is something that i like when lighting, and would want to have a certain amount of flexibility in the laser software too.
    Sorry - you just stepped outside my relm of understanding with that one. Gonna have to let someone else comment on this, as I don't have a clue what you're talking about.
    I have a variety of midi controllers with buttons, CC pots, faders, etc so could be easily employed where supported)
    Are you talking about DMX control? Because *neither* Mamba Black nor LA Studio support DMX output. The FB3 has limited DMX input control, so you can operate it from a DMX lighting board. But you'd need to pre-load all the show content to the memory card first.
    As you might've detected i'm leaning towards the Mamba route but I leave it you to perhaps convince me otherwise!!!
    Mamba is nice software, and if you are comfortable with it, then that may be the right choice for you. LA Studio certainly has more to offer, both in terms of added functions as well as stability. Plus the FB3 controller is a superior product when compared to the Easylase USB DAC, in my opinion. But sometimes a simple solution is better. If you are truely happy with Mamba Black right now, then maybe you might want to go that route for the short term. Later on, when you reach the limits of the software and decide that you want more, you'll probably want to upgrade straight to the QM-2000. Only problem is that your show content can't easily be ported over. (However, if you keep your Mamba Black software, there is a driver that will allow you to run Mamba shows on a QM-2000 board. That's why I kept my copy of the software; I can still run all the Mamba shows on my Pangolin rig!)

    Have you been to one of the Laser Enthusaist Meetings in the UK yet? If not, then I *strongly* suggest you attend one. You'll get a chance to see Mamba Black, LA Studio, and several other packages all running side by side. (Several folks also have the QM-2000 from Pangolin.) It's a great way to get a feel for what the software is capable of, and also to figure out which one is right for you.

    Adam

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    ...Astroguy sold his Mamba Black / Easylase combination and is running Pangolin now.)

    I too took the decision to move from Mamba over to Pangolin. The primary reason for this was that stuff in Mamba just didn't work as it was supposed to, I had so many issues (far too many to list here) that I just got absolutely sick and fed up with it. However, this was before 'Old Grumpy' had truly got to work on the Mamba software, I believe things are improving with Mamba now.

    When I moved over to the LD2000/QM2000.Net system everything worked seamlessly (apart from a few initial problems with Vista - Not Pangolins fault I hasten to add ). The shows just looked so much smoother and tighter, it was like getting a new projector . I am so pleased I made the move to Pangolin and would never go back, but only you can decide what's right for you.

    Cheers

    Jem
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  10. #10
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    Thank you for your insight.

    Are you talking about DMX control? Because *neither* Mamba Black nor LA Studio support DMX output. The FB3 has limited DMX input control, so you can operate it from a DMX lighting board. But you'd need to pre-load all the show content to the memory card first.
    No, midi control so you can map keys, on a midi keyboard for example, to scenes/effects so you can 'play' the show ad-hoc. In the lighting world this is known as busking, if you're familiar with the Avolites Pearl, this desk is a particular favourite.

    I suppose the comparison here is between lighting desks that operate in a theatre style, i.e. you have a full show already mapped out as preset scenes (or cues in the lighting world) and you move through them sequentially as the show moves on, or you busk in effects as desired in no particular order, often used in nightclubs so that the lights can easily be set to fit the music thats being played. I believe that LiveQuick and LivePro offer thois functionality having loked a bit deeper.

    As for version, I think that for the extra 50 for the eval kit, its worth it to not risk any license issues, and whilst i have DMX built in on my projectors (I AM lampy after all!) I'm sure it will come in useful at some point (in fact I've seen a set of diffraction gratings on a wheel which has already got me thinking...)

    The other bonus is a friend has an older copy of LivePro, so given the stability, size, cost and features, the FB3 it is!

    I have to say, it would've been a bit of a no brainer had I not read such encouraging comments about Mamba 1.9 and the work old_grumpy is doing, which certainly added an element of doubt!

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