The all new Dot 2 lighting console from MA Lighting is seeks a new software and hardware layout, something that MA users have been waiting for a long time. In the Dot2 series it includes 3 consoles - The dot2 core - The dot2 XL-F (Includes extra faders with three touchscreens) - The dot2 XL-F (includes extra buttons with three touchscreens). In this range two wings and a dot2 node have also been released for networking of the consoles. Along with a newly designed software specifically made for ease of use. In my opinion I think this console targets many people who cant get their head round the GrandMA 2 lighting console software and desk due to its complexity. It is also the perfect compromise for designers who wish to access the almost limitless functionality found in MA2, but don't have the budget.
Dot2 is perfect for small to medium sized venues and brings to the table a new programming interface that is everything you'd expect from MA lighting. Yes okay, it is missing some of the functionality of the MA2, but it does everything you could want it to with smaller rigs and would be absolutely perfect for smaller touring productions. As with MA2 you are not just limited to the on-board touch screens and can add more using the USB ports found on the rear panel. If I had to pick one thing that I miss from the MA2 range it would be the keyboard hidden under the arm rest, though again this isn't an issue as you can just plug one in to the USB ports. This is something I would very much recommend doing as the smaller touch screens can make it a little difficult when labelling effects, though this is not a real issue. I would also suggest adding an external touchscreen monitor (The dot2 supports one external monitor) as the internal touchscreens can be a little small in your trying to look at things in detail.
Looking at the design of the dot2 core (The standard grade console), It weighs in at 7kg which is extremely light for a lighting console that is so powerful. Compared to the MA On PC Command Wing, The dot2 core is only 1kg heavier which I personally think is impressive. This desk also looks very similar to its "Bigger Brother" the GrandMA2 console range - With yellow back lit keys, almost identical to MA2 Command wing with 2 extra touchscreens built in. It also is the small compact size means it can compete with the smaller based consoles - Only 10cm wider than an ETC Ion.
The Dot2 boasts an excellent effects processor which is so simple to use. In fact the entire programming interface is designed to be accessible for those who don't operate lighting consoles every day and so is incredibly transparent, so much so that the on board help information effectively walks you through everything from setting up a show file to programming cues. Creating cues and assigning them to faders is also very simple, the programming interface revolves around selecting fixtures on the first touch screen. From here you can select different parameters of the fixtures to manipulate using the encoders below the screen. There is also easy access to the effects processor and so you can easily add pre-defined effects to your lighting states. Once you are happy you can assign the scene you have created to an executor fader or to a cue list and you've programmed your first effect. It's that simple!
As you would expect you can obviously go into much more detail and the MA experts out there are going to have a field day programming awesome light shows on this console. It also states on the dot2 website that there is an XLR SMPTE Timecoding input for more complex programming where specific cues and timings are needed during the performances. This could be a massive thing for touring band rigs who need the lighting to be synced to their click track - A massive winner on the GrandMA2 consoles - However we have yet to try this feature and cannot comment on if it functions the same as the MA2 timecode interface. There is also a Audio Input into this desk but we are unsure yet on the functions of that feature.
If you're looking for a simple lighting solution, But still want it to be complex enough to create stunning visuals on stage, The dot2 could be perfect for you! The price point is fair and competes alongside the Avolites Tiger Touch and Hog 4 Hedgehog - How ever I think the other consoles in that price range are more stable and tour-worthy in the current era. I recon once the dot2 software becomes stable enough to handle the complexity of touring shows, This could be the desk to watch out for in rental inventories over the coming years