ChamSys MagicQ console review::part I

I don’t know how to pronounce it, but I like it!  This review is based on my impressions gathered from a few minutes of hands-on experience at LDI 2007, and the MagicQ PC software that I downloaded from ChamSys. I plan to review a lot of consoles by downloading the offline editors, and hopefully we will get demo units of our favorites.
Installation:  Download from the link above.  I’m thrilled that it runs natively on Linux.  I made a directory /opt/magicq/  and uncompressed the tarball.  I had to install libftdi as indicated in the instructions (version 0.7 works fine).  In order to run the software as a non-root user, I had to give write permission on the usb device, even though I’m not using any wings.  That was the only hitch.
Programming: The MagicQ has a programmer and a playback section–the playback section can be playing cues from lists, while the user is manually setting values in the programmer.  This is similar to the Hog, but different from the ETC Congo.  Like the Hog, there are multiple playback faders, each with a cue list, and the console mixes the outputs using HTP or LTP (highest- or latest-takes-precedence).
The MagicQ assigns HTP or LTP per DMX channel.  Conventional lights are usually run HTP, while movers are run LTP.  This overcomes one of the worst features of the Hog–you can only choose HTP or LTP for an entire cue list, meaning that it’s hard to mix conventional lights and moving lights in the same cue list.
Neat feature: the manual is available on the console by pressing the Help button.
Next time, I will try patching some fixtures and running the demo show.

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