Ayra Present Their First MIDI Wing: The Digicon-1
Meet the first bit of Ayra kit that's neither a fixture nor a direct lighting controller: the Digicon-1. This hardware controller, or playback wing if you will, is almost universally compatible with lighting software that supports MIDI-over-USB. Affordable, robust and dedicated, it's the ideal console for aspiring light-rig builders and more experienced light-jockeys alike.
DMX Intelligence via Software
These days, DMX dongles come cheap and give you the ability to control your lighting gear via DMX software, where you often get countless options including phase-based movement, chases, integrated colour presets and other welcome progressive functions. While most DMX software runs just fine on most modern laptops, programming entire light shows using a mouse and keyboard isn't very practical, which is where the Digicon-1 comes in, filling up in a niche in the world of universal playback wings that are able to send USB-MIDI signals to computer software. As a bonus, the Digicon-1 offers native support for Nicoladie Sunlite Suite 3, including ready-made mapping. If you'd prefer to do function-assigning yourself, you can simply use the Link-to-Console functionality to couple any faders, controls and sliders to functions manually.
The Core of the Digicon-1
The robust Digicon-1 is housed in a sleek metal enclosure finished with rubber feet to keep it from shifting - even on smooth surfaces. Whether you set it up alongside your laptop or computer and combine it with intelligent software, or build a mobile, 19" flight case or rack installation, the design will prove relatively simple but highly effective. After all, what does a light jockey really need to programme and call up other than their trusty combo of (moving) fixtures, FX gear and static light scenes? Motorised faders, LED feedback indicators and other complex features can't be found on the Digicon-1. Instead, you're getting a straight-up console that, in terms of price, plays in a league of its own.
Lay-Out and Use
The lay-out of the Digicon-1 roughly consists of two sections. On the left, you'll find the 'playback' section, including two rows of eight controls and eight relatively long, physical faders - all of which have been subdivided into eight separate banks that can be easily toggled via the fitted buttons. Each bank sends its signal out to a different MIDI channel to make sure the MIDI messages are always the same, and thanks to this special lay-out, you can switch freely between banks 1-8. The right side of the console, meanwhile, covers the kind of functions that you need quick and easy access to at all times, starting with a 3x 10 grid of controls finished with special scribble strips so you can jot down memos and markings after you've patched up complete scenes or colour and gobo presets. Just below, four endless rotary encoders with push-functionality have been fitted which can be coupled to RGBW functions, serve as push-based pan and tilt controls, and more. Finally, the grid at the very bottom features Flash triggers, making it perfect for linking up special effects such as blinders, strobes, smoke machines, spark effects, etc. In other words, everything you'd want to fire up at exactly that moment when the track hits its climax.
The Ultimate Digital Light-Jockey Tool
You should now have plenty of reason to consider the Digicon-1 your new hands-on DMX software console. It's compatible with any software that supports MIDI input via USB, while the 'clicking' push buttons offer a satisfyingly tactile response for palpable feedback, and the USB port at the top left can be used to plug in a small LED gooseneck light for some in-the-dark support.