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Dcroc

How Different is XLights?

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Probably not a welcome subject, but I am checking into Xlights.  Too many drastic changes from version to version with LOR.  Too many file formats become outdated, and obsolete.  Intensity files that are no longer supported, PE is gone, etc.  This latest version seems almost like starting at square one on the learning curve.  Thinking that if I have to do that anyway, it may be a good time to check out other options that might be more consistent in updated versions.  Anybody jump ship, only to jump back?  I would be interested to know why some tried Xlights,  but ended up going  back to LOR?

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I never jumped shipped, but will probably be with the current "older" version I'm using until I finally exit this hobby.  Which is 4.4.4 PRO.  Tried S5, but I prefer and like the older SE set up, bring that into S5, then I'd reconsider S5, but how you have to do things in S5, just too dadblasted complex for my liking.  Too me, the K.I.S.S. principle went out the door with S5.  And that's one of the main reasons I tried it, and went back to version 4.4.4.   Anything past this version from LOR now just is not for me.

Just because I know someone may ask, what does K.I.S.S. mean?  It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid! 

S5 is just NOT as Simple or as Easy to use {or as user friendly, in my opinion} as previous LOR Software versions.

Edited by Orville

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I have used Xlights for parts of my show in the past. X lights has it nailed down but it can be really confusing at times when programming cause they way the timing is broken down for the songs. One nice thing is its free as many ccr or pixles no licensing fees I would recommend donating if you do decide to switch over those guys do put a lot of eefort into training videos for everyone plus weekly videos on new products and updates. They have had a lot of updates over the last few months as well I thinks its due to the new types of lighting and how easy it is for everyone to do now.  I don't think superstar will change much its been the same forever other than trying to make things more user friendly for new customers.  the new S5 did take a minute to get used to but if you upgrade after Christmas I think you may be happy with it I was pissed at first and after I watched some of the tutorials on it I felt much better.

I think a lot of people on here use Xlights you'd be suprised. and Im sure they will have better info for you. 

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I made the switch a few years ago when LOR didn't support P10 panels (or not easily).  IMO it is easier to understand when you make the jump to the pixel world.  Ton of support for the product from the xLights community.  When I have hit snags it was a matter of going to the "zoom room" and there was always someone there to help.

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I too looked into it a few years ago. To me it was very hard to understand, especially trying to get the timings from Audacity to their sequencing software. From what I saw in videos, read and over heard in person at mini's I formed an opinion for a difference between LOR and X-Lights. To me, LOR is a true sequencing software. With LOR you have very specific control of timings with normal lights as well as pixels/RGB lights. To me, X-Lights is an "effects generator" in that you pick an effect like snowfall, fire, spinning and you drop it at a certain timing for a specific length of time and that effect is done to a lot of your display. This is great if you have everything being pixels and want your whole display to spin together or all your pixel trees and matrixes doing the same thing. But if you use regular light strings, be them LED or incans and want groups of strings doing one thing while another group does another but still in unison, my opinion is LOR gives you much better, more precise control. If you jump into the pixel world completely X-Lights might be a good option but for me, I use mostly light strings and only some pixels/RGB elements. I'm a fan of LOR and will always back their way of doing things. Disclaimer: I am still running S4 and am holding off on S5 as long as I can. I have taken several classes on S5 at Christmas Expos and have a general understanding of it but I really LOVE S4 and will hold out as long as I can.

One last thing, S5 is also a "kind of" effects generator but it still retains the sequencing grid that we LOR users really love. Plus you can integrate Superstar into it pretty easily.

I'm sure some may disagree with me but that's ok. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and had lots of people enjoy your display/shows.

Al

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22 hours ago, Al Saunders said:

I too looked into it a few years ago. To me it was very hard to understand, especially trying to get the timings from Audacity to their sequencing software. From what I saw in videos, read and over heard in person at mini's I formed an opinion for a difference between LOR and X-Lights. To me, LOR is a true sequencing software. With LOR you have very specific control of timings with normal lights as well as pixels/RGB lights. To me, X-Lights is an "effects generator" in that you pick an effect like snowfall, fire, spinning and you drop it at a certain timing for a specific length of time and that effect is done to a lot of your display. This is great if you have everything being pixels and want your whole display to spin together or all your pixel trees and matrixes doing the same thing. But if you use regular light strings, be them LED or incans and want groups of strings doing one thing while another group does another but still in unison, my opinion is LOR gives you much better, more precise control. If you jump into the pixel world completely X-Lights might be a good option but for me, I use mostly light strings and only some pixels/RGB elements. I'm a fan of LOR and will always back their way of doing things. Disclaimer: I am still running S4 and am holding off on S5 as long as I can. I have taken several classes on S5 at Christmas Expos and have a general understanding of it but I really LOVE S4 and will hold out as long as I can.

One last thing, S5 is also a "kind of" effects generator but it still retains the sequencing grid that we LOR users really love. Plus you can integrate Superstar into it pretty easily.

I'm sure some may disagree with me but that's ok. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and had lots of people enjoy your display/shows.

Al

for me S4 wouldn't do what I needed it to do, after contacting LOR support the response I got was "that's a DIY type of project so your on your own".  At the OKC mini there was someone there that brought P10 panels as well as xLights, was able to ask a few questions (ok in reality I worried him to death) and got answers.  That's not to say that LOR is a bad product, really comes down to what you have in your show.  If your mainly AC props then LOR is still the way to go.

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On 12/26/2019 at 11:50 AM, Al Saunders said:

I too looked into it a few years ago. To me it was very hard to understand, especially trying to get the timings from Audacity to their sequencing software. From what I saw in videos, read and over heard in person at mini's I formed an opinion for a difference between LOR and X-Lights. To me, LOR is a true sequencing software. With LOR you have very specific control of timings with normal lights as well as pixels/RGB lights. To me, X-Lights is an "effects generator" in that you pick an effect like snowfall, fire, spinning and you drop it at a certain timing for a specific length of time and that effect is done to a lot of your display. This is great if you have everything being pixels and want your whole display to spin together or all your pixel trees and matrixes doing the same thing. But if you use regular light strings, be them LED or incans and want groups of strings doing one thing while another group does another but still in unison, my opinion is LOR gives you much better, more precise control. If you jump into the pixel world completely X-Lights might be a good option but for me, I use mostly light strings and only some pixels/RGB elements. I'm a fan of LOR and will always back their way of doing things. Disclaimer: I am still running S4 and am holding off on S5 as long as I can. I have taken several classes on S5 at Christmas Expos and have a general understanding of it but I really LOVE S4 and will hold out as long as I can.

One last thing, S5 is also a "kind of" effects generator but it still retains the sequencing grid that we LOR users really love. Plus you can integrate Superstar into it pretty easily.

I'm sure some may disagree with me but that's ok. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and had lots of people enjoy your display/shows.

Al

I think you may have nailed it.  When I think about making the jump to Xlights, I kinda picture going with all pixels.   What makes me hang on to LOR is that I do still use a lot of AC elements.  There are time, however, that I do want all the pixel elements to "spin together",  an I really haven't figured that out with LOR.  I guess I will play with S5, and Xlights, after this season.  The idea of setting up a new visualizer, or whatever they are calling it in this version,  does not excite me.  Feels like I'm starting from scratch either way.

What really started this was when the guy on Christmas Light Fight said it was only his 3rd year doing it, and his display made mine look like a 12 year old did it in his 1st year.   Could be me, but I can't get the effects some of those guys are doing.  Not sure which, but what I'm using is either too limited, or too complicated.

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8 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

The idea of setting up a new visualizer, or whatever they are calling it in this version,  does not excite me.

Really, don't worry too much about that.  I have just over 66,000 channels in my display.  Took me less than an hour to create my S5 preview from scratch.

11 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

I think you may have nailed it.  When I think about making the jump to Xlights, I kinda picture going with all pixels.   What makes me hang on to LOR is that I do still use a lot of AC elements.  There are time, however, that I do want all the pixel elements to "spin together",  an I really haven't figured that out with LOR. 

My layout is not well suited for a whole house spinner, but it took me about a minute to create one as a S5 Motion Effect.  Easy - and don't normally use Motion Effects.

 

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10 hours ago, Dcroc said:

I think you may have nailed it.  When I think about making the jump to Xlights, I kinda picture going with all pixels.   What makes me hang on to LOR is that I do still use a lot of AC elements.  There are time, however, that I do want all the pixel elements to "spin together",  an I really haven't figured that out with LOR.  I guess I will play with S5, and Xlights, after this season.  The idea of setting up a new visualizer, or whatever they are calling it in this version,  does not excite me.  Feels like I'm starting from scratch either way.

What really started this was when the guy on Christmas Light Fight said it was only his 3rd year doing it, and his display made mine look like a 12 year old did it in his 1st year.   Could be me, but I can't get the effects some of those guys are doing.  Not sure which, but what I'm using is either too limited, or too complicated.

I have the best of both world using it (xLights) in that I have new pixel stuff I can easily add (P10, P5, 360 pixel trees, etc) but I don't have to sacrifice my LOR AC stuff to accomplish it.  The only thing I lost was shimmer and twinkle because I am doing DMX to my LOR controllers and NOT RS485.  No longer need the dongle.  I have several Falcon controllers that all have a serial output that can be dedicated to DMX512.  All I have had to do is setup one Universe for my LOR stuff then plug and play.  I have a lot invested in LOR sequences and have been able to import all into xLights with relative ease.  Most of my LOR pixel stuff was done in SuperStar so it easily imports as well.  What sold me is its version of Visualizer (Called House Preview) is so much easier to work with than S4 Visualizer ever was, on LOR I tended to set my stuff up in the animation screen.  I do agree with most that some of the folks that use xLights tend to overdo the effects.  Build elaborate displays but only use two effects for the entire song, the software is so much more powerful than that.

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In the end use what you are comfortable with and fits your show needs.  I know of shows that still use icans and LOR S3, the person running it doesn't like LED lights and he doesn't pay the light bill so there is that.  Each and every one of us have our own idea of where we want our shows to go and more times than not will use the tool that gets the job done.

This year I want to look at projection mapping, what I have seen is incredible and can be budget friendly.  January and February are the perfect time to investigate new technologies. 

Edited by caniac

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I am heavily considering making the switch this year. What did it for me is all of the issues I had with S5 this year. From my subsequences not working in the show correctly to all of the other issues I had with S5. To me LOR is limited on certain things. For example, I want to use a beaglebone black to run my show. LOR will not allow that. You have to use a director unit but the director units are limited to how many networks you can run. A beaglebone or a pi is not. From all of the videos I have viewed xlights will do everything lor will do and then some. Also there is an AC tool in xlights for AC props.

With all this said its hard for me to make the switch because I am so used to lor and the way things work with it. Also lor is a great company and I have been with them from day one. I do believe in time LOR will get everything worked out with S5

I will be testing the waters with Xlights and figure things out in the next couple of months.

Edited by ebrown1972

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A lot of the issue I am taking with LOR is the way that they introduce new file formats (intensity, etc.), and one year later.....they are obsolete by the next season.   I have intensity files embedded in sequences that I can't extract, or edit.  P.E. appears to be gone, after so many struggled to learn in over the last year, or so.  Would rather them focus on perfecting these things, rather than moving on after such a short period..  Takes so much time to do new sequences without having to learn a completely new program,  let alone having to update, and make changes to the sequences that were fine last season.  Seems like too much of each season is spent on the learning curve of "updated" software.   Staying with the old version leaves one somewhat left behind on new features, and their display "dated".  Importing my current visualizer file should be effortless.  Doesn't matter if it only takes an hour to set up a new one.  Shouldn't be a hassle at all.....it's the same Software brand created by the same developers....should be seamless.  Shouldn't have to make any "conversion" changes to sequences.   Frustrating, especially when my time is so limited to begin with.

Will be spending the next few weeks checking out S5, and Xlights, but my above concerns are weighing heavy on my decision.  Like I said,  if I have to pretty much start from scratch.....why not check out the alternative option.

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3 hours ago, ebrown1972 said:

I am heavily considering making the switch this year. What did it for me is all of the issues I had with S5 this year. From my subsequences not working in the show correctly to all of the other issues I had with S5. To me LOR is limited on certain things. For example, I want to use a beaglebone black to run my show. LOR will not allow that. You have to use a director unit but the director units are limited to how many networks you can run. A beaglebone or a pi is not. From all of the videos I have viewed xlights will do everything lor will do and then some. Also there is an AC tool in xlights for AC props.

With all this said its hard for me to make the switch because I am so used to lor and the way things work with it. Also lor is a great company and I have been with them from day one. I do believe in time LOR will get everything worked out with S5

I will be testing the waters with Xlights and figure things out in the next couple of months.

let me know if you have questions or issues, will be glad to help.

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1 hour ago, Dcroc said:

A lot of the issue I am taking with LOR is the way that they introduce new file formats (intensity, etc.), and one year later.....they are obsolete by the next season.   I have intensity files embedded in sequences that I can't extract, or edit.  P.E. appears to be gone, after so many struggled to learn in over the last year, or so.  Would rather them focus on perfecting these things, rather than moving on after such a short period..  Takes so much time to do new sequences without having to learn a completely new program,  let alone having to update, and make changes to the sequences that were fine last season.  Seems like too much of each season is spent on the learning curve of "updated" software.   Staying with the old version leaves one somewhat left behind on new features, and their display "dated".  Importing my current visualizer file should be effortless.  Doesn't matter if it only takes an hour to set up a new one.  Shouldn't be a hassle at all.....it's the same Software brand created by the same developers....should be seamless.  Shouldn't have to make any "conversion" changes to sequences.   Frustrating, especially when my time is so limited to begin with.

Will be spending the next few weeks checking out S5, and Xlights, but my above concerns are weighing heavy on my decision.  Like I said,  if I have to pretty much start from scratch.....why not check out the alternative option.

I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong but it was my understanding that a new developer and new methodologies were brought in with S5 hence the issues you are having.  Not necessarily a bad thing but can be problematic moving from S4 to S5.  Again if you decide to check out xLights and have a question let me know, will gladly share how I handled it.

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2 hours ago, caniac said:

let me know if you have questions or issues, will be glad to help.

Sounds good. I have some experience with xlights because I sequence my P10 with Xlights. I will definitely ask if I run into problems though.

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I took a different approach than most others, I run my show with LOR but did some sequencing in XLights. I export out of XLights and bring it in the sequencing editor. This way I have the best of both worlds. I like the way my original sequence editor sequences look,  I like the way my SuperStar sequences look and I like the way my XLights sequences look, they all look unique.

My advise, dont stop using S5 because of some issues, both software's had some issues this season.

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