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Newbie needs some Advice - LOR vs. AL


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I hope this doesn’t cause any conflict but I want to start synchronizing my display (either this year ’06 or next year) but I don’t know if I should use LOR or Animated Lighting.

Which is the best over-all and why? I want something that can handing a lot and be able to be used for commercial use along with residential.

Also, I’ve seen people make their own boxes, etc for them so if I could get some info on that too I would really appreciate it! Thanks.

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Having come away from the Texas Christmas Lights Work Shop this past weekend, and being a current LOR user ... let me weigh in here.

Both AL and LOR (Along with D-Light) are going to control the lights in much the same way. You buy the hardware, program the lights, and sit back and watch.

How you accomplish that, and how much you spend to accomplish that are going to be major differences.

What follows is my opinion, again having seen quite a bit of each of these 3 vendors this past weekend.

Cost:
On average, LOR and D-Light, from a hardware perspective, are going to cost less. AL will cost more.

Programming:
AL's current, and D-Lights upcoming, software has more advanced features built into them. LOR's current software package, by comparison, is more scaled back. However, you can accomplish the same effects with each of the software packages.

Community: LOR has a very active user base here on PC. I honestly don't look into the AL or D-Light forums, so I can't speak to that. Take a look in each one and see what you think. I encourage you to research the level of support on each of them. As the creator and usual maintainer of the LORWiki, I'm probably biased in saying that LOR has a superior support system.

All three platforms would work well in a residential or commercial setting. LOR and AL both have hardware that will let you run the show without being connected to a computer. (D-Light folks, speak up. I don't know about you!)

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Hey Don..

Let me throw in here. I have to say it is too bad the d-light folks didn't get their products out a touch sooner. Their product looks to be the best by far - cheaper than both with software that blows them both away. Unfortunately the product is set to launch in 30 days, which gives no room for error.

I plan on being a d-light guinea pig - their software just blew me away compared to the AL and LOR versions. And like I told them, it means even more that they are actively developing it. Their first release has more features than LOR which hasn't updated in 2 years.

If you want to live on the edge, I'd say d-light gives you the most upside because they are actively improving the product. And of course it helps that they are nice guys too!

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Wow, thanks for all the info!

I've been researching quite a bit on LOR and AL and a little bit on D-light....from what I've found so far is that LOR would be better for I'm wanting. I still haven't made up my mind yet though...I still what to look more into AL and D-L. But, for right now, LOR is at the top of my list.

You all will be the first to know which I chose!

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Having seen both of them demonstrated at the Carolina Mini PLUS, I can say this:

They are both awesome programs that can do awesome things. AL costs a little more. LOR costs a little less. I'm an LOR user, and I will naturally push for them since it's what I use.

Both are great, do much of the same thing, and have many people on here that are willing to help. The main deciding factor for me was which one I could better afford for what I wanted to do, and LOR fit that bill. Different people choose it or the other for different reasons, though, and you have to look at what you want to accomplish in the long run, and how you want to do it.

I know, not much help or new information in this post, but I did offer y feelings on the subject. After the Mini PLUS, I'm a believer in both, though a user of LOR.

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Thanks - much appreicated!

I've done some more research but still can't make up my mind. It seems that they would both to they same thing for what I want to do. (residential, lots of lights/music/etc, and a HUGH commerical display (nearly 6 acres worth))

So far, these are the main things I've found:
1) AL cost more....not a problem
2) AL seems to target more commerical then LOR....I want to make sure it will be able to do commerical without any problems
3) More people on here are LOR-users....which makes it harder for me to chose AL because more people on here use LOR

So, right, I don't know what to do and this is a HUGH bummer. :):)

I guess I'll just wait and see.....hopefully some more people will post their opinion and I can make a desision then....but, until then....I will sit in a dark corner and be sad because I can't figure out which to get....:(:(:(:(:(:(.....lol....j/k.....but, I am still sad....:laughing:

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I can't speak for the others as I am LOR user but, so far, I am extremely satisfied with LOR. Not only from a software standpoint but most importantly, from a support standpoint. The best software in the world isn't worth anything if you can't get solid, speedy support. Again, I haven't used the others but LOR gets my vote. LOR II is also on the horizon.

Another thing for you to consider Ashleigh is that time is a wasting. If you plan on animating this season, you need to make a decision in pretty short order.
We're at about 59 day until "lights on" and that doesn't give you much time to buy, get through the learning curve of the software and get some songs sequenced for your display.

Tim

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I will echo Don and Maxout's posts. As a former owner of 64 channels of AL and current owner of 200+ channels of LOR, if I was pressed right now (Monday September 25th) to purchase I would buy LOR. However, with what Dick and Darryl showed this weekend, I would look more to D-Light a month from now. All three are great but there are some differences and preferences to each.

Jeff

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Thanks you two! I don't think I will be animating this year :) but I might. Either later today or tomorrow I will show my dad LOR and AL and he will deside what to get. Hopefully I will be able to animate this year!

I know....it feels like xmas will be here tomorrow but yet it feels so far away....I think I will still have time thought if I get it within the next 2-3 weeks.

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[align=center]***GOOD NEWS!!***
[/align]
Okay, so, I just got done showing my parents and we decided to go with LOR!!

W00T!! W00T!!

So, now, I need some help, where do I get started? What kind of box should I get, what products should I get, should I get the starter Package/the Director Card with MP3 player/which boards, etc.

I really need all the help I can get! OMG...this is just sOoOoOo EXCITING!!

YAY!!....I'm so happy.....lol....okay, I got that out of my system. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

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You're in the LOR forum; perhaps you might post a similar question in the AL forum and the d-light forum. Mostly, you will only get responses from LOR users here.

I had the opportunity to test an older AL beta software, 16 channel board, and monster brain prior to purchasing LOR. I personally had a difficult time using AL software. I think the LOR software is easier to program in. With that said, I have seen many LOR and AL displays in action, and there's no way you can tell the difference based on the show. So they are equal for all practical purposes.

If I had to pick today, I'd still do LOR. If you asked me a year from now, it's quite possible I'll be on D-light. It depends how well LOR2 and the new LOR software matches D-light.

Here are a few more points to add to your list:


  • When D-light releases it's software in a month, it will be far superior to both AL and LOR software (in my humble opinion).
  • LOR has new software and firmware in the works, but it is unknown how it will match up to D-light
  • LOR currently has limited support for servos compared to AL and D-light
  • D-light is the cheapest!
  • With D-light, at the minimum you still have to add your own electrical cords and enclosure.

**EDIT** So unfair! You posted while i was writing! :laughing::laughing::laughing:

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Here's my 2 cents... being a previous owner of AL, it works the same as LOR. Programming the grid to flicker, fade, twinkle is all the same. The only difference is in the hardware. AL has a few extra features that's really not needed. That's were the extra cost comes in.

The reason I switched to LOR is because the customer service Dan provides. On a scale of 1-10 and 10 being the highest, I rate him at a 12. He's returned every e-mail message promptly and solved any problem I had. His products are competitively priced compared to AL (don't know anything about D-Light).

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So I'll answer your other questions then!

For a first year startup, you'll need the starter package. Also, decide what your budget is. It will make a big difference in what you order. Once you know your budget, you'll need to decide if you want to build a kit, buy an assembled hobbyist and add your own cords and enclosure, or buy the full showtime units. Then just match these up with your budget. For a first year, I'd suggest starting out with 8 or 16 channels, and 32 at an absolute maximum. You'll thank yourself later for starting small.

If you can run cable from your computer to your controllers, i'd suggest not getting the MP3 player or wireless this year. It will save you some money so you can get more channels. After that....the sky is the limit.

Start programming songs now! :) Don't wait for next summer to sneak up. The earlier you start, the more songs and higher quality you'll have in your show...not to mention less stress. :}

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contactmike1 wrote

EDIT** So unfair! You posted while i was writing! :laughing::laughing::laughing:
LOL....thats funny.

Good advice everyone....I looked at D-L, AL, and LOR. LOR seems to be best suited for what I want to do and I don't need all the extra feature that AL has.

Also, thank you so so SO much for the info on what to get! Thanks a MILLION!
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*** So, is this all I need? ***

I'm not sure if I'm going to get the 32 Channel Package, the Starter Package, and the Show Director & MP3 Player (all showtime products) - or if I should get the Starter Package, Director Card with MP3 Player, and the Controlled Triac Board with Heatsink (all hoppyiest products) and then just make the encloser and get the software, adapter, and cables.

(I hope I'll saying this all right... :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: not really sure what I'm talking about... :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:)

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You said money was no object so I'd go for the 128 channel package.
I bought 184 channels, hopefully this newb will be able to achieve my lofty plans for this year.

Tim

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ShiningBright91 wrote:

*** So, is this all I need? ***

I'm not sure if I'm going to get the 32 Channel Package, the Starter Package, and the Show Director & MP3 Player (all showtime products) - or if I should get the Starter Package, Director Card with MP3 Player, and the Controlled Triac Board with Heatsink (all hoppyiest products) and then just make the encloser and get the software, adapter, and cables.

(I hope I'll saying this all right... :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: not really sure what I'm talking about... :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:)


If you buy the 32 channel package for $739.95, it includes everything. So you don't need the starter package with it. I'd only get the show director and MP3 player if you decide NOT to run the show from your computer. If you run a cable from your computer to your controllers, then the show director and MP3 player won't do anything...total waste. The idea is ..... people buy it so they don't need a computer to run the show. So either buy it and run the show from the show director and MP3 player, or save yourself $600 (showtime unit) and just hook it up to your computer.

The only reason NOT to do the 32 channel package is if you want to build your boards and find/make your own enclosure. The hobbyist line of products you have to assemble, that's the only difference. If you're not worried about cost, I'd just order one item: the 32 channel package.
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ShiningBright91 wrote:


So, now, I need some help, where do I get started? What kind of box should I get, what products should I get, should I get the starter Package/the Director Card with MP3 player/which boards, etc.

If you haven't already, please take a moment to look over the LORWiki. It has a lot of useful information. Also, the LightORama.com support page has information as well.
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Glad to see you made your choice! You won't be disappointed at all. And you have tons of people and resources here to help you along your way.

I believe Brad uses LOR in his commercial display in Columbia, doesn't he?

Welcome to the wonderful world of computerized Christmas displays!:happytree:

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ShiningBright91 wrote:



[align=center]***GOOD NEWS!!***
[/align]
Okay, so, I just got done showing my parents and we decided to go with LOR!!

W00T!! W00T!!

So, now, I need some help, where do I get started? What kind of box should I get, what products should I get, should I get the starter Package/the Director Card with MP3 player/which boards, etc.

I really need all the help I can get! OMG...this is just sOoOoOo EXCITING!!

YAY!!....I'm so happy.....lol....okay, I got that out of my system. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:


LOL! I'm glad I'm not the only one that got so excited over ordering LOR. Just wait for delivery day...It's like waiting for Christmas to come. The problem is, unlike Christmas, you're never quite sure what time of day the delivery guy might show up. The anticipation can get thick...atleast Santa comes over night. Everything is waiting for you in the morning :laughing:
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vanlohd wrote:

ShiningBright91 wrote:


[align=center]
***GOOD NEWS!!***
[/align]

Okay, so, I just got done showing my parents and we decided to go with LOR!!

W00T!! W00T!!

So, now, I need some help, where do I get started? What kind of box should I get, what products should I get, should I get the starter Package/the Director Card with MP3 player/which boards, etc.

I really need all the help I can get! OMG...this is just sOoOoOo EXCITING!!

YAY!!....I'm so happy.....lol....okay, I got that out of my system. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:


LOL! I'm glad I'm not the only one that got so excited over ordering LOR. Just wait for delivery day...It's like waiting for Christmas to come. The problem is, unlike Christmas, you're never quite sure what time of day the delivery guy might show up. The anticipation can get thick...atleast Santa comes over night. Everything is waiting for you in the morning :laughing:


:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: We are the excited ones here at PC :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: Share the pride....lol.
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Ashleigh, I am here in Dunnellon with 112 channels of LOR that I built as kits, then built the metal enclosures due to the fact that I had a hard time finding them locally at a reasonable price. I also built my FM transmitter and to give you just a little sneek peek, my mega tree is 75 feet tall! I will be more than happy to show you what I have put together in the last two years and give you what little tiny bit of info that is in my mind if that would help you. If you would like to touch base, send an E-mail or PM, it's nice to have someone right down the street, as we would call it out here.

Doug

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I just thought of something...do I need a

[align=center]*** FM TRANSMITTER? ***
[align=left]
or does the 32 channel come with one? (I hope this isn't a stupid question...lol...I mean I am a girl...:laughing:)

actually, from the looks of it I think I do need one...lol...silly me...blonde moment there...:laughing:...anyway, which is the best kind to get? Thanks!
[/align][/align]

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