MA Lighting recently released the MA onPC Command Wing which is a USB interface for its popular MA onPC software. While the controller requires a PC running the MA onPC software, the box itself has two DMX outputs, one DMX input, a XLR timecode input, as well as analog remote capabilities, and the usual MIDI in and out ports.
The console is a great support platform for using MA2 onPC software, as it is the same control surface and layout as the console series. It allows direct access as the actual consoles would to all software commands and creates a very user friendly interface to what would normally be a mouse click and keyboard shortcut environment.
The interface itself will be very familiar to MA2 users, making the learning curve almost non-existent. This wing features six faders with three control buttons each, as well as another row of six executor buttons in addition to the main A/B crossfade main playback faders and go buttons. The programming section is nearly identical to the family of consoles, with four encoders directly above for ease of use with any PC or laptop monitor. The software will support touchscreen PCs or external monitors and with these options, truly does create an “at home” experience to having a console on the go.
Using this new device should be an increasingly common experience given its size and ease of use. The wing is extremely portable, easily fitting in a Pelican-type case, or small road case, packaged nicely with a laptop or small PC of your choosing. This solution could be a great backup console in addition to a portable prep or pre-programming station. As all the functionality of the console is onboard, there is really no limit to what you can do to work on your show file through this interface, and it is easily 10 times faster than the software alone, since everything is laid out in a familiar and convenient fashion.
However, due to the limits of only six live non-motorized faders, which do not give realtime feedback as far as level, I wouldn't suggest replacing full-size consoles on live events just yet. The wing offers a lot of features, but it won't replace the need for a console on some shows. As the PC connected can be networked into any MA session, it would also be a great “mobile” unit for focusing or for events with multi-user stations, especially over large distances or multiple rooms.
With its multi-use nature, and from what I understand about its availability, I expect this particular addition to the MA2 platform to start popping up on shows and in shops in the very near future. As the MA2 software platform continues to develop, I expect big things from this little wing.
Here's the company's promo video for MA onPC, which isn't a full demo but provides some more info and product specs.