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MA dot2 Review

When the likes of MA announce they have added a new console to their line up it is big news. So I was eager to get a look at it. I checked out the website and downloaded the software. However initially I was underwhelmed by it, especially as an MA2 user the dot2 just felt like a huge step backwards.

The more i looked the more it felt like it was missing:

  • A very basic effects library
  • No Pixel map
  • No fixture editor
  • Very little fixture settings
  • Locked views

Considering the dot2 comes in at a price above the MA2onPC command wing I didn’t really see a place for it. So i deleted the software and ignored it for some time.

I recently encountered a second look, whilst using a dot2 core console in a school theatre. Whilst actually using the console my initial judgement began to change. For this production I was brought in to design and program the lighting, and the show would be operated by one of the schools students. I began to see the consoles short coming more as the strategic removal of less required advanced features.

The MA2 is a powerful console and almost infinitely customisable, which can be very time consuming to setup and incredibly confusing to less experienced users.

The dot2 just works, it is more logical to new users. However it still remains familiar to the MA2 family. although it may not initially present itself as intuitive, with small screens which need to be switched between to access different parameters, groups and presets. But again this is a plus for newer users as all relevant information is right there.

I did have some issues patching lesser known fixtures, and there was no option to edit the fixture profile or change parameters. (I have later discovered there is an offline fixture builder, so this is less of a problem)

For this production we had no time to plot, so instead the operator ran the show on the console whilst I modified cues live over the network on a laptop. Thanks to the familiar MA command line this was incredibly easy, and the dot2 network setup was far simpler.

With a dedicated ‘Main’ cuelist and dual faders, the dot2 is a step closer to a theatrical console. My initial thoughts were that it was an odd choice for a school, however I have grown to like the dot2 and definitely see a place for it.
It is a good introduction to intelligent lighting, and a clever stepping stone to its bigger brother (or GrandMother ;) - in fact its show files can even be opened on the MA2 (however not visa versa).
There are still many things I would like to see included - like maybe the possibility to create effects in MA2 and save for the Dot2 as a preset.
It appears to sill be in heavy development which is good news for any console - meaning more features are yet to come. The recent updates added layout views (A major addition, making the console even easier to use and navigate on those little screens an

This little console is perfect for all the places an MA2 was over kill because setup time, space or operator experience are limited. The dot2 is a very small all in one console, no extra screens or wings etc are requires. It can be easily carried under one arm, and have a lighting rig up and running very quickly with minimal programming.


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