MA Lighting has just unveiled the first general public release of the grandMA3 software, v1.003. It is accompanied by a new version of the grandMA2 software, v3.8.0, to ensure compatibility between the grandMA2 and grandMA3 hardware.
Ignoring the infantile nervous breakdowns that resonate on social media, the German market leader has taken its time to offer new software, which is light years ahead of the grandMA2.
It is neither a 2.5 version nor an updated remix of grandMA2, but a brand new console that embraces all the key programming concepts introduced in recent years, as well as the processing power of the second decade of the new millennium and a wealth of impressive ideas on every menu. Built on a custom modular design and a complete range of redesigned consoles, grandMA3 consoles feature capacitive touchscreens with multiple “gestures” that complement ergonomics never before seen on this type of console.
The reinforced heavy-duty construction, with its integrated ventilation duct and silent operating keys, has made it possible to install 3D graphics and video cards that are unrivaled in terms of power.
This expanded capability allows for additional DMX parameters, but also the incorporation of an integrated real-time 3D viewer, future internal media servers and exceptional stability for the most demanding lighting systems.
MA Lighting is the only manufacturer to provide up to 250,000 real-time parameters, with less than two frames of lag on all synchronized outputs, thanks to networked MA devices. That’s nearly 1,000 DMX universes being handled in a single console session! The organization into hierarchical layers and the interlinking of repertoire elements redefine the very foundations of programming, saving time, and gaining in terms of precision and possibilities.
The heads-up programmer allows for ease and convenience for all repetitive tasks: recording, organizing, editing or reshaping objects. The new Grid selection and MATricks XYZ features, as well as a redesign of the layouts, provide unparalleled working comfort on complex lighting rigs.
The complete redesign of the menus spans from setup to the multiple advancements made possible by 3D. In collaboration with the leading lighting manufacturers, the integration of MVR environments and the construction of libraries by assembling 3D models and functions (GDTF) in patches classified according to Layer, Class, Environment, Data Pool or ID Type offer incredible flexibility for managing huge shows, festivals, tours, operas or studio productions.
Visual comprehension also becomes more precise, with the integrated HD viewer and the graphic layouts of each element, all editable by the user. The numerous shortcuts for access and execution clear the way for creativity, the dynamic part of which is enriched by a complete redesign of the effects, with the addition of Phasers, an enormous leap forward for professional operators.
The live aspect also gains ground, thanks to the increase in executor commands, the number of sequences available in real time and the multiple priorities for sequences. With a three-level network, the MA-Net3 protocol offers even more stability than there was with grandMA2 and, in addition to the management of online updates and troubleshooting, it also allows advanced monitoring and the ability to use the console controls from any device, laptop or tablet, without third-party software.
The OnPC version is now complemented by an OnMac version, which is available to everyone now, and the availability of the grandMA3 Wings for lightweight solutions, soon to be followed by a version with an embedded CPU, the CommandWing XT, which is due to be presented at Prolight+Sound exhibition.
It will take some time to ponder this monument to programming and the time required to set it up. It is very challenging to propose a completely new software, with so many possibilities, and already mastering in the 1.0 version elements such as time code, advanced layouts, 3D and the management of ArtNet, sACN and OSC protocols, especially in the many and varied applications in which MA products are used.
While there was a small segment of users who were frustrated by the wait despite the availability of the preliminary version of the grandMA3 software, the majority of operators who participated in Axente’s demos and workshops are already enthusiastic about this new cornerstone of lighting programming.
A new era for MA Lighting is coming, and the efforts of this German brand and of the console operators involved will rapidly be rewarded by the grandMA3 revolution.
More to the MA Lighting website
Text & photos: Tristan Szylobryt