Review: M-Touch Lighting Console – Learn Stage Lighting .com

Review: M-Touch Lighting Console

Recently, I took the opportunity to do a full review of the M-Touch lighting console which I recently purchased.

I really like this desk, and I think you will too.

Watch the full review below, and check out the transcript below that:

The M-Touch was formerly produced by Martin, but has since been sold to Elation – more info here!

Transcript:
Hey lighting fans – It’s David from LearnStageLighting.com, and today I want to give you a full review of the M-Touch, now that I’ve had a few weeks to play with it.

What I think about it, what I like about it, what I don’t like about it…and most importantly, should you buy one if you’re in the market for a lighting console?

Physical:

Martin M-TouchI want to first go over the physical. I did an unboxing video and kind of went over this, but I want to show it to you again.

See here about size wise, if I hold it up to my laptop, it’s just a little bit wider than my 15 inch laptop, and it’s not as deep.

You’ve got ten faders right here, which are the “Force Touch” faders. You can move them up and down simply by moving your hand across them.

This time I’ll do it like a weather man and I won’t get in the way of the LED’s.

You can see here it moves naturally with my finger, really easy. I got t0 tell you, when I first got it out of the box, I was a little concerned about it because I was pushing really hard and I just couldn’t get the feel right.

It’s like anything else as you’re getting used to a new laptop with a new track pad, or a new mouse, a new car, whatever you’re getting used to. It takes a little while to get used to the way it feels, but once you get used to, I say, faders no more. It’s crazy, I never thought I’d say that.
I  [also] thought, when I bought this thing, I was going to be like, “You know, it’s cheap and it’s good for people who don’t have a lot of money, but if you’ve got money, you probably just want to get something with real faders”, but I’m not saying that because this thing’s pretty cool.

See across it here, each fader of these ten has a bump button [which] lights up real nice when you press it, and they’ve also installed this force touch functionality where you can set these bump buttons to respond to how hard you press them.

Functionality

Martin M TouchIt really works and it’s really pretty cool if you’re doing music and you use your flash buttons a lot.

If you don’t use flash buttons a lot, like I said, you’ve got the “flash” button, and then you’ve got a “select” and a “GO button”. You can assign these to whatever you want in the MPC software. You’ve got lots of choices.

It’s just like on a Hog 4 or a Grand MA, or a Jands Vista, pretty much any major desk out there, you can go in and assign the buttons on the playback to do different things.
Another cool feature, you see my playbacks here are different colors, what in the world? Well, how cool is this?

That I can now just look at my M-Touch and see oh, it’s an [inhibitive] sub because it’s yellow, and yellow is the color that M-PC uses for inhibitives.

Same here, this is a teal, and it is an override, which is put in their M-PC software and their M series consoles, and it’s basically a highest priority playback, I believe.

Again, I’m not super into the software, I been working with it but I’m not an expert on it. I don’t know it like I know other desks, so you’ll have to forgive me on that.

This red is just a regular, good old cue list. You can see here also, we’ve got a selected playback area, like many consoles. Pages, by pressing this plus and minus button, you can see I don’t have any pages set up, so it just goes blank.
On this side of life, we’ve got the programmer, and I really like because to my knowledge, this was the first serious lighting console that put out an inexpensive wing, being this, the M-Touch, that has both playbacks and the programmer.

Before this you had, Chamsys had a wing that was just playback faders. Hog had a one that was just playback faders, and then you had to pay more if you wanted a programmer section.  M-PC figured out a way to get it in, and it’s pretty ingenious.
M-Touch Side ViewBefore I get there though, let’s stop in the middle of the desk. We’ve got these ten buttons, what are they? They look like bump buttons, they’re not. What are they? They’re the same type of button. They’re actually set up to do four different functions, but it’s not confusing.

Selected with this four way switch so they can be playbacks, like button playbacks on a Hog, a Grand MA, on a Vista, whatever. I’m probably leaving somebody out there.

If I tap it again, they can be function keys. Now you can’t see this, but I’m switching between different windows and functions inside the MPC software, and now I just pulled up the keyboard over top of my window.

If I hold it for a few seconds, give it a good firm hold, for an extra second or two you’ve got to press it hard to switch into “base”, this is the programmer section.

What it does, I’ll show you this quick. I need to select a fixture.

If you see here now, it says, “base”. I’ve selected the first page, for this I’m on an LED fixture and the profile I’m using is just the red, green, blue, amber, UV profile. The only attribute it’s got is color.

When I select this button, I’m able to switch between here the red, green, blue and amber I believe, then over on the second page, I press it again, I get the white and UV.

As you can see, when I touched a parameter, this turned red. It’s letting me know, in my programmer: “hey, for this fixture you’ve got selected, you have touched these parameters”.

How cool is that?

If you worked with a professional grade console before, you know that when you’re in the programmer, if you touch anything, it’s going to get recorded in that cue, even if it was an accident.

Once you’re used to it, you don’t do that too often, but it still happens. This is cool because it lights up.

Then I’m able to switch between different pages, which I don’t have with this fixture that I’ve got loaded. I’m able to see the flashing one being the one that I’m on, and the other parameters will light up in red or green depending on whether I touch them or not. That’s stinking cool.
You’ll also notice on parameters, color included, but especially on pan and tilt, as you move your finger up and down the fader, it’s not going to fade out all the way on one finger’s length. That’s on purpose.

That gives you finer control over things like pan and tilt.

Yes, in the moment it might feel a little frustrating, but think about it: How often, for something like pan or tilt, do you need to go all the way from one end of the range to the other in one cue?

Yeah, it happens sometimes. Sometimes you program and you’re just going to send that thing flying away, but often times it’s not that long.

Honestly, once you get used to just coming down it twice, you get rid of that parameter, move it to the other side.
We’ve also got “next”, “last” and “highlight” here which is useful to be able to switch between different fixtures and you can see the LED’s moving between the different fixtures I’ve selected.

Up here, you’ll see my “clear button” highlighted, and then “load”, “update”, “record” and “edit”.  Those work as you would expect on every other console.

Software

ScreenShot-2016-Mar-14-156-PMAs you can probably guess, as I mentioned before, in writing this review, I am new to the M-Series software, and so I’m really really inspired and really excited about what they’re doing, because I hadn’t used the M-Series software really at all.

I downloaded and played with it, but then I bought this thing and said, “Well, it’s only $500, so here goes”. What I found was, I’m really liking their software.

They’ve got a new 2D view in there which is killer and matches what a lot of other desks have, and some desks don’t have [yet].
Overall, it works just like I would expect a modern, professional console to work.

I like it better than some consoles.

I don’t like it as much as another console I’m thinking of. I don’t really want to name names here, or shame other consoles, because at the end of the day, yes the Grand MA2 has market share, yes it’s probably the most popular lighting desk out there.

I’m going to get on a little soap box, and it’s a great desk, I like it a lot. The Grand MA1’s a great desk too.

To be honest, there are many many shows that can be done on a Hog.

There are many many shows that can be done on this. Many many shows that can be done on a Leprecon, right?

The point of the matter is, I’m really liking the M Series software. I think Elation’s got a killer range of consoles in a really good price range. They really have got different desks in different ranges, and even their biggest desk is not super expensive compared to alternatives on the market, it’s right in the middle.
I definitely say, I’m going to be getting more into the M-Series, definitely going to be working more with M-PC myself, using this desk on gigs with my laptop and really enjoying it.

Now, before I leave, I know that sounded like a conclusion. Just want to point out something I didn’t note, the side. Here, Kensington lock, very important so nobody steals it.

Five pin DMX out, there’s no RDM on that, though the M-Series software is RDM capable, and then the USB, which is a USB-B, like for your printer.

Look at this, Elation’s designed their software so that I can just unplug this, plug it back in, a second and a half later, it’s got my M-Touch back and it’s working.

How cool is that, if that were to actually only happen for whatever reason, get unplugged, nobody wants that to happen, but if it did, boom, you plug it back in, it’s on really fast.
It’s all made out of aluminum from what I best understand, but it’s rubberized so it feels really nice. You got some rubber feet as well as some boring warnings on the bottom and a VESA mount, so that if you wanted to mount it with some kind of wall bracket or an arm that comes out and it sits on, you can do that too as well.

Thank you to everyone at Elation, and to all of you that watched this.

I really enjoyed my M-Touch and I really think that it’s a great option for freelancers, companies, bands, anybody who wants a professional level controller, to have that flexibility, to have a fairly easy to use software for something that’s professional grade.

Obviously, across the board, all the consoles, as we move forward in time, just keep getting more user friendly and that’s cool. It’s just a really great package and I really like, really would suggest it to anybody.

I think you will not be let down by this. Thanks for watching this review, be sure to check out more on LearnStageLighting.com and check out our other videos here on YouTube. See you.

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive any free or reduced priced product for this review.  Aka…I went out and bought this thing!


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  • Kev says:

    Hi I´m i would like to know if its possible to connect the M-Touch as a midi device for any daw?

    • David says:

      Hey Kev!,

      It is NOT possible to turn the M-Touch into a MIDI device. While the M-Touch may look like some MIDI controllers that are on the market, it is NOT a MIDI controller, and is not MIDI compatible.


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