Which controller do I need?
Designer Controller families
All programmed using Designer software, our Designer controllers are grouped into two families – the LPC (Lighting Playback Controller) family and VLC (Video Lighting Controller) family.
Most features and functionality are common to all Designer controllers, but the families do have a few specific differences in programming and playback methods dependant on whether you’re primarily controlling lighting or video content.
If you’re not sure which Pharos lighting controller is right for your project, we hope the breakdown below will help you pick. A more detailed table of the features of each controller follows at the end of this page, or you can contact us for more information.
All Pharos Designer controllers interface with lighting fixtures via DMX, eDMX and DALI and feature show control, a wide range of integration options, are extremely reliable and come with a 5 year warranty as standard. For complete peace of mind and control over your installation, all controllers have a range of remote management options built-in, including a customisable web-server and support for Pharos Cloud.
A Pharos Designer system can be scaled by combining multiple Designer lighting controllers and remote devices over Ethernet to create a cohesive control system, all programmed in the same environment, with a combination of features to suit the project.
This explainer video provides an overview of the main differences between the families. There is also a webinar on this subject, and this Tips and Tricks covers more detail about differences in content processing, level of fixture control, mapping and playback.
Here’s a top level summary of the differences between the two families:
Versatile control to realise your lighting design
Controllers in the LPC family feature individually controllable and independently running timelines and scenes, letting you build dynamic, precise, fully customisable lighting effects with the freedom of real-time manual overrides, and the versatility of powerful show control and integration features.
1/2/4 universes of eDMX with 2 local DMX ports
RS232, MIDI and 8 inputs
Ideal for ‘fit and forget’ applications – the controller is commissioned once, then can be left to reliably do its job.
10-100 universes of eDMX
Optional DVI input
Ideal for large lighting installations requiring unrivalled programming power and flexibility.
1 universe of eDMX
Customisable touch interface
Ideal for projects requiring a combination of lighting control and a smart user interface in a compact package.
TPC + EXT
1 universe of DMX/eDMX, DALI, RS232, 8 inputs
Customisable touch interface
Combine the TPC with the EXT extension to create a versatile, mains-powered, touch panel lighting control solution.
Play videos on a canvas that has lights as pixels
VLC lighting controllers are cost-effective solutions for huge LED pixel arrays. Play videos with smooth crossfades in different compositions from internal storage and live HD video input. The VLC family comes complete with powerful show control and integration features for ultimate real-time control.
50-1500 universes of eDMX
Display video or DVI input with smooth transitions
Ideal for mapping video to lighting fixtures used as a single large video screen.
50-3000 universes of eDMX
Display two videos or DVI input with smooth transitions, rotation, movement, masking and more
Ideal for advanced façade projects, observation wheels and wrap-around applications like stadiums.
Universes of DMX/eDMX output per Controller type
Combine up to 40 controllers in a single Designer project
Detailed controller comparison
Select products to compare:
|Key Features||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Channels of DMX/eDMX output Channels can be flexibly mapped to DMX/eDMX universes.
Equivalent universe count Controller output is limited by channel count not universe count. Channels can be flexibly mapped to DMX/eDMX universes.
|Built-in touch panel interface||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Scalability||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Add extra controllers for increased capacity Up to a maximum of 40 controllers per project.
Add extra controllers for extra interfaces/features Controllers work seamlessly together as a single system. Most interfaces can be used by any controller in the system. Some limitations apply.
|Add Pharos remote devices for extra interfaces/features|
Add Pharos wall stations for human interfaces
Number of remote devices supported Remote devices per controller, total in system cannot exceed 200, or limit according to number of controllers, whichever is reached first.
|DMX512 output||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in DMX512/RDM output ports Each up to 512 channels, RDM compatible, and individually isolated
Additional DMX512 output ports with RIO and EDN 20 Limited to 96 channels per port for the RIO, or 20 full universes for the EDN 20.
|Ethernet and eDMX output||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Dedicated eDMX output ports
|Dedicated management Ethernet ports||-||-||-||1||-||-||1||2|
Shared management Ethernet/eDMX ports
Multi-protocol eDMX output sACN, Art-Net, KiNET and Pathport support.
UDP/TCP/Multicast send/receive Send/receive of any Ethernet message/syntax; UDP, TCP, Multicast via management Ethernet port.
|DMX512/eDMX input||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in DMX512 input port For triggering and mastering, shared with RS232 and RS485 input (if applicable).
eDMX Input via Data port Single Eternet port devices accept eDMX via main port.
eDMX to DMX512 pass-through Local to a controller.
|2 universes||-||-||1 universe||-||-|
|DALI||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|Built-in DALI control buses||-||-||-||-||-||1||-||-|
|Support for input triggering on DALI bus|
Additional DALI buses with RIO D
|Video||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Live video input via DVI-D Live video input via DVI-D.
Confidence monitor video output via DVI-I DVI-I (Dual-Link)
|Outputs||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|Built-in relay output||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Additional relay outputs with RIO 44/08 Individually isolated (1KV) relay outputs (48V 250mA)
|Inputs||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in input pins Freely divide inputs between supported modes
|Additional input pins with RIO 80/44|
Supports contact closure mode
Supports digital input mode up to 24V
Supports analog input mode up to 24V
|MIDI||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in MIDI input MIDI Notes, SysEx or Timecode
Additional MIDI inputs with RIO A MIDI Notes, SysEx or Timecode
Built-in MIDI output MIDI Notes, SysEx or Timecode
Additional MIDI outputs with RIO A MIDI Notes, SysEx or Timecode
|Audio||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in audio/timecode input Supports multi-band audio spectrum analysis, or linear timecode (LTC)
Additional audio/timecode inputs with RIO A Supports multi-band audio spectrum analysis, or linear timecode (LTC)
Built-in analog audio output Timeline programmable audio clips
Built-in digital audio output SPDIF. Timeline programmable audio clips
|Serial||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in RS232 port Shared with DMX512 input and RS485 integration (if applicable)
|Additional RS232 ports with RIO|
Built-in RS485 port Shared with DMX512 input and RS232 integration (if applicable)
|Additional RS485 ports with RIO|
Supports any syntax send/receive Send/receive free syntax in ASCII, HEX or decimal
|Infrared||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|Built-in infrared receiver||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Additional infrared receivers with BPS/TPC/TPS|
|Learning infrared codes per TPC/TPS receiver||16||16||16||16||16||16||16||16|
|Learning infrared codes per BPS receiver||8||8||8||8||8||8||8||8|
|Supports any syntax send/receive|
Layout and playback
|Fully flexible layout/programming (LPC family)||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||N/A||N/A|
Fully flexible fixture grouping and layout
Fixtures may appear in multiple groups
Fixtures may appear in multiple layouts
Fixture template support
|Single canvas layout/programming (VLC family)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||VLC||VLC+|
Fixtures positioned freely on canvas
Number of canvases Per controller
Fixture grouping For organisation/patching only
|Fixture template support||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Video composition (VLC family)||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||VLC||VLC+|
Full HD video clip playback with cross-fading
Multiple video clip instances For duplicating content across across the composition
Maximum number of simultaneous video playbacks Performance may vary when playing more clips than the specified number of Full HD layers with cross fading.
|Colour gains with definable mask regions||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||-|
|Video clip transparency with user-definable masks||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||-|
Video clip movement and rotation Run-time controllable
|Playback||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|Scenes for recalling static looks||-||-|
|Timelines for programming dynamic effects|
Simultaneous playback of scenes/timelines (as applicable)
User-definable timeline priorities
Stacking last-action-takes-precedence playback Fixtures not controlled by a scene/timeline retain previous state
|Timeline loop or hold at end|
Real-time and astronomical timelines Useful for creating lighting effects that vary according to time-of-day, such as circadian rhythm effects
Media clip playback from internal memory
Parameterisable 2D effects
|Output override||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Manual colour override
Any content target
Any content target
Manual intensity mastering
Any content target
Any content target
|Fixture Support||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|LED fixtures (RGB, RGBA, RGBAW, 8-bit, 16-bit, white)|
Intensity channels (RGBI etc)
Single channel fixtures
|Triggering logic||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Trigger / condition / action logic
Built-in real-time clock for time based triggers
|3rd party integrations||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Full IO module library support
Custom IO module support
|Touch panel interfaces||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in touch panel interface
Additional touch panel interfaces with TPS/TPC
Selectable user interface styles
Fully customisable interface design
Fully customisable interface logic
|Buttons||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Support for BPS button panels
Fully customisable logic/triggering
|Web interfaces||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Built-in web server
PC and mobile device support
Supplied with Pharos-designed web interface
Fully customisable web interface
PC and mobile device support
|Comissioning||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Comissioned with Pharos Designer Only relevant features are presented to the user
|Remote management||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
Support for Pharos Cloud Simple, secure remote management from any Internet-connected device, anywhere, any time.
Support for Pharos Director A tool for managing video content and scheduling for sites spanning multiple Pharos systems
|Mechanical||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
|DIN rail mountable||-||-||EXT||-||-|
|19" rack mountable||-||-||-||1U||-||-||1U||2U|
|Electrical||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|
PoE power input
DC power input
AC power input
|Waranty||LPC 1||LPC 2||LPC 4||LPC X||TPC||TPC + EXT||VLC||VLC+|