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Old 10-21-2010, 03:25 AM #1
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Default What is so bad about Ishow?

i am currently concluding my research and gathering what i need to get for my homemade laser show, although ishow is so cheap and i am on a budget. to me ishow looks pretty nice? what are the negatives to this software? all i want to do is make nice beam shows and draw out text and simple graphics. i am going to be using 20kpps scanners as well. i am planning on building my own sound card dac although i was just wondering if its going to be a night and day difference between the two dacs?


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Old 10-21-2010, 04:21 AM #2
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

I-show has horrible output compared to every single other option. Distorted imagery, random blanking issues.. not worth a dime IMO. It really is almost like the people who made it just didn't care in the slightest.

Here's the thing. You can only cut costs so much with laser shows. Eventually you have to pony up a little cash. That's unfortunately just the way it is. On the bright side, things are VASTLY cheaper than they were just a few years ago, and there are excellent free/relatively inexpensive DIY options that give very good results. If you go with the absolute cheapest options, both DACs and projectors, you will get less than you pay for.. which is pretty bad considering how little the uber-cheap stuff costs.
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Last edited by ElektroFreak; 10-21-2010 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 10-21-2010, 05:23 AM #3
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

I cannot recommend it for anything other than simple beam shows. Graphics are distorted and there are random lines expressed when you try to draw them.

If beam shows alone is acceptable to you, I will give you a great deal on an IShow. QuickShow is on the way here now

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:46 AM #4
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

Buy a complete sound card dac from 300EVIL at photonlexicon.com . It is only a little more expensive than iShow, but it has excellent output and it's not that hard to set up.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:36 AM #5
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

The iShow DAC works pretty well with *********. I solved the problem of the random beams that Daguin mentioned and improved on the distorted images a lot. In fact, there is very little difference between the output from iShow and other DACs when used with *********. The one noticeable difference is that the iShow output has some hotspot points in the images. Unfortunately, it is due to the firmware and I was not able to overcome that.

For the most part, I don't recommend buying an iShow. But, if you can get one very cheap or already have one, they will work well with *********. Or, if you already have a nice DAC, the iShow DACs make good DACs for use low speed beam scanners.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:16 PM #6
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

So if I understand correctly the software pretty much sucks and that's what causes all of the distortion and what not. But what about the actual dac itself? Is the dac compatible with other software such as lfi player? Maybe even down the road ill upgrade to *********
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:13 PM #7
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

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Originally Posted by lightman10 View Post
So if I understand correctly the software pretty much sucks and that's what causes all of the distortion and what not. But what about the actual dac itself? Is the dac compatible with other software such as lfi player? Maybe even down the road ill upgrade to *********
As far as I know, ********* is the only other software to work with the iShow DAC. There is no SDK/API for it so I had to figure out the iShow protocol by my own experimenting. The distortion of the images and the weird lines that show up are due to a mismatch between the firmware and the application. I get the impression that the iShow firmware and/or application were never finished or that incompatible versions are being sold together.

If someone were to reverse engineer the hardware and create some new firmware for it (not a big task if you are an embedded programmer) I think the output from the DAC could be very very good. It would still be only 8bit XY and TTL RGB but that isn't bad at all for beam shows. If I had the time and desire, I would rewrite the firmware and repackage the DAC with a different name. The hardware itself is actually quite nice and it comes in a nice sturdy extruded case.
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:43 PM #8
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

so if i end up buying the I-show bundle and just using the dac, will there be a huge difference between that and the sound card dac? while using *********.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:01 PM #9
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

Yes. Even if the imagery is cleaner when ishow is used with *********, the ishow hardware is limited to 8 bits for the X,Y channels and TTL on the color channels. This slightly limits the resolution of imagery, and limits the total number of colors possible to 7. The soundcard DAC provides 16 bits for the X,Y channels and 16 bits for the color channels, which gives a maximum color palette of 65535 hues. In other words the soundcard DAC is superior in terms of output possibilities.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:15 PM #10
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

if i am just using a green laser show system shouldnt that not apply to me? or are the images still going to be distorted with random line and what not? if i understand what the bits mean..
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:19 PM #11
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

For a green-only system the only part of that which applies is the 8 bit vs. 16 bit imagery. For your usage, ishow will do IF you also buy ********* to go with it.. but that begs the question: Why pay over $200 for a system when you could get better features for similar cost by going with the soundcard DAC option?
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:24 PM #12
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

yeah that’s a very good point. i guess the only thing that is holding me against the sound card dac is the putting it together because i don’t have that great of a background in electronics. but if it comes down to it i am going to need to go the sound card dac route.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:39 PM #13
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

You can get a RIYA lite DAC for around the same price as you can get an iShow package and it will be superior to both the iShow AND the sound card DAC.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:43 PM #14
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

The RIYA lite costs ~$100? That's cheaper than I was quoted, but that was quite awhile ago.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:52 PM #15
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

I have heard of them being sold for $150. Depends on who is selling them. I think that is a great price for a DAC when you consider all factors.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:06 PM #16
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Default Re: What is so bad about Ishow?

Given the fact that you don't have to assemble it, for people without the necessary skills it is a great option at that price..
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