Need advice/recommendations for inexpensive theatrical lighting controller/dimmers

I’m helping a friend with a small theater company put together a simple lighting control package. He’d like to spend under $800, but I could maybe convince him to go up to a grand. In that price range I’d like to get a 12 channel, 2 scene board, but would settle for 8. Does anyone have any experience with the NSI controllers and dimmers? You can get the MC7008 for about $250 and the ND5000 dimmer packs for $270 each. Any other thoughts, experiences or advice would be much appreciated.

Good question. It’s tough to put together a good, reliable system for under a grand. A few questions:

Where is this theatre? - I might be able to hook you up with some folks.

What kind of shows are put on there? - It might make more sense to rent equipment on a per show basis.

How many shows per year? Will the equipment you buy be sitting around unused most of the time?

What are the lighting specs of the space? - How many dimmers do you want, size of inventory, etc.

What are the plans for the future? - If this is a company that is looking to grow, it would be a shame to put money into a system that can’t grow with it.

Feel free to drop me an email if you like - it’s lightingtool at yahoo dot com. I’ve been working in the business as a Head Elec for years. Good luck!