Artistic Licence is excited to announce the reinvention of Micro-Scope, the rugged DMX tester first launched in the 1990s and a common sight in many toolcases today. Most significantly, the new version – Micro-Scope 3c – supports RDM, hugely increasing its functionality. And for all those who already own a Micro-Scope, there are great news – you can buy a kit containing a replacement chip for your old device which will bring it up to the 3c specification. So your trusty DMX/RDM tester should be good for another few decades!
Artistic Licence inventor/owner, Wayne Howell, explains the evolution of this iconic product…
The Micro-Scope story
Once upon a time
“It was 1992. The Internet was a scientist’s plaything, email was a curiosity, mobile phones were the size of a bus and the fax machine was the latest must-have gadget.
But DMX512 was starting to catch on.
I’d recently started Artistic Licence and I didn’t have a DMX tester. In fact, I didn’t know anyone who had a DMX tester. It seemed likely there would be a market for such a tool. And so, I set about designing what would become Micro-Scope.
My design brief was pretty spartan. I wanted it to be a sensible price, robust, have a good battery life and provide all the features a roadie would need.
At the time, Artistic Licence was a production company – mainstream product manufacturing would come later. So Micro-Scope was something of a background project.
The first prototype came to life in late ’93 and earnt its keep on the Pink Floyd Division Bell tour rehearsals in San Bernadino and then the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge build in Toronto. In fact, some of the first Micro-Scope customers were the crew on those tours. Full disclosure – that original prototype only really worked when plugged into power, I’d made an embarrassing error calculating battery life!
Fast forward to 2022, many thousands sold and numerous product iterations and feature improvements made. But today, a DMX tester without RDM looks a little dated…
In the process of designing our latest DMX/RDM tester, Commissioner rdmx, I found myself wondering whether all this design effort could be ‘poured’ back into Micro-Scope.
The clever (and lucky) bit
It would all depend upon whether Micro-Scope had bi-directional DMX drivers (RDM works by asking a question and then switching direction to listen to the answer).
There was no particular reason why I would have made Micro-Scope bi-directional, but on reviewing the original schematics – I had. It was possible to offer an upgrade for a product designed 30 years ago, to support RDM.
Is this a sensible commercial decision? Many companies would want the old product to die peacefully and generate profits for the new. If Artistic Licence was Apple, I imagine we would have done just that!
However, we are proud to announce the launch of the Micro-Scope 3c upgrade kit for Micro-Scope. It adds many new features, with RDM at the forefront. It can also receive and re-transmit which allows new functions such as Fix mode to be added to the engineers’ tool-chest. Priced at £99 we are expecting a queue!
We can also perform the upgrade for any customers not wanting to make use of the DIY option – this is our Micro-Scope Manicure service.
And finally, for those wishing to buy a shiny new Micro-Scope 3c, we are pleased to announce that the product will retail at a lower price than the previous generation.
Check out the above websites for full details of the new features and to download the user guide.”