Came here looking for "Moving heads" advice...

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by HiredSound, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. HiredSound

    HiredSound New Member

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    Harrisburg, PA
    I found this while googling:

    I have a small sound company and do primarily club bands. Maybe 25 to 30 shows a year. Club bands don't pay much, they simply can't. But I do occasionally get better paying shows where I'm giddy with what I'm getting paid. And I'd be in the market for more of those if I had some moving heads. I'm guessing I may bring them out maybe 10x a year max. My first look was at the Chauvet 255's. They are about the right size for my needs. While researching, I discovered off brand Chinese movers, which are VERY inexpensive. And with full knowledge of what to expect quality wise, I'm still thinking 4 at -$100 each sure is more attractive than 4 at $500+ each. But, I "could" afford the $500 lights, but at $2,000, and running them out about 10x a year, I'm just not sure it makes financial sense. But then again, having them in my trailer may lead to more of the better paying gigs. Having 4 of the off brands and having one fail during a show, and that IS the only time it could fail, could make me look cheap.

    At this point, I'm leaning towards the cheaper movers, just so I can have something on the stage other than pars. At $100 I wouldn't care if one failed, too much. I'd probably buy a couple extra to keep as spares. But then, there's a due date on them all at some point, and it won't be on the same day, and if I were down to 3 and couldn't find a matching 4th, I'd be bent. I've been using Chauvet pars for years with no issues or failures so I have a pretty high level of confidence in them. Argh. It's a frustrating place to be. If I bought the Chauvets, I would not be worried and I'd a little proud of the lights I throw on the truss. If I bought the Chinese, I'd hope they worked that night. I simply don't have any experience with movers.

    So, not sure if this is even the proper venue for this discussion but like I said, the forum popped up in a google search so I thought I'd give it a try. Hoping to hear from people with real world experience with this, not just conjecture.


    Here's some cheap movers on amazon:,k:spot+Moving+Heads&tag=controlbooth-20

    Thanks, Darin
  2. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    San Francisco, CA
    Hi there
    FYI I come from the theatrical side, not club side...

    I'm a big believer in getting knock off stuff too because the price can't be beat and it must have some sort of lifespan.

    With cheap chinese moving lights, however, I've noticed them to be in the realm of cheap chinese projectors. Dim to Dark.
    I'd take some used and very old Martin or Vari-Lites any day, and they'll probably pay off more for you if you're aiming for impact.
    Even 2 arc source washes would instantly add tons of punch.
    TNasty, HiredSound and RonHebbard like this.
  3. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    First of welcome to CB. Given the types of jobs you're hoping to attract would there be much use to going half and half. Get two "good" fixtures so you have enough units to give the lead singer nice front light special and then get 2 or 4 china specials for the type of additional flash and trash effects where accuracy and repeatability are less of a concern.
    Amiers, HiredSound and RonHebbard like this.
  4. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    Lighting Floor Tech
    Phoenix, Az
    Never go full retard -Tropic Thunder

    Some how I missed this thread. Definitely don’t go full cheap mix it up and as you make money to dump back into your inventory stock up on better gear.

    And always buy plenty of extras of Chinese gear. It’s made in bulk if you buy once then go back a month later the fixture could be totally different.
    TimMc likes this.
  5. Chase P.

    Chase P. Well-Known Member

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    Freelance lighting designer, production manager
    San Francisco
    I've used some of the cheap knockoffs, with mixed results. I found that that some of the really cheap ones didn't mix the RGBW at all, just kind of focused it. The beam of light looked fine, but the projected pattern on a surface was four colored squares caused by the emitters.

    I've got a several of the Rokker brand Sharpy knockoffs, and I've been pretty pleased with them. They reliably hit their spikes in cues when I use them as specials, and they've been pretty durable. They feel very solidly made.

    Let us know which ones you go with, and what your experience is. I've looked at several on your Amazon list myself. A review from someone in the industry would be far more helpful than the unknown origins of the ones on Amazon.
  6. TNasty

    TNasty Active Member

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    Technical Adviser. Aux Police Officer.
    New Jersey
    Coming from a full budget stand point in my company, I've dealt with a few different knockoff/uber-generic devices, and I figure you'd be interested in my findings.

    "Lixada" (or no-name) 100w RGBW moving heads
    -Not too terrible. They'll run you about $50/ea, but you can get them for less when they're sold as a lot (I got two for $90, shipped)
    -Color is decent, but for some reason you're still able to see individual colors in the beam if you crank each color to the max
    -The beam seems a tad tight for a "wash" light, and isn't very circular (looks more like a jagged hexagon)
    -One of the reasons I bought these over other options is that the LEDS are actually RGBW diodes, so you won't get strange chromatic shadows
    -They feel relatively sturdy (as far as a $50 light goes), but I wouldn't want to tour with or do daily/weekly mobile DJ work with them
    -Biggest issue I have with them is that they do not "hold" their DMX signal... After about one second of no signal the units will go black and rotate to (0,0)
    -Their personality is a bit strange. There isn't an individual channel for strobe control, so once the dimmer channel goes high enough, you'll start handing out seizures.
    -Overall I like them, but I'd give them a couple weeks of testing before actually depending on them, and giving them the "shake test" when you unbox them to check for loose bits.

    Cheap no-name RGB LED cans
    -We're talking the ones you can get for like $15-20 each.
    -Just don't
    -Probably the cheapest feeling things ever... I probably could've bent the yokes into shape for them with my bare hands if I was given a pre-cut but not bent yoke.
    -Only reason I like them at all is that they do actually work, and we do only have six DMX fixtures.

    There's also a few other things I've worked with, but don't necessarily own, but I'll give you my findings on them.
    -RGB LED strip controllers: They work. That's really all I can say about them.
    -RGB LED PAR cans (with lots of itty-bitty diodes): Not amazing, but they do an alright job at tossing some color on a stage, specifically on set pieces and darker spots on performers (I've almost always used these as up lighting)
  7. Chad Sweet

    Chad Sweet Member

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    Reno, NV
    I've been eyeing the StageRight brand over at Monoprice for a while. They've got a few different lights with various capabilities at a really attractive price. Plus, they very often have 15-25% off your whole order sales. I just recently got some 6x10w little pars, RGBW, ip65 and while I haven't used them in a show yet, they are super bright and don't have a fan, which is nice. A buddy bought a few of the 36x10w movers. He hasn't used them a lot but they perform pretty well. The only thing he did was put a limiter switch on the fan because it was really loud.

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