soundlight

Well-Known Member
Aha! Finally, I'll soon have some real world LED comparison tests for ya. I just recieved a Chauvet COLORado 1 unit on demo from Chauvet (thanks go out to BillESC for arranging the demo). We will be testing the fixture against source fours and S4 pars with saturated gel, and testing for coverage in our space. I'll take lots of pictures, and give lots of notes on comparison as soon as I do the shootouts.

Just out of the box, it's a great fixture (we tested it out with our Pocket Console yesterday when it came), and it's got good functionality. Easy channel configuration is the first thing that I noticed: the first channel is intensity, the second is red, third is green, fourth is blue, fifth is basically an LED color scroller if you want to use some nice pre-mixed colors that Chauvet has loaded in to the fixture, and sixth is a nice effects package. Channels 7 and 8 do stuff that I really don't care about (auto programs and ID address). I was able to, without looking at the manual, look at the back of the fixture, set it in the proper DMX mode, and set the DMX address.

We turned it on, and were suprised that flickering of the LED's didn't start until below 5 or 6 percent. So, unless you're doing ridiculously slow color fades that take a color back to zero, there are none of the standard issues associated with flickering LED's while dimming. Also, down to about the same 5 or 6 percent, the unit has a very smooth dimming curve. This was the first thing that our TD noticed. Unlike other LED fixtures that seem to step up slightly each time, this fixture actually has a nice dimming curve all the way down to the afore mentioned 5 or 6 percent.

The unit has an attachable gel frame that we added a heavy frost to, and this helped to diffuse the beam and reduce the multiple color shadows. However, after getting about 12 feet away, the shadows stopped having noticable red, green, and blue components against the cyc when you wave your hand in front of it. I will take pictures to document this "color halation" effect.

The other nice thing is that if you're gonna be using it outdoors, all of the connetors are waterproof, screw-shut connectors (there are in and out adapters for DMX and power to break in/out of the waterproof connectors. The unit is suprisingly heavy for it's size, but not awkwardly heavy.

Anyways, more later after I have pics, that's all that I've got for now.

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Did you get any of the lenses to play with? I haven't used the Colorado personally, but In my time playing with Selador products the lenses really help prevent the Halation problems.

stantonsound

Active Member
I just got 4 of the COLORado 3's for a demo....and put them on stage for "Tales from Poe". We finish tech-ing the show in tomorrow, but so far I am completely and utterly unimpressed! It is a small show, with only 8 lekos FOH, all S4 with 575's and scrollers, and 8 S4 Pars with the same on the first electric on the stage. With just the FOH lekos on, we could not see any color from the Colorado 3's. I had them mounted on truss uprights at the back of the stage and angles for a cross wash (2 on each side) with a moving prop (aka...actor) walking on the stage. I then brought just one pair of S4 pars with a dark blue (Apollo 4600 which only has a %T of 25) and it could be seen without any problem. To make a long story short, (4) colorado 3's will not even touch a pair of S4 Pars with a decent amount of ambient light. They are great for decorative lighting and things like this, but not for live theatre!

We are using an aquafog for a ballet scene and I will try to put the LED's on the deck and have them light the fog. There will only be 4 movers on, so they might be bright enough to be seen from the audience.

BillESC

Well-Known Member
There's quite a difference between the two fixtures.

The Colorado 3 has an 18 degree beam spread with an output of 7,270 lux and 675 fc.

The Colorado 1 has a 12 degree beam spread with an output of 14,741 lux and 1,370

JD

Well-Known Member
There's quite a difference between the two fixtures.
The Colorado 3 has an 18 degree beam spread with an output of 7,270 lux and 675 fc.
The Colorado 1 has a 12 degree beam spread with an output of 14,741 lux and 1,370
Alrighty then!

Sounds just like Computers in the 90's... Each new on being double the output of the last one!

Comparing LEDs against Source 4's might still be like crash testing Volkswagens with Mack Trucks, but hey, looks like the VWs are getting bigger!

soundlight

Well-Known Member
We'll see...dropping a ten percent transmittancy gel in a source four could reduce the Mack Truck's momentum by a big factor, but it'll still be a VW against a Mack Truck...

SerraAva

Active Member
I actually just got some Elation Design LED 36s in. I'll have to do a side by side with a a S4 Par with wide and medium lenses as well as 575w and 750w lamps with different gel. When I get the chance, I'll be sure to post the results.

LEDs are defiantly getting better, but as stated, they still aren't a Mack Truck yet. The other problem with LEDs is they are color additive, not subtractive. Now while some view this as a bonus, I don't because certain colors stuffer that way. For instance, blue LEDs put out a much lower lux then red and green LEDs. A dark blue on LEDs is still going to be lower in intensity then a S4 with R80 in it, because the S4 starts out high powered, while the LEDs get there strength from adding multiply LED colors together at once. The other problem is as you spread an LED beam with frost or lenses, the intensity drops off very fast. For example, a S4 Parnel going from a narrow spot to a flood at a distance of 30 ft loses 76% of its lux. An Opti Par RGB in the same instance loses 89% of its lux. These numbers are rounded, but you get the idea. You lose more light spreading LEDs then spreading a normal lamp. 13% isn't much, but when you are talking about Parnel going from 2076.68 lux to 516.48 lux and the LED going from 50.2 lux to 5.4 lux, the LEDs aren't looking so good.

LEDs aren't cheap enough yet to solve the problem with throwing numbers at it yet. In the example above, you need 10x the LEDs to get the same white output as a regular light. With the LED costing $600 a piece and the Parnel costing$215 with lamp, the S4s are still winning. Don't get me wrong, I love the ability to color mix and strobe, as well as not have to play with lamps and gels anymore. They just need to make them cheaper and more powerful before they become more mainstream.

JD

Well-Known Member
For instance, blue LEDs put out a much lower lux then red and green LEDs.
Yea, I noticed on the Pixelrange, the R & G LEDs were 1 watt, and the Blue ones were 3 watts each. I also noticed that the Pixelrange units used a forth color, amber. (RGBA) I didn't think amber would be a problem color as you just mix R & G, but the designers must have felt it was an issue as they are using the quad groups. I must admit, that unit produced a nice white so they must be up to something!

The money is stopping me too! To date, I do not own any LEDs, but I am watching them being used very closely! (That left over burn from paying for the computer revolution still hurts!) Something about buying things for $1000 now, and seeing the price drop to$300 in a year or two for bigger and better still haunts me

SerraAva

Active Member
Its funny you should mention LEDs going RGBA, because when I use cyc lights, I try to use four cell ARBG to get more color combinations. R&G doesn't make a nice amber like an amber dedicated does. The orange from A&R is better then R&G and yellow from A&G I think looks better too.

I have also found that people have started putting more blue LEDs, less red and green because of the intensity difference. I doubt LEDs will free fall in price anytime soon, because there are plenty of people out there still willing to drop a grand for each light and not think about it. This not is an industry where stuff is cheap, thats for sure.

JD

Well-Known Member
We may however benefit from other industries that would like mass quantities of higher power LEDs cheap. Imagine the buying power of highway street lighting and commercial indoor lighting! One of the things that kicked LED development into high gear was the lonely old traffic light. Video display developers were responsible for producing the pressure to get good RGB qualities from LEDs. But, all this pales in comparison to profit pressure put forth to light the nation's roadways! Imagine the money a company would make if they could supply a good alternative to the old 250w HPS or MH street light! Four times the life at 1/4 the power draw. I think with the current energy pressures you may see a radical breakthrough within a year or two. We will be the luck recipients of some other industries money. When that happens, China-Co will be the first to start mass marketing cheapy units, but legitimate manufacturers will be fast to follow.

NOTE: I am not saying that everything from China is cheap junk..... But.. well.... err... ahhh... the good products are sometimes harder to find. I like lots of them... I really do...

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Yea, I noticed on the Pixelrange, the R & G LEDs were 1 watt, and the Blue ones were 3 watts each. I also noticed that the Pixelrange units used a forth color, amber. (RGBA) I didn't think amber would be a problem color as you just mix R & G, but the designers must have felt it was an issue as they are using the quad groups. I must admit, that unit produced a nice white so they must be up to something!
The Selador "X7 x-tra" uses 7 colors of LEDs, all of them 3 watts each. The color saturation is breathtaking and the whites are very impressive in a variety of color temperatures They are too expensive and still need to be doubled in power... but it's definitely one of the best out there.

BillESC

Well-Known Member
There's quite a difference between the two fixtures.
The Colorado 3 has an 18 degree beam spread with an output of 7,270 lux and 675 fc.
The Colorado 1 has a 12 degree beam spread with an output of 14,741 lux and 1,370 fc
And now you can add to the mix the Colorado Panel 6 with an output of 23,026 lux and 2,140 fc.

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gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Now we are starting to get somewhere Bill. That's a much more serious output. Can you give us the mat price on that Colorado panel Bill?

BillESC

Well-Known Member
Gaff,

It was just unveiled at LDI this past weekend, pricing should be available in about a week.

The future is indeed looking bright!

stantonsound

Active Member
I will admit that the COLORado 6 was MUCH brighter than the 3, and I think that it is a step in the right direction. It was turned on and sitting on a stand about table height, and could be seen fairly well on the ceiling at LDI (which is 40' to beam if I remember correctly). Once again, not the same intensity as a S4 par, but much better!

I just wonder why Chauvet seems to be leading the market in LED fixtures.

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BillESC

Well-Known Member
Considering the Chinese were able to have a sub surface in the middle of a US fleet of war ships on manuvers undetected, makes me think not all Chinese products are junk.

Blanket statements are rarely correct.

stantonsound

Active Member
I do doubt that Chauvet is making submarines just yet......

I agree with your statement, but I think that it is a legitimate question. Their gear is known to be rather low in quality, and for good reason. A local sound and lighting company just bought 48 of the COLORado 3's, and 22 had to be sent back within a month (12 right out of the box) as they did not work. One did not have a LCD screen on the back at all and another was missing the DMX input cable (it was just not there!). In my opinion, the inspection and quality control issues will need to be addressed before they can be considered "professional" gear.

I will admit that I got a S4 Ellipsoidal without a reflector in it, so no one is perfect.

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BillESC

Well-Known Member
LOL . . . I haven't seen them on the dealers price list.

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
I normally don't comment on the LED boom, being as I haven't been able to play with any of the new toys yet. I just try to keep up with all the new instruments coming out as the technology races ahead.

That said, today flipping through my November copy of PLSN I was unable to keep track of all the advertisements I saw for new names of manufacturers of LED equipment. The market is exploding. However, I think that just like the "dot.com" boom and bust, all these new makers will have challenges in the future. There are only so many times a company can stick RGB LEDs on a circuit board. The winners in this game will be those who are able to make A)innovative products (think Seldaor) that are B) higher in output than the other options as well as C)cost effective, meaning they offer value in both price and maintenance.

Chauvet has become the unlikely player in this market, with everyone else, it seems, playing catch-up. What Chauvet lacks in quality they more than compensate for in both options and diversity. With everyone else just making wash lights, Chauvet it seems is willing to experiment and see what works. Just looking at their new products page, I saw a number of new and exciting products, take a look:
http://www.chauvetlighting.com/fixture_tables/39new.shtml

There is the Legend 6500, clearly Chauvet's answer to the Elation Impression. But look, in addition to RGB, this one has white LEDs.

Then there is the COLORado6 and COLORado panel, as well as a host of LED options for moonflowers and other DJ effects, not to mention a moving-mirror LED.

While we continue to debate the durability of this items, it is undeniable that Chauvet is pushing the market ahead. No matter what the truth is about their products, I believe that the products Chauvet (and Elation) put on the market will compel the Big Name LED and moving light makers (Martin, Vari*Lite, Color Kinetics, Coemar, Clay Paky, Robe, etc) to start thinking out of the box and start making the LED products that WILL truly change the market, lest they be outsold by a "DJ" company.