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LED PAR LIGHTING - Question

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by musictraining, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. musictraining

    musictraining Member

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    I just joined and need some advice...

    We have a very small theater (stage is 22' wide) that we use to train children in putting on musical theater productions. We currently have 24 PAR38 cans, controlled by NSI MC7016's and NSI DDS-5600 dimmer packs.

    We tried some LED PAR lights recently in the hope of replacing the conventional PAR's. Mainly to cut down on heat, and also to cut down on color gel changes.

    We tried two kinds of PAR64's - MBT and American DJ. We used a Magic 260 Controller. The main problem was that they would not dim gracefully at the lowest light levels (they dimmed in "steps"). We could not recreate the effect of a nice, slow fade-out.

    Is a better LED PAR solution?
     
  2. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yes but they will cost you at least $800 each. LED simply is not a viable option for most theaters at this point. They are great for small clubs, DJ's, and truss warmers but that's about it.
     
  3. musictraining

    musictraining Member

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    Well, then I am comfortable in my decision to stay with conventional PAR's for now.

    Could you tell me which LED you're referring to that costs $800? I would like to see it, just for my interest.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I've never used any of these, just seen demos and repeating products off the top of my head. Please add to the list if I missed something in the "good product but too expensive category". I actually under priced things a bit. I think the Altman runs around $1000 (quick internet searches found the rest of these in the teens and up). The Chinese and the mid range manufacturers (for example Elation) are starting to crank out some brighter instruments. But we are still a few years away from an instrument that both performs equal to a conventional fixture and costs about the same. As you've seen first hand there are a lot of LED PAR's out there for less than $150. They are worthless for most standard theater applications.

    -I think someone around here had good experiences with the Coemar Parlight LED. (Was that you Porkchop?)

    -I've heard good things about Pixelrange (looks like they run close to 3 grand each)

    -The new Altman SpectraPar 100... forgot to check it out at LDI

    -Elation has a really bright unit but I think it only comes in a moving head at this point. (BillESC is there a fixed head version of the Impression?)

    -Selador is my favorite LED product but It's not a PAR. It comes in 1, 2, 4, or 6 foot strips. The old model used to cost about $1500 per foot The new model packs 40 3.5 watt Luxeon Rebel LED's into an 11" strip.

    -And of course there's Color Kinetics... again they don't make PAR's but they make some small powerfull units. Again they are expensive.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Coemar Par-Llte LED are pretty good. Last I looked they were $1k+

    Martin StageBar are great, but $2.5K.

    Color Kinetics has something, but I have issues with their business practices.
     
  6. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    Elation has you covered ;). Brand new product, Design LED 36 Pro. 36x3w LEDs, for a total of 108w of LED power. 15 degree, 25 degree, or 45 degree beam angles available. They have power linking now, up to 10 units. Also has a digital display like on the Opti 30 RGBs. They list for $1299.95, expect street prices between $900-$1000.

    Next up is the ELED Fresnel. Single 50w LED source, 6000k. Zoom from 10 degrees up to 50 degrees. List is $899.95, expect street prices around $700.

    Lastly, the Opti Tri Par. It comes with 18x3w Tri-Color LEDs, for 54w total power. Nice part about the Tri-Color is no more color shadows as seen with all other LED lights that aren't single source. List is $999.95, street for around $800.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  7. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    And gaff, there is now a smaller version of the Impression, called the Design Wash LED. It is 324w of LED power. Not 100% sure on cost though.

    Elation is also coming out with an Impression XL. I believe it is 1200w of LED, or equivalent to a 1200w wash arc lamp. Believe this one lists for 17 grand.
     
  8. adude23

    adude23 Active Member

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    At the moment The subject of LED lighting has been chucked about all over the place.
    They've rushed into this technology so quickly that they haven't had time to work out the kinks and they are no way near ready to be replacing normal theater fixtures but hey we all love the convenience of no heat and not having to sit there cutting gels.
    I've used LED's and they give a really nice effect they just need to make an affordable fixture that can match up to today's industry equipment.
    Another problem with LED's is that to cut down on heat generation the manufacturers run the Par's at about a third of their overall power!!
    That means if you've paid for a fixture with 3w LED's your only getting 1w out of each!
     
  9. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Yes it was, my LED package is as follows

    Coemar ParLites - $1,495.00 listed MSRP
    Coemar PinLites - $724.00 listed MSRP
    Matrin Stagebar 54 Shorts - $2,680 listed MSRP

    I love the Coemar's.... a lot. The PinLites aren't particularly punchy, in fact I wouldn't use them for a throw greater than 15'. But what can you expect from 12 1W LEDs? The ParLites are the big brother with 36 1W LEDs and are a very good fixture. The only real complaint that I would see about them is that they are only RGB fixtures and therefore don't mix well to some shades of white or amber, but we don't use them like that so it works great for us. Also in the year+ these fixtures have been touring I've only used one spare. They are very hard to kill.

    The Stagebars on the other hand........ grrrrr. My fixtures have totally crapped out on me. Martin tech support isn't especially helpful either. In fact I don't even take them off the truck anymore. In there defense there is a warning on the top that says "Use in DRY environments only" (or something like that) and I am on an ice show (read very moist environment). When they did work the faded rather nicely (no visible steps in the dimming), and they are an RGBAW fixture so they can mix to almost any color you want. They also have a total of 116W of LED power so they are a much brighter fixture. They are also much easier to take apart to maintain than the Coemars. This is probably due to there bar shape over the convention parcan shape on the Coemar units.

    In the end I like the Coemars tons more than the Martins. But I'm spoiled rotten. If you can deal with (or like) the non circular field of the Stagebars, wasn't RGBAW mixing, or want a more punchy LED fixture. For the money (provided you're in a dry enviroment) the Stagebars are a pretty darn good fixture.

    EDIT: I forgot about our PixelPar 44's (MSRP $2,750.00). We do embarrassingly little with these so I don't have much to say about them except that they get really hot right in front of the LEDs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2008
  10. tcahall

    tcahall Member

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    While I realize that they are certainly not in the first tier manufacturer category, if you are looking over the LED PAR market and price conscious, you should include the Chauvet COLORado range.

    Tim.

    P.S. Still in the $800+ range
     
  11. tekgoddess

    tekgoddess Member

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    Does this all mean I should wait to buy LED's? Doesn't ETC have something new?
     
  12. tcahall

    tcahall Member

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    IMHO, unless you have an application for which LEDs are uniquely suited (usually having to do with power consumption or heat), you should wait to purchase LEDs. Of course, if you need a video wall of any resolution, they are great.

    The price on these is coming down fast and the quality is coming up. The addition of white and amber LEDs to the higher end fixtures, and better optics, have dramatically improved their performance. That, coupled with improvements in output power, are making these are real force to be reckoned with (especially in the wash light category).

    If you can wait, wait. If you are buying a substantial inventory in the near future, you owe yourself a look if, for no other reason, for the education. Of course, for a large rig, the power consumption will become a consideration as well.

    Tim.
     
  13. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Where will the truck be next week? ;-)
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Yes, by all means, wait, if you can. Rent CK, PixelRange, Selador, etc., in the meantime. And no, ETC has not (yet) entered the LED market. Watch for a new LED-based automated fixture, the first from a particular major manufacturer, about the middle of 2009.:)
     
  15. jmabray

    jmabray Active Member

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    Actually.. I think it was before then.... At least is we are talking about the same wash fixture that was previewed at LDI.....
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It's too soon to buy LED's for straight theater applications. About the only straight theater application I think LED's can fully handle at this point is cyc lighting... and you need close to $100k to afford it. Again LED's are great for small clubs, concert tours with big budgets, and small out of the way stuff like truss warmers. But in order to get something that performs close to a $40 PAR can you have to spend $1000... the math just doesn't work yet.

    ETC doesn't have anything LED YET... Altman is the only traditional conventional manufacturer to release an LED so far. ETC will neither confirm or deny what they are doing on their test bench (Although I did get Steve Terry to smile about the topic when I met him at LDI). The truth is all the major manufacturers would be idiots to not be working on an LED product. Whoever can come up with one that performs at the same level as a traditional fixture for about the same price will be rich. I've talked a lot around here about my dream of a Source Four LED replacement cap. Wouldn't it be cool if you could just pop the back off your Source Four and screw on an LED instead? It won't be too long until we are all talking about the bad old days of incandescent lighting. The technology and price just haven't quite reached that point yet.

    Oh there he goes again taunting me about what he was invited to see in a secret LDI back room. ;)

    Also note High End/Barco (what are we supposed to call them now?) has entered the LED market with their Showpix... that sucker's got some punch. (I think [user]Kelite[/user] is still having seizures from watching the strobe sequence for 3 days at LDI).

    Clearly the big boys have been letting others take the risks and drive the LED market. My guess is over the next year or two we will see all the big boys starting to test the waters of the LED market... except for ETC. I have the feeling ETC will move slow. No inside information here, I'm just guessing. But I have the feeling, ETC is going to hold off until they can put a solid product on the market that is affordable to all and a true replacement in terms of performance for their conventional products. Why would you mess around with half developed over priced products when you are already #1 in the market? No, when the Sourcefour LED comes I expect it to be a first pitch home run. (...and ST I'm willing to run top secret beta tests for you in a quiet little college theater setting:mrgreen:)
     
  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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