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Automated Fixtures Reliability: Vari-Lite vs. Martin?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by photoatdv, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    [-]Well I wasn't going to hijack this thread, but I'm on an iPhone and can't seem to start a new thread (long story involving a move and a stupid Internet co.).[/-] [Edit by DL: new thread started.] So here it goes-- do you prefer martin or vl and why? Which do you think is more reliable and easier to maintain?

    I'm curious because the our ld was doing ml 101 with our trainees the other day and had a little trouble taking apart the vl(he usually does the demo on a mac). Said he'd never had to take apart a vl because they always work unlike the macs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2009
  2. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Thanks Derek!
     
  3. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Can you not make this a poll. Personally I love the Mac range, but I haven't had huge amounts of experience with the VLs. I think it realy depends on the situation.
    Nick
     
  4. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    For purposes of this comparison, I'm only considering the equivalent fixtures (VL2500 vs. MAC700, VL3000 vs. MAC2K, both varieties - spot and wash; and VL3500 Spot vs. Mac2k Performance).

    I'll take VL every time. Better gobo selection, more reliable (according to most people I talk to), much better zoom range, and I like the prism in the VL2500s better than the prism in the MAC700s. I think the first reason I'd chose is because of the zoom. I like big, wide zoom looks with gobos - for theatre and for concerts. Second would be gobo selection - there isn't more than one or two gobos in all of the VL gobo wheels that I don't like. I can name a number in each MAC wheel that don't suit my fancy. Third would be reiability just because of now many of each type of fixture I've seen and heard of out of comission and sitting outside the tech's shop door with a gaff tape note or service tag on them.

    I have to add that under 700 watts, I'll definitely take MACs. The 250 Entour is a great light with the best stock gobo selection of any 250 watt mover, in my opinion, and the optics are incredibly efficient. It's also a very compact light for its size, and is fairly quiet as moving lights go. I haven't used any of them yet, but I also like what I see and hear about the 575 Krypton.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  5. GreyWyvern

    GreyWyvern Apollo Staff

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    I agree. Love the Martins, but also haven't had lots of hands on with the VLs.
     
  6. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    That is a lie, the prisim in the VL is useless....

    I just did a shoot out between the VL2500 and the Mac 700.

    Zoom: VL by a land slide.
    Intensity: Mac by a decent margin
    Color: Draw
    Gobos: I prefer the Mac's but the gobo wedge on the VL is pretty cool for scrolling in concerts
    FX: The Mac's effects wheel lets you do things you could never imagine doing on the VL
    Quality of Light: The VL looks better in N/C on skin tones
    Looks: The Mac700 is a lot more attractive looking fixture and feels better made, but it is twice the weight.


    Price: This is the real kicker, a Mac700 will run you about 2 grand less.... than a VL3000.....

    All and all, for the money the VL will give you much better bang for your buck
     
  7. NevilleLighting

    NevilleLighting Active Member

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    I love the Mac 2K. I think the optics are superb and the effects wheel beyond superb. VL's are good stuff, don't get me wrong, but you pay a hefty premium for that. In 90% of the regional situations I have dealt with, the bottom line is usually shipping. You end up finding out what the local shops have to offer and you go from there, be it Macs, High End or VL. I do find the VL equipment a bit more reliable and dependable. If you want a really strong opinion ask any Master Elec that has had to fix various ML's on a Genie lift. In my humble designer opinion, it's the opinion of the guy on the ladder that counts.
     
  8. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think you might want to in include Clay Paky in this shootout. They are slowing gaining adoption in the U.S. PRG is pushing them very hard right now, I have a feeling they are going to start gaining some ground. Their gear is very solid and extremly efficient. I can not believe what they can cram into a case the size of a Mac250.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    This isn't a poll, notice there's no place to vote?

    This isn't a shoot-out.

    [user]photoatdv[/user] asked a simple and direct question (actually two questions, but the latter clarifies the former):
    Note the key issues are reliability and ease of maintenance. Those lacking experience with both brands need not respond. Nor is the question which is brighter, has better gobos, weighs more, costs less, et cetera.
     
  10. TechnicalProjectDesign

    TechnicalProjectDesign Member

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    See, I've just come back from a musical where we had a rig of mainly Mac2K washes and some VL spots out front. we lost the same amount of each in the season. I've had better luck with VL's and that's the first time i've done a season where i've lost more than two.... Mac 700's die a bit. Entours are great and sturdy little fixtures but if i was to pick VL....more often than not...and not because they sent me a free jacket.

    R
     
  11. beltsvillecrucib

    beltsvillecrucib Member

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    I've very rarely had to pull down a VL3K or 3500. When we had 2500's, I pulled those down even less. I haven't had to pull down 2K's a whole ton, but shutters in the Performance have given us some issues.
     
  12. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I will take VL every day and twice on Sunday. Of course that is because from top to bottom the VL line is better quality. Now the 2K units are on par with VL. But everything else in the Martin line does not compare.

    Now, like with all things, how well you maintain them, etc will make a difference. VL's require less maintenance, but they still need some. Martins need more and will suffer proportionately without it.

    Mike
     
  13. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    It's okay if you guys want to include the other manufacturers. I only said those 2 because they are the only two we've had on shows at my school. They also seem to be the most popular. I was going to try to make a poll, but as I said I was on an Iphone and didn't really have any options. I now have internet back (yippie!), but I can't find an option to add a poll, sorry.

    I've heard MANY opinions about which is better, so I figured we might as well have a thread about it :).

    I've only assisted on the shows with the movers, but the I definitely liked the VL better (however on the shows we had both we had mac 250s and vl2500s, so not really comprable). The macs are far more interesting and easier to see the different components though when our LD does his demo where he takes one apart to explain/show what the light actually does.
     
  14. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    hmm, interesting post, and I do not want to influence because both are very popular fixtures. More a noting of a balance of what's observed verses what I observe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I'm told that the Martin fixture has a half burn mode or something like that when the shutters are closed. Something like that not on the VL-3K fixture might extend lamp hours and allow for only having to change lampholders after every fifth lamp instead of every third.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009

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