# Replacing Par64s

• ### Something Else (please explain)

• Total voters
17

#### 3rose

##### Member
For those working in educational, non-profit, or other low-funding areas, what are you replacing your par64s with?

My situation:
I am the tech person for our student center. We currently use an express and host a variety of events in a multi-purpose space: mostly award/appreciation ceremonies, conferences and meetings, but also concerts, small theatrical performances, and dances. We have 40 or so Par64s hung on a fixed grid. Finances are rough in higher ed, but esp at public institutions (where I am).

I'm a sound person by training, but I grew up in theater and worked in AV/event support, so I have basic lighting understanding, but I in no way consider myself an LD. I have an LD to consult but A: he's on break and B: I want to understand this myself and increase my skill set. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around how to account for the loss of brightness when switching from conventionals. I am leaning towards recommending we switch most of our cans to source 4 pars because I suspect the bulbs will continue to be available for quite some time, but I would like us to gain the versatility of color for our backwash, for example. Right now we have 10 Wide angle 1000W pars 5 each in red and blue as our backwash fixture across the stage (which no one has actual measurements on) but I'm guessing 25' high? The make a beautiful punch for concerts and I am just confused as to what we should switch to.

I started with looking at ETC colorsource deepblue and they are as pricey as I'd want to go for a stationary fixture unless there was one where we could reduce the overall number of fixtures needed. I've looked at Chroma-Q Color One 100, which I like because of the lack of dots for something staring at the audience (we have no proscenium or wings), but see folks saying it's not very bright. I also looked at Elation SixPar, which look to be nice and bright, but again with the dots. Then I looked at the Circa Scoop, which is super expensive, but if it was really a "scoop" I thought we might get great coverage for less... but I'm guessing it's mostly just eye candy.

In a perfect world I might hang a bunch of moving lights like the rogue r2 or r3 for front wash/town hall/dance parties, but we are still working on an express, so that is part of a larger and longer term plan if at all... since we have been doing OK for so long with stationary contemporary fixtures, making that jump would be a hard sell. Also, I have student techs so whatever board we eventually upgrade to would need to be something I could master and easily train folks on. In addition to the obvious (but semi-pricey) choice of going ETC, I'm looking into Chamsys and Titan mobile. I also am glancing at dot2 software, but the price of the board is probably prohibitive. We do some cues, but a lot of stationary looks as well as "busking" for small concerts. The students like setting faders and additive subs and I usually throw in some effects subs for them. They tend to shy away from the keypad, so it would be a tough transition for them, no matter what.

As far as the leds on stage, I was thinking the most economical solution would be to replace one-two of our D20 packs with R20 so we could use the existing stage-pin electrical and run either wireless dmx or ArtNet (still need to pull the ethernet cables, but seems a more economical option than running dmx). I have enough open faders if we switch the board to one scene mode to run led from the express, so that would be one way to make it a more economical transition at first.

I've been spiraling on this stuff for a week and don't feel any closer to an answer which makes me lean back to "just buy source fours because it's easiest"... but that also doesn't seem like the most strategic and long term answer. I will talk to some install/sales folks, but I need to know what is a real need and what is them preying upon my ignorance... which after talking to a dude on the phone yesterday asking about a fixture and throw distance and him literally reading the google results I had already seen off the screen as if he had insider info... makes me think it is a real danger.

So... all that said... what are you all doing/have done if you still had a fully conventional setup with Pars in the rig? Are you just buying new conventionals or planning on making the switch? What have you seen/liked? Is there an easy lumens # I should be using as a minimum when looking at fixtures?

#### 3rose

##### Member
So I foolishly made a poll and can't edit the original post. If you replaced with LEDs, please name the specific fixture you landed on and how you dealt with running dmx if your facility didn't have throughs at the dimmers? (sorry for the double-post, I tried to edit)

#### derekleffew

##### Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
I edited the poll for you. Since no one is biting, I'll offer my two cents. Maybe it will stimulate conversation.

Money is tight; everyone gets that. Unless I had 50-100K available to replace all PARs and console, I'd replace PAR64 cans with S4PAR EA in a heartbeat, but incrementally, and probably from the used market https://www.controlbooth.com/wiki/Collaborative-Articles:Sources-for-Used-Equipment if allowed. Start with ten S4PAR-WFLs in the Red & Blu back washes. Use existing PAR lamps to keep the others going, then ten more down the line and so on. One doesn't want to buy ten LEDs now, and ten later, but with incandescents it's fine.

This brings up another question--575 or 750W? Since the lamps cost virtually the same, and presumably someone else is paying the power bill, I'd go 750. Regardless of what the spec sheets say, in my experience, 575W S4PAR is about 75% of a 1K-PAR64, and 750 is about equal. EA over MCM, always.

As for LEDs on an Express--No, just no. It CAN be done, but you're opening yourself up to a world of hurt. Even more so with moving lights. Even with an Ion or Element2, I don't think moving lights are worth the trouble in this application.

Those are my thoughts. I hope some (many) members disagree with me.

#### 3rose

##### Member
That was my exact idea to phase out 10 at a time and use the bulbs/fixtures to replace burnouts. When you say you don't want to do that with LEDs... even if they are replaced at one time in the same area, then another batch for another area (like backwash, then front-wash different years)? Will the color matching just be too far off?

Thanks for the tip about the 750W. These are the types of things I'm looking for, experience with practical use that doesn't necessarily get reflected in the specs. Your help is much appreciated!

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
Not many people will add stuff as Derek pretty much summed it up. Do a few conventional S4 Pars, add a few LED’s.

With an Express it’s just more painful to deal with the newer LED and ML gear, you can do it but it eats up channels and that’s a consideration. If you go to a larger rig of LED you need to do a console, Element, Cognito, etc....and of course relays, DMX disto, etc....that stuff adds some significant costs.

Steve Terry’s S4WRD is a good idea as well, not sure how well they deal with gel though. Test them and out for sure.

I do know that we got 90 S4 Pars new with a new facility, then went all LED and didn’t see a conventional used all year. LED makes for easy design choices.

I’ve no recommendations as to different brands as we just decided easier to deal with an all ETC package so purchased D60’s, Lustrs and Color Source Pars. And a bunch of ChromaQ Color Force strips, which are terrific. But we got a huge grant so could go this route.

RonHebbard

Senior Team

#### Les

##### Well-Known Member
Not the worst idea. But, if I'M going to spend that much, it dang well better change color!

@Les , Any comments from the venue as to how they like them?
Nope, but the staff there isn't too discerning when it comes to gear (the TD is a drama person who 'settled' for a technical position). However, I have seen a few shows there. I would say that as far as output is concerned, they seem to do the business. That said, all their shows tend to look flat and without any real definition from the Front of House. I'm sure this is a function of non-ideal focusing/positioning techniques and poor/non-existent use of gels. It looked like everything was being hit from one angle and with a single color of front light.

But in the right hands, I'm sure they could look amazing!

RonHebbard

#### Jason Antwi-Appah

##### Member
I can't say much about fixtures. Would you be opposed to a software-based console? Vista by Chroma-Q (used to be Jands Vista) is really intuitive and the console dongles aren't super pricey. You can also buy fader wings which enable output.

#### Blake Alley

##### Member
All the PAR64s I’ve worked with at my church and their scrollers (yes, Chroma-Q Original Color Scrollers), which were probably in service from 1996-ish to 2008-ish, have either been replaced by Source Four PARs as front lights or K9 Bulldogs and SlimPARs if we needed some color.

In my experience, both our K9 Bulldogs (RGBW Par64) and the smaller Pups (RGB Par46) have been super reliable over the past 10 years while still being affordable little LED pars. Not sure about the more expensive Bulldog2 as I haven't worked with that fixture yet, but I'd assume it's even better than the old 1st gen Bulldog.

Other LED fixtures to consider would be Chauvet's SlimPAR line (Pro W for variable white or Pro H for RGBAW+UV). We've also got some SlimPAR Pro Qs (RGBA) that we use for accent washes which I really like because they're small, fanless, and are still very affordable; seemingly costing less than K9 Lights.

I still do like the conventional Source Four PARs as front light since they have always been rock solid and I don't see the lamps disappearing from the market anytime soon. The Source 4WRD seems like a great LED substitute, albeit quite pricey for what it is (along with the previously mentioned SlimPAR Pro W as a less professional and cheaper replacement if the extra brightness and line dimming of S4WRD isn't absolutely necessary).

Also, I second Jason's recommendation for Vista as a decently affordable software console. I've personally used all 3 versions of Vista along with M1, S1, and I3 consoles. Vista can run standalone on a computer outputting Art-Net or DMX over a UD512 adapter along with a Vista dongle for however many total channels you want to control. You may even want to consider a Jands Vista M1 or Vista MV as a physical console that goes alongside the computer; Jands Vista S1 or Vista EX if you desire a larger physical console.

#### Ford

##### Sr Product Manager, Chauvet Professional
I have a very biased opinion... so take it with a grain of salt.
Also, check with the rest of the group on their experiences with our gear, so that you're going in with your eyes open.
Finally, make sure to get a demo and test whatever gear you're considering in your space, before making any purchasing decision.
Ideally, if you can get multiple vendors to be there at the same time, you can shoot out the competitive products.

All of that said, the Ovation P56FC or P56WW (If you want to continue with Gel) are pretty great replacements for 1k Pars.
They are Single Source (no skittles), Bright, and come with medium and WFL lenses (the WW also has a Narrow).

If you prefer, COLORado 2 Solo is also a good option (available for supplemental rentals from 4Wall, and many other rental houses). If you need even more punch, you can look at the COLORado 3 Solo

I agree with Derek on the console. The Express was a great console in it's day, but that day has passed. It does not handle multi-parameter fixtures well. You could use it to control the P56WW, but I would look at either a new console, or a computer based control system if you're going to move into anything with color mixing.

For Consoles, there are a few that are designed to be simple for basic LED control. Again, I'm biased... so again... salt.
We designed the QuickQ series from ChamSys for just this sort of application. Specifically, the QuickQ 20 would allow you to move into moving head fixtures very easily.
There are other consoles that are similarly targeted, though I think that the ChamSys has very clear advantages in terms of both functionality, and ease of use.
For comps, look at the Jands Stage CL (not for movers), the ETC Colorsource 40 AV, and the Pathway Cognito.

If you need help getting demos of the Chauvet fixtures, or the ChamSys consoles, please PM me, and I'll get you in contact with someone.

##### Member
I replaced all my top light fixtures with Slimpar pro Q's about 4 years ago and couldn't be happier. My rig is roughly 20' in the air with a 20x30-ish playing space. I've got 20 units, though I do wish I had maybe 5 more for a few dim spots.

I've got ETC S4s at 750w on my front and sides which are fine. I've got 2 Rogue R2 Washes hanging on pipe 2 which I really love for their flexibility.

I JUST unboxed my three new Rogue R3 Spots to place on my front pipe which may be more than you need for what you do, but I'm really looking forward to using them.

I'd also put my hat in the ring for Chamsys. I've been using the full version for about 6 years. Super inexpensive dongle. There are great classes you can take. I've seen the QuickQ stuff and while it isn't what I need, if you're doing a lot of busking I can see it being really useful.

All in all, I'd say I'm a definite Chauvet fan. Price is great (especially if you can get second hand or refurbished) and they are leagues ahead of ADJ for quality.

#### stagemanager1

##### Member
I install lights in churches as one of my side gigs. Same $$issues as yours. Here is another vote for the Chauvet Slimpar ProH. Great color, and fairly bright output for the$$.
And another great light for the money is the Chauvet DJ EVE 50 for key light. I was looking for something to replace the Source 4. The optics are great - everything from 20 degrees out to about 45 degrees, without changing lenses.
For a console - the ETC Colorsource 40AV is a great physical console. I have recently purchased a couple of used ETC SmartFade consoles, which handle static LED light fairly well.
My experience with the others is limited - just my opinion on what I have used.

#### Darin

##### Member
Does anyone know of an LED PAR that has a wide beam angle? My grid is only 12'6" off the deck, and almost every RGB or RGBW LED wash unit is 30 degrees. At my grid height, that's a 3' pool if pointed straight down.

#### Colin

##### Well-Known Member
Does anyone know of an LED PAR that has a wide beam angle? My grid is only 12'6" off the deck, and almost every RGB or RGBW LED wash unit is 30 degrees. At my grid height, that's a 3' pool if pointed straight down.
That's what lenses are for. You don't have to buy the same brand as your fixtures. Check out Rosco Opti Sculpt for instance.

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
That's what lenses are for. You don't have to buy the same brand as your fixtures. Check out Rosco Opti Sculpt for instance.
And of course whatever fixture you buy wants to have a frame holder. Many don't (the Chauvets I see listed above do, that's a good feature). And that frame holder would want to be of a size that accepts a diffuser frame that will spread the beam to the desired coverage. That'll take some research. ETC makes a lot of diffuser frames for their D20-40-60 as well as ColorSource Pars.

#### Darin

##### Member
I inherited units that have no lenses or frame holders. I can't even find the brand or specs online anywhere

#### TimMc

##### Well-Known Member
I inherited units that have no lenses or frame holders. I can't even find the brand or specs online anywhere
I call that "direct from China." As the LEDs or drivers fail you'll simply replace the fixture.

We bought some "almost direct" LED par-style fixtures that had 45 degree beams and sold them to a comedy club with a very low trim. Too wide for most of our applications but perfect for bar bands and similar applications (great wall wash, too). I wish I could remember where we got them but probably started with an eBay search.

Some diffusion will help spread the beam on any LED fixtures you already own - and Cut-Rite Wax Paper is the cheap and easy way to start. Good luck in your search, Darin.

#### 3rose

##### Member
Thanks for all the replies. We are considering doing a software based wing system (or rather I am - the theatre guys who come use the space for dance performances want a real board)... I am really torn on that front. I wouldn't want to use the express long term for leds/movers, but if we initially can only upgrade one batch of lights to led and I use the color mixing addresses patched together as if they were R,G,B gelled pars, I think it should be fine as an in between solution...

As far as brand of board, I am still feeling myself pulled every direction and it will probably come down to me downloading every software demo and seeing which syntax I pick up the fastest since I will be the one who has to train 18 year olds on it. I started out looking at ChamSys first, but I am torn as I want the students to learn a system that is prevalent out in the field to have on their resume. When I worked for an AV company, large shows were on MA or Hog, theaters it's been ETC, and clubs or touring musicians sometimes it's Avo... I dunno how much that is likely to change and we will see more ChamSys in the field (in US) going forward... If I were confident in that, it'd be an easy decision. And if I were confident we could easily improv on an ION, I'd get that just to make the theatre and dance folks happy.

So as far as LED brands/models, basically ideally I would want good brightness, good throw, ideally a unified lens look, and the ability to change color while also achieving a "tungsten white" look and not goofing up video recordings. If we can't get all that from one fixture, I'm thinking there's value to doing S4s (conventional) and adding in color LEDs as we can. I'm also thinking some scanners might be good for the dance floor to avoid some of the cost and maintenance of moving heads, but intrigued by the Rogue R2s to possibly replace the front par wash and give us flexibility of changing position to other uses... We can't reach our fixed grid except in a scissor lift and only do that about once a year in the summer when the room sees less use.

Basically I have to come up with two separate visions... The "what if we can get capital for facility improvement in a large chunk?" one and the "money is tight and we need to get by with a usable system until we can procure a larger funding source" one... which is why I'm all over the map.

Oh, and does anybody use showbabies exclusively for dmx areas or is it just bad practice not to run hardwired? I am thinking I can pull ethernet cable and solder ends as well as the next person... but if there's much more to it then it could be a bigger investment.

#### Darin

##### Member
I call that "direct from China." As the LEDs or drivers fail you'll simply replace the fixture.
They were almost certainly Chinese-made fixtures. They are pretty good for what they are, but I have a weird number of them (five) and I can't even add to my inventory because I can't identify what they are or where they came from