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Author Topic: Upgrade to LED??  (Read 7446 times)

Robert Weston

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Upgrade to LED??
« on: February 27, 2012, 02:01:07 pm »

My small lighting system consists of PAR-56 medium flood 300 watt incandescents along with a couple of 250 watt incandescent "intelligent" lights.  Everything is DMX-512 controlled.

I would like (I think) to upgrade my lighting system to LED; though, I have a few concerns.
    1.  The dimming capabilities of LED don't appear to be a full 100% dimmable.  It looks as though they dim to about 30%, then their off.
    2.  The actual light LED emits seems a bit high in temperature.  Though, I am comparing LED's to the incandescent lights (lower temps).
    3.  LEDs seem to have a very harsh light.
    4.  Can I use my existing DMX-512 controllers for LED lighting? (I'm assuming yes, because it's all DMX)

Has anyone upgraded from incandescent lights to LED and has been satisfied?  My concerns (above) maybe due to the quality of the lighting (and DMX controller) I've seen.

I don't need anything too much or elaborate for a replacement. 

Has LED improved over the years?

Thanks.
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duane massey

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 12:26:18 pm »

A lot depends upon your budget and your application. If you're doing bands or DJ's, there are no reasons to be concerned about the issues you have raised IMO. If you're doing corporate or theatrical gigs, maybe some concern if your budget keeps you tied to entry-level fixtures.

The dimming issues are mostly found in the entry-level lower-$$ fixtures. Color temperature is definitely different unless you move into the more advanced fixtures designed for that need. Again, i don't see an issue here if you're doing bands/dj's.

Yes, dmx is dmx, but you have to rethink your programming somewhat, and you will use a lot more channels if you want complete control.

Other than the investment I see no negatives whatsoever.
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Duane Massey
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Robert Weston

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 07:44:10 am »

Thanks Duane - yes, only small to mid-sized events; no theatre or theatrical types of venues.  Good point on the entry-level fixtures regarding dimming. 


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duane massey

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 10:53:34 am »

Robert, I would look at your budget and buy enough wash fixtures to cover the stage, either pars or bars. Make sure to note the beam spread, and, if possible, get one or two to experiment with. Don't mix brands if possible, as the channel assignments typically differ from brand to brand, and programming/live op can be challenging. Also, don't ignore some of the low-$$ "DJ" fixtures for special FX/eye candy. Fixtures like the ADJ Revo-series can be cool as rear lighting specials. I've also had great luck with the X-Scans from the rear as well.
Keep your system in balance and it will look great. Brightness is relative, and having one or two fixtures that are significantly brighter than the others can upset a good balance.
Control is also often overlooked. The cheap basic controllers will limit you severely in just about every facet. Either a Show Designer or decent software w/ control surface (playback, such as http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/livid-block-midi-controller), plus lots of pre=programming time will give you great results.
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Duane Massey
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Robert Weston

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 01:37:54 pm »

The controller I use for the PAR cans is an ADJ "Scene Setter 8".  It can be programmed or run "live"; I'm hoping this unit would be able to work with the LED PAR lights.  My programming experience is rather limited to two ADJ Scan-250 units.  It seemed like it took a long time to program scences with it; I don't recall what type of controller it is, but there seems to be a lot of brand names using the same controller.

In looking around at PAR LED lights, seems like Chavuet and Elation come up alot.  Are these lights ok (middle quality)?  What are some names of the better types of LED PAR can lighting? 

Thanks
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duane massey

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 06:26:53 pm »

Everyone has their favorites and not-favorites. ADJ, Chauvet, and Elation are all cost-effective with decent customer service. I typically use ADJ for most of my clients (who are VERY cost-conscious), and have been very satisfied. If you are serious about using LEDs and moving mirror/head fixtures, don't waste your time and $$ on lower-end controllers. Find a used or new Show Designer 1, take the time to get to know it, and you will be very happy. It makes no sense to invest serious $$ in a bunch of lights and then try to save $3-400 on a controller.
The Scene Setter 8 will be a very poor controller if you're going to LED's, unless you plan on having all fixtures do the same thing.
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Duane Massey
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Kyle Clark

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 10:38:08 pm »

The controller I use for the PAR cans is an ADJ "Scene Setter 8".  It can be programmed or run "live"; I'm hoping this unit would be able to work with the LED PAR lights.  My programming experience is rather limited to two ADJ Scan-250 units.  It seemed like it took a long time to program scences with it; I don't recall what type of controller it is, but there seems to be a lot of brand names using the same controller.

In looking around at PAR LED lights, seems like Chavuet and Elation come up alot.  Are these lights ok (middle quality)?  What are some names of the better types of LED PAR can lighting? 

Thanks

I would like to add Blizzard Lighting to the list of manufacturers to look at.  If you're looking at any of the "puck" shape LED lights the following specs sheet is one tool that could help you make a decision:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AsviFp864n7sdHpaZFhZLVdRekF5dHEyZVhUbVBBTmc&output=html
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Robert Weston

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 07:34:04 am »

Thanks for all the quidance and suggestions on this.  Myself, and the others whom work together on shows, have not looked at lighting upgrades in years.  Our knowledge of products (what's good/bad) is low.  We have basic DMX skills which I hope will carry over into the LED world.  Much lighting that's been used at locations has either been brought by the band, or is part of the facility. 

Looks like I have a l lot of catching up to do with "what's new" in lighting.

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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 09:22:38 am »

I would like to add Blizzard Lighting to the list of manufacturers to look at.  If you're looking at any of the "puck" shape LED lights the following specs sheet is one tool that could help you make a decision:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AsviFp864n7sdHpaZFhZLVdRekF5dHEyZVhUbVBBTmc&output=html
That's a useful spreadsheet.

One thing I noticed is that power draw seems to be based on number of LEDs X wattage rating.  This is not going to be very accurate.  My LED Par of choice, the Chauvet SlimPar Pro RGBA draws about 80 watts full tilt (I measured it), and your sheet lists the current draw as 47 watts.  I also purchased a Blizzard Q12A and measured that at somewhere around 110watts, IIRC.

There are a number of factors that can be relevant, and not everyone's goals are the same.  For me, the Blizzard Q12A was not up to the challenge, both in terms of build quality, and light output - dimming is a little steppy, and the light is not video safe (flickers on camera).  The somewhat more expensive Chauvet SlimPar Pro RGBA has much better build quality, a better beam, is video safe, has good dimming, but has a bit less output than the Blizzard, and doesn't have some a sound activated mode that DJs may like.

I've still got the virtually NIB Blizzard Q12A I tested for sale in the marketplace if anyone wants it.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 09:27:42 am »

Thanks for all the quidance and suggestions on this.  Myself, and the others whom work together on shows, have not looked at lighting upgrades in years.  Our knowledge of products (what's good/bad) is low.  We have basic DMX skills which I hope will carry over into the LED world.  Much lighting that's been used at locations has either been brought by the band, or is part of the facility. 

Looks like I have a l lot of catching up to do with "what's new" in lighting.
Basic 2-scene dimming consoles like the Scene Setters and Stage Setters get pretty limiting with LEDs.  Even a basic RGB light requires 3 DMX channels.  You can double up with multiple fixtures sharing the same channels, but you still only have in your case 16 channels of control, which doesn't go very far.

I haven't used the Show Designers that Duane recommends, but I trust his recommendation.  I'd look into that, or software, or some type of better controller.  I ended up with an ETC SmartFade ML, which is probably overkill for what you are trying to do.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Upgrade to LED??
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 09:27:42 am »


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