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Author Topic: would someone define a good LED?  (Read 6258 times)

Dave Potter

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would someone define a good LED?
« on: December 30, 2012, 07:02:48 pm »

While I've been looking at LED par cans, I've seen a big variation in price and specification of the LEDs themselves.  Now, I am wary of using price as a guide.  What is the mark of a good LED?  for instance, is 10mm better than 5mm? What is the preferred angle?
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Josh Daws

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 11:41:14 pm »

While I've been looking at LED par cans, I've seen a big variation in price and specification of the LEDs themselves.  Now, I am wary of using price as a guide.  What is the mark of a good LED?  for instance, is 10mm better than 5mm? What is the preferred angle?

well its got more to do with the LED brand itself...5mm and 10mm are ok but i wouldn't go there, way too much halo-ing that occurs. my recommendation is to look into TRI LED's as a minimum, and see if you can get CREE (thats the brand that Martin, chauvet uses) LED's. they are known for superior quality and output.

but in saying all of this, the LED's themselves are not the issue, its more the quality of the fixture itself.
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Dave Potter

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 04:12:48 am »

Hmm.... More questions.  Someone should write a dummies guide.

Perhaps I should define what I need more tightly.  This would be to light a live band in small stages as an alternative to nothing at all.  I am a firm believer in - "If you need pro lighting, hire a pro"
So -  Mostly colour washes from static fixtures.  Would haloing be noticed?  Surely haloing wound be softened by spreading the light across many LEDs?

"Quality" in my manufacturing background means:- "conformance to requirements." eg brightness per watt, mean time before failure, colour accuracy.
What do we mean by "quality of LED"?
By "Quality of the fixture", do you mean robustness?
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Josh Daws

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 09:16:24 am »

Hmm.... More questions.  Someone should write a dummies guide.

Perhaps I should define what I need more tightly.  This would be to light a live band in small stages as an alternative to nothing at all.  I am a firm believer in - "If you need pro lighting, hire a pro"
So -  Mostly colour washes from static fixtures.  Would haloing be noticed?  Surely haloing wound be softened by spreading the light across many LEDs?

"Quality" in my manufacturing background means:- "conformance to requirements." eg brightness per watt, mean time before failure, colour accuracy.
What do we mean by "quality of LED"?
By "Quality of the fixture", do you mean robustness?

quality of the LED meaning its manufactured quality, and also time before failure. quality of the fixture meaning a few things, 1/ branding, 2/ build quality, 3/ quality of the PCB that the LED is mounted to.

there are many different things to consider when purchasing and LED fixture. as far as LED technology goes, the 10/5mm LED are of older technology when LED began to take shape/form. TRI LED's are of newer, and don't get anything less than a 1w TRI led.

if i were to make a suggestion get a LED fixture with a beam with of about 36 degrees. this will give you nice wide color wash, reduce any halo-ing that will occur. it wont be as bright as a 26 degree fixture, and thats because its a narrower beam angle. but i would suggest that you go wider for coverage.
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Ted Christensen

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 12:53:01 pm »

While I've been looking at LED par cans, I've seen a big variation in price and specification of the LEDs themselves.  Now, I am wary of using price as a guide.  What is the mark of a good LED?  for instance, is 10mm better than 5mm? What is the preferred angle?

any quality RGBAW led fixture is good. Its the newest out there. RGB is nice so is RGBW but the RGBAW will give you the most options in color and also  better looking colors.

Martin, chauvet. american dj..any of there pro lines are great. But expensive. Blizzard has some good stuff but can be questionable..i have heard of noisy  parts in some of the gear which can suck especially when you would have 16 of that fixture.
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Dave Potter

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2012, 01:57:45 pm »

Its the "Q" word again.  If perhaps you could define "quality" without saying that it is something with quality, then I could make a more educated guess. At the moment "quality" sounds like spend more money.  While I am sure that I will have to do that, I am also sure that I could pay loads of money and still buy the wrong crap.
So
I won't be buying 16.  I might be buying 4.  I might need to light 4 -5 guys on an area (say) 12 ft wide from a distance of 20ft ..... if I'm lucky.  If I need 16, I will need to hire it, or I'm playing a stage that already has it.
A 10mm 100mA LED can kick out 3000mcd I can find "1W" (actually 700mA) diodes that put out 5000mcd
So what in measurable performance terms do we gain from spending twice as much money? You can buy cheap RGBA too!
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duane massey

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 02:56:37 am »

My suggestions: Stay with the major brands; Look at the beam angle, as this will influence whether you need less or more fixtures for desired coverage; stick with 1w or higher LEDs; For your needs you may not need the Tri- or Quad-type fixtures; $$ is NOT the best comparison;
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Duane Massey
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Houston, Texas

Josh Daws

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 04:37:10 am »

Its the "Q" word again.  If perhaps you could define "quality" without saying that it is something with quality, then I could make a more educated guess. At the moment "quality" sounds like spend more money.  While I am sure that I will have to do that, I am also sure that I could pay loads of money and still buy the wrong crap.
So
I won't be buying 16.  I might be buying 4.  I might need to light 4 -5 guys on an area (say) 12 ft wide from a distance of 20ft ..... if I'm lucky.  If I need 16, I will need to hire it, or I'm playing a stage that already has it.
A 10mm 100mA LED can kick out 3000mcd I can find "1W" (actually 700mA) diodes that put out 5000mcd
So what in measurable performance terms do we gain from spending twice as much money? You can buy cheap RGBA too!

you are looking at the completely wrong information for intensity...you want to look at LUMENS for the output, and then also take a look at the photometric data in which most manufactures will supply. meaning look at the beam width to output.

my suggestion for you is MICROH RIO TRI PAR. i have been using these for about 6 months on the same size staging and they have worked great super rugged and no issues...and the output is strong...would put it up against a 300w par56 no problem.
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Randall Hyde

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 08:47:38 pm »

While I've been looking at LED par cans, I've seen a big variation in price and specification of the LEDs themselves.  Now, I am wary of using price as a guide.  What is the mark of a good LED?  for instance, is 10mm better than 5mm? What is the preferred angle?

Lumens or Lux specifications are what you want to look at.
Note that 1 Lumen = 1 lux spread across 1 square meter, so lux is a better metric for comparing total light output between fixtures. However, almost no one rates their fixtures in lux and lux doesn't tell you how bright the beam is actually going to be, so maybe there is a reason you always see ratings in lumens.

Common angles are 15 degrees, 25 degrees, and 40 degrees. The tighter the angle, the (much) brighter (in lumens) the specs will be. 12,000 lumens at one meter at 25 degrees is probably around 3,000-4,000 lumens at 40 degrees. So rule of thumb, expect the lumens to drop dramatically as you go to a wider beam (or increase dramatically as you go to a tighter beam.  Pick your poison accordingly; wider beams are good for washes or covering a stage with as few fixtures as possible, narrower beams give a lot more punch and control, but you'll need more fixtures to cover the stage.

Beware of extremely bright fixtures. Last summer I bought 16 Blizzard Rocklite RGBAW fixtures (25 degree coverage). Originally I put them on my front truss. However, they were so bright (25,000 lux at 1m) that I could never run them above 50% without causing tremendous pain to the performers; it's like laser beams in the eyes. On the front truss, the 40-degree option probably would have been better. I've since moved those fixtures to the sides of the stage to keep them out of the performer's faces. Those are some *damn bright* fixtures, however; love 'em when a lot of light is necessary.

I've put a lot of different fixtures on my back truss (e.g., ADJ Par64 LED, Chauvet ColorDash, Blizzard Puck, Puck RGBAW, and Irradiant SSDL 3201). The one thing I've learned from all of this is that I will never, ever, again buy LED fixtures that are not 3-in-1, 4-in-1, or (preferably) 5-in-1. If an audience member can see the LEDs on the fixture, color mixing is destroyed. Yes, turning on the green and red LEDs produces a yellow(ish) beam of light, but when the audience member sees the green and red LEDs, their mind tells them that you've got green and red light coming out, not yellow light. This might seem fine if all you want to do is put yellow light on some spot on the stage, but if you're using the fixtures as effects, it completely destroys the effect; again, they see green and red, not yellow. The "n-in-1" LEDs don't do perfect color mixing, but they do provide psychologically acceptable colors from each LED in the fixture.

I'm also wary of anything less than 5-color LED fixtures. RGBAW provides a really good palette of colors including highly saturated, pastels, and decent yellows. You cannot get this range of colors out of a 3-color or even 4-color (RGBA or RGBW) fixture.

Blizzard just announced their FAB-5 fixture with seven 15W 5-in-1 LEDs. I'm planning on buying one of these fixtures ($299 seems to be the list price, I've seen them for $256 on-line). They put out something like 12,000 lumens at one meter (25 degree angle). I'm sure with just seven LEDs they'll burn out people's eyeballs like the RockLites, but it's a heck of a fixture for $256 (assuming you can live with Blizzard's quality).

I'd stay away from the $100 fixtures except for special purposes. They're just not bright enough and you'll quickly outgrow them. I'd buy fewer brighter/more expensive fixtures than more dimmer/less expensive fixtures. Though lighting systems scale a heck of a lot better than sound systems, I'd argue that you're better off with fewer fixtures rather than more fixtures even if the fewer fixtures actually cost you a little more money to produce the same amount of light. Having more fixtures gives you a little more control (you can put light in more places), but you can put very much light in one spot if you're using dimmer fixtures. Also, truss capacity (space and weight) will become an issue and having more fixtures can increase the cost of your lighting controller to handle all the additional DMX channels (granted, you could program several fixtures with the same address, but then you lose the advantage of better lighting control).

Though lots of low-cost lights are appearing, keep in mind that the old adage is still true -- you get what you pay for. OTOH, I used to recommend buying fixtures that cost no less than $500; since the latest crop of Blizzard fixtures have appeared the past year or so, I've dropped that limit by one-half. I'd still recommend against $100 fixtures unless you have a special need for those particular fixtures (e.g., I recently purchased 24 $100 Blizzard Puck RGB fixtures for uplighting a show).
Cheers,
Randy Hyde

correction: sorry, I swapped lumens and lux in the definition. Fixed this.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 04:37:41 pm by Randall Hyde »
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duane massey

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Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 02:15:12 am »

Just a thought here. The OP didn't mention a budget, but if is asking about the difference between 5mm and 10mm fixtures, I'm guessing that he is not looking for upscale RGBAW fixtures, and probably would be quite happy with the lower$$ RGB fixtures.
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Duane Massey
Technician, musician, stubborn old guy
Houston, Texas

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: would someone define a good LED?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 02:15:12 am »


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