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Author Topic: Upgrading LED pars to Q12  (Read 6276 times)

Debbie Dunkley

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Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« on: July 11, 2014, 08:10:02 pm »

I really like the look of the Blizzard Q12's and I think I will be getting some. Right now I have 8 of the Venue thin par 64's (Chauvet Slim par clones from GC). I do not get enough light and rather than just add to what I have I think I'd be better off selling mine and getting 4 of the Q12's.
The lights are for band use….small stages mainly.

My questions are :

1) Would 4 of the Q12's be a considerable upgrade for reasons of brightness? According to what I have read in specs, at 1 meter the Q12 is 15100 lux and the thin par is only 3500.
2) Unsure whether to get White or Amber version. Does the amber light make that much difference and is it a better choice for band use?
3) Will 4 cans cover as well as 8 - The beam angle of the Venue is 23 and the Q12 is
25 degrees.

The reason for getting only 4 of the Pucks is not only because they cost $279 each but if they are so much more efficient, I'd probably not need more than 4…
What do you think??
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 09:40:38 pm »

I really like the look of the Blizzard Q12's and I think I will be getting some. Right now I have 8 of the Venue thin par 64's (Chauvet Slim par clones from GC). I do not get enough light and rather than just add to what I have I think I'd be better off selling mine and getting 4 of the Q12's.
The lights are for band use….small stages mainly.

My questions are :

1) Would 4 of the Q12's be a considerable upgrade for reasons of brightness? According to what I have read in specs, at 1 meter the Q12 is 15100 lux and the thin par is only 3500.
2) Unsure whether to get White or Amber version. Does the amber light make that much difference and is it a better choice for band use?
3) Will 4 cans cover as well as 8 - The beam angle of the Venue is 23 and the Q12 is
25 degrees.

The reason for getting only 4 of the Pucks is not only because they cost $279 each but if they are so much more efficient, I'd probably not need more than 4…
What do you think??

1. I wouldn't pay $279, they are readily available for around $200 on ebay. Make an offer to an authorized dealer and they will probably take it. 
2. I have the Q12A's among other LED fixtures, and 4 will light up a stage pretty well.  The Amber helps make a slightly better orange but the amber is not a particularly bright one.  For sheer light output you'd be better off with the Q12W.
3. In two years time I have lost the amber in one unit and the outer circle of red in another.  Not a horrible failure rate but not bulletproof either.  They get used 20-30 times a year.  I am sending these back for a non warranty fix next week.

My .02
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 10:12:26 pm »

1. I wouldn't pay $279, they are readily available for around $200 on ebay. Make an offer to an authorized dealer and they will probably take it. 
2. I have the Q12A's among other LED fixtures, and 4 will light up a stage pretty well.  The Amber helps make a slightly better orange but the amber is not a particularly bright one.  For sheer light output you'd be better off with the Q12W.
3. In two years time I have lost the amber in one unit and the outer circle of red in another.  Not a horrible failure rate but not bulletproof either.  They get used 20-30 times a year.  I am sending these back for a non warranty fix next week.

My .02

Thanks Rick. Good to know. I'll definitely look into getting better pricing.

Off hand, do you happen to know of any equivalents in terms of brightness in say ADJ or Chauvet and similar? I had read some very favorable reviews on the Blizzard till your comments so now maybe I'll weigh up my options a bit...
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 07:48:33 pm »

Debbie, based on the beam angle specs, the 4 Blizzard fixtures will not have as much coverage across the width of a stage as 8 of the Chauvet fixtures (given the same hang position).  However, because the the Blizzard fixtures are way brighter, you might be OK if you had to "dense pack" the old fixtures to get enough lumens on the stage. Conversely, the brighter fixtures can be hung farther from the stage, thus getting the beam to spread wider but kepping the same luminous intensity on the stage. (The inverse square law applies to luminous intensity - twice the throw distance requires four times the light for the same on-stage intensity.)

In other words, "it might work for you; it depends".  Sorry I don't have a more definite answer for you.  (FWIW, I have 8 Fab 5 RGBAW fixtures and 8 HotBox RGBA fixtures, all purchased used.)  Mark C.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 09:19:07 pm »

Thanks Rick. Good to know. I'll definitely look into getting better pricing.

Off hand, do you happen to know of any equivalents in terms of brightness in say ADJ or Chauvet and similar? I had read some very favorable reviews on the Blizzard till your comments so now maybe I'll weigh up my options a bit...

To get as bright or brighter as the Q12's you have to get up into a range like the Chauvet Colorado Tri Tours.  Blizzard occupies a unique place in the market that is higher quality and more powerful than the cheap stuff, but not as smooth or rugged as the high quality stuff (althiugh they do have some heavy duty stuff like the Rocklite RGBAW).
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 04:49:47 am by Rick Powell »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2014, 09:48:34 am »

Yesterday I picked up 4 ADJ Mega Par 64's for GC. Other than some Martin cans at $850 and up, they were the most powerful they had and I had read decent reviews on them. No one stocks Blizzard locally (to my knowledge)
My aim was to check them out to see if they would be enough of an upgrade as I'd rather buy locally if possible. The ADJ's are 12 x 3w compared to 12 X 10 watts…...

It was too late by the time I got home to set them up on my light bars and remove mine - some different cabling etc and mine are all cut to size and pre-wired for ease of setting up -we had to get to the gig last night so I ended up using my old rig and added one of the ADJ's at the front on the floor - not the best position but there was very little room to do much more and it added to the general wash.
Definitely noticeably brighter than the thin pars I have and I could see 4 of them being much brighter than my 8. Nice lights and easy to program. I daisy chained the single unit to mine and the 7 channels worked well together.
So that route would work quite well for me…..
However, I came across a deal online for the Blizzards at $212 each and I paid that for the ADJ's yesterday so I have ordered one of the Blizzards and will test one of each. The return policy on lighting at GC is only 15 days but long enough for me to check them out.
One of my concerns is that I will not be able to get the lights very far from the stage and I do not want to have too narrow an angle from the Blizzards to make a wash of light.
I have an ad in CL and have a couple of interested folks in mine so the upgrade begins….
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Steve Garris

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2014, 02:36:14 pm »

Regarding the colors, with RBGA you'll get a nice amber light that is not achievable with white. On the other hand, many pastels require white, especially pink. My bands are classic rock, so the amber is an easy choice.

Regarding beam angle, I think the front wash should be very wide, or at least 40 deg. For my bands, a dim front wash is all that's needed. The typical band I work with is 50 year old guys that don't need a lot of light casting upon them. I use a pair of Par 38 cans with a 150w flood light and a salmon gel. On larger stages we use a 4 light tree of gelled Par 38's for a side wash. Adds a lot of color but they are static, either on or off.

For back lighting I like a narrow beam. 25 deg is perfect in my opinion.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2014, 03:30:23 pm »

Regarding the colors, with RBGA you'll get a nice amber light that is not achievable with white. On the other hand, many pastels require white, especially pink. My bands are classic rock, so the amber is an easy choice.

Regarding beam angle, I think the front wash should be very wide, or at least 40 deg. For my bands, a dim front wash is all that's needed. The typical band I work with is 50 year old guys that don't need a lot of light casting upon them. I use a pair of Par 38 cans with a 150w flood light and a salmon gel. On larger stages we use a 4 light tree of gelled Par 38's for a side wash. Adds a lot of color but they are static, either on or off.

For back lighting I like a narrow beam. 25 deg is perfect in my opinion.

In my opinion, the LED pars' 25 degrees is a wider, more diffused look than an incandescent 25 degrees.  Most of the LED pars seem to have a more diffused beam than the old quartz pars (of which I owned a ton back in the day).  Coupled with the height we set them at (12' for front trees) we can get pretty full stage coverage from 4 Blizzards across a 20' or 25' stage, in combination with all our back lighting.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2014, 06:01:59 pm »

In my opinion, the LED pars' 25 degrees is a wider, more diffused look than an incandescent 25 degrees.  Most of the LED pars seem to have a more diffused beam than the old quartz pars (of which I owned a ton back in the day).  Coupled with the height we set them at (12' for front trees) we can get pretty full stage coverage from 4 Blizzards across a 20' or 25' stage, in combination with all our back lighting.

Good to know ….so where possible you would advise setting the stands as high as possible and it should help with the diffusion???
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2014, 06:44:58 pm »

Good to know ….so where possible you would advise setting the stands as high as possible and it should help with the diffusion???

Yes, at last nights gig we lit the front of stage with 4 Blizzard Puck3's (which are about 60% as bright as the Q12As (and a published coverage angle of 25 degrees, 29 degrees "field") Stage was about 22' wide between trees, and we has them 11 feet in the air.  We aimed the Pucks downward, we have 4 people in front so each got their own front light aimed close to their mic or primary standing spot.  The wash from all the lights covered the front of the stage with no dead spots and even caught some of the drummer (who usually gets one or two Q12s from the back truss).  I am attaching a pic with a blue scene, fairly dark compared to most of our scenes.  Q12A's would have been brighter in the front, but we have moved them all to the back truss.

In my experience height (to a reasonable point) is your friend with front or front/side stage lighting, otherwise it is too much in the performers eyes and requires more or wider lighting to provide adequate coverage, and just looks tackier in general.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 07:02:43 pm by Rick Powell »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2014, 08:44:26 pm »

Yes, at last nights gig we lit the front of stage with 4 Blizzard Puck3's (which are about 60% as bright as the Q12As (and a published coverage angle of 25 degrees, 29 degrees "field") Stage was about 22' wide between trees, and we has them 11 feet in the air.  We aimed the Pucks downward, we have 4 people in front so each got their own front light aimed close to their mic or primary standing spot.  The wash from all the lights covered the front of the stage with no dead spots and even caught some of the drummer (who usually gets one or two Q12s from the back truss).  I am attaching a pic with a blue scene, fairly dark compared to most of our scenes.  Q12A's would have been brighter in the front, but we have moved them all to the back truss.

In my experience height (to a reasonable point) is your friend with front or front/side stage lighting, otherwise it is too much in the performers eyes and requires more or wider lighting to provide adequate coverage, and just looks tackier in general.

Thanks……that makes sense. I'm looking forward to the arrival of the Q12 so I can check it out compared to the other two. 
I'll look at the differences in stand height so I can see exactly what you mean. My stands are 12 feet although in my studio, the ceiling will prevent full height but I'll still be able to make some comparisons..
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2014, 11:33:12 pm »

The Q12 came today.
So I set up a SlimPar, a Mega 64 and the Q12 side by side in my studio and compared each one with each color and function.
The SlimPar was as usual poor and shed little light.
Then the ADJ Mega 64. Much brighter and defined. Slightly wider field.
Then the Q12..OMG…RETINA BURN. No joke - this thing is crazy. I had no idea it was going to be that bright and wasn't expecting it. The main thing though was that it lit up the whole room. I thought based on what everyone had said and what is claimed that the field  angle was going to be horribly narrow - not at all.
So for brightness the Q12 wins hands down.
Quality wise, it is about the same as the ADJ .
One of the things I don't like about the ADJ is that you can't daisy chain standard iec power cables from them- they require male/female iec cables which I now have to go purchase. Bit annoying. The Q12 uses normal iec power cables.
I had a hard time going through the programs on the Q12. My other lights regardless of brand all are very similar in how the programming works  but I found the Q12 to be a bit complicated. The DMX programming is easy so I did that instead (thats what Ill be using anyway so no big deal).

Anyway, Im going to put 2 ADJ's and 2 Q12's on a tree and see if there is any benefit of blending the 2 brands with the  ADJ's having more of a spot than the Q12's - if not I'd be silly not to get all Q12's - I'd get away with 8 easily….
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2014, 02:19:04 am »

Thought I told you so about the soft edge of the beam. :)

The programming is a little funky and unintuitive, but basically wadda you do for dmx...you set a Channel address (isnt it "Chnd" or something) and use the up/down buttons to get the correct number between 1 and 512, and then "enter" and you're done.  and depending on 4/7 channel mode, you have 1st channel for red, 2nd for green, 3rd for blue, 4th for amber, and the other 3 I never use.  Every once in awile I will take a few lights out for an acoustic gig w/o a controller and go manual ("Nanu" or something) and then you have to page thru your R, G, B, A settings and adjust between 1 and 255 on the can to get your preferred static light color setting.  They also have a setting I forget where you can draw from 8 or so preset colors.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 02:24:25 am by Rick Powell »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2014, 01:47:08 pm »

Thought I told you so about the soft edge of the beam. :)

The programming is a little funky and unintuitive, but basically wadda you do for dmx...you set a Channel address (isnt it "Chnd" or something) and use the up/down buttons to get the correct number between 1 and 512, and then "enter" and you're done.  and depending on 4/7 channel mode, you have 1st channel for red, 2nd for green, 3rd for blue, 4th for amber, and the other 3 I never use.  Every once in awile I will take a few lights out for an acoustic gig w/o a controller and go manual ("Nanu" or something) and then you have to page thru your R, G, B, A settings and adjust between 1 and 255 on the can to get your preferred static light color setting.  They also have a setting I forget where you can draw from 8 or so preset colors.

Yes Rick - thank you…you did tell me that and it was one of the reasons I went ahead and tried one for myself…
I really am very pleased with the performance ie brightness and the beam angle …..but yes the programming……WHAT??? I see what they are doing in making the RGB intensity very controllable but they have taken away the 'quick set up' that I like  to have on the fly. Like you said, DMX is very straight forward and it is generally all I use but if I had any issues and needed to simply program the Q12 to just wash white  for example..I'd be stumped I think. Anyway, I'll spend more time with it and I'm sure I'll get it down………..thanks again..
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2014, 04:07:10 pm »

Yes Rick - thank you…you did tell me that and it was one of the reasons I went ahead and tried one for myself…
I really am very pleased with the performance ie brightness and the beam angle …..but yes the programming……WHAT??? I see what they are doing in making the RGB intensity very controllable but they have taken away the 'quick set up' that I like  to have on the fly. Like you said, DMX is very straight forward and it is generally all I use but if I had any issues and needed to simply program the Q12 to just wash white  for example..I'd be stumped I think. Anyway, I'll spend more time with it and I'm sure I'll get it down………..thanks again..
Hi Debbie.  I did a review of the Q12A about 3 years ago: https://soundforums.net/threads/1938-Blizzard-Q12A-RGBA-LED-Par and a comparison to the fixture I ended up going with: https://soundforums.net/threads/2419-Chauvet-SlimPar-Pro-RGBA-Review

I have a suspicion that the Q12A of 2014 is slightly different than the Q12A of 2011.  If you are interested and have time, I'd love to see if you notice the same things I did back in the day.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2014, 08:09:54 pm »

I have a suspicion that the Q12A of 2014 is slightly different than the Q12A of 2011.  If you are interested and have time, I'd love to see if you notice the same things I did back in the day.

TJ- I didn't notice much difference when I recently ordered another Q12A.  I have several 2012 models and a 2014.  Same small diameter hole in the main yoke, programming and beam appearance looks identical. 
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Re: Upgrading LED pars to Q12
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2014, 08:09:54 pm »


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