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Author Topic: Help me choose wash lights  (Read 1088 times)

Robert Piascik

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Help me choose wash lights
« on: September 03, 2019, 07:59:27 pm »


I am yet another sound guy who has to provide lights. Looking to upgrade front wash lights from Blizzard TourNado COB 60w. Not unhappy with the Blizzards, but they keep getting filled up with rain and only do warm white. Trim height of 16', 24'x20' stage. Must be IP rated. Fixtures I am considering:

Blizzard TourNado COB 100w (what's the advantage/disadvantage of COB?)
Blizzard ToughPar Quadra
Blizzard ToughPar V12
Chauvet COLORdash H12
Elation 6 par
Elation 7 par
any others to consider?

Pros/cons of any here?

Thanks in advance!

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 10:26:24 pm »

Hi Robert, in addition to colors and wet location use, is there anything else youíre hoping to get out of your upgrade?  I only ask because youíve listed a pretty wide range of fixtures - both in quality, type, and price.  Out of the bunch, the Elation SevenPar will probably be the best choice in terms of color capability, mostly due to its addition of Lime emitters over the older SixPars.  Itís also one of the pricier options. 

What's the advantage/disadvantage of COB?

The COB emitters tend to give a more uniform, homogenous beam of light compared to the arrays of diodes seen in fixtures such as most of the ones you listed.  They tend to work better with beam shaping implements like barn doors and have a more conventional look to them.  The Elation Fuze Series is an example of these fixtures, and also might fit your needs.

As someone with experience using/buying/owning many types of fixtures, a lot of it comes down to the flexibility and quantity of fixtures needed when making a purchasing decision.  For instance, could I build a 7x7 grid of SevenPars for eye candy effects?  Sure, but thatíd be one expensive grid!  Something like that would be better served business-wise by using cheaper fixtures.  The same goes for truss warmers. 

I personally break these types of fixtures into two categories - units needed for facial lighting and those that arenít.  If youíre lighting faces, get the better lights such as the SevenPars.  You generally donít need a large number of these, so financially it evens out the quality vs quantity balance.  For units not generally lighting faces but instead needed for uplighting, truss warming, etc., I tend to go with a suitable but lower-cost solution since Iíll be buying them by the dozen.  This applies to both moving lights and static lights, but the number of wet location use moving washes on the market are limited.  It might be worth considering that route as well.  Whatís your budget?  Hope this helps!
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Robert Piascik

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2019, 10:51:42 pm »

Hi Robert, in addition to colors and wet location use, is there anything else youíre hoping to get out of your upgrade?  I only ask because youíve listed a pretty wide range of fixtures - both in quality, type, and price.  Out of the bunch, the Elation SevenPar will probably be the best choice in terms of color capability, mostly due to its addition of Lime emitters over the older SixPars.  Itís also one of the pricier options. 

The COB emitters tend to give a more uniform, homogenous beam of light compared to the arrays of diodes seen in fixtures such as most of the ones you listed.  They tend to work better with beam shaping implements like barn doors and have a more conventional look to them.  The Elation Fuze Series is an example of these fixtures, and also might fit your needs.

As someone with experience using/buying/owning many types of fixtures, a lot of it comes down to the flexibility and quantity of fixtures needed when making a purchasing decision.  For instance, could I build a 7x7 grid of SevenPars for eye candy effects?  Sure, but thatíd be one expensive grid!  Something like that would be better served business-wise by using cheaper fixtures.  The same goes for truss warmers. 

I personally break these types of fixtures into two categories - units needed for facial lighting and those that arenít.  If youíre lighting faces, get the better lights such as the SevenPars.  You generally donít need a large number of these, so financially it evens out the quality vs quantity balance.  For units not generally lighting faces but instead needed for uplighting, truss warming, etc., I tend to go with a suitable but lower-cost solution since Iíll be buying them by the dozen.  This applies to both moving lights and static lights, but the number of wet location use moving washes on the market are limited.  It might be worth considering that route as well.  Whatís your budget?  Hope this helps!

Thanks for the reply Jeff!

I use these for front lighting only (faces) because the Blizzards I have are warm white only, and this would be the primary use for the new ones, although with color capability I could see using them as eye candy occasionally. I've still got eight working TourNado 60w, looking to supplement the inventory.

I just don't understand the differences between the different models. The Blizzard ToughPar Quadra vs V12 seem awfully similar to me, the Elation 7 par vs the 6 par seems just like the next newer model.

I see the 7 pars are the most expensive option here, I want to spend around $2k as I'm just looking for about 4 of these. I tend to not want the newest technology, I am happy buying last year's model at a reduced price.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2019, 02:53:29 am »

No worries, happy to help!

I just don't understand the differences between the different models. The Blizzard ToughPar Quadra vs V12 seem awfully similar to me, the Elation 7 par vs the 6 par seems just like the next newer model.

Blizzard ToughPar Quadra - 18x10w RGBW LEDs

Blizzard ToughPar V12 - 12x15w RGBAW LEDs

Chauvet COLORdash H12 - 12x10w RGBAW+UV LEDs

Elation SIXPAR - model dependent, but Xx12w RGBAW+UV LEDs

Elation SEVEN PAR - 7x25w RGBAW+L+UV LEDs

Keep in mind that I just listed the LED arrangement - there's more to compare such as beam/field angles and overall LUX at a given distance.  Supposing that you don't have any super-specific needs for angles and illumination, the first way I'd start to pare down the list is by color capability.  Generally speaking, the more discrete colored emitters you have, the wider range of colors you'll have available to you.  While you might recall that additively mixing red green and blue will theoretically give you any color in various proportions, certain colors tend to struggle.  Whites, ambers, dark purples/plum colors, and some shades of oranges tend to be areas where RGB mixing falls short.  To compensate, you'll see that some units have specific emitters for just these colors and thus rely less on needing to mix. 

Seeing as these will be facial lights, I'd personally look to an RGBAW unit to give you the most flexibility in your whites and ambers.  Some higher-end RGBW and RGBA lights are able to pull off the look too, but all things being equal I'd still take both the White and Amber if it's available in the form-factor I'm buying.  The UV is a bit of a wildcard.  I like it, and I use it a lot for applications like truss warming and in combination with my Blues to give a very purple deep color.  Others don't care for it - your choice! 

The SEVEN PAR is where things get a bit interesting.  The Lime emitters yet again help to compensate in areas where RGB mixing falls short.  ETC uses Lime extensively in their fixtures which tend to be very friendly for applications needing a very natural wash color.  This is one of those things that you almost have to see in comparison to really appreciate.  If you can swing the SEVEN PARs I'd go for it, and you'll be very happy with them no doubt.  Flip-side, unless your audience has a taste for very natural and authentic lighting the added quality will probably go unnoticed.  I'd reach out to your Elation dealer and see if you can get a demo of the SEVEN PAR against a SIXPAR.  While you're at it, throw an Elation FUZE Z120IP into the mix.  The FUZE lights are a different flavor of fixture but offer a very uniform beam with a useful zoom. 

I wouldn't go so far as to say one is necessarily better than another nor is one last year's model versus this year's model - they're just different tools with different capabilities and price points.  I'm generally not a brand snob and own equipment of all different levels, but all things being equal I'd take Elation over Blizzard any day.  Other "little" things to consider as a matter of convenience are the cables each fixture uses for linking power and data, the location of the I/O on the unit, fixture size and weight (for moving and hanging), can this fit through the lacing of 12" box truss, etc.  While more impactful when buying by the dozen, it's nice to not have to stock yet another type of cable or buy different size cases or gel frames than what's already in inventory.  Good luck!     
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2019, 05:27:22 pm »

I'm Veeeery happy with our Elation Fuze wash pars and movers, BUT the only IP65 rated versions they have are the smallest 2 at 60 and 120 watts. I don't think you would be satisfied with their brightness for front lighting. They would be excellent in the rear though. They look like a par that changes color. A nice big lens up front and a COB chip inside. The whole face is one color even when zooming.

I would be looking in the Chauvet Pro line or higher for what you are asking. Blizzard makes nice CHEAP lights, but you definately notice the difference when you step it up to a better line. I would look into the colorado line. The Colorado 2 Quad Zoom looks really nice.....
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2019, 08:45:56 pm »

I also meant to tack this on last night but forgot.  Robert, this thread has some great information that Iím sure youíll find helpful.  I believe the original poster here did indeed end up with the SEVEN PARs and has been quite happy with them, but he did an excellent and thorough analysis when making his decision.  Despite starting about 2 years ago itís still very relevant for what youíre doing.  Hope this helps!
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Rick Powell

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 07:02:42 pm »

I am happy buying last year's model at a reduced price.

You could buy four used Colorado Solo 2's (from 4Wall's rental stock) for not too far above your budget at usedlighting.com. They are IP65, homogenized beam, and have additional zoom capability.

https://www.usedlighting.com/search?page=1&k=colorado+solo+2&category=0&sort=0&grid=h
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 07:16:39 pm »

Thanks for the thread-drop Jeff.  Yes I ended up with 8 of the Elation Seven Par 7IP Fixtures and am very happy.  I can get oranges, purples, and a high CRI wash that I simply couldn't get from my RGB LED's.  I used them at an event outdoors this year as a front wash for a small community stage, 4 per side.  They outperformed the 500-watt par cans I used the year previous and saved some A/C so I could bring more subwoofers. The organizers were very pleased.

My beef at this point is with my lighting controller (luminaire) in that it does not have an option for discrete mixing of all seven colour diodes.  I have to set the fixture to RGB mode (where the fixture uses all 7 diodes with only 3 channels) but somewhere along the translation the colours don't match what comes out of my RGB fixtures. 

In other words, what I set the colour to on my iPad visually does not represent what the fixture creates, whereas the RGB fixtures match much closer (with variations for iPad screen brightness and the colour of surface the lights are illuminating which I would expect). In that mode I also lose out on some of the built-in features like random strobe etc, which are only available in higher DMX-channel modes.

Using the buttons on the back of the fixture I can adjust everything the way I want and get some great static looks for uplighting or straight wash, so I am convinced it's a controller issue.  That's the next upgrade...
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 11:32:47 pm »

Thanks for the thread-drop Jeff.  Yes I ended up with 8 of the Elation Seven Par 7IP Fixtures and am very happy.  I can get oranges, purples, and a high CRI wash that I simply couldn't get from my RGB LED's.  I used them at an event outdoors this year as a front wash for a small community stage, 4 per side.  They outperformed the 500-watt par cans I used the year previous and saved some A/C so I could bring more subwoofers. The organizers were very pleased.

My beef at this point is with my lighting controller (luminaire) in that it does not have an option for discrete mixing of all seven colour diodes.  I have to set the fixture to RGB mode (where the fixture uses all 7 diodes with only 3 channels) but somewhere along the translation the colours don't match what comes out of my RGB fixtures. 

In other words, what I set the colour to on my iPad visually does not represent what the fixture creates, whereas the RGB fixtures match much closer (with variations for iPad screen brightness and the colour of surface the lights are illuminating which I would expect). In that mode I also lose out on some of the built-in features like random strobe etc, which are only available in higher DMX-channel modes.

Using the buttons on the back of the fixture I can adjust everything the way I want and get some great static looks for uplighting or straight wash, so I am convinced it's a controller issue.  That's the next upgrade...

I've had great results from the Colorado Solo 1 and 2.  It's very versatile because of the zoom.

To access all seven colors with luminaire, you can add separate faders for the different colors.  It will take up more space, but you'll get the control you want. 
BTW, It does have an RGBWA or RGBAW fader selection.  You can also add invisible channels for things you need at a certain output, but don't need to adjust, like if there's a master fader channel on the fixture profile.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2019, 12:16:46 am »

Thanks Dave Iíll try that
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Steve Garris

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2019, 02:43:15 pm »

Thanks Dave Iíll try that

Yes, and if you have more than RGB in your fixture you won't have the color wheel when you do this. It took me a while to figure this out. I now do all of my fixtures manually when setting up in Luminair. With each channel assigned you should be able to match anything that you get from the controls on the back of your fixtures.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2019, 02:48:17 pm »

Yes, and if you have more than RGB in your fixture you won't have the color wheel when you do this. It took me a while to figure this out. I now do all of my fixtures manually when setting up in Luminair. With each channel assigned you should be able to match anything that you get from the controls on the back of your fixtures.
Hmm, I get the color wheel with RGBW.
You could certainly do an RGB fader and individuals for the rest I suppose.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2019, 03:30:58 pm »

Hmm, I get the color wheel with RGBW.
You could certainly do an RGB fader and individuals for the rest I suppose.

What you will find is there is no white, only an equal mix of RGB. Recreate that fixture and don't use the RGB option, but instead individual level faders.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2019, 08:47:03 pm »

What you will find is there is no white, only an equal mix of RGB. Recreate that fixture and don't use the RGB option, but instead individual level faders.
Hmm, I'll need to investigate that.
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John Fruits

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2019, 09:25:41 pm »

My beef at this point is with my lighting controller (luminaire) in that it does not have an option for discrete mixing of all seven colour diodes.  I have to set the fixture to RGB mode (where the fixture uses all 7 diodes with only 3 channels) but somewhere along the translation the colours don't match what comes out of my RGB fixtures. 

Using the buttons on the back of the fixture I can adjust everything the way I want and get some great static looks for uplighting or straight wash, so I am convinced it's a controller issue.  That's the next upgrade...
In your search for budget friendly controls, you might want to take a look at the LightShark units.  It got a lot of buzz at last years LDI.  The unique thing about it is it is browser based.
https://www.workpro.es/lightshark?lang=101
https://www.fullcompass.com/brand/lsh-lightshark/
You can connect up to 3 browsers at the same time with different content.   One idea is to use the core ontage with a touchscreen Chromebook attached for programming and your Ipad for direct control wirelessly. 
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2019, 08:27:45 pm »

Thanks John.  Without swerving the thread too much further, the LS-1 is definitely on my short list along with the Quickq from Chamsys and the Colorsource from ETC.  Still on the fence whether I want faders and a stand-alone controller or if I should go software like Vista, MAonPC or magicq. The controllers in that price bracket all seem to be dumbed down compared to what you can do in software but then again, Iím a beginner and am not looking for something with a steep learning curve.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Help me choose wash lights
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 09:05:11 pm »

Still on the fence whether I want faders and a stand-alone controller or if I should go software like Vista, MAonPC or magicq.

Itís hard to say, and a lot of it really depends on what youíre comfortable with.  Owning all three combinations you mention (software, software+wing, and full console), I find it hard to really work without a surface.  The only time I work software-only is when I literally just need a single scene or basic control of uplights or truss warmers.  For basic playback Iíll use my wing, and for full-up work Iíll bring my console.  I wouldnít overthink it or get lost in feature rosters - as others say, excess capability becomes infinitely expensive!   
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Re: Help me choose wash lights
¬ę Reply #16 on: September 10, 2019, 09:05:11 pm ¬Ľ


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