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Author Topic: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?  (Read 1064 times)

Luke McCready

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Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« on: February 06, 2020, 04:40:45 pm »

I'm creating a new lighting design for my church. I was told Chauvet Pro is likely to be much more reliable than the brandless lights we have now and built out my design around this brand.

However, I could free up some budget for more effects if I skimp on some less important fixtures - I'm thinking tiny wash lights on the stage floor, in the drum cage, and on the lighting truss pointing up to wash the ceiling with color.

I've read mixed things online about Chauvet DJ, Blizzard, and ADJ; that they're all low-budget designs probably not created by the manufacturer, but created by generic designers that "approach" the manufacturer to sell for a year or two before being discontinued.

Is it reasonable to skimp on less important fixtures that have no moving parts and don't need to be super bright? I'd still like reasonably smooth dimming, DMX color mixing, and the ability to snap them on/off instantly without fade time. Which of the budget brands is likely to give the best price/performance? Is it fair to expect the lights to last 6+ years without losing their ability to snap on/off and without significant color drift between identical fixtures purchased at the same time?

Dare I ask about the best of the knockoffs, as knockoffs are what I'm replacing?

Thanks!
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2020, 09:25:36 pm »

I'm creating a new lighting design for my church. I was told Chauvet Pro is likely to be much more reliable than the brandless lights we have now and built out my design around this brand.

However, I could free up some budget for more effects if I skimp on some less important fixtures - I'm thinking tiny wash lights on the stage floor, in the drum cage, and on the lighting truss pointing up to wash the ceiling with color.

I've read mixed things online about Chauvet DJ, Blizzard, and ADJ; that they're all low-budget designs probably not created by the manufacturer, but created by generic designers that "approach" the manufacturer to sell for a year or two before being discontinued.

Is it reasonable to skimp on less important fixtures that have no moving parts and don't need to be super bright? I'd still like reasonably smooth dimming, DMX color mixing, and the ability to snap them on/off instantly without fade time. Which of the budget brands is likely to give the best price/performance? Is it fair to expect the lights to last 6+ years without losing their ability to snap on/off and without significant color drift between identical fixtures purchased at the same time?

Dare I ask about the best of the knockoffs, as knockoffs are what I'm replacing?

Thanks!


I have had good luck with Blizzard, I am a dealer too if you need any prices.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2020, 10:12:21 pm »

Chauvet has different levels in both the DJ and Pro lines.
As a rule, the quality of the light gets better as you spend more money.
TNSTAAFL after all.
I really like their wireless battery powered up-lights (Freedom Par).

ps, I'm a dealer. PM me if you want more info.
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Luke McCready

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2020, 11:24:48 pm »

PMs sent. Thanks guys!

However ... any non-dealers have opinions on reliability?
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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2020, 12:29:48 am »

Is it reasonable to skimp on less important fixtures that have no moving parts and don't need to be super bright? I'd still like reasonably smooth dimming, DMX color mixing, and the ability to snap them on/off instantly without fade time.

Smooth dimming will be the hardest thing to get with ultra cheap fixtures, doing this right takes a little more effort with hardware and software and that is exactly what gets cut most in budget products. Color mixing and snap/fade are what LED diodes do by default, I think the controller in use and the type of LED diode used(discrete, Quad/Penta/Hex, COB) will have more effect on how well this works.

Which of the budget brands is likely to give the best price/performance?
Of the 3 domestic brands mentioned I wouldn't touch any cheap Chauvet DJ stuff, terrible quality control in my experience. I have not had any problems with ADJ and Blizzard gear.

Is it fair to expect the lights to last 6+ years without losing their ability to snap on/off and without significant color drift between identical fixtures purchased at the same time?
Yes, and I can't say I have ever seen those problems with any LED fixture, if I did that would qualify as broken IMO.

Dare I ask about the best of the knockoffs, as knockoffs are what I'm replacing?
What was the original MAP of those knockoff fixtures?  $20-$30 pars and $75-100 movers were/are disposable to begin with, it's actually pretty amazing something that cheap work at all but it should not be surprising that they don't stand up too well. I have some knockoff movers that are still working perfectly 6 years in and they are used for mobile events.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2020, 12:44:19 am by Paul G. OBrien »
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2020, 01:43:41 am »

I have 16 Blizzard RGBA HotBox fixtures purchased over the course of several years and they seem to be doing well.  The colors seem fairly consistent, but I'm not doing Broadway shows.   They have metal housings, have powerCon in and out, and 3 pin DMX.  Blizzard supplies photometric specs; I won't buy a light that doesn't show specs.  I like them, as do my rental clients.   I have some Chauvet DJ 35x moving head spots and wash lights; they seem pretty reasonable for $800 lights.

The 1900+ seat venue where I do some work has Chauvet Pro FC 910 RGBA+Lime elipsoidal fixtures that fully replace conventional lekos. We have the Chauvet Pro Colorado in RGBA+L that have motorized zoom for the overhead wash. Our ETC led S4 RGBA+L don't quite match the Chauvet colors, FWIW, so they get used on dance booms.  The movers are Chauvet Pro Maverick spot fixtures with full color mixing.  They are all "real" fixtures.

There is no comparison between my budget lights and the Pro fixtures. The top end of Chauvet DJ fixtures seems to compare pretty well with the entry level Chauvet Pro fixtures, from what I can tell.

Your hang positions (and therefore the throw requirements) should help you figure out how much output your fixtures need.  You should ask your dealer to let you demo any fixtures you are considering, to see if they fit your needs.  I'm not a dealer; YMMV.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2020, 01:39:28 pm »

Are you considering zones at all, or just an even spread?
How high is your hang point?
For a dynamic 'show' the color correction isn't as important as for lighting a stationary 'actor', and getting the skin tones right.
This is where the more expensive fixtures start to come into their own.  The consistency and controlability of the colors is radically better as you spend more.
For washes, I actually like the Colorado Solo line because of their zoom.  You can get a lot of 'motion' and versatility with that feature.  Plus the collimated output gives a very even output at the face of the fixture, so it's less annoying to the talent.
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Luke McCready

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2020, 02:25:43 pm »

Paul,

Thanks for the tip on brands. Much appreciated!

I wish I knew the models, price, and even the year of the original install. Somewhere in the range of 5-9 years ago. I reached out to the original installer, who now only does event lighting, not installs. He hinted that our movers were knockoffs of the GLP X4S but a third of the price: YouTube suggests the X4S was released around 2012-2013? But this is off-topic.

I ask about snap on/off and significant color drift because we have two styles of fixtures with each of those problems across multiple lights. Sawtooth and squarewave intensity effects look more or less like sinewave on some LED fixtures. And for others, they can't create pure white anymore, but drift noticeably purple; if I group four identical lights and set them to yellows or oranges, three will look right and one will look significantly more like blood-orange. I'm fed up with having to manually color correct a fifth of the fixtures to get the color to match other identical fixtures. And one of the fixtures began exhibiting this in the last couple months. If this sounds unusual, then I'm happy: I hope not to experience it next time around. =]

I see a lot of cheaper lights with 16-bit dimming, and the Blizzard HotBox even supports 32-bit dimming? In your experience, is stepped dimming tied to 8-bit dimming or can a bargain fixture with 16-bit dimming behave just as poorly?
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John Roesli

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2020, 04:32:01 pm »

I've read mixed things online about Chauvet DJ, Blizzard, and ADJ; that they're all low-budget designs probably not created by the manufacturer, but created by generic designers that "approach" the manufacturer to sell for a year or two before being discontinued.

Is it reasonable to skimp on less important fixtures that have no moving parts and don't need to be super bright? I'd still like reasonably smooth dimming, DMX color mixing, and the ability to snap them on/off instantly without fade time. Which of the budget brands is likely to give the best price/performance? Is it fair to expect the lights to last 6+ years without losing their ability to snap on/off and without significant color drift between identical fixtures purchased at the same time?

I've had good performance with Blizzard G-max 150, running for 3 or 4 years now at multiple different events.  Chauvet DJ, not so much.  Seems parts just not the same durability as Chauvet Pro lines.  I've been using Ovation, Rogue, and Colorado for some time now and they hold up well, at least in my experience, YMMV.  Had some ADJ stuff in the beginning, seemed to hold up well, but similar to Chauvet DJ.  FWIW and IMHO it's worth the expense in terms of quality of light/color, reliability, and customer service, which both Chauvet Pro and Blizzard have been great.  I'd rather have 2 R2 washes than 4
knock offs that respond to DMX randomly.  Maybe get lucky with knock off PARS, but most would tell you to buy twice what you need so you can just replace them as they go bad over the next year or so.  Of course I've also seen a rig with 3 Mac Vipers down hard at $10K a pop back in the day, so even at that level you can run into problems. 
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2020, 05:02:46 pm »

DMX is an 8 bit control system, so the only way to get smooth low light dimming is to have a modified (optional) internal dimming curve. 
This makes much smaller internal steps at the lowest levels, making the high output steps larger. 
For example, the difference between 1% and 2% is much more noticeable (objectionable) than the difference between 85% and 90%.
This feature tends to be in the more expensive products.
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Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
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Re: Baby Wash Lights: Chauvet Pro, DJ, Blizzard, ADJ Comparison?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2020, 05:02:46 pm »


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