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Author Topic: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures  (Read 881 times)

Nathan Riddle

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I needed to get started and got bang for buck in Chinese fixtures. They've done me well and keep doing well.
But I'm slowly transitioning into Pro-Fixtures as I find sales & find them used.
I'm happy with my decisions, but man, after getting some Elation ZW19's for a steal...I just love me some Pro-Fixtures.


Reasons why Pro Fixtures are better:
  • The rigging bracket is grounded
  • Everything is attached, (meaning panels, and mounts removed for service) won't fall 100ft from the ceiling and kill/injure people
  • The wing bolt & retainer don't break/shave down easily
  • The loudest pro fixture is still quieter than the quietest import fixture
  • Lamp life hours
  • Fixture hours
  • The colors are usually good in color wheels
  • The colors match day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year both in fixture hour difference & purchase date
  • I can order parts from the manufacture and know it will work
  • I can keep the fixtures working many years after they are discontinued because replacement parts are readily available
  • I'm supporting real R&D
  • The plastic doesn't look weird & break easily
  • The focus, zoom, etc match between fixtures
  • The dimming, colors, uniformity is 10x better than the 'lesser' fixtures
  • Did I mention uniformity? Yeah it's nice.

Reasons why [decent] China Fixtures are better:
  • Cheap
  • I can get a $6000 USD pro fixture for $750 with a road case
  • I can replace the fans pretty easily and get 'pro-like' noise & features
  • Most are UL listed
  • Internal parts are generally designed well with plenty of cooling and can take a decent beating [can't keep up with Martin back in the day (101's still going strong), but can keep up with Chauvet DJ/PRO and Elation]
  • IDK what nitro they put in their pan/tilt motors, but they keep up with pro fixtures just fine
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 09:56:09 pm by Nathan Riddle »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 10:37:41 pm »

Excellent thread to start Nathan. 

The uniformity alone probably deserves a post of its own!  A hypothetical example is that I'm hired to provide lighting for an event.  I want to use Robe Spikies in my design.  I own a dozen of the fixtures in personal inventory but need to rent another dozen from 2 different suppliers.  I can rest assured that all the fixtures will behave the same and can be used interchangeably.  If in 2 years I want to outright buy the additional fixtures they'll still be consistent with what I already have.  Import fixtures?  Sometime they even differ within the same batch!  Getting more identical units in a few years?  Forget about it!  Will any rental houses stock them?  No.

Another point is that pro fixtures are a known commodity.  I can talk to any LD about using Mac Vipers and we'll be speaking the same language.  Comparing "my" imports to "your" imports could very well be two different things.  Along those same lines, it's easier to ask questions about pro fixtures because there's a much larger user base.

Several "pro" companies offer 24/7 tech support.  Even for those that don't, support and demos are often easy enough to arrange.  With imports you're generally on your own.

I'm sure more will chime in, but as always you get what you pay for!  I completely understand the market for import fixtures just as I understand the market for Mackie SRM450s - the pro lines just fit my business case better.
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David Junius

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2020, 12:00:23 pm »

Thanks Nathan,
As I sit here and await when Iíll be working again and consider lighting upgrades with the money I should of had this year, I keep going back and forth between cheap Chinese fixtures or the buy once cry once attitude and buy some semi-pro units. So your post did give me some things to think about and Iíll look forward to following!

David
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2020, 11:04:25 pm »

Most are UL listed

I wouldn't trust this from an unproven Chinese mfgr without independent verification.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2020, 02:37:32 pm »

I wouldn't trust this from an unproven Chinese mfgr without independent verification.

Agreed.  There is a cottage industry in China making forged, 3D U.L. labels.
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Bharat Bajaj

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 09:38:45 am »

It all depends the type of work you're doing. For a  lighting company where you will be working with Lighting designers/ operators it makes more sense to buy long lasting fixtures.

for small DJ lighting , party set ups where the control is in your hands , chinese is ok. coz you can change the fixtures and get money out coz ROI is faster.

Comparing pro lighting fixtures with chinese fixtures is not fair, we are getting what we are paying for.

Cant Beat the pro Lighting Companys .

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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2020, 11:34:49 am »

Most of the Chinese fixtures don't have a profile in many lighting consoles. You end up having to create one. Takes up valuable time.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2020, 12:48:31 am »

Most of the Chinese fixtures don't have a profile in many lighting consoles. You end up having to create one. Takes up valuable time.

Not only that, oftentimes the DMX attributes of Chinese fixtures are nowhere to be found.  It can be both frustrating and embarrassing to be sitting at the console trying to reverse engineer a profile by trial and error - especially when it's a single day engagement with limited programming time.

for small DJ lighting , party set ups where the control is in your hands , chinese is ok. coz you can change the fixtures and get money out coz ROI is faster.
...
Comparing pro lighting fixtures with chinese fixtures is not fair, we are getting what we are paying for.

I don't think that's an entirely fair statement to make given that many Chinese fixtures are marketing to the same performance spec as established pro-level fixtures (Sharpy knock-offs, Pointe knock-offs, etc.).  I agree that you get what you pay for though.  If you're just DJing a garage party or playing at the local bar I'd say use what makes you happy and can fit in the SUV, but I'm a strong believer that professional jobs call for professional equipment.

One other point that I don't think has been mentioned yet is how unpredictable Chinese fixtures can be from a technical perspective.  I think most of us have had the experience of plugging in a cheap light and killing the whole DMX daisy chain.  Other times they cause erratic behavior from other fixtures by either corrupting or injecting signal (despite being in DMX "listen only" mode).  One time I even got a decent shock from the male end of a DMX cable plugged into a Chinese fixture.  While pro fixtures aren't immune to this sort of thing, the instances of this are far fewer and usually explainable.   
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Steve Garris

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2020, 12:22:40 pm »

Not only that, oftentimes the DMX attributes of Chinese fixtures are nowhere to be found.  It can be both frustrating and embarrassing to be sitting at the console trying to reverse engineer a profile by trial and error - especially when it's a single day engagement with limited programming time.

That's just poor planning and not the light's fault. If you have a light like that you've already figured out it's parameters. Making a profile takes all of 3-4 minutes, and once you've done it you then have a record. I make profile sheets and save them in a folder, same as I would with a manual. Most of our bar gigs are completely fine for this. If you're talking pro-level or theater, then sure, buy the expensive stuff. I do an amazing job in bars with nothing but cheap $40 Chinese lights.

Quote
I don't think that's an entirely fair statement to make given that many Chinese fixtures are marketing to the same performance spec as established pro-level fixtures (Sharpy knock-offs, Pointe knock-offs, etc.).  I agree that you get what you pay for though.  If you're just DJing a garage party or playing at the local bar I'd say use what makes you happy and can fit in the SUV, but I'm a strong believer that professional jobs call for professional equipment.

One other point that I don't think has been mentioned yet is how unpredictable Chinese fixtures can be from a technical perspective.  I think most of us have had the experience of plugging in a cheap light and killing the whole DMX daisy chain.  Other times they cause erratic behavior from other fixtures by either corrupting or injecting signal (despite being in DMX "listen only" mode).  One time I even got a decent shock from the male end of a DMX cable plugged into a Chinese fixture.  While pro fixtures aren't immune to this sort of thing, the instances of this are far fewer and usually explainable.   

I read this all the time - unpredictable. I guess I've just had really good luck, because all of my cheap lights have worked fine (except for an occasional led going dead in one color). I've used several controllers, including Luminair, and always had consistent results.
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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 02:34:09 pm »

That's just poor planning and not the light's fault. If you have a light like that you've already figured out it's parameters. Making a profile takes all of 3-4 minutes, and once you've done it you then have a record. I make profile sheets and save them in a folder, same as I would with a manual. Most of our bar gigs are completely fine for this. If you're talking pro-level or theater, then sure, buy the expensive stuff. I do an amazing job in bars with nothing but cheap $40 Chinese lights.

I read this all the time - unpredictable. I guess I've just had really good luck, because all of my cheap lights have worked fine (except for an occasional led going dead in one color). I've used several controllers, including Luminair, and always had consistent results.


That's all great until a guest LD walks in with their own console and needs to patch in all your fixtures and none are in the console.
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Re: Reasons why I like Pro Fixtures over import (China) Fixtures
¬ę Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 02:34:09 pm ¬Ľ


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