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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Lighting Forum => Topic started by: Dave Horo on January 29, 2015, 02:49:11 pm

Title: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Dave Horo on January 29, 2015, 02:49:11 pm
I'm in the market for some movers to use infrequently with a small band.  We've rented MAC 250s before, so I'm looking for something more-or-less in that range in terms of output and feature set.  However, they don't have that budget.

I'd potentially like to go with LED for the reduced power requirements.  If I'm looking for an equivalent of a 230-250W discharge lamp, what do I need in LED?  Will a 60W, 75W or 90W fixture come close, or am I going to take a big hit in performance?

Second, due to the price sensitivity and limited use I'm considering trying some of the fixtures from AliExpress.  All sellers seem to offer the same portfolio of products, so I was hoping to find someone with knowledge.  I know some users of the forum have had good experiences going this route, so I'd be interested to hear about which sellers and which items were purchased.  I'm specifically looking at the Sharpy 5R and 7R, but open to other options.  I'd probably also buy two more than I need, just to have spares.

Finally, has anyone used the controllers sold by these same Chinese lighting companies?  Are they all set-up in English?  And do they do what they need to do?  Any particular brand/model to look at or stay away from?

Thanks.
 - Dave
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 29, 2015, 05:59:55 pm
Hi Dave,

As many people (including myself) say, Chinese moving lights are always a gamble.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't!  I can't comment on LED wattage as all my movers are discharge, but in my opinion the biggest concern with buying off brand or even budget brand products is the availability of spare parts.  Even if you don't use the units often, sooner or later you'll need to replace something in them.  If spare parts can't be had, what should be a $20 repair now turns into a $XXXX new unit!  Outright buying spare units like you mentioned is one thing, but that may not be effective depending on the nature of the repairs - sometimes they'll all eat the exact same part - personal experience with that one...   

What interests you in the Chinese controllers?  Depending on the complexity of the platform you're looking for, there are a wide variety of more mainstream options available to fit pretty much any budget.  If you're going for a fully-fledged moving light console, you definitely want something you can ask questions about and get support.  What kind of budget do you have for your project?

-Jeff
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Josh Daws on January 29, 2015, 08:24:12 pm
you will be looking for about a 180watt led light source to be similar to a mac250...i have compared to a mac 250 to a chauvet qspot 560 profile, and it is insanely close!
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Dave Horo on January 29, 2015, 11:45:50 pm
you will be looking for about a 180watt led light source to be similar to a mac250...i have compared to a mac 250 to a chauvet qspot 560 profile, and it is insanely close!

That's good to know.  I'm looking at the 200w and 230w fixtures, so I should be all set then.

The brightest LEDs I can find are 90w, and I don't think they're going to do it.
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Dave Horo on January 29, 2015, 11:49:26 pm
Hi Dave,

As many people (including myself) say, Chinese moving lights are always a gamble.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't!  I can't comment on LED wattage as all my movers are discharge, but in my opinion the biggest concern with buying off brand or even budget brand products is the availability of spare parts.  Even if you don't use the units often, sooner or later you'll need to replace something in them.  If spare parts can't be had, what should be a $20 repair now turns into a $XXXX new unit!  Outright buying spare units like you mentioned is one thing, but that may not be effective depending on the nature of the repairs - sometimes they'll all eat the exact same part - personal experience with that one...   

What interests you in the Chinese controllers?  Depending on the complexity of the platform you're looking for, there are a wide variety of more mainstream options available to fit pretty much any budget.  If you're going for a fully-fledged moving light console, you definitely want something you can ask questions about and get support.  What kind of budget do you have for your project?

-Jeff

I understand that it's a gamble, which is why I was hoping to find someone with some experience so I could at least go in with my eyes open, rather than picking a seller completely at random.  As you said - sometimes you get lucky.  Obviously there are some people out there who got lucky, so I'd like to hear their experience.

Nothing in particular interests me in the Chinese controllers, other than an assumption that I can get more bang for my buck that way.  Is that a bad assumption?  I'm not too up-to-speed on latest moving light controllers, so maybe I'm missing some obvious domestic options.

Total budget for the project is probably around $8k for 8 lights, cases, control and cabling.  Less is always better, of course.
 - Dave
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: duane massey on January 30, 2015, 01:12:16 am
Don't  be so quick to write of the 90w LED fixtures. Depending upon your application they might really surprise you with how good they can look. It really depends upon what other fixture you are using, as well as how you will use the movers.
As far as the no-name knock-offs, the more complicated the fixture the greater your risk. Everyone else here pretty much aid what I would say, but don't be fooled by the "looks just like" syndrome. You have to see the insides, and see the fixture actually work.
I have yet to ee any inexpensive (under $700) controller that I would ever suggest to a client. Every single cheap controller I've used (including name brands and knock-offs) are pretty much useless if you are using movers.
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Richard Turner on January 30, 2015, 10:05:47 am
You would likely get more bang for the buck looking at a PC and dongle solution for control over a hardware desk.

Most brands have them

ADJ (elation)
Chauvet and chauvet pro
Martin
Grand MA and Grand MA2 (doubt you would need anything that involved)

most of these software all have built in macro's so you dont have to tediously reprogram motions from scratch, want to do 6' circle sweeps panning to the left in red with triangle gobo... 6 clicks and done. Some even have basic stand alone playyback memories, eg a row of buttons on the hardware you can assign scenes to for playback without the PC connected. Most offerings in the mid market have gone this way.

Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Jeff Lelko on January 30, 2015, 09:08:49 pm
I agree with the "looks like" syndrome.  Looks are cheap to make or recreate - it's the guts that cost money!  The trick with Chinese movers is that typically to keep costs down, the components are held to much looser tolerances (even down to the circuitry component level).  If you get lucky and end up with units that pretty much hit spec, you'll be fine, but if one or more components are at the margin, you'll get a glitchy or DOA unit.  I had to send back 2 of the 6 Chinese movers I bought years ago, but since the distributor was American it was a lot easier to do so.  Coincidentally, all 6 lights work just fine 8 years later.  The lowest quality parts on mine seemed to be the ignitor and tilt motor gear, but luckily American DJ sells spare parts that are a satisfactory replacement and I've been good to go since.  If you decide on buying no-name movers I'd highly suggest popping one open when they arrive to try to determine what you 'actually' ended up with.  Mine are a mix of parts from the ADJ Auto Spot 150 and ADJ DJ Spot 300...

I'd too suggest going the route of a software controller.  Like Duane and Richard mentioned, you're not going to get a decent 'hands-on' console for under 1K, and I've even argue that your options are severely limited for under 4 or 5K, so definitely see what you think about the laptop/tablet/dongle solution.  I use MagicQ PC for my smaller shows where I don't need a physical desk and really have no complaints.  Most software lets you download for free and click around, so try a few and see what feels natural to you.  Hope this helps!

-Jeff
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: duane massey on January 31, 2015, 02:00:54 am
I still believe the Elation Showdesigner series are the only worthwhile affordable controllers on the market. Still not personally enthralled with a PC-based system unless it incorporates an external control surface (I like buttons and sliders, hate touchcreens), but there are some good software packages out there. For moderate applications with a budget of under $750 it's hard to beat a Showdesigner 1 if you take the time to work with it.
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Josh Daws on January 31, 2015, 09:19:26 am
my favorite PC solution for price/features is Martin MPC..you can buy their 2 universe DMX dongle for around $500 and you can hook up your ipad and control from that or touch surface it you wish...it does work on a microsoft surface 2 PRO also...

the ports are also configurable for DMX in also so you can map out a conventional board no probs to the software....so for the price, Martin MPC is my go to product for sure!
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Josh Daws on January 31, 2015, 09:20:52 am
juts for the sake of mentioning it, apparently martin is about to release its M-Touch controller (still need a PC), for around $600....
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Dave Horo on February 01, 2015, 02:18:45 pm
Don't  be so quick to write of the 90w LED fixtures. Depending upon your application they might really surprise you with how good they can look. It really depends upon what other fixture you are using, as well as how you will use the movers.

I'll have to give them a closer look because I really prefer the size and power efficiency of the newer LED stuff.  The challenge is that I don't know what other fixtures will be available. The actual use for these will be to provide some show-to-show consistency by supplementing whatever the house provides.  Nine times out of ten this is a combination PARs and Source 4s, with maybe some effects thrown in.  It's very rare that movers are available at these venues.

And thanks for all the suggestions on PC-based controllers.  I hadn't thought of going that way but it probably is the best bang-for-the-buck.  The system will be used by inexperienced operators some of the time, so a software solution with lots of presets will by the easiest to manage.  I especially like the idea of something with a few hard buttons on it for non-PC control.  I have some more research to do to find something that makes sense and is cost-effective.
 - Dave
Title: Re: Two quesitons about moving heads - light output & Chinese manufacturers
Post by: Tim McCulloch on February 04, 2015, 06:13:40 pm
We've bought a lot of stationary LED fixtures from China and some clones of a couple popular movers.

Every factory is different regarding QC, parts, and consistency from run to run.  After 3 years of dealing with the inconsistency and zero technical support (why won't this fixture run with a generic RBG profile?, oh, every DMX channel is *backwards* counted) we won't buy direct from China anymore.

What I would do:  buy a pair of whatever you're interested in and try them out.  If you don't like them put them on Craig's list and some DJ will buy them just to run in demo mode.

Nothing about moving lights is compatible with inexperienced operators if it requires more than pushing a "go" button.  Seriously.