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Review of the Chauvet Slimpar56 LED Light and Obey3 Light Controller

2010-MarkMosher-Signals-Rig_01_lights

In a recent post I documented my new live rig with a drawing and a time-lapse video sans lights and light controller. I’m happy to report I just received and have been testing the brand new LED SlimPAR™ 56 and Obey™ 3 compact DMX controller so I thought I’d share some notes.

I used this system to light this Teaser Video (the horizontal scan effect is from a video effect not the light):

Update: After finishing this pots I shot a follow up video demo.

My Lighting Needs
My initial objective with this light setup was to come up with a very portable system that would provide ambient fill lighting to augment but not overpower the light coming from my Percussa AudioCubes, Tenori-On and Launchad. If possible I also wanted a way to do easily add chase and strobing which led me to the brand new SlimPar and Obey3. I also wanted to get a one light system that would integrated into a larger setup should I decided to scale my setup. While I'm happy to use house light reinforcement, I definitely want to be self-contained if need be. This also allows me to do smaller performances where there is no light reinforcement. 

Backpack Ready
First off both the SlimPar and Obey are very small and backpack ready. I took a picture of the light with the controller below it with a Novation NIO 2|4 and Launchpad on either side to offer some perspective and scale.

slimpar_obey_size

LED SlimPAR™ 56

This light is simply fabulous. Small, thin (only 2 inches thick!), light-weight, and runs cool. it has a y-yoke so you can mount on a light stand or set on the floor. The yoke is tall enough that you can plug the power and DMX cables into it and rotate to any angle. Here the specs:

  • Beam angle: 21°
  • Field angle: 32°
  • Lux: 1,290 @ 1m
  • Light Source: 108 (36 red, 36 green, 36 blue) LEDs
  • Weight: 2.7lbs (1.2kg)
  • Size: 9.5in x 8.8in x 2.2in / 241mm x 224mm x 56mm

The light offers basic functions without a controller including static RGB and automated sound activated programs with timing coming from a built-in mic. Instead of old-school dip switches, settings are programmed via buttons with feedback from an LED making setup a snap. With 108 red, green and blue LEDs, it is plenty bright and the colors are great. You can also use the SlimPar56 with 3 and 7 channel DMX controllers.

Obey™ 3 Compact DMX Controller

 

While I am using MIDI to control the LED lights on the Percussa AudioCubes, I decided for fill lighting I’d start of small with some basic control and went with the Obey 3. What attracted me to the Obey 3 was that it was loaded with presets so I didn’t have to worry about color mixing or setting up chases.  Here are the specs:

  • Compact DMX-512 controller for LED fixtures (3-channel mode only)
  • Works with all 3-channel LED fixtures
         Channel 1: red
         Channel 2: green
         Channel 3: blue
  • Playback options include automated, sound-activated or manual RGB
  • Playback modes:
         Preset: 9 built-in colors
         Chase: triggers automated programs
         Macro: scrolls through the color spectrum
  • Variable fade times for all playback modes
  • Variable strobing on the fly (2Hz – 33Hz)
  • Fader for master dimmer
  • Adjustable blackout allows fixtures to fade out
  • Adjustable audio sensitivity

The SlimPar 56 and Obey 3 In Use

I setup the SlimPar about chest level about 15 feet away and set it to 3 Channel DMX and connected it to the Obey 3. I selected the blue static preset and set the level to about 20"%. I used a low end video camera (pardon the grain) to video my tests. I pulled a still from the video showing blue fill with the master dimmer set at about 20%. The light offered a nice fill and still allows you to see the AudioCubes even though they were also set to blue.

markmosher_light_test_01

In the next test, I ran an RGB chase at a very fast rate. For timing for chases, I’m just using the built-in mic on the Obey 3. There is a sensitivity knob right on top of the Obey 3 so dialing in the proper sensitivity only takes a second and they light was synced right to the groove. There are a set of pre-programmed chases, simply slide the Chase/Macro slider up when in chase mode to select them. The snapshot below was taken from the video when green was at top intensity.  MarkMosher_light_test_02

Macro mode allows you to use the Chase/Macro slider instead of the color buttons to quickly scroll through the presets.

Strobe adds a strobe effect to the current program selected. If you strobe when static red is selected, the light will strobe red. If you strobe during chase, the strobe effect only occurs when the light is on which is quite cool.

For all modes and for blackout, the Fade slider adjusts how quickly transitions occur. Note that bright white light is also possible. You can also manually color mix RGB.

I also wanted to mention that you can scale this system by adding more SlimPars in sequence. You could of course use the SlimPar 56 with any 3 or 7 Channel DMX controller.

Conclusion
While I’ve only just started testing I’m very impressed with these Chauvet products and how well they work together. The brightness and responsiveness of the Slimpar 56 is fantastic. The simplicity of the Obey 3 means I can quickly go from a static fill, to a chase, to strobing – in ANY color! At $139.99, the SlimpPar 56 might seem a bit pricy, but the form factor and features make it a great value. The Obey 3 is only $49.99 making it kind of a no-brainer.

This lighting solution seems like a real winner for gigging musicians, bands or DJs looking for a versatile portable setup.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

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