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

Read more

Overview and Time-Lapse Video of My Ableton Live Laptop Music Rig + Controllers

2010-MarkMosher-Signals-Rig_01

Over the years I’ve played hundreds of shows as a keyboardist using my trusty Apex column with various hardware synths.  In late 2009 I had a vision to create a new Ableton Live laptop-centric rig using only virtual synths running in Live.

While I wanted to play some keys, I was really excited to add alternative visual, tangible, and spatial controllers and selected Percussa AudioCubes, Tenori-On, a Novation Launchpad. I went with my trusty Remote SL 25 for keys as it also doubles as a controller for Live. In the 11th hour I added a Moog Ehterwave Theremin which was clearly necessary to play “They Walk Among Us” live :^).

I’ve played enough shows to know that you can’t always count on basic lighting and P.A. to be adequate, so I added these elements to my requirements as well – just in case. My goal was to be able to run a room of 80 people if needed with just my rig. My other goal was 4 trips from the car load-in max with a 15 minute setup time or less.

The sketch above shows all this on paper (click the image to see a larger view). After months of slowly building up gear, the reality – sans lighting – is shown in the fun little time-laps video embedded video below.

Here is a list of what's in the rig:

  • Laptop: Windows 7 32-bit, HP DV6t-1200 Pavilion w/Core2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHZ, 3G memory, 7200 RPM Drive (Update I now use an HP Envy 14 I5)
  • Soundcard: Novation NIO 2|4
  • DAW Software: Ableton Live 8 Suite
  • Primary Controllers: Novation Remote SL 25 (updated to MKII), Launchpad | Tenori-On | Percussa AudioCubes
  • Primary Virtual Synthesizers: Tone2 Gladiator 2| Native Instruments Absynth 5 | Camel Audio Alchemy | U-He Zebra 2, ACE | Ableton Sampler, Operator… | SonicCharge Synplant | Lennar Digital Sylenth1 | reFX Vanguard, Slayer2 | Image-Line Harmless, Toxic Biohazard | Cakewalk Dimension Pro | FAW Circle | DCAM: Synth Squad…
  • Hardware Synthesizers: Moog Etherwave Theremin, Waldorf Blofeld (not pictured)
  • PA: Bose L1 Compact
  • Stand: Odyssey ATT2 Table, Odyssey L2 Laptop Stand

Links to lots of the software I use here:
http://markmoshermusic.com/links.html

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://MarkMosherMusic.com