GLP impression X4

in Road Tests

GLP impression X4For the last year, I have been waiting for a manufacturer of LED heads to make a certain fixture — one that allows me to decide which of the 19 individual LEDs in the face will illuminate and which I can keep dark, without having to use hundreds of DMX channels per fixture. GLP (German Light Products) has figured it out. The same people that led the LED-based moving head revolution have upped the ante with the release of the Impression X4.

One Beam, One Color

The X4 is similar in size and shape to the original Impression, but the end result is a smoother, single-colored beam. Gone are the days of looking at the individual red, green and blue diodes that prevailed in that model. This one has 19 individual quad color LED cells that emit a single, high-output, beautiful beam of colored light. I pan the fixture and watch the color of the light beam. Unlike many similar products out there, I notice no change in hue as I view the fixture’s face from different angles. Each of the cells in this new wash light is actually one of the new Osram quad optics, a 15W RGBW cell that is extremely bright. These are arranged in a way that forms a very collimated beam.

This fixture seems to mix most colors, from the primary basics to simple pastels. I notice that the color system is slightly different from other LED lights. My first attempt at mixing yellow fails as I follow the usual formula by mixing the green and red colors together at full. I am disillusioned as I look at a very vibrant light green hue. But then I roll the green back to 60 percent, and there it is, a really sweet yellow. A solid, vibrant color one never expects to see out of any LED fixture. Sweet. I roll the green color back to full and release the others. I dial some white light in and get a flawless mixture of pale green. The blue and red colors look typical. Unfortunately, I am unable to mix any rich lavender colors, which is typical of the majority of LED products. But the fact is that with every color I mix, I only see one solid color beam emitting from the light. A single beam of solid amber is easily obtained with no traces of red or green streaks in it. The white LED alone offers a 5600K white source. Besides mixing your own colors through the quad color LEDs, the user can take advantage of the premixed colors that the fixture has in a separate DMX channel. There is also a separate color correction channel that will gradually add CTO to whatever color you have premixed. This fixture does not have the ability to have different colors come out of different cells at the same time, but they do have a new idea that can compensate for that.

Eye Candy Effects

Many new LED products seem to have one function that their competitors do not. The X4 has certainly came up with a doozy here. They have given the operator a choice of patterns they can utilize on the front of the fixture. These patterns determine which of the 19 cells will illuminate and which ones will remain dark. Through the use of a DMX channel, the fixture now turns into some amazing eye candy as well as a stage light. For instance, I take the pattern channel and spin the encoder wheel on the console to a level of 26. The front of the X4 resembles a snowflake in the way certain LEDs light up and some don’t. By adjusting the level of this channel to the next step, I see the pattern reverse as the snow flake goes dark and the other remaining LEDs light up. I write a series of chases that enable the fixture to resemble clock hands spinning in circles and X’s and O’s alternating in fast chases. They click from pattern to pattern effortlessly. I start changing colors with the different steps on the chase so every time the X comes on it is red while the O pattern is always green. The fixture will only snap between the patterns as opposed to fading. This makes sense, as there are 250 stock patterns within this fixture and one does not wish to scroll through a variety of these to get to their desired look. Users can also design their own personal patterns through some additional DMX channels. GLP is working on apps to design these patterns off line.

Marc Janowitz used GLP Impression X4s in his design for My Morning Jacket. Photo by Bree Kristel ClarkeOptics and Beam Effects

Optics wise, this model has a pretty impressive 7:1 zoom ratio. The beam can tighten down to 7 degrees and widen to a fat 50 degrees. The zoom time takes 1.5 seconds to go from zero to full. When the light is zoomed tight, I can make the beam appear hard-edged for a nice rock ‘n’ roll light beam, or soft like a wash fixture when I want to bathe an object with color.

GLP is offering a diffuser lens for purchase that will frost out the beam. Currently there is no protective glass cover on the front of the fixture to keep dust and other elements out of the face. The curve through the electronic dimmer is totally linear and smoothly fades in and out. The various strobe functions perform flawlessly.

The base of the fixture appears to be similar to the original Impression, and a three-legged floor stand is included for floor-mounting stability. Any single standard half coupler can also be used to attach it to truss. It moves at the same fast speed as its predecessor and is powered by 3-phase motors this time around. It reacts perfectly to movement effects in my console. It can whip through 660 degrees of pan in less than 2 seconds. I put the 16 bit fixture in a slow pan and see no evidence of jittering while moving. It will autocorrect its pan and tilt values should a drape or set object obscure its path temporarily. The light has a separate DMX channel for built-in pan and tilt macros.

Physically, the X4 maintains the sleek style of the other Impressions designed with a small base. The self-sensing power supply ranges from 90-240 volts. 20 DMX channels are all that is needed per fixture.

The fixture does not get too hot to touch at any time. It is primarily cooled by convection, with a series of heat sinks mounted in the back of the head. There is an onboard fan as well to circulate the airflow. The fixture also features 5-pin XLR connectors for data and Neutrik connectors for AC power.

GLP Impression X4

Pros: Beautiful, full colored collimated beam; stunning pattern effects for nice eye candy.

Cons: No cross fading of pattern effects currently available.

How Much: MSRP: $5,999