- by Brandon Creel
in Road Tests
Robe, the well-known lighting manufacturer based in the Czech Republic, continues to deliver innovative products. They certainly followed through again this time with the LED WashBeam. Yes, I said it, LED Beam fixture! Has LED finally reached the capacity to fully replace discharge lamps? Not quite, but we are getting closer.
Out of the Box
I received a small road case with a handle and two wheels. It looked like a touring version of a piece of luggage, small enough that you could carry onto a plane — and fit it in the overhead storage. When I pulled the fixture out, it was small and lightweight. I powered it up using the supplied Edison (5-15) to Neutrik PowerCon True 1 connector and connected 5-pin DMX. Robe got right to the point on this fixture by offering a simple I/O panel with 5-pin DMX connectors but no Ethernet or USB. It’s refreshing to see that old standard of power and (DMX) data suffice to get things moving. Often we get caught up with networking our fixtures and configuring IP addresses and setting protocols.
After the quick homing cycle, I set the dimmer to 100 percent and saw a thick tight beam of light shining up to the ceiling. Impressed, I then moved it to shine on a large wall to see what else this fixture is capable of. The narrow beam is a tight 4° which shines through a noticeable 4.33-inch diameter front lens. Shining on the wall, I found the beam is just slightly square. By no means a deal breaker, because it’s not even noticeable in haze. The LED engine is a 60-watt RGBW LED that is rated for a minimum of 20,000 hours (which is the 70 percent lumen maintenance of the fixture — L70). The color mixing is done via the individual RGB and W elements of the light source as opposed to a color module made from dichroics.
Mixing color in this manner is smooth and vast. I was able to create all colors with the exception of a Congo/UV, but the blue is a quality deep saturated blue. One can set the fixture to mix colors with CMY values if the user would like.
The motorized zoom was speedy and can be used as an effect in itself. It’s impressive seeing a tight, thick, colored beam transform quickly — almost disappearing — into a soft wash. Or the other way — a beam suddenly appears, almost instantly, out of the soft wash.
Aside from the color mixing, there is a tungsten emulation mode, which allows you to set the beam color temperature at 2,700K or 3,200K. If that’s not enough, then there is a variable color temperature orange (CTO) channel, which adjusts the white color temperature from 2,700K all the way to 8,000K. Also included is a dedicated virtual color wheel channel, which has a ton of preprogrammed colors from the LEE swatch book and the color wheel in the BMFL.
Roses Aren’t Just Red
The unique feature of the LED WashBeam is what Robe calls the Flower Effect. It allows a homogenizing filter (essentially a frost) to be removed from the beam path to expose the LED chips. The four LEDs (RGBW) are arranged in a 2x2 square matrix. But the result is a field filled with distinguishable little squares of color. Combining this with color mixing — or turning the LEDs on/off — creates a sharp digital gobo that looks incredible as an aerial effect. And Robe didn’t stop there. They somehow made it rotatable in both directions. How exactly it works, I’m not sure, but I can say it’s impressive!
Heads Are Spinning
Pan and tilt are 16-bit and move smoothly, but both have a little something extra. They can move continuously around and around. When programming, it’s not often I use fixtures with continuous pan/tilt, but it never hurts to have this feature. It sure speeds up programming can-cans or tilt chases. Like other fixtures, this feature can be turned on/off through the control channel. If your show doesn’t require it, or you want to treat the fixture like a normal moving light, then simply shut it off.
Speaking of the control channel, it also can turn the display on/off, change the dimmer curve, adjust the cooling fan speed, set the tungsten emulation brightness (750 to 2500 watts) and set the fixture to blackout while moving (useful for theatrical applications).
Dimming is electronic, but remains smooth all the way to 0 percent. The strobe is also electronic, but can flash up to 20Hz (times per second) and can pulse or be set to random. The fixture can be run in one of two operating modes, 21 or 27 channel. The 27-channel version uses 16-bit control for color (RGBW), zoom and dimmer. It rigs quickly with one clamp utilizing an omega-style bracket. Users can also remove the bracket and let the fixture just sit on the floor (it has feet).
Small, fast, colorful and punchy all describe this new fixture. The flower effect might not make it smell any better, but definitely is innovative and worthwhile. Spikie is packed with a feature-set that makes it appealing to clubs, theaters, concerts and tours. I’m confident this fixture will be a top pick on lighting designer’s plots for shows in small to mid-sized venues.
At a Glance
Small, Fast, Colorful and Punchy
Spikie is a new compact 2-in-1 LED WashBeam moving light. It starts with a 60W LED RGBW engine which also provides the additive color mixing, and then a rotatable three-facet prism, fast 4°-28° motorized zoom, and exits the fixture from a 4.33-inch-wide front lens. And the most impressive feature is the flower effect. Excellent fixture for small to medium size rigs, specifically effective in venues with low trim.
PROS: Cool looking flower effect, zoom, LED source, compact size, fast movements and RGBW additive color mixing are all a plus.
CONS: The 60W LED is not overly bright, making this fixture best for short throw or eye candy applications.
- 60W RGBW LED
- 4°-28° Zoom
- Continuous Pan/Tilt
- Variable CTO (2700 to 8000K)
- Tungsten Emulation (2700 to 3200K)
- Neutrik PowerCON True1 in/out connectors
- Optional wireless DMX (Lumen Radio CRMX)
- RDM compliant
- Size: 16” x 10.7” x 8.6” (HxWxD)
- Weight: 16 lbs.
- Wattage: 200
- Voltage: 100-240, 50/60Hz (auto-ranging)
MSRP: Contact dealer
More info: www.robe.cz