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Color Strike M from Chauvet Professional

Connor Dennehy • Road TestsSeptember 2021 • September 9, 2021

When it comes to colored strobe lights, several companies have tried to come up with something effective and have fallen short. Either the fixtures haven’t been bright enough, the strobe effect wasn’t effective, or they were super expensive. In comes the Color Strike M from Chauvet Professional to solve those problems.

When I first opened the box, I immediately noticed that the fixture is sturdily built, and for an IP65 fixture, it is not as heavy as I expected it to be. Coming in at 26 pounds and measuring 16 x 7 x 12 inches, I was pretty happy at overall compactness of the light. Looking at the face of the light, something that caught my eye is the dual center strobe tubes. The white LED strobe tubes have a total of 28 sections of control (14 sections per tube) and can be pixel mapped or run with pre-built effects as the user desires. Above and below the white LED strobe tubes are a total of 14 sections of RGB LEDs, which Chauvet refers to as plates (7 sections on the top and bottom respectively). The motorized tilt head has a 180-degree range of movement. Lastly, I noticed that you can mount an omega bracket on the bottom of the fixture, and on the side of the arm. This is going to make rigging pretty easy. The fixture also has alignment pins on the side that butt up to each other, so getting the fixtures perfectly aligned on a truss is a breeze.

The next step is to set it up and get ready to control. I have a few options when it comes to protocols. The fixture can be controlled by DMX, Art-Net, sACN, and has RDM built in as well. Going through the settings menu, I found that I also control fan settings, change dimmer modes, turn white balance on and off (this feature cuts down the pink/purple halo that rims the light), set PWM frequency, and build stand-alone effects, along with all the other things you would expect to see in a settings menu. Also, on the back of the fixture, there is a USB-C port for updating software, which is quite convenient, along with a True-1 style power input, 5 pin DMX in and out, as well as two EtherCON ports which allow the user to daisy chain TCP/IP protocol.

The fixture offers seven modes of operation, with the maximum being the 97-channel mode. Now that I have control, (I am using the 30-channel option) the fun can begin. I hit Highlite on my desk and realize how incredibly bright this fixture is. According to the specs, this fixture has a combined (RGB LEDs and Strobe tube) of 86,690 lux at 5m and the beam angle is 94.5 degrees. In measuring with my Sekonic C-700U, I was able to confirm that the lux is pretty accurate, and the dots in my eyes are telling me that this is plenty bright. Starting to test the tilt, I do notice that I wish it was a little quicker as it took 3.08 seconds to complete a movement from stop to stop. In speaking with the team at Chauvet, this decision was made to extend the life of the tilt belts. In checking out the difficulty of making light come out of the fixture in the way that I wanted, I would rate this as pretty straightforward. I am easily able to bring up colors on the RGB LEDs and I have a dimmer control for the white LED strobe tubes separate from the color LED plates which means I can easily run the intensity at different levels for the two effects. In fact, if I just want to run the colors or just the strobe tubes, it’s not a problem.

Since I have full control over the plates and I can run colors, I start to play with the built-in effects. I can really break this fixture down easily with the way that Chauvet set up the control software in the 30-channel setting that I chose to use. I can control the top and bottom RGB LED plates separately from each other as well as the top and bottom white LED strobe tubes. With the RGB LEDs, I also have foreground and background color and dimming control, which gives me the ability to run two different colors at the same time. This means I can create really complex looks easily without having to take the time to set up pixel mapping. This is something that I have struggled to do with similar fixtures and appears that the people at Chauvet took some serious time to set this up so that programmers could easily create effects quickly and effectively.

We still haven’t touched on the strobe functionality of this beast yet, so let’s get to it. I have flash duration and flash rate separate for the RGB plate and the white LED strobe tubes so that I can decide how long I want the flash to last and the rate that I want the strobe frequency to be in color and in white, which ultimately gives me more control options than I can shake a stick at. About the only thing missing here is a random strobe function.

Application wise, obviously, it’s a strobe light. I can use them as audience blinders all night long with this light, but there are several other places I could see using these lights. Since they are IP65 and I can butt them up end-to-end, lining a stage lip with these on an outdoor festival would not be out of the question. And with the fact that the output is killer, it can be a daytime use light for opening acts on outdoor stages. With all of the dimming capabilities, fan speed and PWM control, this fixture is also camera friendly which opens it up to being used in broadcast applications as well.

The fixture can run on 110 or 220V and draws a maximum of 850 watts at 120 volts.

At a Glance:

Upping the Outdoor Strobe Ante

Chauvet Professional has continued to up their game with regards to outdoor rated fixtures and strobe lights. It’s a sturdy fixture that offers great output, easily controllable effects, and is tiltable.

Color Strike M

PROS: Built-in macros and effects make programming extremely easy; two tubes of white LED strobes provides tons of punch; multiple rigging points make installation convenient.

CONS: Lack of random strobe function is a little limiting, but can be overcome

FEATURES

  • Sturdy build, yet light in weight
  • Pixel-map capabilities w/ 28 sections of control
  • 180-degree tilt capabilities
  • Bottom and side-arm omega bracket rigging options
  • USB-C port for updating software
  • Two EtherCON ports w/ TCP/IP daisy chain option
  • Up to 86,690 lux at 5m (RGB LEDs + strobe tube)
  • IP65-rated weather protection

SPECS

  • Lamp Source: 14 plates of RGB LED/28 sections of white LED
  • Power Input 110/220V
  • Max Power Draw: 850W at 110V
  • Tilt Range: 180°
  • Control: DMX, Art-Net, sACN, and has RDM
  • Control Modes: 7, (93 channel max)
  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Size: 16x7x12”
  • MSRP: $3383.46

Manufacturer: Chauvet Professional

More Info: www.chauvetprofessional.com

 

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