Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chauvet 4 Bar LED System Review



Buenos dias, amigos!

After getting together a decent PA system, getting a lighting system can take your DJ gig or band to the next level. Unfortunately, there are oodles of lighting options that can bewilder even the best of us. After a lot of research, I ended up with the Chauvet 4bar system, which is a great choice as an all-in one package that does not cost a fortune.

The 4bar system comes with almost everything you need to get started. This includes 4 lamp assemblies, with a total of 432 10mm LEDs (108 red, 108 blue, 108 green). The lamp assemblies are less than 2 inches thick. LED lighting systems are really the way to go, especially when you compare them to incandescent PAR cans. They last a longer, are lighter, less bulky, more durable, draw less power (0.4 amps!) and run much cooler. There really are not any drawbacks that I can think of.


The lamps come mounted to a pre-wired bar, and each lamp is individually horizontally and vertically adjustable. The 4-foot long bar has the main power input for the system, as well as a microphone for the sound activated feature and a DMX port.

I will discuss DMX in a future blog post, but it a network protocol that allows lots of lights to be attached together and actuated by a single controller. If you are using the 4bar by itself, you do not need to worry about figuring out how DMX works, you can just use the foot controller.

The foot controller has a 30-foot cable that screws into the back of the light bar. It has three switches that allow access to the pre-programmed lights (different color combinations), activates a sound-activated mood that randomly changes the lighting patterns in time with the music (built-in microphone), or can black out the system. Having foot controls is very handy, although in dark environments, you better remember what each switch does.


The lights and bar come is a nice padded case that is about the size of a bass guitar case. The foot controller barely fit in the side pocket. It gives me a lot of peace of mind and makes load in and out much easier.

This Chauvet lighting system also comes with a mounting stand, which is pretty much a PA speaker stand. It has its own carry bag too. The stand adjusts from 56 to 91 inches tall.

All of this comes together very well. I can have the system set up and aimed in less than 5 minutes, which is usually less time than it takes to untangle an extension cord. The whole system is very light and it is a one-man operation to put it together.


The lights are plenty bright, and I have used them for a couple of outdoor shows, and they were able to light up the performers with no problems on a 25-foot wide stage. At parties they really liven things up, and take the festivities to the next level. The sound-activated programs are pretty neat, and party guests always comment about them.

I don’t have any major gripes with the Chauvet 4bar system. The stand that is included in the kit is low-quality, so you need to be careful with it, and for sure do not lose the little plastic block that fits under the set screw. My foot controller had something come loose inside, so it makes a rattling noise, but it still works fine (for now). Also, it would be nice if the cable for the foot controller was a separate part, because it will eventually break. Cables always do, you know…


But these are small things, and they are not altering my plans to pick up another set. It would be a really cool to set them up on both sides of the stage and set up a DMX network.

The Chauvet 4bar system has a list price of $574.99, and a street price of $399. Remember that this includes the lights, mounting bar, stand, foot controller and case, all in a package that comes in under 30 pounds. Throw in an extension cord and you are ready to go!

Mahalo!

1 comment:

  1. Rex...my band uses two of these and I love them. Lightweight, no heat, quick and easy setup. Yes, the hardware is a bit delicate. We've had to replace parts in the stands, but overall, a great value and very effective lighting.

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