Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chauvet Obey 3 LED DMX Controller


As I dipped my toe into the pool of stage lighting and DMX-512 multiplex controls, I was looking for a cheap light controller to experiment with. I picked up a Chauvet Obey 3 for slim money, and it has been nothing but ice cream and rainbows ever since.

I use a couple of Chauvet 4-Bar LED light systems, which are great, but the controls are very basic. They have built-in color and chase patterns, but they have to be scrolled through, which is a pain if you want to go straight from one color to another or if you want to do a fade.

This is where having a light controller comes in handy. You can select specific colors, and the speeds at which they fade. DMX-512 is a lighting protocol that allows a mind-boggling amount of customization, and I will cover it in another post, as it is not too important with this controller.

The Obey 3 is a 3-channel controller (red, green, and blue) so it is compatible with many of the RGB LED fixtures out there. It has a little something for everybody, with automated, sound-activated or manual RGB mixing.

Looking at the front of the unit, in the lower left corner there are three switches: Preset, Chases and Macro. Selecting Preset allows you to choose from the nine switches above, which include the popular colors. Chase will give you the automated programs, including sound-activated with adjustable sensitivity. And Macro scrolls though various colors, which is kind of a useless feature when you consider how many other ways there are to select colors with this unit. If you combine Macro with Chases, it will automatically scroll through different colors.

Over on the right side there are the switches for sound activation (and a pot for its sensitivity adjustment), RGB control, blackout and strobe.

All this leaves us with are the three faders. Depending on the modes they can control the individual color channels, strobe timing (2Hz to 33Hz), master dimming and fade times.

These features come in a 2 pound box that measures 5.5” by 8.3” by 2.1”. It has rack ears that would allow it to be mounted in the same sized spot as a DJ mixer. It includes a 12V power adapter, which plugs into the side near the power switch and the DMX output.

It all works pretty neatly, too. Set up your lights, and run a DMX cable (or even a microphone cable) from the controller to the lights, and start experimenting. There is minimal instructions that come with the unit, but it is simple enough to figure it out on your own.

Like everything in life it is not perfect. I hate the locations of the power switch and DMX output. If I actually had this unit mounted in a rack they would be impossible to reach. Also, when it is in chase or sound-activated mode, there can be a lengthy blackout between changes if a slower fade speed is selected.

Plus, as I use it more, I wish it had more features like being able to stagger the colors on my par cans, but for the money this thing is awesome.

And the money part of this equation is really sweet. The Chauvet Obey 3 is dirt-cheap, making it perfect for the hobbyist or beginner. It has a list price of $74.99 and a street price of $49.99, and it comes with at least a one-year warranty (their policies are befuddling). If you are experimenting with LED lighting, this would be a great place to start.

Mahalo!

10 comments:

  1. Hey, thanks for the post. Curious, I have the 4 bar LED's and I use the foot pedal. Do you recommend this controller over the foot pedal? Also, I know that getting the pedal to work with a master and a slave was kind of complicated. Do you know how you have to set the Master as well as the slave to get it to work? Thanks for any info you can give me

    Spencer

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  2. Hey, cool post for a first time lighting mixer! Question, what if you had 6 sets of led lights at various places in a room, how could you control them wireless using the chauvet DMX?

    Thanks

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  3. If you do not have Chauvet wirelss lighting fixtures, you would have to buy all new stuff if you don't want wiring to any of them. You could maybe use a Chauvet d-fi, but that will only get rid of one DMX cable. Sorry...

    Rex

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  4. Ok I can see how that would work! To put it in a nutshell....

    I am doing a small project where I have a set of LED lights in 4 different rooms. I take it if I want to control all 4 wireless I would need 1 transmitter and 4 receivers? Providing the receivers all have the same Rx frequency?

    Thanks

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  5. do they make a rack-mounting kit for the Obey 3? Would love to put it in my rack... instead of just having it out on the table.

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  6. Hi Laz.

    I have not seen a rack mount kit for these. I used some foam and fit it into the Anvil case I use for my mixing board.

    Rex

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  7. Same issue I have: too much blackout time between colors in Chase mode.

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  8. How many light fixtures can the Obey3 support. I know the Obey40 can handle 12 light fixtures.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Very interesting information, worth recommending. However, I recommend this: linkable LED shop light for garage

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