Raising the bar for LED
I ran an LED lighting demo early this year – it wasn’t a shootout because I had a number of very different types of fixtures. The Mac Quantum Profile was one of them, and because it’s been quite a busy year, I’d forgotten just how much it impressed me at the time. The review unit landed in the office, I fired it up, and remembered all the reasons I like the thing so much.
In my own head I can’t help but compare the Quantum Profile with the Mac 2000, which I know is wrong and ridiculous. Taking aside that they’re both flagship products of their time, they’ve otherwise not got much in common. Photometrically speaking the 15 year old Mac 2000 had the Quantum a little bit outgunned and it retailed for around twice the price, so why do I keep coming back to it? Maybe because the Quantum is just so damn good. It’s touted in the literature as a viable replacement for a 700 or 800W discharge fixture, and I think it’s certainly good enough to claim that title.
The Quantum Profile is a moving head fixture with a 475W white LED engine. Pan and tilt are typical, as is DMX control implementation. Beam features include full CMY colour mixing plus 6+1 position colour wheel. Two gobo wheels provide 6 positions for rotatable indexable shakeable gobos, plus 10 static ones. There’s a 12 to 36 degree zoom, 0-100% iris with pulse effect, and electronic dimming with four curve choices. A three facet prism adds to the feature set, as does the electronic focus with zoom tracking. All cool, if a little predictable.
DMX control occupies 19 or 27 channels in your universe, depending on the level of finesse and precision you require. 16 bit control is available on dimming, gobo indexing, zoom, focus and position. It sounds a little fussy, but I’ll come back to this point in a little while. The fixture is RDM capable and can be software updated directly from a USB memory stick or via a Martin interface box.
Quantum Profile draws 2.4A at 240V, which means four of them will run quite happily from a single 10A circuit. By comparison the same circuit would power a pair of Mac 700s, or barely just one Mac 2K. Next big difference is weight – at 23.2kg the Quantum is around half the weight of the 2K, and 10kg less than a 700. I put this down to the IP20 high impact flame-retardant thermoplastic construction. ‘Back in the day’, fixtures were almost exclusively built from bits of metal. Also, no discharge lamp means no chunky ballast in the base. Either way, less weight also makes for easier handling and better rigging opportunities.
There’s no metal on the outside of the Quantum Profile, and yet for a ‘plastic’ light it feels precise and well-constructed. My demo took the fixtures around the country in a semitrailer, and in every city the truck was emptied and re-packed by the local loaders. The Quantum was well cased and made the entire trip without incident. I do like that the roadcase is also compatible with the Quantum Wash fixture without any modification.
While you’ll never need to change the lamp in this fixture, you will need to clean it occasionally. The good news is that Martin has put serious effort into making this as easy as possible as an incentive for people to actually do it. The air filters can be removed without any tools required, and it only takes a couple of minutes to access any part of the optical path for cleaning.
Light output from the Quantum Profile is more than you’d expect from a 475W LED. Output is one thing, but quality of the light is another. There’s none of the customary green tinge normally associated with discharge lamps. Colours, gobos, and all the other beam features are delivered well as expected. Because it’s not very heavy, the head moves quickly and with a minimal amount of noise. As I mentioned, the lightsource is white and the mixing is conventional which means you can achieve all those really saturated colours (think congo blue), which just don’t look the same out of an RGB chipset.
I’d like to make special mention of the optical path, which is phenomenally good. Gobo projection especially is sharp and a very high contrast level makes it extremely clean. The light-field is lovely and flat. I mentioned the 16 bit control seeming fussy, but when you have a fixture with this level of accuracy it would be a waste not to offer an equal level of control precision. The Quantum Profile is basically just quality all over.
- Brand: Martin
- Model: MAC Quantum Profile
- RRP: Aud$11,599.00 inc GST.
- Product Info: www.martin.com
- Distributor: www.showtech.com.au