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Hands-On Review: Elation Lighting Packages

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Easy, Affordable, Professional Stage Lighting

By Gordon Rehnquist

For years I was one of those musicians who's all about the music. Image? Who cares? Let the music do the talking! As I've become a seasoned performer with a steady flow of professional gigs, I've learned that there is more to a performance than just the music. For any band, DJ, or other performance artist, looking good can be seriously enhanced by a good lighting system. Elation systems are all-inclusive, professional lighting packages priced for the working performer.

Elation lighting packages

Eliminating Guesswork

Since many musicians tend to focus on the music end of things, it's no surprise that for most of us there's a lot of guesswork involved when it comes to lighting. These Elation packages make it easy. The systems combine either a T4 or T16F controller and an Opti or PAR lighting set. Since there are a number of packages offered, I'll give you the rundown on the components so you can figure out which system will best suit your needs and your budget.

Hit The Lights!

There are six Elation Lighting packages available exclusively from Musician's Friend, each with either a T4 or T16F controller. The T4 is coupled with either a PAR-38 or Opti-30 light set, and the T16F comes with a PAR-46, PAR-56, PAR-64, or Opti-30 set of lights. Each package includes everything you need to get your lights up and running straight out of the box—4 cans, lamps (except on PAR-38 system), gels (except PAR-38 and Opti systems), the controller, an adjustable stand, and mounting hardware. Before choosing one, it's important to assess your needs, namely the size of the stages you tend to play, and, of course, your budget. It's good to know the difference between the PAR and Opti lights as well.

As I mentioned before, as the PAR models move up the ladder, they're going to cover more area. So if your lights only need to cover a small performance area, you might consider the PAR-38/T4 package. If your lights will need to cover a medium to large area, you should consider the PAR-46 or PAR-56 systems. The PAR-64 lights are the most popular Elation cans. They come with 500W lamps that cover very large areas with ease. If you want to really light up a medium to large stage area, these are the ideal choice.

The Opti-30 lights use the same E27-base lamps as the PAR-38 cans, but their cast-aluminum construction results in a thicker frame that will stand up to road abuse quite well. Opti-30s have a more stylish design than PAR cans as well, so if you're going for a different look, these are the lights for you.

Make 'Em Dance!

Now let's look at the controllers that are included in these packages, the T4 and T16F. Both are four-channel controllers with a standard three-prong outlet for each channel.

Elation T4 Controller The T4 has timed and audio chase capabilities. A three-way switch lets you choose between Slow and Normal chase modes and Audio mode. In Audio mode, the chase reacts to audio signals from the built-in microphone, whereas the two timed modes play the pre-loaded pattern at their respective speeds. In audio mode, the control knob lets you adjust the range of frequencies that the chase responds to. If you want the lights to respond only to low frequencies, for example, simply turn the dial down completely. In either of the timed modes, it lets you increase or decrease the pace of the program. The T4 is perfect for those who want a "set it and forget it" controller.

Elation T16F Controller If you think you'll need more hands-on (or foot-on, as the case may be) control, then one of the Elation packages with the T16F controller will suit you well. The T16F has the same audio and time functions as the T4, with an additional Medium speed setting for the timed mode. The unit also has 16 built-in chase programs and seven preset scenes, so it's equally as valuable in a theater situation as it is for live music. Bands with theatrical elements to their music can enjoy the best of both worlds. Adding to its versatility are DMX XLR in/out connections for linking it to other T16F units as your lighting needs grow. The foot controller has Stand By and Pattern buttons. The former lets you put the unit in Stand By mode or activate a pattern or scene. When a chase pattern is selected, tapping the Pattern button will change the chase program. If a scene is selected, each tap of the Pattern button moves the scene forward one step. Having these controls at your feet is perfect for musicians who need to keep their hands on their instruments.

Click to Enlarge

The Bottom Line

Can you imagine going to a concert by a big-name band that didn't have lights? Of course not. Why should your musical performances be any different? Lighting is a great way to beef up your live shows and look professional and polished. With these packages, you can't rely on the old "It's too complicated" excuse. Wow the audience's eyes as well as their ears with one of these great packages

Features & Specs:

T4 Controller Specs
  • 4-channel chase
  • 1-10-minute timed chase
  • Instant sound-to-light chase
  • 4 standard 3-prong plugs
  • Speed/frequency knob
  • Built-in mic
  • LED channel indicators
  • Hanging bracket for easy mounting
T16F Controller Specs
  • 4-channel chase
  • 4 standard 3-prong plugs
  • 16 preset programs
  • 7 preset scenes
  • DMX XLR I/O for linking with other T16Fs
  • Master/slave mode
  • 3 chase speeds or sound activation
  • Circuit breaker
  • Built-in hanging/pole bracket

Stand Specs

  • Adjusts from 60"-144" high
Opti-30/T4 or T16F System Specs
  • Lightweight extruded aluminum
  • Aluminum hanging bracket
  • Gel frames and power cord
  • 4 LL PAR30 75W lamps
PAR-38/T4 System Specs
  • 4 professional PAR-38 cans
  • Medium screw base socket
  • UL listed
  • Includes hanging bracket and gel frame
  • Accommodates any E27 socket, 110V lamp
PAR-46/T16F System Specs
  • 4 professional PAR-46 cans
  • 4 200W lamps
  • 4 color gels, clamp, safety cables
PAR-56/T16F System Spec
  • 4 professional PAR-56 cans
  • 4 300W lamps
  • 4 color gels, clamp, safety cables
PAR-64/T16F System Specs
  • 4 professional PAR-64 cans
  • 4 500W lamps
  • 4 color gels, clamp, safety cables

Tags: Lighting DJ Equipment Stage Accessories

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