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Hands-On Review: American DJ Micro 3D Laser & Mega Bar 50RGB LED

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Enhance any gig or show with affordable, professional lighting effects.

By Chris Loeffler
Harmony Central

The American DJ Mega Bar 50RGB RC is a 22” LED lighting bar that features 32 built-in color macros, seven operational modes (Manual, Color Change, Color Fade, Auto, Sound Active, RGB Manual, and DMX-512), is linkable via XLR cable to chain multiple units, and includes a remote control for on the fly operation.

The American DJ Micro 3D Laser is small and light, generating more than 200 green and red laser beams with separate patterns, featuring two operational modes (Auto and Sound Active), and includes a remote to change operational settings from a distance.

American DJ Mega Bar 50RGB RC

What You Need to Know 

The ADJ Mega Bar is light but solidly built and able to mount from any numbers of stands or mounting fixtures.  The colors are bright and vibrant and allow subtle light enhancement in well-lit situations as well as instantly setting the mood by bathing poorly lit rooms in rich hues. Serious lighting effects users can connect the Mega Bar to a DMX controller for comprehensive, integrated control of the lights as a part of their entire lighting effects system. Even without DMX control, the Mega Bar offers several options for changing the colors (via sound or via a preset speed) and settings. Especially useful for performers and bands is the ability to chain several together via XLR cables and assign one as the master, creating a consistent lighting experience.

In a live performance setting with a band, the Mega Bar works equally effectively (if to different ends) when pointed toward the audience or at the band. Pointed into the audience, it sets a subtler tone that can be enjoyed by both the band and the audience; pointing the bars at the band creates a stronger visual change for the audience members (based on post-show interviews). The ability to set a single color (or slow fade) for a song allows for more marked tonal changes between songs, whereas when songs start to groove the sound activated mode throws a great variety of color washes to the beat of the drum. Even greater diversity can be found with multiple bars in sound mode not chained to one another, as different portions of the room get different colors.

American DJ Mega Bar 50 LED Video

 
American DJ Micro 3D Laser Effect

The ADJ Micro 3D, weighing only two pounds and smaller than a lunch box, is as easy and intuitive to operate as it is rugged and ready for travel. Four buttons (via the unit or the included remote) control Sound Activated or Auto, Black Out or On, Red, Green, or Both, and Rotation settings. The red lasers create simple grids that contract and expand as they rotate, while the green lasers form a series of overlapping circles that rotate in the same direction.  Whether projected on a wall or into a dance floor, the laser benefit from the added trippiness of the stray reflections thrown from reflective surfaces in the room.

When only the red lasers are engaged, the lighting effect is subtle and not too busy.  In a dark room the dots lazily bounce around without overwhelming. The green laser, by contrast, throws light beams all over with a busy gyration that can’t help but be noticed. There is a hypnotic effect to the lopsided way the two patterns collide into and then explode away from each other when both are engaged. As one would imagine, adding a hazing or smoke machine to the room creates hundreds of beams of 3D light that sparkle and dance above the crowd that always draws a few “oohs”.

American DJ Micro 3D Laser Video

 

Limitations

For all the variety of the various settings, it would have been nice to allow the Sound Active mode in the Mega Bar to be used for fades or preset color patterns as well. While the quick transition between colors, synced to the music, is effective and appropriate for energetic songs there isn’t the ability to have softer color transitions for slower beats.

Due to its price range limitations, the ADJ Micro 3D has only has one pattern for each color (with adjustable speed and rotation). Long shows or sets would see more use tom the Micro 3D if there were a couple more patterns to draw from.

Conclusions

Lighting effects can serve so much more than the insane arena rock explosions of Pink Floyd or Rave House meltdowns... they can inject additional feeling and mood to a performance without being in your face. The operational options of the ADJ Mega Bar 50RGB LED Bar is equally well suited for soft transitions to accompany quieter singer-songwriter performances and flashy, strobe-like color bursts to highlight the most inspired Acid Jazz freakout jams. The ADJ Micro 3D Laser, while certainly less subtle, serves equally well as the build and the release of dramatic passages. Together, an entire show's worth of variety is available to performing artists at less than the price of a good live microphone; which one do you think the audience will most notice?

Tags: Lighting DJ Equipment Stage Accessories

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