Hands-on Evaluation of the CHAUVET® COLORdash PAR Tri

Posted on September 1, 2011 by webmaster

written by Nick Burke (aka DJ NickyB)
Originally posted on the GEAR BOARD at https://start.mobilebeat.com, re-posted by permission.

My unit arrived via FedEx safe and sound in a brown corrugated box, filled with air-bag style fillers. The fixture itself was also boxed in a molded, form fitted Styrofoam liner with its cables in their individual slots within in the liner. I have to give an “A+” to the packaging on this unit. It was also nice to see that CHAUVET® included not only the normal IEC power cord, but also the appropriate IEC power cord to daisy-chain multiple units. To me this was a first as my previous experience with these type connections required me to go out and buy additional cords separately. Kudos for doing this.

After removing the fixture itself from it’s container, my initial inspection revealed this particular unit was very well constructed. There were no self-taping sheet metal screws used on this unit. Everything was held together by machine screws in threaded sockets. All handles, knobs and the like operated smoothly and with feeling. The build quality of the COLORdash line definitely exceeds the quality of their DJ line of fixtures. The metal housing is quite thick and the feel of the fixture is very sturdy. The double “U-bracket” for floor standing was nice to have giving plenty of clearance for cables. Also the DMX in/out XLR connectors were slightly offset to accommodate easy access for daisy-chaining multiple fixtures.

While only the eight-page Quick Reference Guide is packaged with the unit, there is a full-fledged User’s Reference Manual available on the CHAUVET® website available for download as a PDF file. The Quick Reference has more than enough information to get you started using your fixture right away. It starts with a list of “DO NOT”s, a list of included items, features description, mounting info and finally at page four, gets to the meat of the operational instructions.  This guide is very well written and seems to have been given a thorough editing for grammar and spelling.

Insert the power cord and get ready for a truly smooth experience. This fixture is one of the best-built and smoothest operating CHAUVET® units that I’ve ever handled. Apparently, the COLORDash units are aimed at the higher end users and not your low-end DJ market.

The color mixing capabilities of this fixture are extraordinarily smooth. Value adjustments are very, very subtle and accurate, almost too accurate as you step through the values. Often times it make take variations as much as 50 before your eyes even notice any change. Color wise, this fixture worked very well. The blues and greens were very pure but I felt the reds were a little “orange-y” and not quite as deep as I expected. This goes back to the specs on the LEDs themselves and lot numbers. Also there was absolutely no “halo” effect when adjusting mixed colors which is a real benefit of using tri colored LEDs.

Let me say that with 3-watt tri LEDs, this unit is very, very bright, yet as stated, the intensity can easily be tamed. You DO NOT want to be staring directly into this light when it’s turned on. The beam width is narrow on this fixture, which makes it ideal for uplighting or medium-throw use. The dual yoke U-bracket acts as a ready-made floor stand and with offset power and DMX control connectors, cable clearance issues are non-existent. Since the unit comes with a power linking cable, multiple units can be daisy-chained without additional expense … nice touch and smart thinking.

CHAUVET® preloads this unit with a full set of removable barn doors, which I found somewhat odd in that the beam spread is already narrow but it does permit you to further shape the beam into a tight rectangular pattern. This could be useful for highlighting objects and for creating a “fanned” uplight. There is gel holder built into the barn door brackets for gels, a diffusion screen or some other light diffraction plate

Across the board, I’d have to give this unit an “A.”  It’s built to endure the rigors of the road, it’s operation is smooth as satin sheets and it’s functionality and use would easily cover anything a color changer could do and with a few added benefits. The unit is definitely aimed at higher end users and CHAUVET® obviously put a lot of planning and thought into it’s production, overcoming many of the design short-comings of earlier units. CHAUVET® listened and learned. If the other fixtures in the COLORDash series are like this one, then CHAUVET® has a corral of stallions waiting to be unleashed.

Nick Burke (aka DJ NickyB)
Nicky-B Entertainment, LLC – Millersville,MD
Gear Board Co-Moderator for MobileBeat.com
40+ yrs computer experience for NASA
Musician ’65-’87 / DJ since ’87