Review: Martin Professional Rush MH 6 Wash Fixture
CPM’s reviewer was immediately impressed with the light output of this little fixture—even in broad daylight.” Add in excellent color capabilities and a reasonable list price and you’ve got a recipe for success in the church market.
A few years ago Martin Professional introduced the Rush line of lighting fixtures, providing more cost-effective options to balance out Martin’s excellent but pricey line of automated fixtures. With the lower price point and the Martin Professional name, they are certainly attractive to the church market. Here we are taking a look at the MH 6 LED Wash fixture.[Editor’s note: A special thank you to distributor A.C. Lighting and Jands for providing a license for the Jands Vista lighting control software to help in the review of this fixture.]OverviewThe MH 6 is an LED wash fixture with RGBW (red, green, blue and white) color mixing. It utilizes 12 10-watt LEDs, each lensed individually to homogenize the color and provide focus for the LED emitter. Homogenized means that the four individual LED emitters have their light blended together completely before it leaves the lensing system, so that users don’t get multi-colored artifacts in the projected beam.This is an automated fixture, providing 540 degrees of pan movement, 200 degrees of tilt, and a motorized zoom capability of 10 through 60 degrees. The fixture draws 1.3 amps of power when connected to a 120v source. There is one small fan on the back of the moving head for cooling, which is controlled by an internal thermostat, and it only runs when needed. The fixture weighs 15 pounds.Connections include power in and pass-through via Neutric PowerCon connectors; three-pin DMX in and pass-through; and five-pin DMX in and pass-through. It uses a Martin Omega bracket for mounting the fixture to a lighting pipe or truss (included with the fixture), or can the unit can sit on the floor.The fixture uses 14 DMX control channels, with intensity, pan and tilt being 16-bit attributes for a much finer granularity of control. Other functions include strobing and pulsing; red, green, blue and white intensities; a color wheel channel that provides a simulated 36-color color wheel (essentially, a color preset channel that overrides the RGBW channel attributes); and a control channel.Operation & ImpressionsSetting up the fixture is easy; a user simply needs to attach the power cable and plug in DMX. The latest version of Vista has a fixture profile for the MH 6 included, so that made testing easy. (Although I’ll admit I enjoy creating fixture profiles when none are available for a new fixture.)On firing up this fixture for the first time, I was immediately impressed with the light output. I was on our porch during the daytime, and I could still see the beam in the trees across the yard when the fixture was zoomed in tight. With all LED emitters on full, the beam color temperature reminded me of being close to an arc-source fixture; with only the white LEDs on, it appeared close to daylight. There is a white balance function on the unit’s system menu that lets you adjust the amount of red, green and blue in the beam, although the documentation doesn’t mention exactly how one should go about using this adjustment. I’m used to white-balance adjustments on fixtures involving simple specification of the color temperature desired in degrees Kelvin.With the caveat that using traditional light meters with LED fixtures often provides low readings (sometimes wildly low), I’ll relate what I measured, and you can assume that it is probably brighter than what I measured because of the meter/LED incompatibility issue. (New meters are coming out that accurately handle LED light; they also cost $2,000+ last time I looked, so those aren’t in my toolbox yet.)At a distance of 14 feet, I measured 27 foot-candles (fc) at the fixture’s widest zoom of 60 degrees with all LEDs on full. With only the white emitters on, I measured 9 fc. With the fixture zoomed to a 10-degree beam spread, I measured an intense 328 fc with all emitters active, and 111 fc with just the white emitters on. This is an intensely bright beam, and the 10-degree spread lets this fixture step in to do double-duty as a beam fixture. Martin states that the fixture’s light engine puts out 2,000 lumens.In dimming, I noticed a slight “stepping” pattern as the fixture changed intensity. This was more apparent with down-fades than up-fades. The fixture does have a dimmer speed option that can be adjusted via the menu; changing this setting to fade rather than the default of snap smoothed this out completely. However, this also prevents you from achieving instantaneous blackouts—a blackout will now be a quick fade out. Pan and tilt is smooth and accurately repeatable. For long move times such as five seconds, a slight stepping was noticeable. Color fades also have a slight stepping factor to them; however, neither the pan/tilt stepping nor color stepping was objectionable, and an audience would probably never notice it.The fixture was very quiet—I never noticed the sound of the fan running, and pan/tilt was very quiet. The zoom function was a little louder, but not bad at all. Final ThoughtsI am quite impressed with the Martin Rush MH 6. I know that Martin’s track record for service and reliability in its regular line of fixtures is quite excellent; the Rush line hasn’t been out long enough to have a track record in this area set yet. But with Martin’s name on the product, I’d expect it to be of high quality and reliability.The colors of the fixture were excellent.It would be nice if the snap vs. fade setting for the dimmer speed could be set programmatically instead of by the system menu. I’d normally want the fade option set for smooth fading, but would like to turn it to snap for cues where I want a fast blackout. But this is a pretty minor nit-pick—I suspect the fade time that this option adds to a blackout is comparable to the time it takes for a standard incandescent fixture to fully black out.With an MSRP of $1,500, this is a fixture well worth looking at for churches wanting remote control of their stage wash fixtures.
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