It is the new Philips MSR lamp 35R Platinum, 800 W that inspired the Clay Paky R&D department with the specifications of this Alpha Spot 800 QWO, an extremely compact fixture with a very wide zoom range. The goal was to provide the light output of a 1200 W fixture in a smaller 700 W chassis, with high projection quality.
This is what we will verify with our measurements, carried out in the fabulous showroom of Impact Event, where we were invited to perform our tests.
The famous Philips MSR Platinum 35 lamp: 800 Watts of power, very short arc of 3 mm, color temperature 7750 K, nominal service life of 750 hours.
To start with, we present this new lamp that generates a luminous flux of 55,000 lumens, according to the manufacturer, comparable to older discharge sources of 1200 Watts: it fits perfectly into the ‘Green Power’ trend, current research in energy savings. With a 7800 K color temperature and a very high CRI – greater than 75% – the perception of its high brightness by the human eye is thereby “reinforced”. This lamp has a “Mini Fast Fit” type base which locks with ¼ turn – greatly facilitating its replacement – and its advertised service life is 750 hours, with high consistency of its performance over time.
Thanks to its compact size, this light source is supposed to enable the implementation of reduced-sized fixtures. And on this last point, the ALPHA SPOT 800 QWO fixture has successfully met the challenge.
What, in fact, are those letters “QWO” printed on this model? They are simply the initials for “Quality Wide Optic”… we will get back to this later, but you should know that the manufacturer actually has a strong argument here: they specify a generous zoom range of 11° to 55°, with an extra zoom down to 7.6°.
Continuing with the external examination of this fixture : we are dealing with a name-brand moving head effect and, as such, we expect all the features and refinements of existing high-end equipment. And we will not be disappointed…
First, its format : The fixture is very compact and sleek, the same build as the Alpha Profile 700, which takes up the same space, and many external parts must also be compatible. Its weight reminds us that we are dealing with a powerful fixture: 30 kg, a reasonable value, thanks to the presence of an electronic ballast. The molded plastic covers are well finished and properly fitted, and the visible sheet metal parts have a satin black finish that is perfectly coordinated with the plastic parts. The exterior finish is very nice.
Taking a look at the head, , immediately facing us is the output lens with its visible diameter of 102 mm, necessary to obtain the performance of the zoom. At the back of the head we find four generous ventilation grilles and the lamp housing.
The connections are grouped on the back of the base. All XLR3, XLR5, EtherCon and PowerCon connectors are original Neutrik, guaranteeing quality. A switch/circuit breaker is also located here.
The base incorporates a user interface with a monochromatic LCD display and five navigation keys on one side, while the opposite side is dedicated to data and mains connections, and the switch/circuit breaker.
Large ventilation vents are incorporated even in the covers of the base to allow proper cooling of internal components.
The underside of the base, as is customary, includes a plate for mounting two ¼-turn quick couplers for mounting clamps. Note that only two mounting positions (90°) of the couplers are possible.
Two handles on either side of the base allow transport of the fixture. Moreover, we find on the yoke a 4-position (every 90°) locking pan and a 7-position locking tilt (every 45 ° over 270 °), handy for blocking the movement of the head for transport or for locking in a desired position during maintenance operations.
The underside of the unit reveals the mounting plate, which is designed for rapid ¼-turn fasteners for the two mounting brackets.
32 or 36 DMX channels are required to drive this beast, and, as with many fixtures, it is now possible to control this head via Artnet. It also has a built-in Artnet-to-DMX Node to provide a standard DMX to other projectors that are connected to the DMX output.
A 6 V/1.2 Ah, lead acid battery, integrated into the base of the machine, allows adjustment of main parameters of the machine without powering the unit from the mains.
A “Half Power” lamp operation mode mode is provided and controlled remotely by the user, allowing the fixture to operate at a power of 400 Watts.
The software update of the machine is performed via Ethernet, taking only a few minutes, and a single unit that is updated to the latest version can update other compatible units connected to it.
A refinement related to the zoom simulates a zoom autofocus using two DMX channels. These parameters must be entered by the user (by location, depending on different operating distances). It should be noted that on the test unit provided, this function was not yet implemented and will not be tested.
The “Dyna-Cue-Creator” function allows the unit to be programmed by simply integrating preset memories and times using a basic console … even if this is not the primary role of this unit, which is intended for control by high-end consoles.
DISASSEMBLY AND INSPECTION
Now let’s take a look at the guts of this fixture.
First, access to the lamp, which will eventually have to be replaced (nominal service life: 750 hours): this is very simple, unscrew the two screws on the back cover of the head and it can be withdrawn, maintained in the head by a small safety wire, to reveal the rear of the lamp base. It is easily removed by rotating one quarter turn. Three screws permit adjustment of the lamp in the reflector, to obtain a “HotSpot” beam or a uniform beam.
The underside of the head. The ventilation is omnipresent: a large fan at the bottom for the lamp housing, and a large fan on top to cool the color module. The exposed printed circuit board controls the Zoom, Focus, Prism and Frost functions.
The top side of the head. From bottom to top: the lamp housing, the color module, the gobo module and, finally the zoom/focus module, ending with the large exit lens. There are 21 stepper motors in the head.
Like in any moving head, most of the “vital organs” are grouped into the head. Access to these components is easy because the head is protected by two identical covers. Their removal is performed by four ¼-turn-locking screws. These covers remain attached to the head frame by a small safety cable.
The first visual observation when the doors are removed: the implementation is very dense. This is the price to pay for a more compact fixture, the current trend.
Lamp Housing :
The impressive fan, specifically for cooling the lamp housing, has a special, thermally-resistant, silver plating and a ventilation duct for bringing the air flow through an opening in the reflector.
The rear section is devoted to the lamp housing and the lamp. It features an elliptical dichroic reflector and a heat-resistant, two-part filter, all equipped with a mix of fans and ducts designed to maintain the operational temperature range. Obviously, providing cooling for this “supercharged” lamp was the subject of careful study. Note that the main fan cools the lamp through a duct that passes through a notch formed in the reflector itself. This particular fan has a silver plating, which increases its heat resistance. Another small centrifugal impeller fan propels the air flow directly onto the lamp base. A thermal breaker, installed near the lamp, ensures safety by cutting its power supply if any temperature problem is detected.
There are a number of metal plates in the back of the head; the weight of which counteracts the weight of the optics and provides a correct balance of the head.
In moving from the lamp housing to the nose of the fixture, the successive module is dedicated to color, then a module dedicated to gobos and effects, and finally the zoom module. And good surprise – these modules can be easily removed for servicing and maintenance.
Color Module :
The bottom side of the color module reveals its “guillotine” style CMY dichroic plates and, in the foreground, the dimmer blades.
This module is mounted in a slot and can be extracted by removing two captive screws and a connector (SUB-D62 with three rows of contacts).
The CMY color mixing is achieved by double guillotine blades of dichroic glass, and the variable CTO filter is realized in the same way. A hammered metal blade provides the shutter/strobe effects, and two serrated blades work together to act as the mechanical dimmer. A large-diameter fan effectively cools the fragile dichroic plates. On the other side of this module is the color wheel with eight trapezoidal dichroic filters. They are glued to the wheel and therefore can not be replaced easily by the user … that’s a pity. Around this wheel we find progressively a deep red, a 2500 K CTO filter, a deep green, a pale green, a “lavander”, an “aquamarine”, an orange and, finally, a “Congo blue”.
The gobo module, showing its two wheels of glass gobos, one with rotating gobos and the other with fixed ones. Because of their different diameter, the gobos can not be interchanged between the two wheels. At the bottom, there is the worm gear that allows the gradual integration of the animation wheel, located on the other side of this module.
The flip-side of the gobo module, with its textured glass animation wheel. Through the central opening, you can see the 16-blade iris, in is minimum aperture position.
This module is also mounted on slides and can be removed by loosening two captive screws and a connector (SUB-D44 with three rows of contacts).
In this module we find a wheel with eight fixed gobos (31.5 cm diameter), a wheel with seven rotating gobos (25.7 mm), a 16-blade iris and the animation wheel of textured glass. All of the gobos are glass and have a very small image size of 19 mm.
Replacement of the fixed gobos is a mere formality: a light metal tab holds them efficiently in their places and also allows their easy removal. Access to rotating gobos, however, is not so easy and requires some skill and a little practice. With these, you must remove the entire gobo assembly (that is to say, its housing and its drive gear), then the gobo is released from the gear by removing a classic clip ring.
This module, as well, can be extracted from the top by removing eight screws and three connectors. However, it is less accessible than other modules.
The zoom is taken from the Alpha Profile 700 head. The lenses benefit from a special surface treatment that minimizes the tendency towards a particular green color generated by the lamp, says the French distributor.
The zoom/focus module, in three separate groups, in place in the machine. Note the rotating prism near the bottom. The movement of the two mobile optic groups is performed in the conventional manner, with guides driven by belts connected to the stepper motors.
The zoom and focus consist of two movable lens groups, whose movement is provided by belts, driven, in turn, by stepper motors.
The output lens of the projector is fixed. This configuration has the advantage of avoiding the entrance of dust in the optic group.
The prism is mounted on a movable plate which is interposed between the zoom and focus groups. The insertion and rotation of the prism are implemented through the use of two toothed belts. The frost is a simple round filter mounted on a thin movable plate which can be inserted to varying degrees between the two moving groups of the zoom module.
The base and yoke
These parts of the projector include a variety of components. For details, simply refer to the corresponding captions of the photos.
Inside one arm of the yoke, you can see the pan locking system (bottom), there is the lamp igniter and the tilt motor, connected to the tilt axel by the toothed belt. The tension on the belt is maintained by two springs on the motor mount.
The other arm of the yoke includes a large circuit board that controls the motors of most of the functions grouped in the head. At its base, it contains the pan drive motor and also, at the top, the tilt locking system.
In the base, there is a motherboard that is densely populated with an impressive number of components, including the latest refinements: Ethernet, software update via Ethercon/DMX, etc ... It seems to be a common implementation in the lastest ALPHA series moving heads from CLAY PAKY.
The base houses the electronic ballast for driving the 800 watt lamp. This is an original Philips component.
For testing, the lamp was kept in the setting as it was done by the distributor prior to the loan of this apparatus: with a uniform beam. This may be less advantageous for lighting measurements than a “hot spot” configuration, but certainly more suited to the primary function of this fixture, which is the projection of gobos.
5 meters, integration by rings of 10 cm
|Beam diameter, sharp edges||0,64 m|
|Beam angle corresponding||7,32°|
|Light level at the center||78 450 lux|
|Flux||15 510 lm|
|Beam diameter, sharp edges||10,32 m|
|Beam angle corresponding||54,59°|
|Light level at the center||1 530 lux|
|Flux||15 375 lm|
|Beam diameter, sharp edges||3,56 m|
|Beam angle corresponding||20°|
|Light level at the center||10 950 lux|
|Flux||13 848 lm|
Light level at the center with colors Measurement done with beam angle 20°
| ||Eclairement (Lux)||Pourcentage relatif (%)|
Brightness and uniformity: impressions
The device was measured in three zoom settings: narrow (measured at 7.3 °), then at a medium angle of 20°, and, finally, with its widest zoom setting (measured at 54.5°). We commend the manufacturer for the correct angles stated in its official photometric data.
The average luminous flux of these three sets of measurements is about 14,500 lumens.
If we consider that the initial flux of the lamp is, as stated by Philips, 55,000 lumens (which we can not check with our means test), we can consider the efficiency of the fixture to be about 26%. This may seem a rather low value, but it is to be associated with a complex optical zoom composed of several elements that is unavoidably a “consumer” of light output. However, the brightness of the fixture is very convincing, especially since the very high color temperature of the emitted beam, which is inherent to the choice of lamp, reinforces this impression of high light output.
The beam, focused in the medium zoom position, with the lamp adjusted to obtain the best compromise of uniformity. It exhibits a slight hotspot.
The homogeneity of the beam is very good, although we are not able to eliminate completely the central hot spot.
For proof, in the 7.3° zoom setting we obtain a ratio between center and edges of 3.6. This ratio increases to 4 in the 20° zoom position and increases to 7.5 in the wide zoom position at 54.5°.
Colors and mixtures: the impressions
The CMY mixing blends the colors evenly and the color palette offered is rich. Note that the red produced in CMY lacks depth and tends slightly toward orange.
But the color palette is greatly enriched with the combination of the variable CTO and the color wheel, the latter of which has a particularly deep red to balance the CMY. It’s probably no coincidence that the red filter is placed in first position of the color wheel.
This wheel changes through the requested colors by always taking the shortest path between the various filters. The result is that, whatever the chosen colors, change always takes place very quickly.
The UV or Congo color perfectly fulfills its function.
The variable CTO corrector is effective. Measurements show that it can be used to vary the color temperature of the fixtures beam from 7780 K (the color temperature of the installed lamp) to 2700 K (CTO filter engaged at 100%). It offers a range of very convincing amber colors.
Finally, an integrated color macro applies color mixing/color wheel/CTO combinations to produce a palette of fifty colors referenced to LEE or ROSCO filters.
Choice of gobos and effects: the impressions
The use of glass gobos has the advantage of allowing the choice of more complex patterns
The choice of gobos adopted by Clay Paky for this fixture is sensible and consistent: there is a selection of very “busy” gobos, with patterns like foliage or branches covering much of the projection surface, so they’re perfect for occupying a dedicated area of the scene. But there are also gobos particularly suitable for projecting geometric beams in smoke, like a ring, a triangle, 6 tubes, a rectangle, a swarm of small dots etc…. and there’s no need to saturate the scene with excessive haze to make the beam visible, because this fixture, by its end, is also clearly predestined for this task.
The projection of a fixed gobos. Note that the definition and the sharpness of the gobo are very good over its entire surface.
The only textured glass gobo (rotating) installed in the unit, with a varying thickness that forms troughs and ridges on its surface. This is particularly suitable for achieving effects like water reflections, in combination with the animation wheel, a little color mixing and a subtle change of focus, for example.
Clay Paky has also provided a multicolored glass gobo. By adding a little color using CMY, we get various interesting effects because some parts of the gobo gradually fade.
The edge sharpness, and “bite” of the gobos is very good; so good, in fact, that one must consider that any dirt or dust on a gobo will be inevitably projected as well. Frequent and thorough cleaning of gobos appears to be a necessity with this fixture; it’s an indication of high optical quality.
The effect of iridescence on the edges of gobos is nearly nonexistent.
We could complain that the gobo wheels do not travel the shortest path from one gobo to another, but this is offset by the high rotation speed of these wheels and, in the end, to the eye the changes go pretty well.
We really liked the rotating, textured glass gobo, which is particularly effective for simulating the effects of water reflections. The fixture also has a very elaborate colorful glass gobo with which certain motifs appear or disappear, depending on the setting of the color mix.
The textured glass animation wheel (not replaceable) with progressive engagement adds an embossed effect to some gobos and provides a host of interesting effects, directly depending on the focus setting. The possibilities are endless.
The 16-blade iris greatly reduces the beam, but stops short of complete closure. In manual control, it appears quite jerky, but the use of macros makes the iris perform perfectly smoothly and fast … Note that, on the test machine, one of the blades of the iris had a tendency to jam some, this may explain its performance in manual control.
Zoom and effects on the beam: impressions
Let’s start by zooming : the useful range with gobos ranges from 11° to 55°, it is in this range that it is possible to obtain a sharp focus with a gobo. We obtain a zoom ratio of 5:1, which is remarkable. As mentioned before, the sharpness of the zoom is very good.
But it is also possible to zoom in even more (progressively), up to almost 7° if you forget about sharp gobos, to obtain a very intense and concentrated beam and greatly increase the range of the fixture.
The zoom is very smooth and relatively fast, but do not expect to do too many rapid zoom variation effects (“pumping”); after all, the zoom unit is belt-driven and has to cover quite a distance. We found on the test unit a very slight shift of the beam center between the minimum and maximum zoom positions: about 8 cm of shift at 5 meters. This is probably because the available unit is a demo piece that had been touring a lot and had been disassembled; a piece of the optical group could have been inadvertently skewed.
The focus is very efficient and accurate, This is not surprising, as it requires 2 DMX channels to ensure its very precise control, operating in 16 bit.
One effect using the prism and the multicolored gobo together with a mixture of colors.
The prism installed on this model is a six-facet, which multiplies the projected image into six images grouped in circles. This is especially usable as intended with the zoom tight because, as the zoom really expands, the prism projection becomes truncated at its edges, so the projection of the beam with prism can not be of a larger diameter than the widest sharp zoom of the fixture. The prism does rotate, but it is not indexed, that is to say that it can not move to a desired position.
The unit features a progressive frost filter, that we would call rather a “Light Frost.” It is especially useful for softening the edges of a beam or “blurring” a gobo, but it is not really intended to expand the beam (or very little).
The dimmer is itself very progressive, there is no visible stepping or offset in a fade to black or fade up, it is very smooth. It works with 16 bit control.
The shutter/strobe is quite fast, although its maximum frequency could not be measured accurately (it is around thirteen flashes per second).
The system does not allow a hot restrike of the lamp, but nevertheless offers a “tepid” restrike. In our tests, we found that the hot lamp, intentionally cut off and back on at once, warms back up in about 1 minute and an additional forty seconds was enough to regain full brightness, which is quite reasonable.
Movement and noise: impressions
The unit is very reactive in its movements. The movements are steady and fast and there is very little inertia when commanded to change to the opposite direction.
The slow movements are exemplary for this class. The smoothing of steps is very good, especially when long diagonals are performed by combining simultaneous PAN and TILT movements. The fixture passes that exam brilliantly.
As for the noise, the manufacturer indicates that this mover has an automatically activated “Silent” mode. The maximum noise level that we recorded was 44.4 dB, measured at 1 meter with the unit moving, referenced to 33 dB ambient noise.
|Highest temperature on the projecteur||98 °C on the ridge, between ventilation grilles of the head (22°C ambient)|
|Ambient noise||33 db|
|Noise, machine On at 1 meter 1 m||44 db|
|Highest noise, machine On||44,4 db|
|Consommation (Phase 230 volts)||NC|
|Diamètre pour Iris mini zoom mini à 10 mètres||NC|
|Vitesses & Temps|| |
|Durée du Reset complet (OFF/ON)||NC|
|Durée du réamorçage de la lampe (OFF/ON)||1 minute pour réamorcer + 40 secondes pour retrouver la puissance initiale de la lampe|
|Pan 360°||3,2 sec|
|Tilt 180°||1,7 sec|
|Aller/Retour Pan 360°||6,4 sec|
|Aller/Retour Tilt 180°||2,9 sec|
|Fluidité du Pan et Tilt||très bon, 4 sur 5|
Compact, sleek, damned effective and well equipped, the ALPHA SPOT 800 QWO moving head definitely has everything to rate it the highest scores. Its zoom alone is a great success, and its effects palette gives it very serious advantages. No doubt, it will please demanding users, especially in applications where the size and power consumption are essential constraints and do not permit the use of “monstrous” fixtures. Events of all kinds: concerts, TV shows and – why not – the theater; we are likely to see this nice unit everywhere. But competition remains fierce in this power-range market segment, and time will tell if this beautiful Italian will find a prominent place.
ALPHA SPOT 800 QWO
Dimensions et poids
|Longueur||385 mm (profondeur base)|
|Largeur||405 mm (largeur base)|
|Hauteur||650 mm (tête vers le haut)|
|Poids||30 Kg (donnée fabricant)|
|Type de machine||Lyre asservie à tête mobile|
|Tension secteur et puissance absorbée||200-240 V / 50-60 Hz, ou 100-120 V / 50-60 Hz – 1200VA à 230V/50Hz|
|Protection aux intempéries||NON, protection IP20|
|Contrôle||via protocole DMX512|
|Nombre de canaux DMX et Modes DMX||32 canaux (mode Standard) ou 36 canaux (Mode Vector)|
|Type de lampe – T° K – Durée de vie||Philips MSR Platinium 35R mini Fast Fit – 7750K – 750 heures|
|Réglage de la lampe||via 3 vis CHC|
|Réamorçage à chaud de la lampe||NON, mais réamorçage «tiède» assez rapide|
|Type de ballast||Electronique – avec mode HALF Power 400 W|
|Système optique||Réflecteur elliptique en verre dichroïque + filtre anti-calorique – lampe arrière|
|Accès à la tête||via 2 capots amovibles, dotés chacun de 4 vis 1/4 tour imperdables|
|Accès aux bras||1 capot par bras, 4 vis imperdables par capot|
|Accès à la base||1 face avant (4 vis) + 1 face arrière (4 vis) + 2 plaques métal- liques (8 vis)|
|Accès aux effets||Facile, via 3 modules d’effets extractibles|
|Type de gobos||Gobos verre dichroïques uniquement|
|Taille des gobos||Rotatifs : diam. 25,7mm / image 19mm – Fixes : diam. 31,5mm / image 19mm|
|Remplacement des gobos||Rotatifs : dans modules extractibles avec clip – Fixes : coincés dans languette métal|
|Remplacement des filtres couleurs||NON, filtres dichroïques collés sur roue de couleurs|
|Nombre de moteurs||23 moteurs pas à pas|
|Connectique||2x XLR 5 + 2x XLR 3 + 1 EtherCon RJ45 + 1 PowerCon (connectique NEUTRIK)|
|Panneau de contrôle||Afficheur LCD graphique monochrome + 5 boutons méca- niques à clic|
|Version logicielle du modèle d’essai||V 1.6.021|
|Mise à jour logicielle||OUI, via prise RJ45|
|Fixation des crochets||2 fixations rapides 1/4 de tour type Oméga amovibles|
|Blocage PAN et TILT||OUI, 4 positions sur PAN (intervalle 90°) et 7 positions sur TILT (intervalle 45°)|
|Poignée(s) de transport||2 sur la base|
|Point de fixation pour élingue de sécurite||OUI, sous la base|
|Pan et Tilt||PAN 540° – TILT 240°|
|Zoom||11° à 55° linéaire + «extra zoom» 7,6° (netteté gobo impos- sible en extra zoom)|
|Focus||OUI, sur 16 bits, fonction de simulation autofocus intégrée|
|Iris||OUI, à 16 lames, fermeture partielle|
|Dimmer / Shutter||2 demi-guillotines + 1 lame martelée|
|Prismes||1 seul prisme X6, rotatif mais non indexable – tronqué à partir de 50% d’ouverture de zoom|
|Frost||OUI – Frost assez léger|
|Couleurs||Trichromie soustractive CMY + CTO variable + roue de cou- leurs à 8 couleurs|
|Gobos||7 rotatifs, 8 fixes|
|Roue d’animation||OUI, en verre, non remplaçable, rotative|
|Paramètres de vitesses||OUI en mode VECTOR (4 canaux DMX supplémentaires, soit 36 canaux au total)|
FONCTION du canal DMX
|Canal DMX||Mode STANDARD (32 canaux)||Mode VECTOR (36 canaux)|
|5||COLOUR WHEEL||COLOUR WHEEL|
|6||MACRO COLORS||MACRO COLORS|
|7||STOP / STROBE||STOP / STROBE|
|9||DIMMER FINE||DIMMER FINE|
|11||STATIC GOBO||STATIC GOBO|
|12||ROTATING GOBO||ROTATING GOBO|
|13||GOBO ROTATION||GOBO ROTATION|
|14||GOBO FINE||GOBO FINE|
|15||PRISM INSERTION||PRISM INSERTION|
|16||PRISM ROTATION||PRISM ROTATION|
|18||ANIMATION DISK INSERTION||ANIMATION DISK INSERTION|
|19||ANIMATION DISK ROTATION||ANIMATION DISK ROTATION|
|21||AUTOFUCUS DISTANCE||AUTOFUCUS DISTANCE|
|23||AUTOFUCUS DISTANCE||AUTOFUCUS DISTANCE|
|24||AUTOFOCUS ADJUSTMENT||AUTOFOCUS ADJUSTMENT|
|25||MACRO EFFECTS||MACRO EFFECTS|
|27||PAN FINE||PAN FINE|
|29||TILT FINE||TILT FINE|
|32||LAMP CONTROL||LAMP CONTROL|
|33|| ||PAN TILT TIME|
|34|| ||COLOUR TIME|
|35|| ||BEAM TIME|
|36|| ||GOBO TIME|