30 Aug 2017
I wanted an easy to use, but effective, lighting system for a startup rock and roll band. They needed lighting that could be easily adjusted in real-time to suit the music and mood of their performance. However, the last thing they needed was to have to find a DMX expert for every gig. After researching a few units through reviews on youtube I decided that the Hexcon was the thing. Independent control of RGBWA and UV components, instance switching to specific (and quite delightfully rare) colours, sound activated mode, strobe mode and a few other effects. Perfect!
The important thing to note, though, is that the Hexcon is specifically designed to be used with the ADJ Hex range of lights. The Hex range are DMX 6 channel units and are not cheap - so I was a bit nervous about whether this was all going to work. I ordered one 12P unit and two 5P units - which was about as much as I could afford to risk (we would have little time after delivery before the next gig).
I was absolutely delighted to find that the Hex lights are very powerful, sturdy, excellent quality and produce ample amounts of interesting light. They worked almost out of the box with the Hexcon - I seem to remember all I had to do was change their mode to 6 Channel mode and set the DMX address of each light (1, 7, 13 - intervals of 6) and connect them up. Before I realised that they weren't in 6 Channel mode by default I thought the lamps were faulty - one was in 6 Channel mode and worked but another wasn't and flickered. Setting them all in 6 Channel mode brought them to life with the Hexcon controller.
With only an hour to get used to the unit before starting soundcheck and installing the lights (yes, the delivery was one day later than stated on the Bax website - and that caused some headaches but the Bax support staff were sympathetic - However, I'm not happy that the delivery date estimates which I feel are unrealistic and misrepresentative of what is achievable and I'm taking that issue up with Bax) - where was I? Ah yes, very little time left to get the lights unpacked and working and get used to the controller to the point where it could be used as an "instrument" in the gig.
Well I'm happy to report that it's very simple to use and you can press buttons in time to the music or hit the strobe and shift the sliders etc. - and it helps to produce a great authentic rock and roll atmosphere.
One thing I have not been able to work out, though, is the Chase mode. My understanding of that is that the effect should make the lights appear to shift along the chain. Now I only have 3 lamps but the effect seemed to affect all 3 at the same time so it seems to be just another auto fade mode. I will persevere with that when there's more time.
So the plan is to buy a few more Hex lamps over time to build up the "power" of the lighting - but I was very pleased with the 12P and two 5Ps which easily lit up the 24m2 stage. The 12P unit was placed opposite the stage shining in from the front - perhaps 6 metres away, whilst the 5P units were mounted on either side of the front of the stage.
This is also sufficient for the band to take to small gigs - bars, cafes and small venues etc. and will still produce an impressive show.
I have no idea whether the Hexcon is compatible with any other devices - you'll need to research that - but it works superbly with the Hex lamps.
The great thing about the Hex lights and the Hexcon, though, is that you can ask your dad to sort out the lights, give them 5 minutes training and then let them loose. They'll have a great time and your gig lighting will be fresh, relevant and rock and roll!