How many times have you wondered whether modern LED sources can sufficiently replace traditional discharge lamps? Will the power and uniformity of the light emitted perform to the high-expectations expected from an increasingly demanding market? And, above all, how can you choose the products to invest in within a sector crowded with varied and often expensive products? Relax, you've come to the right place! Once again, the SoundSation technical team has produced a line of concrete, high-performing products, at an incredible quality to price ratio. So, before making your decision, whatever it may be, take five minutes to read the article below. Let us shed some light, with examples and practical considerations, on the age-old question of whether to choose LED or HID.
Even before you understand which technology to rely on, whether it be HID (High Intensity Discharge) or LED (Light Emitting Diodes), you should understand what your real needs are in relation to usage and budget.
Clubs, discos or small auditoriums will usually provide limited space and height for equipment, without the need for extraordinary power. Instead, they will require reliable, light, compact fixtures complete with a series of effects in order to make each performance sufficiently engaging and evocative.
On the other hand, outdoor situations on larger stages with considerable height require fixtures capable of producing powerful and concentrated beams, whilst maintaining proven reliability and longevity.
What we find, perhaps surprisingly for some, is that LED technology can actually offer countless advantages and lends itself to satisfying most applications, both indoor and outdoor.
Let's start by clarifying some points, in order to give a concrete answer to one of the biggest questions that most of you have undoubtedly asked yourself at least once!
How do LEDs behave in relation to power and reliability?
Light power is a specification that, although not strictly crucial, is always quite a decisive factor in the end user’s choice of fixture. Because of this, it is ordinarily one of the first questions we are asked.
To date, it can be said that every 1W of power equates to 100W of luminous efficiency, both for HID technology and for LED.
However, it must be considered that LED technology, a technology on which almost all companies have decided to bet on, can still be considered to be in the developmental phases. This leaves room for considerable growth margins, contrary to HID technology, which has arguably reached a performance level from which it would be difficult to improve upon.
Power also goes hand in hand with the degradation of the light source over time. This downwards curve is much steeper for discharge lamps, with the result that a "well-used" light source is often much less bright than a newer one. In aesthetic terms, this creates obvious discrepancies within an installation that sees multiples of the same light source utilised.
In this sense, LEDs behave much more consistently over time. However, even with this technology we find an inevitable deterioration, albeit far less than that of HID lamps.
When it comes to reliability, we can safely say that LED technology is clearly superior. In fact, discharge lamps have various fragile parts within them, which are subject to breakage. Bulbs and filaments are highly affected by shocks and vibrations, as opposed to LEDs which are much less prone to damage. This results in LEDs being rated with a much longer life-span (around 15,000 to 25,000 hours for HID and 50,000 or more for LEDs).
In relation to wear, it is necessary to deal with the heat created by the light source. This is relatively low in LED sources, yet often the true “Achilles heel” for discharge lamps - which often require bulky and noisy equipment dedicated to cooling the fixture.
Quality, as an objective parameter, is definitely difficult to define precisely, even if physical measurements can give some general indications. We’ll only touch on this subject here, however if you come to visit us we can do all the tests and comparisons you could possibly want!
Let's examine the main features that decree what is "typical" of the light beam emitted by the LED source. We must consider that much of the yield is determined by the quality of the optics used and the engineering of the fixture itself.
In the first instance, it is necessary to consider the color temperature range - typically between 3000 and 5000 Kelvin for discharge sources and from 2700 to 6500 Kelvin for LEDs. This is a figure that once again falls in favour of Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
Also observing the measurements in terms of CRI (Color Rendering Index, or Italian REsa Chromatic Index) we observe that, in general, LEDs typically have very high values, close to the maximum value of 100 (on a scale from 0 to 100).
It should also be noted that a discharge lamp usually takes a few minutes to reach full performance, i.e. before it reaches its maximum performance, whilst LEDs are able to immediately express all of their power and colour accuracy.
In light of the considerations above, it is clear that the higher purchase cost of an LED product is amply repaid over time. This amount of time is something that can be considerably reduced, thanks to the solutions offered by SoundSation, who always develop reliable products with a high quality to price ratio.
The SoundSation TWILIGHT LED series!
Soundsation firmly believes in the LED technology it offers within their new TWILIGHT series. Comprised of 60W to 150W variants, with Beam or Spot versions available, the fixtures reach up to 50,000 Lux @ 1m with an angle of 15 °.
Speaking of effects, TWILIGHT 150 SPOT can offer everything a Lighting Designer needs, even one who often has to face very different shows from one night to the next.
The list begins with a color wheel containing 8 slots + white, with rainbow effect. The first gobo wheel features 7 rotating gobos (4 in metal + 2 in glass + 1 water effect) and a second wheel with 9 fixed gobos + open. Both gobo wheels have rainbow and shaking effect. Finally, the machine includes two prisms (one 3-sided, one linear) with rotation, controllable direction and Frost that allow the creation of rich and iridescent light effects. Another aspect to be taken into consideration, especially in relation to assembly and transportation, is the low weight of the fixture. Thanks to the a chassis constructed largely of aluminum and high-quality plastic, the fixture weighs just 9.2 kg, something that rental companies and their staff will greatly appreciate!
We hope that this article has answered some of the questions that we have regularly heard from our customers in recent times. The subject is of course much broader than what we have covered here, and our intent was certainly not to write an academic “thesis”. But, if you have any further questions, or would simply like to experience the quality of SoundSation fixtures, the doors of our showroom are always open!
150W LED SPOT Moving Head