CHAUVET DJ EZLink Par Q1BT
Looking for a small handy light? Well look no further than the new EZLink Par Q1BT from CHAUVET DJ, which I think must be the smallest fixture I have ever used! It is incredibly compact, in fact the size of a standard baked beans can! However, despite its diminutive size, it manages to pack in a great line-up of features including battery power, Bluetooth control and a magnetic base.
I was sent four of the units on demo and tried them out at a variety of mobile events. I found that having such small and versatile wash fixtures in my lighting repertoire was extremely useful and made use of them in a wide variety of ways, which was primarily made possible by the in-built magnet.
So, I think that’s a good place to start my review. The magnet really is incredible; it is powerful enough to attach the fixture securely and opens up a wide range of potential uses for the EZLink Par Q1BT. So far I have used them on suspended ceiling tile grids, my overhead gantry, on the side of my DJ booth and for lighting up podiums. I was even able to attach them to the side of my speakers (as they have metal bolt holes for flying the speakers overhead). Most metal surfaces soon become your new found friend in a venue. However, if you can’t find a suitable surface, you always have an M10 hole through the base to fall back on, allowing you to mount it on a traditional lighting clamp.
Wherever you choose to position these lights, you don’t need to worry about running out cables, as they offer complete wireless operation with battery power and Bluetooth control. I found the battery life to be very impressive throughout my testing. Initially I plugged them in via the supplied 12V power supply and fully charged them (total recharge time quoted is 6 hours, which sounds about right). I then used them on four consecutive functions and have still not needed to recharge them (total timed used for so far is about 18.5 hours). The box says they can run up to 20 hours on a single colour, and 8 hours with all the LED elements on. During my testing I used a mixture of static colours, colour chases and sound-to-light patterns. However you use them, they are sure to easily last for a full event, if not a whole week of gigs!
The EZLink Par Q1BT units are designed to be controlled via Bluetooth by CHAUVET DJ’s BTAir app (available as a free download for Android or iOS phones or tablets), which can also be used to operate other ‘BT’ fixtures in the brand’s EZLink and BTAir ranges. I found the fixtures extremely easy to connect and operate from the app. This simply involves opening the app and pressing the ‘Pairing’ button on the fixture. A blue LED flashes whilst connecting, which goes solid once connected to the app. You can arrange the lights into one of eight independently-controlled groups, with up to eight fixtures per group. This means that you can control up to eight units separately, or as many as 64 arranged in groups.
Once set up, operating your lights with the app is incredibly simple. First you select the group (or groups) you want to control and then you choose from one of seven modes: Fixed, Fade, Pulse, Scroll, Rainbow, Zone Chase and Sound Activated. Fixed mode can be used to set a static colour, while the others allow a variety of different animated chase patterns to be created using your choice of up to eight different colours. Specific colour hues are easy to select using either the RGB colour wheel or a set of RGBA faders.
A great thing about controlling your lights from an app is that you can operate them from anywhere in the room. I found that the Bluetooth signal allowed me to go right to the back of all the venues I tried it in without a problem (the longest room length being 25 metres!). When you close the app and terminate the Bluetooth connection, the EZLink Par Q1BT units continue with the programme you left running. Then, when you start-up the BTAir app again, the lights reconnect after a few seconds.
The fixture offers a multitude of colours from its single 5W quad-colour (RGBA) LED. The addition of a punchy amber element really enhances the colour mixing over standard red, green and blue, and the mixing of all four primary colours is very even. The overall output is pretty impressive considering the small size of the unit, rated at 335 lux (measured at 2m). For small function rooms a set of four works brilliantly, while for larger rooms you would need a few more.
I found that the EZLink Par Q1BT was heavier than I expected based on its size, weighing in at 0.4kg. This weight is down to the battery, the magnet and also its robust metal body construction.
For those of you that use DMX, unfortunately this fixture doesn’t support it. However, if you don’t want to use the app, you can setup a static colour or auto / sound-active chase using buttons on the unit itself and it is also compatible with CHAUVET DJ’s generic IRC-6 remote control. Personally, I am a DMX user, but still think a set of these lights would be handy to have available.
So, how do you round up a review on the EZLink Par Q1BT? Well, by returning to its most important feature: it’s extremely compact size. No matter how little space you have available in your gig vehicle, you certainly have room for these lights. They will easily fit in the glove box, centre console or under-seat stowage container. They have enough battery to last you a weekend’s evening gigs and the in-built magnet means they can be easily rigged wherever you need them. However, there is a price to pay for all these benefits, as they will set you back around £115 each. All of this considered, the most important question is: would I buy them and use them? The simple answer: YES.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 97, Pages 76-78.