REVIEWED: BeamZ Fuze75S Spot 75W LED Moving Head
A lightweight and compact moving head, the Fuze75S Spot from BeamZ features a powerful 75W white LED light source and an extensive selection of beam-shaping tools. These include independent colour and GOBO wheels, replaceable rotating GOBO patterns, a rotating prism and motorised focus.
Right off the bat, BeamZ impressed. When the package of a Fuze75S Spot moving head twin pack arrived I opened it expecting to find the customary heavily-branded and full-colour-printed boxes… but what a nice surprise! Inside was a well-made and sturdy flight case, housing both the moving heads and two packs that contained: a PowerCon cable, a DMX cable, a safety cable with carabiner, a decent Euro plug adapter, a remote control and an omega bracket with quick-lock fastenings, all sitting in its own dedicated space in the case – what a great start!
A Quick Start Guide and User Manual are also included. The Quick Start Guide is a four-page cheat sheet and great for quickly referencing DMX channels that also features a diagram of where each GOBO is on the wheel. On the road, this proved to be a great way to learn the lights’ capabilities on the fly.
My first visual impressions were that these are well-made. The housing is mainly of plastic construction but a good rigid grade with no weak or soft spots. There are good quality handles either side of the unit, which feel roadworthy and comfortable. The base has four sturdy, properly fitted and well-sized feet (moving heads with too small or low quality rubber feet should be outlawed!). The Omega bracket location fixings are obviously found on the base and have an easy quick-lock system, which meant that, using two Gravity stands, these were quick, simple and easy to set up at a gig.
Taking a closer look at the controls and connections, there is a backlit LCD screen with the required minimum of four control buttons: ‘menu’, ‘up’, ‘down’ and ‘enter’. This provides the user with an intuitive interface for DMX addressing as well as for selecting from the nine pre-programmed Auto modes. In addition, it provides access to a wide variety user-configurable options including pan/tilt inversion and reduced range options for pan/tilt. The connection side is logically laid out and built well, no wobbly bits or sub-standard components. The simple and uncluttered arrangement of connectors and buttons with clear labelling of the on/off switch, fuse access, powerCON socket and DMX in/output via 3-pin XLR is always appreciated by the user – there is nothing more infuriating than vague or cryptic labelling.
Powering up the fixture kick-starts a reset cycle which calibrates the pan, tilt and other stepper motors, then the 75W high intensity white LED fires up and the head launches into Auto mode. Unfortunately, the LCD screen does not offer much information as to current settings, which would be helpful, although maybe not a huge issue for some users. Each unit is supplied with a remote control (which is generous) and this was a good place to start putting the unit through its paces. It is a credit-card-sized remote with dedicated buttons for selecting different fixture types (Spot, Beam and Wash) . The numbered buttons 1-9 have a colour ring around them indicating which button activates which colour, which is a very neat idea, additionally dimmer and strobe can be adjusted too. The Stop button acts like a blackout and finally DMX, Auto and Sound functions can also be activated from the remote. So, generally speaking, a very acceptable amount of wireless control.
When connected and controlled by DMX, there is a choice of two channel modes: 11 or 13 (with or without fine pan/tilt). DMX offers a huge amount of control of the fixture’s various functions and features, including all the usual functions you would expect from more expensive moving heads. The fixture offers dimmer, focus, shutter (with variable speed pulse and strobe effects) and a rotating 3-facet circular prism. On board is an eight-colour wheel (plus open) and a separate GOBO wheel housing six metal GOBOs (plus open) which can be set to shake, and are both interchangeable and rotatable – so another area where BeamZ has impressed.
So, having checked out their features, it’s time to get the BeamZ Fuse75S Spots on the road and put them to work. First up, an awards ceremony for a local hairdressing group. The fixtures were positioned close to the stage as support action-lighting and controlled via DMX. The brightness was respectable, adding a second dimension of interest to the hi-energy lightshow as winners were announced and called to the stage. The open spot and colour variations were ample to create a number of great effects as the nominees went up to receive their awards.
Later on, when the party started, the GOBOs worked well for adding a club lighting feel to the dancefloor with smooth and dynamic movement. Various combinations of the GOBOs, colours and rotatable 3-facet prism allowed for a wide variety of exciting mid-air effects and surface projections. Adding another dimension, the strobe speed is user-selectable ranging between 1-11Hz, which was great for creating drama on the dancefloor.
The moving heads have a temperature-controlled fan for cooling, which can get a bit noisy when there’s no music playing. However, in any party situation (even with just background music), it’s not a big problem. Their small size and compact footprint work well for placing the lights pretty much anywhere. For example, at a last-minute celebration at the customer’s home where space was limited, I was able to sit them neatly on the corner shelves made to fit my booth. Adding moving heads to even a small rig can’t fail to impress the client and raise expectations therefore adding value to the service provided.
At the latter party, the heads were controlled with the RF wireless remote. This proved to be not bad at all, albeit limited in comparison to the DMX method. However, it’s worth pointing out that the remote was not as responsive as expected and not all the colour indicators that surround the numbers correspond to the right colour on the unit – a minor oversight that possibly could be fixed easily with a firmware update. Controlling the Auto programs and the strobe effect was a cinch, and a simple way to create a playful party atmosphere.
The Sound mode was also given a chance to prove itself and, with user-adjustable sensitivity, it was possible to get the moving heads to perform reliably without having to endure a maniacal lightshow (which is sometimes what you get from other lighting fixtures set to their sound active mode).
The motorised focus is a nice touch and great in DMX mode, however, in auto mode it tends to move in and out of focus randomly and it would be nice to have RF wireless control of this feature. The LED white is a bright clean white and worked very well as an improvised spotlight during an impromptu speech in a dark room – it was certainly better than putting the room lights on!
Overall, I liked what the Fuze75S Spot had to offer as a well-priced, very capable moving head in a compact form. As a pair, all neatly packaged in its own flight case, they make for a very easy to store, transport and set-up lighting kit. The features and functions were a nice surprise as many of them are not usually expected to be included on a fixture at this price-point. The 75W LED is bright enough to suit many applications and perfect for mobile DJs, bands and even installations where a small footprint and a big impact is required.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 101, Pages 66-68.