REVIEWED: CHAUVET DJ GigBAR Move
As far as I can remember, I don’t think there has been a lighting system that has caused so much controversy in mobile circles online as the GigBAR series from CHAUVET DJ.
Some see it as the greatest thing since sliced bread and others see it as the lazy-man’s answer to a lighting rig, and not a very good one at that. It’s certainly split the DJ industry down the middle. So is the latest version going to pick up the marmite baton for another lap or is it going to win over its detractors? Let’s find out…
For those of you who have never come across the GigBAR series before – and, let’s be honest, you’d have had to been living in a sealed bunker for the last four years – it's a collection of different ‘all-in-one’ lighting systems that are pre-mounted to T-bar stands. This latest model comprises pairs of LED PARs, moving heads and derbies, alongside a red/green laser and four LEDs that can be used either for a UV or white strobe effect. The idea is that you simply turn up, stick it on a tripod, add some power and go. It really is that simple. It looks pretty tidy as well, especially considering the number of individual fixtures you get as part of the package.
The most significant advancement of this latest version is right there in its name, the addition of a pair of moving heads. That’s right folks, actual moving heads on a GigBAR! Now, you would think this would add to the weight somewhat but no, according to the specs, it’s a little bit lighter than the GigBAR 2 at 10.7kg, which I think is incredible.
So, now let’s get down and dirty with the different elements that make up the GigBAR Move, starting with that latest addition, the moving heads. These are each powered by a 10W LED and feature an 11-degree beam angle, separate GOBO and colour wheels and manual focus. The GOBOs are non-rotating, fixed and you get seven of them, plus open. The colour wheel also offers 7 choices plus white, and most of them are nice and rich, although I found that the red was a bit underwhelming if I’m honest. The heads, albeit compact, are a great addition to the GigBAR and are no slouch with nice, fast movements. They also feature CHAUVET DJ's 'totem mode', which concentrates their movements on the dance floor in front of you. This is a really useful feature adopted from the rest of CHAUVET DJ’s moving head range.
The two identical LED pars are very similar to the ones found on the GigBAR 2. Each has three 3.5W RGB+UV LEDs offering a huge range of bright, rich colours to light up the audience during a party.
The LED derby effects, which are also identical, have now moved onto the top of the bar because of the moving heads. Each unit contains two red, two green and two blue LEDs and are a massive improvement over the ones found on the first GigBAR. I’ve always thought that the derbys were the original GigBAR’s weakest link, so it was good to see these are the same as the brighter units found on the GigBAR 2.
Moving onto the laser, again it’s the same 130mW unit found on the GigBAR 2. Its cluster-style output has long been a mobile DJ favourite but is widely hated by photographers due to the thousands of red and green dots projected everywhere! It’s worth noting that, as you can adjust the vertical angle of the laser, it could easily be positioned such that it could hit guests in their eyes. Obviously, this isn’t a good idea, so I’d recommend pointing it up at the ceiling as opposed to directly down onto the dance floor.
Across the front panel of the GigBAR Move you’ll find the four white/UV strobe LEDs which are a nice addition, if you like that sort of thing. To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of strobes and I never really use them. The good news is that if you share my dislike of strobing, you can dive into the settings and turn this effect off easily and just let the other elements work together to create an exciting light show.
Around the back, you’ll find IEC power Input and Thru connections as well as 3-pin DMX input and output sockets. The menu system, where you can access all the built-in shows and settings, has been much improved with the addition of a full colour LCD screen. This now means that the settings and menu options have much more meaningful names instead of crazy, complex 4-character codes which were hard to decipher.
Now, the GigBAR Move really excels itself when you use the built-in programming. There are an astonishing selection of automatic pre-sets for you to choose from. These include complete lightshows using all five effects, individual programs for each element on its own, as well as various combinations of two, three or four of the different fixture types. These have been well thought out and work really well from a visual perspective. What’s more, if you already own a GigBAR 2, you can connect these together and they work well in a master/slave configuration.
The inclusion of the wireless, battery-powered foot controller AND the IRC-6 hand-held remote in the box make control super easy. However, for ULTIMATE control, you may want to dive deeper into controlling the GigBAR Move through DMX. I’ll be honest, it’s not for the faint-hearted, requiring 35 channels to allow you to control each of the lighting units independently with maximum flexibility. You may prefer the 17-channel option, which allows you to control each type of effect grouped together. Finally, there’s also a much simpler 3-channel mode where you can access all the built-in shows and programs without having to use the foot controller or IRC-6 handheld remote.
I tried both the 35 and 17-channel modes with LightRider on my iPad and it worked reasonably well although, if I’m honest, at a gig I’d probably go for the 3-channel option with a different DMX app, such as Luminaire, so that I could quickly access the built-in programming.
I’m not a massive fan of foot controllers but musicians on a stage will find it to be a nice addition, I’m sure. In testing, the wireless foot controller worked well up to a distance of 30m, as long as there were no walls or bulky objects in the way. I tested this unit in April, during the coronavirus outbreak, so couldn’t use it at a gig. Instead I set it up in my garden and tried controlling it from different parts of the house, and it worked perfectly. The IR remote, not so much, but then that requires a direct line of sight to the sensor and, thankfully, the GigBAR Move has IR sensors on the front AND back of the unit, which is incredibly helpful.
As with previous versions, the GigBAR Move comes with its own transport bag that has excellent padding inside to keep your investment safe. There’s a handy section on the front to keep the foot controller and any associated wiring as well as the laser interlock and key. The laser won’t work without these, so don’t lose them!
Also included with the GigBAR Move is a tripod. To be honest, it won't win any awards with its plastic fittings and the bar moves quite a bit when the tripod is extended to full height, around 2.5m. But, again, it’s a nice inclusion and you do get a bag for it too.
Unlike previous versions, you don't get L-brackets anymore so you can’t mount the GigBAR Move onto a truss or goal post stand. This is a bit of shame as I know a lot of DJs who use them in this way.
Fortunately, that’s about the only negative thing I have to say about what is otherwise a really neat piece of kit. Put simply, it’s like the older models, just better. The addition of the moving heads will make the GigBAR Move a popular unit for CHAUVET DJ. Grab yours today from your local dealer!
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 101, Pages 78-80.