REVIEWED: Chauvet DJ Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6
Now this review is on something that’s a little bit different, introducing the CHAUVET DJ Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6, now that’s a bit of a mouthful if you say it all in one go! So what is it and what does it do? Well, as the name suggests, it’s a bubble machine and a haze machine all-in-one unit.
It is a big brother to CHAUVET DJ’s original Hurricane Bubble Haze, which won ‘Accessory Of The Year’ in the 2020 Pro Mobile Awards. Where does the X2 Q6 come in? Well, I assume that ‘X2’ refers to there being two outlets for both bubbles and haze at the top of the front panel and 'Q6' is due to the six quad colour LEDs positioned just below the haze and bubble outlets. All combined together, the effect looks fantastic!
When I first received the machine, I noticed the box was quite large but it didn’t seem very heavy, which was quite nice (the specs say 15.8kg, but it doesn’t feel it!). The machine came packed in a single outer brown box with the product information printed on it, but I’m told CHAUVET DJ are looking at changing this and potentially double boxing the unit due to its size. However, the machine I received (shipped direct from Belgium) was absolutely fine and the internals were all there without a mark.
I was also shipped 20 litres of bubble juice and 20 litres of haze fluid. It was quite a surprise when I opened the box and I had a good joke with our friends at CHAUVET DJ saying, “I know I really like to put review products through their paces, but 20 litres of each may have been a little too much!” It turns out that this is just how the master cartons are packed and, even though I’ve played with the unit for days on end, I still haven’t used one 5 litre bottle of either fluid, so don’t worry too much about the fluid consumption of this unit!
As we’re on the subject of fluid: the machine takes the CHAUVET DJ high performance haze fluid (HF5) and high performance bubble fluid (BF5). The bubble fluid goes in the larger reservoir tank and the haze fluid goes into the smaller tank, both at the bottom rear of the unit. Each is clearly marked on the back, so you can’t easily mess it up.
Filling the tanks is nice and easy. There is a metal bar that screws into place across the bottom of the tanks so they cannot slide out of their compartments during operation. To fill them, you simply unscrew the two thumbscrews holding the bar in place and remove it, you can then pull the tanks towards you, lift off the top caps and fill: it’s as easy as that!
You’ll notice that the bubble fluid tank has two pipes coming from the cap, one is the feed pipe to the machine and the other is a return pipe. As we all know, bubble fluid tends to drip a little and this is no different on this machine. However, the way the unit has been designed means that all excess fluid that isn’t used to make bubbles goes right back into the tank for re-use, handy eh?
Inside the machine where the bubble and haze outlets are is a little catch tray, this collects the excess fluid and it trickles down the tube back into the tank. In front of the outlets there is also an additional catch tray with a sponge inside just in case any fluid makes its way out of the unit. Of course, with bubble fluid you’re never going to catch all of it but the X2 Q6 does a good job at trying to prevent it escaping the machine.
As you can imagine, after a few hours of playing with the machine on the first day, our warehouse floor and the stage deck we were using were a little wet but it didn’t seem slippery. Now these surfaces aren’t polished or smooth like a dancefloor, but it definitely seemed that the fluid itself wasn’t that slippery. Perhaps something has been added to the fluid that improves this, I couldn’t say for sure, but from my experience it wasn’t bad at all!
Below the fan outlets are the six 4W LEDs. Two of these face straight ahead and the other four are angled up, so that when the haze and bubbles come out they hit the path of the LEDs and it looks as if they are changing colour, which is a nice little addition. It’s worth mentioning that the six LEDs are controlled as one, so can’t be set independently to different colours, however they are quad LEDs so you can mix the four base colours of red, green, blue and UV to create a wide variety of different hues. I found the LEDs did a good job of lighting up the bubbles and haze, although I do wonder how much they’ll shine through in a larger room with other lighting in play. Then again, the other lighting in the room would probably catch them anyway and give the same effect!
As well as the twin haze/bubble outlets and LEDs on the front of the unit there are also two outlets for the loft fans. These fans are adjustable and can be used to determine how high and far the bubbles and haze will carry. It also does a nice job of dispersing the haze if the bubble mode isn’t turned on. I was quite impressed by how effective these fans proved to be, on their highest setting they managed to get the bubbles up to the ceiling of our unit - which is a little over two stories high!
Although most DJs will probably choose to operate it standing directly on the floor, the unit can also be suspended and hung from truss or another kind of support structure. Included in the box is a quick-release clamp and a safety eye that screws into the top just in front of the clamp. Now it is worth mentioning that you cannot angle the machine when you hang it, it MUST stay vertical, although applying a little bit of common sense I’m sure you can understand why!
Assuming that you just want to put the machine on the floor, it’s easy to pick up and move with the two metal handles located on either side of the unit. These handles aren’t sprung, unfortunately. That would have been a nice little addition to stop them vibrating if they are placed next to a subwoofer at a gig!
Control wise, the Hurricane Bubble Haze X2 Q6 doesn’t disappoint. It features DMX input and output sockets (both 3 and 5-pin) as well as an on-board menu system that has a timer as part of its feature set. DMX allows control of all of the features offered by the unit: haze output (variable), bubble output (on or off), fan speed (variable) and colour mixing control of the RGB+UV LEDs. You can also trigger the cleaning cycle via DMX too.
The machine is also supplied with a CHAUVET DJ WRC wireless remote. The on-board menu system allows you to setup four pre-sets that can then be triggered using the wireless remote control. These pre-sets turn the haze and bubbles on / off and also allow you to choose a static colour or chase of colours. You can set the chase speed using the on-board menu system, but unfortunately you don’t seem to be able to set the haze output or fan speed as part of the pre-sets, the remote control simply turns them on or off. Being able to adjust the output level per pre-set would have been a nice addition!
Once connected to the power (via the locking PowerCon input socket), the unit is switched on using a large red rocker switch. It then goes through a warm-up process, which only lasts a short period of time, before it is ready to go. I was actually surprised how quickly the machine went from power on to ready, considering the hazer heating element has to warm up.
For most of my testing, I used the machine on DMX as I wanted full control for the video we were shooting of it (that you can see on our Kent Media Group YouTube channel). I found that the machine was really easy to use and operate via DMX and loved being able to remotely adjust the haze and fan level as well as the LED colours. It would have been nice to control the bubble output too, but I can see why that would be difficult and, of course, that would add an extra layer of expense! Overall, I loved the amount of control the machine gave though, it was great to have the loft fans at 0% and quickly ramp them up to 100% and watch the haze-filled bubbles go from a small cascade to flying high up into the sky!
The haze from the machine is pretty good too, it’s nice that you can adjust it and set the amount of haze you want. If you choose to combine the effects, and put haze inside the bubbles, you can vary the effect from a small mist right up to a proper smoke-filled bubble. The latter look awesome when they land on a surface and pop, or if you pop them in mid-air; the kids and big kids will love them!
Output wise, I thought the machine was pretty good; for a unit of this price, the output produced is at a good level. I did find that the bubbles didn’t spread apart widely BUT I was in our unit, with all windows and doors closed, so there was no air movement to spread the bubbles apart after they’d been lifted by the loft fans in the unit itself. I really wish I could have taken the machine to a venue and tried it on a real live gig but, unfortunately, with the current COVID-19 situation, gigs just aren’t happening so it wasn’t possible.
Overall, the unit ticks many boxes for me and it truly is a unique product on the market right now. At just under £1000 MSRP, it’s quite good value for money in my eyes. A machine with multiple uses from weddings to children’s parties and everything in between, it’s certainly one that could be added to my shopping list very soon.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 104, Pages 78-80.