REVIEWED: CHAUVET DJ Wash FX Hex
The original CHAUVET DJ Wash FX is a fixture that’s been in CHAUVET DJ’s range for a little while now (2014-2015, I believe), so it’s nice to see a refresh of the original product. There’s actually two new Wash FX units – the Wash FX 2 and the Wash FX Hex – but today we’re going to focus on the Wash FX Hex, as this is the most upgraded unit.
The original Wash FX featured tri-colour LEDs and the Wash FX 2 adds a UV LED to that mix. But the Wash FX Hex… well, that’s six colours! Red, green, blue, white, amber and UV. Having six colours is a welcome upgrade to anyone who uses lighting in their setup, as it opens up your choice of colour palettes and allows you to mix and create so many colours – from deep, rich reds and blues to pastel pinks and off-white. That which was once difficult to get with your RGB lights is now easily achievable. For example, the addition of UV is so much more than just UV on its own; add it to a magenta or pink to really bring out saturation and depth of colour, or add it to a mint green to give it that extra kick (seriously, give it a try!).
Colours aren’t the only thing impressive about the Wash FX Hex, as the unit can also be used in a variety of ways to achieve different effects. This is down to its six individually controllable zones, which allow it to operate as a standard wash effect, a blinder, a strobe or even an eye candy effect. If you look at the front of the unit you’ll see there are 18 LEDs total, split into six clusters of three. Each of these clusters is a zone, and you can control each zone individually to create chaser type effects or even pixel map them.
When we received the Wash FX Hex the first thing we did was plug it in, without looking into its specs or details, and we were really pleased with what was produced straight out of the box. We only had one unit to review so we couldn’t test the master slave functionality, but this seems to be a pretty straight-forward setup.
When taking the unit out the box we noticed how sturdy and rugged the all-metal casing was, and the revamped design makes it look like a nice piece of kit too. It’s certainly an upgrade from the original Wash FX, which was a pretty robust and nice-looking light in itself!
On the rear of the unit you’ll find a DMX input and output, a power input and output (on IEC), the menu system, and also two holes in the casing for attaching a safety loop (which I much prefer over the screw-in safety eyes).
It’s also nice to see a new, longer bracket. This extended bracket means that the light can be positioned much more effectively than the previous model, where the clamp couldn’t lay completely flat.
We used the Wash FX Hex as a cyc light [Jack means the studio wall – Ed] in one of the live streams we have been running from our studio, and it certainly did not disappoint. We only had it on one static, a deep blue against a black backdrop – not the easiest colour to light. The effect really punched through and added a beautiful glow to the backdrop, perfect for our broadcast (if you watch back the SEDA Virtual ShowNight you’ll see it just behind Bradley).
Thanks to the design of the unit, the beam angle produced from the Wash FX Hex is very impressive. The left and right LED zones are angled slightly outwards to produce a lovely wide wash effect (41° to 68° field angle), so this was a fantastic choice for lighting our backdrop with just one light.
Whilst on the night of the stream we only set the light to a single static colour, we have since played with the unit via DMX, and the four different DMX modes offer so much versatility. There are 3-, 6-, 11- and 40-channel modes. The 3-channel mode allows you to trigger the inbuilt programs, their speed and also their brightness. The 6-channel mode acts like a hex par can where you can control each colour from 0-100%. The 11-channel mode combines the 6- and 3-channel modes as well as adding a zone macro channel and a strobe channel. But our favourite – and the one the light spent most of its time on with us – was the massive 40-channel mode!
In the 40-channel DMX mode, you have total control of the light. Not only can you trigger the auto programs, the dimmer and the strobe, but you can also individually control each of the six colours within all six zones. With good programming, this allows you to create your very own chases, colour fades and many more funky effects – it’s certainly one we never got bored of (we love a good pixel map!).
As well as these DMX modes, you can control the Wash FX Hex using either the optional CHAUVET DJ IRC-6 remote control or the on-board menu system. The menu system allows you to set up static colours or activate the 25 in-built automatic programs, all of which can be speed controlled from the menu. Some of the auto programs are sound active with adjustable sensitivity in the menu.
The Wash FX Hex also features a master dimmer in the menu, which is something you don’t often see on fixtures at this price point. The master dimmer allows you to control the output level or intensity of the in-built programs, so if you feel it’s too bright, you can simply turn it down from within the menu – a handy addition, as it’s an incredibly powerful light.
You can also mix custom colours from within the menu, with full control over each of the six colours. This gives you lots of flexibility to use the light as a cyc (like we did) or as a static wash or uplighter. The menu doesn’t allow you to set the colours of the six zones manually, you have to use DMX to access this feature, but then again, why would you want to? That’d take forever to setup!
A feature of the menu I really liked was slave mode. You have the option of setting the unit at ‘SLV1’ (Slave 1) or ‘SLV2’ (Slave 2). I’m sure many of you have used master/slave with lights over the years, but this expands on the standard one light copying another (SLV1). SLV2 expands on this functionality by mirroring the master unit so it plays any effects programs in reverse, allowing you to create a stunning array using multiple Wash FX Hex units in master/slave mode.
In conclusion, the Wash FX Hex is a brilliant, robust lighting fixture that wouldn’t look out of place on any DJ setup, and the welcome improvements over the original Wash FX are certainly noticeable. The outputs produced by the Wash FX Hex are simply beautiful, with the hex LEDs bringing your colour palettes to life. When combined with the six LED zones, you really can create some stunning effects. Another fantastic product from CHAUVET DJ.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 105, Pages 78-80.