Laserworld CS-1000RGB MKII & Showeditor
There’s something special about a well-designed and executed laser show that can raise the energy level at an event through the roof. This is especially true if you perform at parties for younger clientele, such as school proms and 18th birthdays, or at weddings where the happy couple and their friends grew up in the clubbing era of the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
While once only within the budget of the biggest of mobile operators, these days very affordable systems are available that not only create impactful effects, but offer complete creative control. A great example is the CS-1000RGB MKII from Laserworld when used together with the company’s Showeditor software.
Although, for many years, lasers have been used by mobile DJs at all levels, up until recently systems offering complete custom effects using the ILDA control standard have been out of the realms of possibility for most DJs. Not only were ILDA-compatible laser fixtures extremely expensive, but the necessary control hardware and software represented another significant expense. Now, however, not only has laser hardware come down in price, but so has the control software, to the point that Laserworld’s CS-1000RGB MKII AND the Showeditor ILDA control system can be purchased for around £600. For this review, I’ll start by covering the CS-1000RGB MKII in its own right – as, of course, it can be used without ILDA control – and will then move on to discussing how the Showeditor system can be used to generate custom effects with the CS-1000RGB MKII (or any other ILDA-compatible fixture).
The CS-1000RGB MKII is a multi-colour laser projector which incorporates three laser sources: 200mW red (650nm), 70mW green (532nm) and 530mW blue (445nm). When comparing this to other products on the market it’s worth keeping in mind that Laserworld have a policy of stating ‘Guaranteed Power’ ratings. As there is some tolerance in the actual output of laser diodes, it is likely that the unit’s output will actually be higher. In fact, Laserworld quote the typical output power of the three diodes combined as 1000mW (1-watt), hence the ‘1000’ in the CS-1000RGB MKII’s name (the ‘CS’ stands for ‘Club Series’). If you want more output and have a larger budget, there is also a CS-2000RGB MKII model available offering a similar feature set, but more powerful laser sources, for an SSP of £685.
In addition to laser power, the other important figure to look for when considering a laser projector is ‘scan speed’. The patterns generated by a fixture such as the CS-1000RGB MKII are created by repeatedly moving the laser beam in a particular shape so quickly that the human eye can’t detect the movement, but instead picks up an image of the whole pattern at once. The faster the scan speed, the more complex the patterns that can be created without the movement of the laser beam becoming visible in the form of flickering. The CS-1000RGB MKII has a maximum scan speed of 30kpps (Kilo Points Per Second) at a scan angle of 4-degrees, which means that it is able to move around 30,000 points within a pattern each second. While more advanced – and considerably more expensive – units can hit much faster speeds, this is still a very good figure. It means that the unit is capable of generating fairly complex shapes, animations, and even simple text patterns.
Although it can definitely be described as compact and lightweight, the unit itself also has a distinctly solid feel. The case is constructed from thick powder-coated metal and it is fitted with a substantial hanging bracket, which can be locked solidly into place at any desired angle using two plastic thumb screws. As a whole, the fixture has an unmistakable feel of professionalism and robustness that belies its very affordable price tag.
On the front, it has a metal panel that can be manually slid up to cover a portion of the laser aperture and locked into place using metal thumbscrews. This is a safety feature designed to reduce the fixture’s potential scan range to avoid beams hitting the audience. It is also useful for providing protection for the glass screen that covers the aperture when the unit is being transported between gigs. The other safety features – which manufacturers are required to include but have little value in the real world – are all present and correct. There is a connection for an external safety cut-off switch (although turning off the power to the unit does the same job), a key switch to active the laser beam and a big yellow ‘Class 4 Laser Product’ warning sticker.
Of course it is important to be aware of safety matters when using laser displays. The diodes built in to the CS-1000RGB MKII are powerful enough to cause damage to eyesight and therefore should be projected above head height (the HSE guidelines recommend a minimum of 3m) unless you have undertaken suitable training and have the necessary tools to determine that a given effect is within the MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure) threshold and therefore safe for ‘audience scanning’.
The unit comes pre-programmed with 200 varied animated patterns which include a good collection of simple moving lines, waves, squares and circles which are ideal for generating mid-air effects in a hazy atmosphere. The unit is also supplied with a few more complex patterns and animations built-in, which are suited for projection on a wall or screen. These include a heart shape, that zooms in and out, as well as the word ‘welcome’, which waves up and down.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 81, Pages 74-78.