Equinox Midas Spot
The DJ industry seems to be going mad on moving heads at the minute. Every weekend I see DJs posting pictures on social media of their rigs featuring four or more heads on totems, and that’s a great testament to progress in the technology world. Such fixtures used to cost thousands of pounds but are now readily available to us for very little money. However, with so many similar products out there, a new fixture really needs to stand out from the crowd. Does the Midas Spot from the Prolight Concepts Group’s Equinox brand have what it takes to stand up against stiff competition? Let’s find out…
Every Saturday night you can guarantee that you will see a picture on social media of a DJ with that magical photo of a number of moving heads all pointing towards the camera and, let’s be honest, it looks amazing, who wouldn’t be proud of something like that? The good news is that kind of setup is available to everyone these days, at every price point. Ok, maybe the fixtures are not exactly the same, but visually similar in many ways.
The new Midas Spot from Equinox sits right slap-bang in the middle of what I call the ‘Mobile DJ end’ of the moving head fixture market, i.e. sub-£1000. Its main competition are big hitters, which are already established as incredibly popular products, but the Midas Spot has broad shoulders and is able to hold its own with some fairly impressive specs and useful unique features.
It all starts with a powerful 60W LED that has a reasonably narrow 16-degree beam angle. Although there are products of the same class hitting the market right now with 75W LEDs, the difference between the two is marginal. And, let’s be honest, for an average party of up to 150 people in a room measuring 20m wide by 10m deep, 60W is more than enough firepower.
One impressive feature of the Midas Spot is its incredibly smooth dimming curve. For years LEDs have suffered from poor dimming curves, especially at the lower end. Many fixtures would flicker as they neared their ‘full-out’ intensity and this obviously could cause some problems under DMX control with slow, sensitive lighting cues. However, the Midas Spot offers extremely smooth dimming right across its brightness range.
Inside the head is a GOBO wheel featuring seven rotating, replaceable GOBOs plus open. The installed patterns are fairly detailed and include a textured glass GOBO in addition to the standard metal ones. This creates a very nice 3D effect, which really stands out as different compared to the output of other similarly-priced movers. Two extra metal GOBOs are also included as standard, which you can choose to swap with any of the fitted patterns, and your own custom GOBOs can also be used (GOBO size: 24mm; image size: 19.5mm).
A separate wheel features seven colour filters in addition to open white and a new tri-colour filter. This is very neat and allows for eye-catching multi-colour GOBO projection, which looks particularly good using the 3D glass GOBO. In addition, the fixture also allows for spit-colours (providing they are adjacent on the colour wheel), with the two colours blending nicely together (with no black dividing line as is sometimes the case).
To further add to the creative potential offered by the Midas Spot, a 3-facet prism is also included that can be used to triple the GOBO projection for impressive mid-air beam effects. In addition, the unit also offers motorised focus, which comes in quite handy under DMX to ensure that GOBOs are nice and sharp regardless of the projection distance.
Speaking of DMX, the Midas Spot offers the choice of 10 or 13 channels of control (with or without fine pan/tilt), together with the usual array of auto, sound-activated and master/slave modes. These include a useful ‘forward-facing’ auto program, as well as two slave modes, which allow for contrasting movement effects even in a master/slave setup.
On the front you get a rather nice backlit 2” LCD menu display with a selection jog wheel, alongside dedicated LED indicators for DMX, Master, Slave and Sound. The large display makes choosing between the different modes, selecting a DMX address and changing the various optional attributes extremely easy and intuitive. For too long now we’ve had to put up with four-digit menus – and their confusing abbreviations – which makes going through the different modes rather painful. With this easy system you don’t need to reach for your manual to lookup the confusing acronym if you want to set, for example, reverse tilt. I’m a massive fan of control systems that explain themselves. I don’t like to go through the tiresome mental exercise of trying to understand a series of letters and working out what feature they turn on and off, so a big thumbs up to Equinox for this.
Around the back you’ll find powerCON input and output and also 3-pin XLR DMX input/output. If you remember my Equinox Vortex review in the last issue of Pro Mobile you’ll know that I quite like the fact that manufacturers are fitting more ‘pro’ power options to the latest mobile-DJ-focused products. The fact that powerCON sockets lock into place means that they can’t be accidentally pulled out (as is the case with IEC connections), which is definitely a good thing.
Another pretty neat thing I like on the Midas Spot is it’s automatic pan/tilt correction, a feature once only found on really high-end fixtures. I’ve noticed that it’s becoming more and more common at this end of the market, which is good to see. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s basically a super-cool way of the Midas Spot auto correcting if pan or tilt is knocked out of position or if DMX falls out of sync. I’ve had heads in the past that have got slightly mis-calibrated when using them in sound-to-light mode as they spin round to the extremes of their pan or tilt ‘stops’, usually ending up with the fixture pointing in a direction that’s completely wrong. In the past, to correct this you would need to power-cycle the unit, or reset it in some other way, but the auto-correct system stops this from happening.
One of my pet peeves about budget moving heads are strange, jarring glitches in their movement, so I’m very pleased to say that the pan and tilt operation on the Midas Spot is really smooth when you want it to be and incredibly fast when the party picks up pace. Ok, so it won’t go from one positional extreme to another in the blink of an eye, but it’s not far behind! This is an extremely quick and agile fixture. And the same can be said about the GOBO rotation, this can be slowed right down without any kind of ‘stepping’, so will look really neat at a wedding, for example, where you’ll want to set a nice romantic scene.
The Equinox Midas Spot itself is solid and made from sturdy materials that should stand up to the typical abuse that a fixture experiences during its life out on the road with a mobile DJ. It’s pretty quiet too, with the cooling fan being the most prominent noise source.
In terms of physical size, it’s reasonably compact with a tiny footprint. The quick-release omega clamp will allow you to position the Midas Spot on truss without the need for much spinach to get the 7kg fixture up there in the first place. And its chunky rubber feet mean that it can also stand directly on the floor of a venue or on a plinth or riser.
This fixture would be a good investment if you’re looking for a compact, yet powerful, moving head that provides lots of creative potential. Offering great performance and plenty of punch, this is an ideal mobile DJ mover perfect for both impressive mid-air effects (if you’re lucky enough to be in a venue that permits haze) and sharp, crisp GOBO projections. The future is certainly bright with the Midas Spot!
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 91, Pages 80-82.