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Martin MAC Encore Performance

by PLSN Staff • in
  • Articles
  • December 2017
  • Road Tests
• Created: December 14, 2017
Martin MAC Encore Performance

I recently got a chance to test the Martin MAC Encore Performance fixtures from Harman, which are available in two versions — the WRM, or “warm” version, and CLD, or “cold” version. (As of last month’s LDI, Martin added the MAC Encore Wash, also in warm and cool versions, but here, I’ll just focus on the two versions of the MAC Encore Performance.) After playing with the Performance, I concluded that it is perfect for working with cameras.

‡‡Rear view of the Martin MAC Encore Performance WRM 

        Around the Unit

The fixture is compact, despite offering many options. At first glance, it’s easy to see the resemblance of the fixture to other familiar Martin products. The sleek body is designed to wrap tightly around the internal workings. The fixture stands less than 30 inches in height and weighs 68 pounds, so one-man lifting is simple, especially with the new designed handles attached to the yoke. In the back is the LED Engine, surrounded by a cooling system that has a massive cooling block, eight silent fans and ventilation grills. The black outer casing is made of high-impact, flame-retardant thermoplastic.

Martin performed some stringent R&D on LED products to specifically design their own unique light engine. With this in mind, they have two different models. While they both utilize white LEDs and have a CMY color mixing system for maximum efficiency, they vary in output for reasons that were explained to me. The higher the color temperature of the output in white, the more efficient the light will be.

Harman's LDI booth shows the output of the two models on the screens above. Photo by Mike Wharton

‡‡         WRM and CLD Differences

The warm color version emits a default beam with a color temperature of 3000° Kelvin, while the daylight version is at 6000°. The cool daylight model has 1/3 more output than its brother. With the LED system, the user is guaranteed to have a better consistent color over the lifespan of the fixture. The user will never have to experience the dreaded “green shift” as the bulb ages.

The color temperature of the fixture can alter the color mixing ability of the two fixtures. Though they have a new dichroic color system specifically made for this line of fixtures, it’s easy to see the differences when side to side. The warm model can mix a deep blood red color and still have a good output. It is designed to look good in saturated colors along those hues. Magenta looks bolder and punchier as well. But when you go over to the cool engine, that’s where the greens, blues and lavender colors really stand out.

Now the good news is that each of these fixtures comes with a variable color temperature wheel that one can mix into the light to either raise or lower the color temperature. The warm model has a variable CTB as opposed to a CTO wheel. They both stay precise to the curve — brilliant for camera work. Side by side, I was able to get the color to match perfectly in half CTO and CTB. Yes, I could notice the difference in brightness between the two. The LED output is totally flicker-free and compatible with any shutter speed on a camera. The field is extremely flat, with only the slightest of dimming around the outer edge.

It’s the perfectly smooth and flat color mixing that’s knocking me out here. One can mix an amber color and shine it on the wall without seeing any resemblance of red or yellow tints anywhere in the field. There’s also a dichroic color wheel with six interchangeable slots. It can bump through several colors unnoticeably at a fast time as well as emit half colors.

The dimming and typical strobe effects are all done electronically through the light engine. One can choose among the various dimmer curves as well as add in tungsten red-shift emulation. They also feature something called the Animotion FX System. This consists of internal dimming effect macros for some cool projection effects. I believe the macros fire different blocks of LEDs in the light engine at various rates and directions for a quasi-strobe/flickering output effect.

‡‡         Optics, Frost and Gobos

The shape of the beam can be manipulated in all the usual ways. They have a four blade framing system that can rotate 55°. It is fast, but one blade cannot wipe across the entire field by itself. There is a precise motorized iris with built in FX as well as a zoom with a 1:4 ratio that can go from 12-48°.

There is a variable soft frost. When in at full it, softens the edge of the fixture only. Martin does offer an optional heavier frost flag.

Gobo-wise we are limited to a single wheel with five interchangeable indexable and
rotating gobos. The stock choice contains both texture and aerial choices of glass gobos. There is a full animation wheel in this product to augment the gobo wheel. Water and fire effects are simple to make.

‡‡         Silent Movements

The fixture moves very well and executes circles flawlessly using an effects engine.
Martin is using three phase stepping motors this time along with dampers that eliminate any noise.

Silent operation in every part of the fixture was something they strove for from the start with this design. I hit the reset function on the lamp. It moves around, but I don’t see anything else happening. I can’t hear anything — it almost seems like I doused it instead of homing the light. It is that quiet.

The Martin MAC Encore Performance takes 38 channels of DMX and is RDM-compliant. The fixture’s luminous output is 9200 Lumens (WRM version) with a CRI of 90. Overall, these fixtures draw around 600 watts each at full (maximum). Auto sensing power supply is fed 100-240V AC through a Neutrik True 1 connector. There is a two-unit flight case with a rubber molded insert inside for each fixture. Each unit is rated IP20 for indoor use or dry applications.

At a Glance:

Quiet, Compact and Camera-Friendly

The Martin MAC Encore Performance fixtures from Harman are available in two white LED light source versions: WRM (3000K) and CLD (6000K). They are quiet, compact, precise and, because of their flat field, flicker-free performance and precise control over color temperatures and mixing, they were awarded a PLSN Gold Star Award for Best New Light for the Camera (See related story, this issue, starting on page 22). While ideal for use with studio or theater applications, these fixtures would still be a good choice for live events.

MAC Encore Performance

PROS: Silent operation, perfectly flat field of both dimming and color, Small footprint, lightweight.

CONS: Wish it was a little brighter.


  • CMY color mixing
  • Six-slot color wheel
  • 5 rotating glass gobos
  • 4 framing shutter blades
  • Variable CTO or CTB
  • Animation wheel
  • Variable frost and motorized iris
  • Flicker-free operation
  • Animotion FX system
  • Silent pan/tilt


  • Light Source: 3000K (WRM), 6000K (CLD)
  • Wattage: Just under 600W
  • Zoom Range: 12-48°
  • Size: 17.8” x 18.9” x 28.9”
  • Weight: 68.4 lbs.
  • MSRP: Contact Dealer
  • Manufacturer: Harman/Martin
  • More Info: www.harman.com,  www.martin.com

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