October 2012 Issue
Road Tests

Ayrton Wildsun 500

Ayrton Wildsun 500I am staring at perhaps the coolest LED moving head on the planet. Ayrton, the French lighting manufacturer, has released the latest advance in LED technology. In extended mode, the operator has individual control of four separate rings of RGBW modules exposed in a circular array — 31 individual 13W, flicker-free LED modules that give out a collective 10,000-lumen punch; blindingly bright.

Pure Hues, Cool FX

I am playing with the Wildsun 500C today. This fixture is designed to mix every color from the primary basics to the subtlest pastels. Every color I mix is a pure saturated beam. No evidence of anything but one uniform color is emitted from the front covered, protected array of LEDs. That is, until I start separating the rings of color into various combinations. This is the finest display of a mixed color beam I have seen out of an LED head anywhere. I put the two outside rings in a primary green, while placing the center seven LED modules in solid white. I am pleasantly surprised to notice a white beam with green bands of color surrounding it. I shine it on a wall, and it is noticeable. I write a chase that swaps the greens and white and I get a cool effect on the object I am lighting.

In extended mode, I have separate control of the four LED rings, or “circular arrays.” I can write rather cool effects immediately or personalized chases of the colors. Or I can just use the one dedicated channel that contains seven different color macros. Another DMX channel is used to control the rate of these effects. Besides the individual option of mixing my own color combinations, the Wildsun has another dedicated channel that has plenty of premixed colors to choose from. Previously hard colors to mix in LED fixtures are no problem for this beauty. I am staring at amazing lavender and blue green colors that are a first for me. This wheel also contains various color settings for CTB and CTO color temperatures. The wheel seems to override the individual RGBW color mixing knobs, though. I can’t seem to color mix an amber, then add a CTO from the wheel on top.

500C vs. 500S

Optics-wise, this model has the LED modules encased in a 45mm high-output lens. They look a tad strange to the eye, but are not noticeable when the fixture is emitting any light. They are in here to make for a bright, fat beam of light. The linear zoom capabilities appear to be approximately 20° to 50° to my eye. I was concerned that this light does not zoom tightly. Then I realized that the people at Ayrton have an identical fixture (the “S” model) made more for live stage applications. It can zoom down to a wafer-thin 8°. They simply removed the optics lens surrounding the LED modules to accomplish this.

Hardware wise, the fixture is larger than all the other LED moving light fixtures I have played with. The diameter of the face alone is a foot wide, while the whole body is a bit less than 22 inches tall by 18 inches wide. It may weigh 50 pounds, but they were smart enough to include handles on either side of the base. Locking pan and tilt mechanisms make it a breeze to slide into the pre-form hardened foam that it arrives inside the cardboard shipping container to protect the fixture. The buyer can utilize this foam enclosure; fitting into their own flight case design of choice. The fixture itself is made of a durable, PC molded fire-resistant substance that surrounds an aluminum frame. The electronic ballast can accept any voltage from 110-240 and the fixture does have an IP20 rating.

Cool to the Touch, Too

The fixture can pan 540° in under a second. The 16-bit pan and tilt is quite smooth in slow movement effects. It reacts to a circle effect from my console flawlessly AND quietly. Even the fans are quiet. Upon closer inspection, I see there are fans located in the rear of the head as well as the base of the fixture. They go off automatically when the fixture is cool. Even after I had the light on for 30 minutes straight, it’s barely warm to the touch. This is probably due to this space-aged looking cooling system. From the side you can see three giant heat shrinks inside the side vents. The fixture comes with a specially designed heat transfer fluid to cool it down.

The dimmer is one single channel. The 16-bit fade in and out is smooth and linear. There is a second channel dedicated to strobes, but besides having all the usual strobe rates and random functions. I found a whole bunch of pre-made macros full of dimmer chases of all sorts. The beam shape drastically changes as each ring chases in every conceivable eye candy pattern. Of course, I feel the need to add in one of the premade color macros and voilà, a big kaleidoscope appears.

The fixture has a built-in wireless DMX receptor and antenna. It can easily accept DMX from an emitter or a hard-wired 3- or 5-pin XLR from your console of choice. It can also run as a stand alone fixture, complete with built-in sequences of cues or whatever you wish to program into a scene. The fixtures can also be set up in a master/slave configuration to run in this mode. A built-in microphone can enable a “music control” mode on it as well. Through a well-thought-out side display, one can set a timer for the fixture to run cues and all the other personality settings and DMX addressing. Backed by an internal battery, there is no need to turn the fixture on to adjust these settings.

Morpheus Lights out of Las Vegas distributes the Wildsun line of fixtures in the U.S. Besides the Wildsun 500C and S models, they also offer the “K” series of fixtures for white light applications. The “K3” emits 3200° Kelvin, the “K7” emits 6700° Kelvin, and the “KD” spits out light between 3000° and 7000° Kelvin. The Wildsun 200 (a smaller version of the 500S) is also available.


Ayrton Wildsun 500

Pros: Excellent scenic wash light, great color mixing ability. Great eye candy effects, and a nice rock ‘n’ roll light beam

Cons: Cannot add a separate color correction into the actual RGBW colors.

How Much: $7,503 (list price)


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