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Battle of the Scrollers

26th August 1997

New styles of profile fixtures utilising the latest technology are now proving extremely popular, and to complement this new range of lanterns, many manufacturers have produced colour changers that attach to the front of the fixtures enabling them to be far more versatile and flexible. The two latest additions to this product group are the Chroma-Q Broadway and Gel-Stream 5". The interesting point with these products is that both are aimed at exactly the same market, yet are constructed quite differently to each other and each has their own advantages, depending on your application.

The Chroma-Q Broadway is a mass produced product with a low price tag. It is constructed from a UL listed composite material ensuring that it is extremely lightweight, whilst remaining fundamentally strong and safe. The unit also features a new, patented mechanism called CTS - Constant Tension System which ensures that the colour scroll stays even and constantly tensioned throughout its travel. With a capacity from 2 to 16 colours, the unit is virtually silent in operation whilst remaining smooth at all times. For complete versatility, each unit has its own DMX address with all units linked together via splitterboxes available in two sizes, one for 8 units and one for 18 units. The Chroma-Q Broadway comes from a history of success with the original Chroma-Q taking the concert industry by storm and selling more than 7,000 pieces within its first year of production. The Chroma-Q range of products are mass produced and, whilst retaining a high quality and reliability factor, enable their pricing to be far more competitive than other manufacturers.

The Gel-stream 5" has quite a different design, it is constructed from aluminium and has the power supply self contained within the unit itself, giving the user a number of advantages. Firstly, the need for extensive wiring and splitterboxes is negated completely, secondly if you are just in need of a couple of units the cost becomes less expensive than other low voltage systems, and thirdly if units need to be placed far away from each other, you do not have to cope with any of the limitations of cable lengths when linking fixtures. The Gel-Stream 5" also features a cassette loading scroll system, so when changing scrolls the complete unit does not have to be de-rigged. With a capacity of between 2 and 16 colours, the Gel-Stream 5" is extremely smooth in operation and very quiet. Due to its design the Gel-Stream 5" just needs to be supplied with a local, individual mains feed, and either a DMX or analogue signal, making it an extremely convenient solution, for many design situations. For stand alone use, the Gel-Stream 5" also has a selection of smooth, factory programmed, movements that can be played back. This is particularly ideal for situations where direct control over the unit is either not available, or not required.

Both units perform the same job effortlessly and efficiently but each has their own unique design features. It's very interesting to see two separate research companies approach the same project and view their individual results. I am not here to make any choices for you, the units are too different from each other for that to happen, but I hope that the information above can at least guide you in the right direction.