Product Review: Martin MAC TW1 Fixture

In Uncategorizedby tfwm

If you want a quiet and bright wash fixture that will match all of the tungsten halogen front lights, then you should look at the Martin TW1. I have one about five feet away while I write this; it’s running through a sequence of cues and it is hard to hear it. It is not however hard to see it, in fact I have to be careful not to look into the light or risk not seeing anything for a while.

This is not a fancy fixture, in that it has few bells and whistles, however it is a workhorse fixture to have in your arsenal.

Starting at the back of the fixture we have a 1200 watt tungsten halogen lamp. If matching color temperatures will be an issue when adding moving lights to your plot, then this makes life easier. The recommended manufacturer is Phillips; the lamp is from their Fast Fit series designed for quick lamp changes. The lamp is rated at 3200 K with a CRI of 100, and an average life of 300 hours. The lamps come in 4 voltages; 80, 115, 230, and 240 volts, with the highest lumen output in the 80 volt version (33600 lumens).

Since this is a Tungsten Halogen lamp there is an onboard electronic IGBT dimmer, and a mechanical dimmer/ shutter. The IGBT dimmer comes in two flavors; 80 volt and multi-voltage. When using the multi-voltage dimmer choose the lamp voltage to match the incoming voltage. The mains power supply is auto sensing so the unit will work anywhere. The internal dimmers are a plug and play option so that you can carry alternate dimmers and lamps if you so desire. One last option for dimming of the lamp is through use of an external dimmer by way of a Neutrik Powercon connector located next to the power cable.

Some of you may ask why you need a mechanical dimmer if you have an electronic one. The answer is, video. When you reduce intensity with a dimmer, the tungsten halogen lamp will also change in color temperature. This shift towards the red end of the spectrum is not desirable for work with cameras. The mechanical dimmer does not affect color temperature, only intensity.

The fixture comes apart with remarkable ease. Within a few minutes the complete effects assembly can be removed for bench servicing. The effects module consists of a fixed convex lens and a zoom lens on two worm screws. Behind the fixed lens are the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow dichroic wheels, and the shutter. The dichroic wheels are designed as arcs of color starting as points and increasing to full coverage. By utilizing so much of the circle, they achieve excellent color blending.

The fan system is quite interesting. They have one fan mounted on the effects module to cool the internal area around it. What makes it most interesting is the shock mount they developed to help reduce the mechanical noise from the fan.

On the opposite side of the housing they have shock mounted a fan that has two hoses to duct the air around the lamp. Through software you are able to choose from three fan settings. You can choose full, where the fans run all of the time, regulated where they are thermostatically controlled, and off, where they do not run unless convection cooling is insufficient and then they run only until thermostatic convection cooling will work. Because the lamp in the unit shuts off completely, the convection cooling can help achieve silent operation when the unit is not on all the time.

The unit has two DMX512 options, 16-bit Basic, and 16-bit Enhanced. In the basic mode only pan and tilt are 16-bit. In the enhanced mode you have 16-bit or fine control, over six more attributes including dimmer/electronic, dimmer/mechanical, cyan wheel, magenta wheel, yellow wheel, and the zoom lens.

There are two additional lenses as accessories, a Very Wide, and a Narrow lens set. Two Omega brackets with 1/4 turn fasteners are included for pipe or truss mounting. Physically the fixture is 179”L x 14.3”W x 27.9”H with the head straight up. With the IGBT dimmer it weighs in at 59.1 lbs and 60.4 lbs. with the 80v dimmer module. The fixture draws 10.7 amps at 115 v, 60 Hz. Remember this so you don’t try and connect two of them to one 20 amp breaker.
In operational tests the fixture performed well moving from color to color cleanly and quietly spinning from place to place.

There has been a need for a fixture of this caliber for some time now. It is only with the development of improved tungsten halogen lamps that a fixture with matching color temperature and enough intensity has become a reality.

Stephen Ellison works with Avcon Inc. and he is the Lighting Editorial Advisor for TFWM. He has been involved in theatre since his days in high school, before the days of memory consoles.