Us digital DJs are always on the lookout for smart, modern alternatives to pricy traditional gear – it’s just the way things are going, right? And we know from the “postbag” here at Digital DJ Tips that many of you are starting to get interested in adding lighting to your DJ rigs. So I was intrigued by the American DJ Inno Color Beam 12, a “moving head”-style of light that employs modern LED technology. I was especially interested because I’ve used lots of conventional moving head lighting in the past, with varying results. How would this match up?
Taking the unit out of the box, it has a decent weight and I was impressed with the overall construction. All the main parts are made of metal and the mounting kit is really heavy duty, so I am not afraid to mount this on a truss and let it spin full speed. Some parts are made of plastic, but the quality of the plastic and the coating is good and should hold up nicely.
Putting the display and the mode buttons on one side of the unit and all the connectors on the other side is also a good idea, as you do not have to grab through your cabling to reach the buttons and change your DMX address etc. Having an LED panel to adjust modes and dialing in the DMX address is also a welcome addition. Not that I hate jumpers, but it is much faster and more hassle-free.
Turning on the unit in a small studio like my home studio, of course, you notice the fan first. While it may sound disturbing in a low volume situation, as soon as you’re in any kind of real-world set-up (or even with the volume turned up medium at home!), of course, this isn’t an issue. The built-in modes and macros work very well and the sound-activated modes are nice, saving the need for it to be wired in for any more complex control.
You can adjust the sensitivity of the built-in microphone via a small dial at the back of the unit. The pan and tilt range is very good and can be inverted for different mounting options. The output of the LEDs is also very good and at the full output you can easily make it work even with other higher output ambient lighting in the room.
A small but well thought out feature is the addition of white LEDs in the unit. That means that if you need white light, you do not need to mix all three RGB colours, but instead, you can simply use the white LEDs. This makes the unit perfect for use it as a moving spotlight if you do not happen to have one yet. Of course, a real moving spot would give you more focus options, but for the usual spotlight during a wedding speech or similar events the spotlight the Inno Color Beam offers is quite sufficient. Such a small feature can help so much.
Where the unit really shines is when you hook it up to a lighting controller, as it can go 16 channels. (We walk you through all of them in the accompanying product video.) Suffice to say the DMX channels work well and the addition of several macro sliders for moving modes and colour fade and strobing options make for easy and fast programming of scenes and shows with the unit.
The American DJ Inno Color Beam 12 is a really solid LED moving head. It has all the features you would expect plus a wide range of pan and tilt movement and additional white LEDs. It shines in DMX 16 channel mode, but if you are a beginner the built-in sound activated modes are also very nice to start out.
If you are not yet into DMX you can also get an American DJ remote control for the unit, which plugs into the TRS plug on the back of the unit. So in our opinion, this unit might appeal to the beginner who is buying their first moving light, but could also be a solid addition to many a mobile DJ setups.
Combine this unit with some fixture LEDs and maybe an LED flower or scanner and you would have a really good and affordable mobile light show. However since the light output of the unit is really good and you have a lot less heat production using LEDs, I can see this unit also appealing to a lot of pro users and fixed installations in clubs.
Are you thinking of taking your first dive into adding some lighting to your DJ set-up? Do you own one of these? Please share your thoughts in the comments.