• Price: Freedom Stick: US$149 each
  • | Swarm Wash FX: US$249
  • Rating:

Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick & Swarm Wash FX Review

Last updated 8 November, 2018

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The Lowdown

The Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick is a free-standing wireless battery-powered LED array that’s got included lighting programmes and can even be pixel-mapped for stunning light shows. They’re great for mobile DJs who are looking to add something different to their booth set-up, and the built-in sound-to-light programmes are fantastic. The Chauvet DJ Swarm Wash FX, on the other hand, is a 4-in-1 lighting fixture that has an RGB wash, lasers, a derby and strobe lights, making it a solid multi-effect lighting option. Though pricey, both of these products would benefit mobile pros who already have lighting basics in their rig and are looking to stand out. Recommended.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

If you’ve been doing mobile DJ shows for a while now, you probably already have a basic gigging rig: your DJ gear, PA system, and lighting. As you gain more experience and build a reputation, you’ll bag more diverse functions, often with more demanding clients. That’s when you start adding more or bigger loudspeakers, maybe a subwoofer or two, and augmenting your standard lighting washes and other static lights with more dynamic and unique fixtures. The Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick and Swarm Wash FX fit those roles perfectly: they’re for intermediate mobile jocks who want to add a more distinct look to their lighting rig.

Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick

The Freedom Stick can be positioned vertically thanks to its heavy duty base, or mounted horizontally to trusses via a separate clamp.

The Freedom Stick is a rugged, transparent stick that looks like a lightsaber. It’s got LEDs onboard, has a heavy duty base, a rechargeable battery, and can be controlled wirelessly via DMX, allowing you to communicate with other Freedom Sticks in the vicinity for some synchronised light shows. It also comes with a remote that you can use to control the lights.

Setting them up on their stands is easy – you just screw the square base plates onto the sticks (the Freedom Stick Pack comes with four sticks and a custom carrying case) and they can stand vertically. You can also mount them to trusses with clamps if you want to, though the clamps are sold separately.

Getting them to communicate and sync with each other took a while to set up, mainly because it’s the first time they’re being set up. Each Freedom Stick is a transceiver, meaning each one can send and receive DMX data, so you have to do a bit of configuring at the start. Once I got them working, it was relatively painless in subsequent uses.

Chauvet DJ Swarm Wash FX

The Swarm Wash FX gives you four lighting effects in one easy-to-mount package.

The Swarm Wash FX is a fixture that’s got four different types of lighting onboard: an RGB+UV wash, an RGBW rotating derby, white strobes and red / green laser lights. Instead of packing all four of these separately and hooking them up one by one on your lighting tree, the Swarm Wash FX gives you all of them in one unit that’s easy to set up. It’s powered by a three-prong socket (IEC cable) and can be controlled via the included remote.

In Use

Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick

I positioned four Freedom Sticks behind me in the Digital DJ Tips studio and filmed a short back-to-back performance video together with Juanmi (our Admin Manager at Digital DJ Tips). The lights looked great on video and added a distinct vibe to both the rear wall and the room. This is why the Freedom Sticks are well-suited for jazzing up the space behind you as you DJ, which is somewhat of an afterthought for most mobile DJs.

The built-in presets are useful, and there are many to choose from, including static / dynamic colour shifts, chase modes, and automated sound-active programmes that react in time with the music. That’s what makes the Freedom Stick so powerful – you can set it and forget it without your lighting looking bland or redundant, which is what happens with less-capable lighting fixtures that have sound-active features onboard.

Chauvet DJ Swarm Wash FX

The Swarm Wash FX provides more specialised lights into a single package. This makes it attractive to one-man mobile pros and gigging DJs because it cuts the set up time considerably, plus it saves a lot of space in both your lighting tree and car / van / truck.

As mentioned, there are four lighting effects in here: an RGB+UV wash for washing colours in your venue, a rotating RGBW derby which lets you throw different shapes on the dancefloor, red and green lasers with different patterns, and a ring of white strobe lights. The Swarm Wash FX comes with a variety of modes and programmes including sound-active ones, and you can choose which effects to trigger based on the programmes, or you can set the Swarm Wash FX to cycle through all the onboard lights.

There’s a lot of thoughtful flexibility and versatility here, which is key since you’re basically managing four different types of effects. We liked how the derby and strobes can create a more dynamic atmosphere for the dancefloor. Though am not a big fan of laser lights, I liked the variety of laser patterns included in the Swarm Wash FX, and I wouldn’t mind having them on sparingly during my wedding after parties.

Conclusion

The Chauvet DJ Freedom Stick and Swarm Wash FX are intermediate lighting fixtures that can help set your mobile DJ lighting rig apart. The Freedom Sticks lets you add a unique backdrop to your performances, whether that’s at a function or a live streaming DJ set, and the Swarm Wash FX is an all-around effects fixture that saves you space, time (and money) when it comes to setting up and striking down after a show. Adding a pack of four Freedom Sticks and a pair of Swarm Wash FXs to your set-up can turn a standard lighting rig into a distinct and versatile one that’s capable of servicing and impressing a wider variety of functions and clients. Recommended.

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