24 Aug 2015

Review: Martin MAC Viper AirFX

Something in the air

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The product video on the Martin website claims AirFX provides “versatile efficiency”, and after spending some time with the unit I can certainly substantiate this. It’s definitely not the ‘one trick pony’ the name could lead you to believe it might be, with solid performance on both aerial effect and wash light duties.

AirFX is a moving head with a 1000W discharge lamp. In Australia at 240V it draws almost dead on 5A, so you can power two per circuit. Power input is PowerCon with no loop through – presumably to avoid the temptation of excessive daisy chaining. Menu is a straightforward backlit LCD affair with a navigation encoder which you press for enter. An unlabeled escape key and rocker style power switch complete the on-board controls.


You can rig the AirFX in any orientation you want using the twin Omega clamp brackets – the fixture doesn’t care how it sits. Control is 20 or 28 DMX channels, the difference between the two modes being 16 bit control for dimmer, zoom and focus. The fixture can be fitted with an optional ‘Quadray’ module, which activates additional control channels beyond the 28 normally used in extended mode.


The Viper AirFX has all the features you’d expect from a modern moving head – CMY colour mixing, CTO from 6000 (native) to 3200K as well as a fixed colour wheel with seven positions (plus open). Pan range is 540 degrees, tilt range 268, and zoom range is 11 to 59 degrees. There’s an iris function and a wash effect which can fade or snap in and out. Two gobo wheels are available, one of which is rotatable and indexable (the aerial effects wheel). There’s no prism, but there is a selection of variable and random strobe and pulse effects built right in.

Something you might not know about without reading the book or stumbling on the menu option is the zoom and focus linking function. You can set this up at three different ranges so that focus tracks with zoom movement – a nice programming timesaver! Another timesaver is the shortcut menu – just hold the escape key to quickly access this menu which includes lamp on/off, fixture reset, and display flip functions. The full menu gives control over the fixture personality, including things like dimming curve selection (with a choice of four options).


At around 35kg, the AirFX isn’t exactly lightweight. At this kind of weight and price point you’d expect some pretty boss performance from the unit, and AirFX absolutely delivers it. Running the unit up in open white the 34,500 Lumens output spec is certainly believable – undoubtedly the 160mm front lens helps. Some blue colour fringing is noticeable in the unfocussed beam when you project it onto a surface, but considering the fixture is more about mid-air effects it’s certainly within acceptable limits.


The gobo wheels are great – a nice selection of image choices and when used together you can achieve a wide variety of different looks. Colours are solid and convincing. The fixture is significantly quieter than I expected for something with this kind of output – certainly not dead silent, but equally nowhere near as loud as it could be.

In a time when everything is smaller and more efficient, a big fixture such as the AirFX really needs to offer good performance as well as versatility to justify its place in the world. With solid beam choices, a good wash effect, great colour and plenty of output, the AirFX offers both these attributes. Martin has done some great online support for the AirFX, including Vectorworks CAD symbols, and even a user maintenance schedule. In a time when non-LED fixtures need to offer more to compete, the MAC Viper AirFX seems to me very much the complete package.

  • Brand:  Martin
  • Model:  MAC Viper AirFX
  • RRP: $17,499.00 inc GST
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