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16 Nov 2015

Review: PR Lighting XR1000 Framing

Moving head with framing shutters

At the time of writing, the PR Lighting XR Series comprised no less than 17 models, ranging from the tiny little XR130 units right up to the XR1000 models. One of which we’re reviewing today – specifically the framing model.

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The XR1000 Framing has a feature set which is comparable to fixtures costing twice as much, so I was pretty curious to see how well it would perform when put to the test.

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Let’s start with some basics: like nearly every other moving head around, the XR1000 Framing has a pan range of 540 degrees and a tilt range of about 280 degrees. The texture uses an Osram Lok-it! HTI 1000W metal halide lamp, which is certainly not an insignificant source. Consequently it requires a fair bit of cooling, and with it, expectedly, a decent amount of noise. This is not uncommon with high wattage discharge sourced fixtures, and the XR1000 certainly isn’t the loudest I’ve ever heard.

The internal cooling system has three modes, but I found they all made basically the same amount of noise as each other, so I just left the fan on normal mode. Interestingly enough, this seems to be where the noise ends. Pan and tilt functions are eerily quiet, though at close to 3 seconds for a lock to lock pan and almost 2 seconds for the same operation in tilt, the XR1000 Framing certainly isn’t about to win any races for movement speed.

Beam features are well catered, beginning with colour systems – there’s a 7 position (plus open) wheel, plus linear CTO, and CYM colour mixing (I can only think of one other manufacturer who calls it CYM). Dual gobo wheels each provide 7 gobo positions plus open, and one of the wheels allows for gobo rotation. There’s a 5-100% iris, 11-51 degree zoom, and a rotatable 3 facet prism. Add to this a frost filter, double shutter/strobe blades, and a framing shutter mechanism and it becomes apparent the XR1000 Framing is quite comprehensively kitted out.

Being the suspicious type who likes to pull things apart, I removed the covers from the fixture head. Each cover is secured with 6x captive screws and a heatshrink-covered internal safety wire. Everything inside appears pretty solid if a little on the cluttered side. It’s not the most easily serviceable head I’ve ever looked inside of, but if it’s as well put together as it appears that won’t be so much of a concern. It certainly weighs enough…

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Physically handling the XR1000 Framing is really a two- person job. There are handles at each side of the base but the plethora of included optical features means the head is just as heavy, so it doesn’t balance easily. Other physical elements worth note are the dual 3 and 5 pin XLR connectors for DMX connectivity, included wireless DMX (complete with a little antenna), and RDM capability. DMX control requires 30, 36 or 51 channels if you go for extended mega 16 bit mode. I tested the unit in extended mode and was pleased with the level of precision afforded by the fixture. I framed up a rectangle on a wall in the studio then manually tilted and twisted the head around. The XR1000 Framing managed to get back to the same position on the wall.

Because of the way the framing shutter mechanism is built, it’s impossible to get super sharp edges on all four blades simultaneously – it gets close but you’ll always compromise one way or the other. What it does do very well is allow you to use any single shutter to cross the entire path of the beam. Each shutter can also be tilted independently, and the whole framing mechanism can be rotated back or forth 90 degrees.

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The other functions all work largely as expected. At extremely small aperture it’s possible to discern the individual leaves of the iris mechanism, but I think this trait is common to many fixtures. The LCD menu takes a little getting used to – accessing the menu requires a press and hold of the enter button, and the key marked ‘FUNC’ should really just say ‘ESC’, since that’s what it actually does.

All up the XR1000 seems like a decent kind of deal. While the light output is respectable, it’s not as visibly bright as its more expensive peers. The construction seems solid but I don’t think it’s especially efficient or elegantly done, which makes it heavy. For these reasons I don’t think it would be my first choice for touring, but for permanent install applications I think it has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to value. After all, two heads for the price of one is hard to beat…

  • Brand:PR Lighting
  • Model:XR1000 Framing
  • RRP: AUD$12,965.00 inc GST
  • Product Info: www.pr-lighting.com
  • Distributor: www.jands.com.au

First published in CX Magazine (November, 2015)

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