LXQ: Imported LED Fixtures and Their Mystique – Learn Stage Lighting .com

LXQ: Imported LED Fixtures and Their Mystique

Lighting Questions are sent in from readers of our FREE email newsletter, or via our contact page.  With the permission of the writers, we share the Q&A here so that we can help others with the same questions!


LED lighting

Photo Credit: Kalwa via Compfight cc

Justin wrote in with a GREAT question about cheap LED fixtures and their programming.

I’m going to give you my response and then add to it some more information that may be helpful with mysterious cheap LED lights.

Justin writes:

I bought some LED bar wash lights.  The description said that it can be voice/sound controlled, but i can’t figure it out. Any help would be great.

(Justin also included a manual for these LED fixtures, which I reference in my response)


Justin, The manual says hit “function” until you see “A001” for “voice”. I think that’s what they are calling their sound activation.

Do not connect DMX if you want sound activation, it probably will stop it!

If this doesn’t work, keep playing around, but there may or may not be a way to actually make it work…I’ve seen a ton of different imported LED fixtures. Some work well, others don’t work like the manual says at all – it’s very hit or miss!

Thanks again!,


Further Thoughts:

Imported Asian LED fixtures can really be a hit and miss experience.

Cheap LED Lighting

Photo from Roberto Verzo on Flickr

Sometimes you get the box open, pull out the fixture and the manual and have a working light that does what you need within 5 minutes. In other circumstances, like Justin’s, the manual may be very confusing and obviously not written by a natural English speaker.  Sometimes it looks like they  just put it into Google Translate to get the translation.

Other times, the manual just doesn’t match the fixture, and when you try to follow it, nothing works. This can be really, really frustrating.  If you have the time and a basic lighting console, you can bring up faders to try and figure out what DMX channels do what.

Keep these few things in mind when trying to determine DMX channels:

  • Simple LED fixtures may use as many as 7 or more channels, or just 3!
  • Fixtures may have a master that needs to be up in addition to other channels.  This can get very tough to figure out.
  • Even if you buy more of a fixture you already own, it may have a different channel layout if it was made in a different factory, so be prepared to test again.

You know, it may seem like a really great idea on paper to buy cheap fixtures.  And for the right person, who will take the time to figure out the fixture, it’s can be a great idea.

However, if you don’t have the expertise, or just want a fixture to work out of the box, you can still find great LED fixtures for affordable prices. Companies such as American DJ, Elation, and Chauvet all have cheap fixtures in their product lines.  Blizzard Lighting is a newcomer that has some really impressive offerings as well in the LED lighting market.

Here are a few of their quality, cheap LED products.  These are lights that will match the manual, have real people on the other end of the phone and will work for you!

Head over to my new post “What Lights Should I Buy” for more in-depth information and recommendations!

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