By Dan Ferrisi

The word “freedom” is among the most powerful in the English language, calling to mind philosophical principles of liberty and the very human desire to be unchained; however, less lofty but just as meaningful, it also refers to the idea of mobility and being able to roam about without having to be “plugged in.” It is this second definition that Chauvet’s Freedom series, which includes Freedom Par, Freedom Strip Mini, Freedom Charge P and Freedom Charge S, taps into. The Music & Sound Retailer spoke to Nick Airriess, Chauvet DJ Product Specialist, to gain insight into the Freedom series’ conception, the products’ technical abilities, to whom they are targeted and why they represent important additions to the market.

With the Freedom series, the company sought to reach a more budget-conscious market—wedding DJs, bands and other mobile performers, for example—looking for a blend of high quality and affordability. The company also wanted to emphasize 100-percent, true wireless technology. According to Airriess, “We wanted to make sure that these were completely wireless: battery, DMX, remote control…everything.” Finally, ease of use was also at front of mind in conceiving the Freedom series, the idea being that anyone who does mobile gigs can glance at the manual and be ready to roll.

The first two models to be released—Freedom Par, a par can wall wash, and Freedom Strip Mini, a strip-type wall wash—set the tone for a series that truly embodies innovation. They have a built-in D-Fi 2.4GHz transceiver so they can send and receive signals. Another technical commonality that the products, and many of Chauvet’s fixtures, have is compatibility with IRC: Infrared Remote Control. Airriess also zeroed in on DMX outputs, mentioning in particular the Link output. “You can actually connect multiple fixtures together to make unique effects, without having to address them separately on DMX,” he explained. “They can make patterns and programs and things like that that match each other when they’re set in master/slave mode.”

The Freedom Par is a par wash light that can also be an effect light. It has a beam of 21° and a field of 39°, meaning that it covers a wall very effectively. “Again,” began Airriess, “I can’t emphasize enough the 100-percent wireless technology. It has a battery. It has wireless control, that being the IR remote control, the wireless DMX or D-Fi system. Or, you can just control it right off the display on the unit.” It has 198 RGB LEDs, which serve to ensure adequate brightness, but it is also very efficient with respect to battery life. The catalog promises six to eight hours of usage, but, according to Airriess, “We’ve had them last upwards of 20 hours!” And, at nine inches wide, eight-and-a-half inches deep and eight inches tall, it couldn’t be more portable.

Turning to the Freedom Strip Mini, it boasts 192 RGB LEDs and has the same type of beam angle (very wide). “One nice thing about the Strip,” remarked Airriess, “is that it also has our linking technology, which enables you to plug one into another, or wirelessly have everything link down the line. You can have a color chase go down a line of, say, four Strips.” It has the same battery and infrared technology already discussed, as well as an equally portable form factor—two inches wide by 90 inches long and five-and-a-half inches deep—that allows it to fit in many tight places. It is 6.2lb. (the Par is 7.8lb.), reinforcing both products’ portability.

So, to whom, specifically, is the Freedom series being targeted? “We’re catering to mobile DJs, bands and every type of mobile entertainer who wants a convenient, easy-to-use up-lighting system that is 100-percent wireless,” Airriess declared. “The main thing is they’re affordable, intensely bright, lightweight and compact, but they also have a lot of battery life.” And, the products give users a great deal of control over how they use them. “We give them a lot of options,” Airriess affirmed, citing IRC control and the ability to pick specific colors and programs from the unit itself. “Mobile entertainers get requests for specific colors, so having this type of control over these units is perfect.”

The series comprises more than just those two products, though, so it’s important also to mention the Freedom Charge P and Freedom Charge S. The former is a durable, rolling road case that safely transports and charges Freedom Par fixtures, whereas the latter transports and charges Freedom Strip Mini fixtures. Each one can accommodate four fixtures, transporting them without worry about bumps or breaking while, at the same time, charging them.

To make a completely wireless up-lighting system, Chauvet also introduces the Obey 4 D-Fi 2.4, which is an Obey 4 controller with a built-in D-Fi transmitter. The wireless controller is compatible with the Freedom series and eliminates the need to run cables from your controller to your fixtures.

If you take a public opinion poll and ask whether people love “freedom,” you’ll get as close to unanimity as you’ll ever find about anything. It is appropriate, then, that enthusiasm for the Freedom series has been remarkably high. “People love that they’re true wireless,” declared Airriess. “You don’t have to worry about cabling, and you don’t have to worry about finding power.” It could be said that, in the lighting space, the time has come to—pardon the cliché—Let Freedom Ring.

The MSRPs for the products are Freedom Par (RGB): $369.99; Freedom Strip (RGB): $369.99; Freedom Charge P: $419.99; and Freedom Charge S: $419.99.

Freedom Par and Strip are available now. Freedom Charge P, Freedom Charge S and Obey 4 D-Fi 2.4 will be available later this fall.

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