Of all the diverse segments of the music products market, perhaps none has experienced stronger growth—and more rapid technological evolution—than the lighting segment has. And, among companies that serve the MI industry’s lighting needs, few offer Blizzard Lighting’s potent blend of great products, real value and dedicated support. The company, which was founded in 2010 and which calls Waukesha WI its home, is indisputably on a growth track, a point that Will Komassa, President and CEO, underscored. “In the grand scheme of things,” he began, “Blizzard is still a young, growing company. But we’ve really made great strides in five years.” He continued, “We’re gaining market share every day.” One of the reasons for Blizzard’s ascendance is its continual product innovation, a fact perhaps best exemplified by the company’s latest creation: the LB-Par Hex.

When Blizzard released the original Puck line of fixtures in 2010, they were just what consumers in the MI space were looking for. In recent years, though, the company has devoted more resources to developing products at the higher end of the spectrum. “The Puck products have had a long, great life,” Komassa opined, “but we decided it was time for a big-time upgrade.” He continued, “Our LB-Par products are an extension of the same design guidelines that made Puck so great.” Blizzard started working on the LB-Pars in mid-2014, and the company progressed quickly through design and prototyping; the first batch shipped earlier this year. “We ‘torture test’ our fixtures pretty severely,” Komassa noted, “and the LBs were no exception.” The test team left them running at full power in a variety of very lighting-unfriendly conditions. “And the only problem,” he joked, “was running out of scrap paper to play ‘hangman’ with while waiting for something to happen!”

The LB-Par Hex, which boasts 12 extremely bright 15-watt RGBAW+UV six-in-one LEDs, offers the ability to create nearly any rich, vibrant color imaginable. “The color gamut is outstanding,” Komassa affirmed. He continued, “The amber LEDs make for incredible warm tones and very interesting lime greens, as well. The white LEDs give you a massive number of pastels, and, obviously, the UV LEDs make black-light-reactive stuff possible.” And, beyond that, the UV LEDs create incredible pinks and purples that, without them, you simply could not get. “In fact,” Komassa added, “I’d say the most ‘wow’ color I’ve ever seen come from an LED fixture is possible only by mixing red and UV.” With the LB-Par Hex’s six-in-one RGBAW+UV LEDs, the possibilities are virtually unlimited.

As you would expect from a Blizzard Lighting product, LB-Par Hex’s feature set is impressive: full-color mixing in standalone, master/slave and DMX modes; built-in automated programs via master/slave; and built-in, sound-activated programs via master/slave. “The five different dimming modes are really a great feature, too,” Komassa enthused. “They get rid of that annoying ‘steppiness’ that you can get with eight-bit dimming, and they can also be used to emulate ‘old-timey’ incandescent fixtures and to smooth out fades.” Plus, Blizzard has replaced IEC power connectors with POWERCON-compatible power-in/power-out jacks. “The yoke for the fixture is a two-piece affair,” Komassa added, “so you can easily set these on the ground or clamp them to your preferred clampable surface.”

Asked about feedback received and whether any comments came as a surprise, Komassa replied with a chuckle, saying, “Honestly, it surprised me how many people were ogling these at NAMM! We had this huge booth with probably 200 fixtures in it—some $4,000 moving heads and all this pixel mapping stuff—and more people picked up the LB-Par Hex than any other fixture.” The Blizzard team has heard numerous positive comments, both during the show and afterward: compliments about the build quality, the output and, of course, the price. “They’re a really tremendous value, and I think they’re going to be a great product for us for quite a while,” said Komassa, his enthusiasm evident.

Perhaps the single most attractive characteristic of the LB-Par Hex, from the perspective of an MI retailer, is that it’s the rare product that’s well suited to many different types of users, while also being at a price that’s within just about anybody’s reach. “The LED color changer is such a foundation for a modern lighting system,” Komassa explained, adding, “It appeals to virtually anyone.” He continued, “So, I guess the question is this: ‘Do your customers ever come in looking for lights?’ Well, if the answer is ‘yes,’ then you need to get these on your shelves!” They suit DJs, bands, karaoke performers, worship spaces and countless others.

Even when a product’s value proposition is as persuasive as that of the LB-Par Hex, it’s naturally very important to engage in extensive dealer outreach to ensure the product’s on everyone’s radar screen. Asked about this, Ko-massa laughed, saying, “That’s why we have the fine folks at The Retailer!” He continued, “Full disclosure: we do advertise in your fine publication, and we do it to try to get our products in front of this very important group of folks.” Blizzard Lighting, of course, also continues to increase its presence at the NAMM Show every year. “And,” Komassa added, “we have an entire stable of stallion-esque regional reps, who visit customers and show them just how great the LB-Par Hex and all our other products really are.”

As noteworthy as the LB-Par Hex is, though, we’d be remiss to overlook its previously mentioned sibling products: the LB-Par Quad RGBA and the LB-Par Quad RGBW. “They are, as you might expect, equipped with four-in-one LEDs…RGBA and RGBW, respectively,” Komassa noted. They, much like the LB-Par Hex, are available now. Whereas the Hex model boasts an MSRP of $299.99 and a MAP of $249.99, the sibling products are even more affordable: MSRP of $249.99 and MAP of $199.99.

We started by lauding a five-year-old company whose robust market position belies its relative newness to the field, and that’s also where we’ll close. Komassa alluded to an exciting product pipeline that’s sure to please end users—and ring retailers’ registers—for years to come. “I can’t give away all of our secrets,” he teased. That coyness, though, gives us all the more reason to keep an eye fixed on Blizzard Lighting. It’s a company whose future—if you’ll pardon the obvious pun—will be very bright.

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