ETC Source 4 Series 3 LED

By Mike Djomeh

The evolution of the Ellipsoidal or "Leko" has finally reached the milestone of maturity that we have all been waiting for.  ETC has announced it's latest iteration of Source Four LED, the Series 3.   These new products are a natural progression leveraging technology first seen in the fos/4 line of soft panels in 2019.

ETC's ARG team (Advance Research Group) began research in 2016 on a quest to fill the tungsten void we had been missing since the onset of the LED fixtures in entertainment.  The team identified red, as one of the culprits in robbing us of a fuller spectrum.  The traditional wavelength red we are used to is around 635nm.  ETC found that by using a longer wavelength 660nm red, the enhancement of color on screen, and rendition of objects and skin tones was dramatically improved.  This Deep Red technology, as first seen in the broadcast focused fos/4 line up, is now also in these new Source 4 Series 3 units.   

ETC has narrowed the Source 4 LED for Series 3 to just two array offerings, the Lustr X8 and Daylight HDR.  The magic for both units is in the carefully curated LED arrays.  The Lustr X8 is aptly named for it's 8 color LED array, which now adds Deep Red to the familiar 7 color array from Series 2 Lustr+.  The Lustr X8 offers extended color reach, color saturation, as well as color subtlety into all of the in between pastels.  The Lustr X8 array is comprised of Green, Lime, Blue, Indigo, Cyan, Amber, Red, and Deep Red LEDs. ETC also illustrates that that the Deep Red can enable the units to fill in the light needed to reach tungsten like output and bring a new level of richness in color and quality white light.  Output for the Lustr X8 array is rated at 10,889 lumens, compared to the Lustr Series 2 units 8,667 lumens.  For applications that need largely white light, the Daylight HDR array offers up a purpose built 5 color LED array, which still includes the new Deep Red chip. The Daylight HDR offers up an increase in output at up the 14,214 lumens which positions it as the leading candidate for longer throws as well as the perfect tool for podium specials.  The Daylight HDR array is comprised of Indigo, Blue, Cyan, Mint, Red, and Deep Red.  Both units are perfect for their intended jobs, have strong use cases, and ETC has done a good job of preventing choice overload and paralysis by analysis.


Deep Red


The Source 4 Series 3 LED also bring to the table a new optics train, the XDLT lens family.  These new lenses offer greater output, up to 40% brighter than the previous Series 2.  The XDLT lenses come in 5°, 10°, 14°, 19°, 26°, 36°, 50°, and 70° field angles.  In additional, chromatic aberrations are nearly completely eliminated.  Optical lens coatings enhance contrast and light quality. The Series 3 is still compatible with your older lenses (with a legacy shutter barrel), as well as the other optional accessories like Cyc and Fresnel attachments.  Together with these XDLT lenses, output reaches the reported 13,000 effective lumens, for the Daylight HDR . However you may not get the same output if you choose to use your existing lens inventory from the previous generation, as the Series 3 has a larger LED gate, and needs the larger XDLT lenses to gather all of the available light.  The clean slate approach was the necessary path according to ETC.  

Another notable feature is the inclusion of City Theatrical's Multiverse Wireless RDM built in the fixtures.  The new wireless protocol offers up to 10 universes of Wireless data from a single transmitter.  ETC believes Multiverse to be the best wireless DMX technology available, as it offers the greatest number of channels for scalability and the lowest wattage radio footprint of any other protocol.

Series 3 UI  

The new Series 3 also features ETC's new UI controls.  These full color screen user interfaces couple with backlit encoders.  A user can easily navigate to control the fixtures for tunable white, color spectral control, and even recorded presets.  In addition, ETC's NFC based Set Light app allow reading and modification of fixture configuration, even when the power is not connected.

One last feather in the cap for these products is ETC's  the industry leading warranty.  ETC's LED units get a 5 year fixture, 10 year LED array warranty, along with their legendary 24/7/365 support.   

It feels like the race to replace our tungsten theatrical fixtures has been more of a marathon.  The technologies have gone through a long evolution refining output, light quality, and color reach.  ETC has been at the forefront of the evolutionary process refining the Source 4 LED brand now for the 3rd time.  Just like the Porsche 911, each new version is better than the last, and causes us to lust for the newest model.    

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