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Purchasing Guide for Laser Light Show Projectors – MIYA Lasers

by MIYA LASERS on Sep 06, 2023

Purchasing Guide for Laser Light Show Projectors – MIYA Lasers
In today's market, there's an abundance of laser light show projectors and laser manufacturers. It can be quite daunting to determine the brand, model, or type of laser projector that suits your needs. The components of your laser play a pivotal role in the quality of the shows you can produce.
Within this guide for purchasing Laser Light Show Projectors, we aim to provide comprehensive insights into laser projector specifications. This will help you grasp what to consider when buying or comparing laser show projectors.
**The Advantages of Club Lasers**

Understanding Laser Powers

Laser show systems encompass a wide range of power levels. The overall power output of a laser projector is a critical factor when selecting the right laser system for your intended application.
It's crucial to realize that the total "Wattage" isn't the sole determinant of a laser's apparent brightness. Laser powers are typically denoted in "Watts (W)" or "milli-watts (mw)."
For instance, 1W equals 1,000mw. However, laser specifications can be deceptive depending on how they are presented. It's essential to be vigilant and ensure that the rated power aligns with the actual output power you require and are paying for.
When evaluating different laser projection systems, manufacturers often don't provide the output power of the laser at the output window. This measurement represents the power you receive when outputting from your laser, not the internal power. This knowledge is vital if you ever plan to use an audience scanning laser show.
Manufacturers usually label their laser projectors in this manner as part of a somewhat misleading "marketing and sales" strategy to make their products appear more powerful than they truly are. Typically, their products are of lower quality and wouldn't achieve the advertised powers otherwise.
dj laser show

Here are some terms to be cautious of when comparing various laser projectors and brands:

- Minimum/Maximum output power: The maximum laser power refers to what's generated inside the laser, not what you obtain at the output window, due to minor power losses when lasers interact with optics/mirrors.
- Apparent brightness: This is a generalized term and doesn't directly correlate with the labeled power. You might encounter suppliers claiming an "apparent brightness of 1W," which doesn't necessarily mean the laser has 1W. Therefore, it's vital to ask for the real output power at the output window if your supplier uses apparent brightness for specifying the laser's power.
At MIYA, all laser light show projectors list their power specifications at the output window, ensuring you receive the exact specified laser power, and often even more!
dj laser show

Selecting the Appropriate Laser Power

Determining the necessary power for your laser can be perplexing because there's a multitude of wattage options available. Below, we've created a basic guide for choosing the right power based on your application:
- Low Power Lasers (500mw - 3W): Suitable for indoor shows like small to medium-sized clubs, home use, and most small events.
- Medium Power Lasers (3W - 12W): Ideal for medium to large indoor venues and outdoor shows (for 6W+). They are also well-suited for aerial and beam projections, typically during the night.
- High Power Lasers (15W - 40W+): Designed for large-scale indoor venues such as stadium-sized shows and extensive outdoor events like festivals, stadiums, long-distance aerial projection, and large outdoor graphics projections.

Laser Colors

Most laser projectors incorporate one to three laser modules (red, green, and blue). However, the international standard allows for up to six color channels to control as many as six different color laser modules.
A laser module's color is determined by its wavelength, measured in nanometers (Nm). The majority of laser light show projectors on the market employ three color sources, creating "RGB" laser projectors. With RGB-based laser projectors, you can generate virtually any color in the spectrum.
For RGB laser projectors, it's crucial to maintain a balanced ratio of red, green, and blue laser sources—approximately 20-30% red, 30-40% green, and around 40-50% blue. Green is the most visible laser color, and blue is the most cost-effective laser source.
Some budget manufacturers may advertise high-power lasers but use an excessive amount of blue, resulting in unbalanced colors. In reality, a well-balanced laser with good color combination appears brighter to the human eye than a higher-power system with an uneven mix of red, green, and blue. Therefore, when evaluating brightness, it's not just about "power." Color balance, quality optics, and internal components are equally vital.
dj laser show

Laser Analog and TTL Modulation

Laser modulation comes in two types: "analog" and "TTL." Without delving into technical details, an analog laser projector with precise linear modulation allows you to create a myriad of color combinations and smoothly transition between them when creating various laser effects.
In contrast, TTL-based lasers are limited to only seven colors and cannot seamlessly transition between them. Budget or lower-priced lasers typically employ TTL modulation, while professional lasers tend to use analog modulation.
dj laser show

Modulation and Blanking

Modulation involves externally altering laser power to turn the laser on and off and enable color fading. Blanketing, which disables laser output in specific areas during image projection, is frequently employed when drawing laser animations to separate image components and prevent them from connecting via a low-power line.
For instance, when projecting the word "TEXT," a correctly blanked laser with analog response and a balanced linear modulation would turn off (0% power) between each letter, ensuring clear visibility of each letter in the projected image. In contrast, less professional laser systems might exhibit lines or tails passing through parts of words.

Understanding Optical Scanning Specifications

Most laser projector manufacturers use the term "KPPS" or Kilo Points Per Second to describe optical scanning speeds. If you encounter specifications like "20K, 30K, 40K, 60K, etc.," when assessing laser speed, this represents the scanning speed your laser's scanner can achieve.
Equally important as scanning speed is the specified angle at which it's measured. The optimal scan angle for most laser projectors is 8°, a standard established by the International Laser Display Association, which governs most laser specifications in the market today.
For instance, you might come across specifications like "30K @ 8°" or "40K @ 8°." However, it's crucial to pay close attention to the angle at which the speed is defined, as it's as significant as the KPPS speed itself. If you encounter a scan speed specified at less than 8° or without any angle specified, exercise caution.
For instance, if someone claims "30K @ 4°," be wary, as 4° is not the correct angle for measuring scan speed. The industry standard, the ILDA test pattern, was designed for measurements at 8°. Consequently, when properly measured, a specification such as "30K at 4°" does not truly reflect a "30K" scan speed, as per the international standard.
Another aspect to consider when examining optical scanning systems on your laser show projector is the optical degrees it can project on both the X and Y axes. For example, some might state "+/- 60° optical on the X and Y axis." This angle determines how large of a projection area a single laser can cover.
High quality optical scanning systems with trustworthy, accurately measured scan speed specifications include:
- M660: A high-quality and reasonably priced optical scanning system suitable for various laser beam effects, as well as high-quality laser text, graphics, and logos. Typically used in lasers ranging from 500mw to approximately 7 Watts due to mirror size constraints.
- A high-end optical scanning system that facilitates striking laser beam effects and exceptionally crisp laser graphics, text, and logos. This is currently the world's fastest optical scanning system and is ideal for precise laser graphics on low to medium power laser projectors, albeit at a higher cost. For most standard applications, the M660 is a solid choice.
- M760: A professional optical scanning system primarily employed in high-power lasers (12W or more). These are excellent for projecting precise laser graphics, text, or logos.
- M560: A high-end optical scanning system well-suited for laser beam effects, laser graphics, text, and logos. Its notable advantage is the capacity to drive a large mirror at a relatively fast scan speed. This proves beneficial in higher power laser projectors, reducing beam divergence over longer distances for a brighter and more visually distinct beam profile.
By adhering to these guidelines and considering the key aspects outlined above, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision when purchasing a laser light show projector from MIYA Lasers.