Martin RUSH MH 7 Hybrid Review – The Hybrid Underdog that DeliversApril 16, 2018
Martin RUSH MH7 Review
The inception of a Hybrid moving head was one of the many milestones for innovation in the lighting industry. With advancements in optic designs, wide range zoom and frost filters, you can finally purchase a fixture that has a beam, spot and wash capability all in one moving light without sacrificing any effect features. Although a hybrid can’t quite match what some LED wash moving workhorses can do today in terms of a wash light, a hybrid fixture can certainly give designers that extra range of design flexibility on lighting rigs where separate dedicated beam, spot and wash fixtures are not feasible.
Now, the design of moving head that makes 3-in-1 hybrid functionality possible is not entirely new. Motorized zoom, iris, frost, and beam reducers have been available in many fixtures dating back to the mid-2000’s that were once classified as “Spots” or “Profiles”. But they were capable of producing a decently narrow beam or wash if you adjusted the parameters right. What makes a good hybrid however is an advancement in optical designs to offer refined projections of light at various beam angles with consistent output that can be quickly switched from the control source.
One of the first hybrid fixtures to gain popularity for this was the Robe Pointe, greatly favored for its Beam/Spot functionality and a key feature that uniquely set it apart from its competitor, the Sharpy. Without a doubt the Pointe is fantastic fixture, and to meet with industry demands, other manufacturers began to offer their own unique hybrid moving head. Now almost every manufacturer offers Hybrid on their product line, and you have a wide array choices at many price points, all with unique features, designs and various outputs to set themselves apart.
Of course Martin being an industry-leading brand and having a long history of innovation, they too began to offer hybrid models as well. One for their top-tier professional line, the MAC Axiom Hybrid featuring a 440W lamp source. With that kind of power, the Axiom is a serious fixture. However, Martin kept smaller applications in mind. Applications where the Martin’s RUSH MH 3 would be used but looking for that hybrid functionality and Martin performance. That was through the RUSH MH 7 Hybrid.
What It Offers
The Martin RUSH MH 7 is Martin’s mid-size 3-in-1 hybrid moving head. Featuring a 250-watt discharge lamp source, the MH 7 is ideal for environments looking for an affordable hybrid fixture that offers optimal performance and output. A great choice for medium sized rigs or large rigs looking for a cost-effective method to have a large number of hybrid movers as their primary fixture.
Even though the fixture is offered on the RUSH line, which is more catered towards clubs and smaller environments, the MH 7 is certainly suitable for touring environments as well. On paper, its features and performance come very close to its counterpart from Robe, but still differentiates itself from that as well as its big brother, the MAC Axiom.
The MH 7 uses much higher output lamp source than other fixtures in the RUSH line. The MH 7 has 3 individual modes for beam, spot, and wash. Using a 250W Phillips MSD Platinum 11R lamp results in a relatively consistent output across all modes with a 7800k color temperature. With motorized zoom available in all modes, it offers a variable beam angle between 2.2 to 24 degrees in beam and spot modes, and 15 to 45 degrees in wash mode.
The fixture uses one color wheel with 10 dichroic colors plus UV, a CTO and CTB filter. The MH 7 features 2 gobo wheels, both static and rotating gobo wheels that feature gobo designs found in the MAC Viper and Quantum profile series. The static gobo wheel features 12 total gobos, 8 metal stamped gobo designs and 5 beam reducers, which are defined as iris by Martin. The rotating gobo wheel features 8 interchangeable, indexable rotating gobos.
Expanding its flexibility, the MH 7 features 2 rotating prisms, one 8-facet circular prism and one 4-facet linear prism that deliver stunning aerial effects and a frost filter for wash effects. A mechanical dimmer offers smooth dimming, a mechanical shutter offers a strobe rate up to 12hz, and motorized focus allows for gobo morphing. All of which offer 16-bit control for precise control through DMX.
Unfortunately, the MH 7 lacks RDM support found in the Axiom, and only offers one 21-channel DMX profile. In traditional Martin RUSH fashion, it features both 3-pin and 5-pin DMX data connections with PowerCON In and Thru power connections for daisy-chaining multiple units.
Size wise, the MH 7 is not as compact as the MH 3 might be, but still maintains the same ideal size similar to the Pointe and Axiom. 25 inches in height with the head straight up, 16 inches wide and 11.9 inches in length. Weighing in at 52 lbs. with 2 quarter-turn brackets for rigging clamps.
Construction & Hybrid Design
Physically, the construction of the MH 7 feels much more robust and touring friendly even though its part of the RUSH family. It features the rugged yoke design similar to MAC Viper series where the fixture is most vulnerable to damage, just without the yoke handles. Inside, however, is an entirely different story. Hybrid fixtures can tend to have different optical designs in order achieve the hybrid functionality and for the MH 7, that design is certainly interesting given how its design interacts with certain functions.
By default, the MH 7 is technically in Beam mode with all values at zero. Even though you can actually achieve the same beam angles in both Beam and Spot modes, there is actually a difference between the two. The MH 7 uses a beamsmoother lens that deploys into the light path for Spot mode to give an even spot projection at wider angles. This results in a sharp projection onto surfaces and in the air in spot mode, while in beam mode maximizes brightness to give a powerful sharp long-throw beam. What’s good about this design is that the zoom functionality is not limited between the two modes. Even though the fixture uses a fixed frost filter on its own channel, this still allows for variable wash effects without a separate variable frost filter.
How the Beam and Spot modes interact with the gobos and aerial effects is where things can get interesting. The Beam and Spot modes are enabled through the rotating gobo channel. So when the fixture is in Beam mode, technically the rotating gobos cannot be used, only the static gobos. When enabling the rotating gobos, the fixture automatically goes into Spot mode and inserts the beamsmoother to give a nice, sharp effect in the air and on surfaces similar to the MAC Viper and Quantum profile.
Going into spot mode won’t necessarily force the beam to a wider angle, but there is a noticeable difference in output between the two modes. The brightness is still impressive in both modes, but the forced use of the beamsmoother for rotating gobos will cause a drop in brightness. So for long throw aerial effects it’s best to utilize the prisms and static gobos in beam mode. Despite that you just can’t say no to the beautiful aerial effects it produces.
The Martin RUSH MH 7 performs like a champ. The brightness across all 3 modes is very impressive, but there is a difference. For beam mode, the beam is extremely bright, sharp and pure with a very minimal halo in the center. For spot mode, like other hybrids, you do lose a little bit of brightness, but the beam at any angle is extremely crisp on surfaces. Wash mode is extremely flexible to give a narrow washed out beam or a nice wide dispersed wash.
Even though the fixture is the largest of the RUSH family, the movement is still fast and precise. That doesn’t just apply to pan/tilt though, switching gobos and colors are lightning fast, inserting prisms are quick, zooming is extremely linear, and the shutter is instant. Between the two prism options and the gobo designs, the aerial effects are stunning. As previously mentioned, the beamsmoother allows for outstandingly sharp aerial effects similar to those found in the MAC Viper and Quantum profile. Maybe not exactly like those two, but still a stunning look to the audience, which is really nice to have a light that can produce those similar aerial effects on a smaller scale.
The colors on the MH 7 are very saturated and maintain their brightness throughout the color palette for your core colors, which is vital in a hybrid fixture of this design. The color temperature filters offer outstanding hues. Even though the MH 7 doesn’t offer CMY color mixing, the fixture offered precise indexing of the color wheel for refined color split functionality and was quick to switch to any color as quick as you can snap your fingers.
The Martin MH 7 Hybrid is not the most popular moving light, but it is definitely not a fixture you should underestimate either. It’s fun to play with actually. Its outstanding performance and feature set make this light extremely flexible for almost any mid-sized environment. While it does lack some advanced features, its performance at a considerably affordable price point with the solid reputation from Martin products certainly make this light worth considering.