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Review of the TMB Firefly

Recently, I evaluated a (relatively) new product from TMB – the Firefly, which is a festoon-style light that uses warm white LEDs as the source. The attributes I was specifically interested in were the quality of the light (obviously) but also the durability and ease of rigging / hanging.

On the quality of light front, I couldn’t be happier with this product. The light was a very pleasing incandescent color, something I was worried about because when I first saw this product at LDI, the lights had an incredibly obvious and unpleasant salmon hue to them, which resulted in a very unnatural-looking light that would never have passed as an incandescent source. Whether that was a problem that has since been fixed or some optical trick that happened because of the visual chaos that typifies an LDI experience is unknown, either way, when I looked at it this time, it looked great. The individual “bulbs” have several LEDs inside, each on the end of their leads to deliberately give the impression of a filament. The effect becomes convincing a few meters away from the source, which should be sufficient for most users of this product. If you really, really need a truly convincing “filament” effect that remains convincing until examined point-blank by an audience member – and these do exist – this might not be the solution for you. These are clearly meant to be viewed from some distance away, and they look very good at the intended distance.

The durability of the product was excellent, as is just about every product that I’ve looked at from TMB. The housing of the bulb is a nice solid clear plastic, and the cables in between have a very durable-feeling rubber coat that should resist tangling due to its broad, flat shape. This flat shape also ensures that the lights hang in a uniform manner and don’t twist around when hung in the air. The units do have a rather heavy control box / power supply that goes with them, and you can have continuous runs of up to 40 meters, which is substantial.

Overall, I thought the Firefly had great utility as a replacement for traditional glass festoons, though I’m sure the high overhead compared with traditional shatter-bulbs will slow the adoption of similar LED-based effects.

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