Gear Heads: Martin Professional MAC Ultra Performance and MAC Ultra Wash

Born out of Martin Professional’s largest engineering initiative in over a decade, Head of Product Management, Peter Skytte explains why the brand-new Martin MAC Ultra Performance and MAC Ultra Wash lighting fixtures are set to raise the bar and amplify the impact of live entertainment...

When did development of the two new MAC Ultra lighting fixtures begin?

“While the concept of the MAC Ultra started many years ago, development started two years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously presented us with some challenges at our R&D office in Denmark as staff members were in lockdown and operating mostly from home. However, the flexibility and perseverance of our engineers has made it possible for development to continue at good speed.”

What was the overarching goal of the two new fixtures?

“We wanted to bring real next-generation workhorses to the market, aimed to support the biggest live events. That not only means fixtures that excite designers with a lead in output, performance and enhanced features, but also sustainable concepts that remain compelling for many years. Value beyond specifications is really our philosophy behind any MAC moving light, and perhaps the reason why they stay in production and keep selling for years and years. Take the MAC Aura, for example. It was launched a decade ago and remains an extremely popular and specified product that we keep manufacturing and selling. The MAC Viper Family was launched back in 2012 and is just another example of how fixtures live long and generate a good return to the owner. Finally, longevity is important, with the increasing relevance for more sustainable products.”

What new features do you expect are going to excite customers?

The MAC Ultra Wash is a really brutal wash light with tonnes of output. We expect designers to love this return to classic rock ’n’ roll wash lights like the MAC 2000 XB. The extraordinary lumen output, bold look with big front lens, extended zoom range and Martin-signature colours will definitely excite designers. The MAC Ultra Performance is meant to be the brightest framing fixture in its class, and we’re confident that we achieve that. The extended framing system will certainly delight lighting designers, combined with the quality and sharpness of the optics. The fact that the fixture retains full lumen output in almost the full zoom range is something we are very proud of and we can already see that excites designers and customers. The engineering team has also developed an extremely efficient cooling system and by never running the LEDs at more than 70% of rated power, we ensure extremely long life combined with a benchmark in low noise operation for this class.

What gaps in the market will these fixtures fill in the live events sector?

“The MAC Ultra family is really meant to be the new standard for big stages and tours. It is a spot which the MAC Viper family dominated for many years, but with demands for brightness increasing and demands for LED solutions, it was time to bring an even brighter workhorse to the market. As the development evolved, our engineers were able to minimise noise levels close to the MAC Encore. We’ve also seen a huge interest in theatrical and performance arts venues as well as broadcast.”

What has the response been like following the virtual launch?

“As with any product launch, we did a lot of previews of the MAC Ultra family to designers and customers. The global lockdown made this a lot more challenging, but our team was able to do more than 100 demonstrations and shootouts in the first three months of this year. The feedback during those previews has been extremely positive and created a big demand. I think that brought a fresh approach to product launches. We didn’t want to bring out just another product video, but wanted to convey a message around the quality that our entire Martin team puts into such a project.

“Customers loved that and really appreciate and understand the depth of the work that’s gone into the product. Overall, the feedback has been positive, with many designers wanting to get their hands on the fixtures and see them up close and personal when it is safe to do so.”

Where can we expect to see the fixtures in the coming months? 

“The products are very close to shipping, with demo units going out to our distributors right now. The first customer orders will be delivered early April. Needless to say, our R&D team is already busy working on the next MACs.”

This article originally appeared in issue #260 of TPi, which you can read here.