Can You Imagine Foam Fountain
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The water effect produced by multi-colored LEDs illuminating foam pellets is surprisingly convincing.
The machine gives you a choice of five basic operating modes, which feature various color and pellet movement combinations, plus a sound-sensitive mode enabling the fountain to react to your music.
In my experience, you need fairly loud music to make the sound-sensitive mode really come to life. I have the fountain sitting on one of two large bookshelf speakers in my living room, and regular TV show dialog hardly registers. There is a direct audio line input, however, which might increase the unit's sensitivity.
But put on some thumping tunes, and the light show is awesome! I put on the Beatles 1 DVD, and it brought me right back to a kinder, gentler time, to be sure...
The fountain also features "drops" as well as "streams" of the faux water. You have to see this in person to appreciate the effect, which apparently is done by LED strobing, if I'm not mistaken. Indeed, none of the videos of the fountain I've seen online really do it justice.
Otherwise I wish the fountain had a remote control, but I can live without one.
I like the "under glow" effect produced by four LEDs projecting down from the fountain onto your table surface -- it's a nice touch -- and the fountain sits on four rubber feet so it shouldn't mar your furniture or vibrate off a speaker.
Some other reviewers have commented on the sound of the fan that blows the pellets around the fountain. I don't find this objectionable -- it's a faint whirring, even at its highest speed, and nowhere near as loud as the fan-driven air cleaner I have in the room.
The only reason I give this fountain four stars instead of five is my concern about the unit's long-term reliability. It comes with only a 45-day warranty, and that's about the amount of life I got out of another of Can You Imagine's products, the fog light show. To their credit, CYI replaced that unit twice under warranty, but all three failed in exactly the same way, in exactly the same duration of time (around one month each), apparently the result of cheap electronics.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that this foam fountain has a longer life -- I'll report back if not. Until then, I can recommend this intriguing device for anyone who enjoys an unusual light show. I believe that gazing at this gizmo in action will induce an alpha-wave state in those viewing it, like the ripples in stream or lake water when you're fishing.
* Convincing water effect produced by air-blown foam pellets.
* Five different operating modes, plus demo (all five modes in sequence), plus sound-responsive with built-in mic.
* Also has mini-plug line audio input to enhance sound sensitivity.
* Glass panels are a classy touch.
* Quick and easy assembly (five minutes).
* Blue under-glow produced by four LEDs.
* Rubber feet to protect furniture.
* Reasonably priced.
* Short (45-day) warranty.
* No remote control.
* Slight whirring sound of fan.
UPDATE: after a few days of operation, the fan motor started making a loud and unpleasant noise when you first turn on the fountain every day. Fortunately, the sound passes after about thirty seconds or so -- and the motor speed seems to limit itself until, presumably, the motor oil has warmed up enough to enable normal operation. Still, this is disconcerting and makes me wonder how long the fountain will continue to work before breaking down. Caveat emptor!
This is an AMAZING light show. It really does look like a water fountain. The appearance is very similar to the fountains at major theme parks that are set to lights and music. The tiny foam pellets are sucked into the center through the sides of the blower that's in the bottom middle of the unit. Once inside, the blower sprays them up inside. They fall to the sides and get sucked in again, so its a continuous cycle. Around the base of the blower in the center are a number of LED lights that change through a rainbow of colors depending on the pattern you choose. The LEDs reflect off the white pellets to give them very bright colors as they go through the air. This all creats an optical illusion that makes it look very much like water.
Set up is a breeze. There are very complete instructions that come with the unit and it is well protected. I would think it would be very unlikely that you would get one broken unless someone ran over it with a truck. There are a few YouTube videos available to look at if you want to see for yourself before you buy. The one and only catch is that as you install each glass side, you want to slide it into a corner and repeat for each side. If you try to center each of the glass slide in the slot of the base, they will not fit. Once the glass is installed, you attach 4 rubber connectors to the corners on the top, fill the unit with the foam pellets, and then gently push the cover down on top to seal it. From there you plug it in with the AC adapter which IS INCLUDED. The instructions give details as to its operation and choosing modes and patterns. All in all it probably only took me 5 mins to set this up, 10 mins tops. Its VERY easy!
The unit has some sound that comes from the fan. The sound may vary in intensity if you choose a random patter or select the unit responds to sound. The response to sound is my favorite. They are very responsive to music, and if you turn up the volume on your stereo a bit (on a 1-10 scale, I'd say a 4-6) you won't hear the fan at all. The unit does have an RCA jack, but I have not tried it. I assume it either gives an even greater accuracy response to the music and/or allows it to respond to music at low volume levels.
My daughter absolutely LOVES this light! I was so impressed that I bought 3 more,one more for her and two for me, so that we could each have one on each speaker. Its a VERY impressive show. Its quite mesmerizing and addictive. Its a light that doesn't get boring. I just can't say enough good things about it. In fact I can only think of three improvements that could be of interest, a remote, an MP3 player hookup (which may be accomplisehed through an appropriate cable to the RCA jack), and a round, cylindrical version (although this would probably be very expensive).
I Googled this item and looked at a number of sites. Prices on this item ranged from $34.95 to $100 for the exact same light! The best price I found was at Spencers online store at $34.95, and if you happen to want two or order something else while you're at their site, shipping is free for orders over $35 (at least it is as of 1/1/12. I ordered my first from X-treme Geek through Amazon due to the fact that Spencers was out of stock before Christmas. I later ordered from Spencers when they got it back in stock. The only differences in the units were that the outside of the box had different pictures and the foam pellets were a little smaller. The size of the pellets did make a difference though. The smaller pellets look more like water, however the difference wasn't significant.
I did feel the one from X-treme Geek (Amazon) seemed to be alittle more sensitive to music. This can be good at low volume levels. However the one from Spencers tracks the beat better at volume levels that are slightly higher. I don't think I feel one is better than the other in terms of music response. It just depends on what music you're listening to at the time and how loud it is. Both respond well, so if I were to select which source is better, Amazon or Spencers, I guess I'd pick Spencers since their price is the lowest and free shipping is possible if you meet the minimum dollar amount on your order. I don't think the look of the pellets would sway me one way or the other. I say this because the smaller pellets look more like water which is a plus, but the larger pellets are more visually detailed and therefore are a plus too. That's why I think I'd go by price in the end to make the final choice between the two sites if I had to do it again, and I just may do that. I have birthdays coming up and this makes a GREAT gift!
Finally, I bought 4 of these so far, and will probably buy more. That alone should say something about how much we LOVE this light show. Hope this helps!