Kessil has a great track record in making beautiful aquarium lighting devices and their new Kessil Spectral Controller is no different, it even takes it a step further. The Kessil Controller is a fully fledged device that has a bright color LCD screen, a touch sensitive navigation panel, and simple ports for USB power and firmware updates and two 1/8th inch audio jacks.
The only way to natively control Kessil A360 series of LEDs has been to daisy chain them and manually adjust color and brightness on the master light, always the first in the daisy chain series. With the new Kessil Spectral Controller you can now control two separate channels of Kessil A360 LEDs, and the forthcoming Kessil AP700, meaning you can do two separate lights, or two separate strings of lights for larger tanks. Kessil also gave the Spectral Controller a nifty magnetic backing which pairs up with a steel mounting plate so that the unit can be securely placed among the aquarium control center, yet can also be easily removed and handled for easy on the fly adjustments.
The build quality of the Kessil Spectral Controller is absolutely exquisite with a glossy black face and while at first the entire assembly seems a little large, the bigger screen really makes it easy to read the graphical user interface. The large touch sensitive navigation is well spread out making it very easy to register input presses, although we would have loved for the red buttons to be backlit so it would resemble a 3rd generation Apple iPod.
The software of the Spectral Controller is also incredibly intuitive with lots of great features baked right in, including color and intensity control, timing/dimming options and a settings menu that belies a future for more presets to be added to the device. As we’ve said many times with aquarium controllers one of the best ways to gauge how well designed the software is is to try programming the thing without reading the instructions and by this definition the Spectral Controller gets an A+. Anyone who’s ever programmed even a basic aquarium device will easily be able to navigate the controls of the Kessil Spectral Controller without cracking open the instructions.
The Kessil Spectral Controller does everything you’d expect it to do and it actually looks like a piece of electronic aquarium equipment that was designed and built in the 21st century. We’re extremely curious to see what other programs will be added to the firmware of the Spectral Controller and perhaps Kessil is even planning to allow users to “share” their presets for different types of corals and systems, as that would be a major boon to the overall platform, especially with the social aspect of reefing these days. We haven’t yet fully dove into the software of the Spectral Controller to program our two Kessil A360s separately but we’ll report back with a full review of what it’s like for one of our favorite LED reef lights to finally have a brain.