Halogen lighting in kitchen

I realize there was a recent thread on undercabinet halogen lighting vs fluorescents, but this is a different twist on kitchen lighting: Any of you folks have experience with halogen ceiling track lighting in kitchens using MR-16 vs GU-10 bulbs? The former are 12-volt and would have attached stepdown transformers and have integral reflector cones that enclose the bulbs, the latter AFAIK are 120v line voltage bulbs that need no transformer and no special dimming switch, but lighting quality is unknown to me. In my living room I get some buzzing from the transformers that feed the MR-16's, so wonder if the 120v versions would be better or at least quieter. My existing ceiling has 120v tracks, and I don't want to get a central transformer. My main concern is the intensity, and spectrum, of the two kinds of halogens. Why is one preferable to the other?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I dim 7- 120 v and 6 mr16 units off one regular dimmer no buzz or noise from HomeDepot low voltage units. MR16 are a bit whiter than the 120v bulbs. The 120v put out more light. You can use MR16transformer and 120v non transformer on one track with a regular dimmer to experiment. Both bulbs can be ordered in apx 5 different width patterns from narrow spot to wide angle.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The quality of the beam of light is a major difference between the 12 volt MR16 and 120 volt small reflector lamps. 12 volt filaments are compact - short and thick so a spot light beam of a few degrees is possible and the quality of the beam (most of the light near the center and little spill) is better.
120 volt filaments are thin and long. They also tend to flop around so the beam is mushy unless large reflectors (such as in PAR38 lamps) are used. Such big lamps and fixtures are typically out-of-scale for residential lighting, so MR16 lamps have been good residential lighting tools now since 1975.
The overall spectral characteristics of both lamps are virtually the same, but some halogen lamps are designed to be a bit "whiter" -- that is, they have a slightly higher chromaticity. For example, GE MR16 "Constant Color Precise" 12 volt lamps are rated for 2900-3050 Kelvins while their 120 volt versions are rated for 2600-2700 Kelvins (higher Kelvins = whiter light).
The MR16 lamp was first designed as a compact halogen lamp for Kodak Carousel slide projectors. Then lighting designers started using it and lamp manufacturers began to make it in 12 volt versions with several beam spreads and wattages.
If you don't need an even and well-shaped beam, then the blob of light from 120 volt small reflector lamps may be O.K. It's best to look at the light pattern from the lamps and compare them if possible.
Both 12 volt and 120 volt lamps can be noisy - especially on dimmers. You can minimize noise problems by using high-quality commercial equipment (Halo or Lightolier fixtures, Lutron dimmers, etc.) or trying out a fixture in your room environment before buying a whole system. The room itself makes a difference since room surfaces can amplify buzzing and humming sounds.
TKM
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.