DMX and MIDI control

kersey

Member
Hi everybody, I play in a band in the UK and I'm in the process of persuading the other guys in the band to upgrade our stage lighting. I'm looking for some info regarding MIDI operation of DMX controllers. We have been using four PAR64s with 300W filament lamps with a simple 4 channel dimmer with sliders. We have now bought an additional four PAR64s with LEDS, 6 DMX channels per light, to run in conjunction with the four originals lights. We want to have everything running in time with the band's music and operation of the DMX controller will need to be by footswitch as we don't have a lighting guy. I've read that the Behringer FCB1010 is good for this, so I've now bought one of these too. I want to be able to select scenes/chases, maybe control the strobe on the LED parcans, blackout and maybe full on but always keep the 'sound activation' mode active on the DMX controller. Ideally I would also like to control the original old PAR64s with dmx dimmer(s).

I have looked at the user manuals for quite a few DMX controllers and I'm getting a bit confused about how they work. In particular, I was looking at the Chauvet Obey 40. The manual says:

"the controller will only respond to MIDI commands on the MIDI channel when it is set to full stop. All MIDI control is performed using Note on commands. All other MIDI instructions are ignored. To stop a chase, send the blackout on note."

Is anyone famailiar with this controller? Does this mean that a chase has to be stopped with the blackout on note before another chase can be started?

Also, will the sound activation mode stay active if I change between chases with MIDI commands?

Does anybody know of a budget DMX controller which will allow me to do what I want? Also, can anybody recommend a budget DMX dimmer pack (either single or multiple channel) with which I can control my four filament lamp PARcans using a different DMX address for each light (or one that will do this with a single DMX address), thereby dimmimg each light separately?

The fact that I mention the Obey 40 will tell you the kind of money I'm talking here. It's difficult getting cash out of these guys so I can't go top gear.

Thanks

Steve
 

DaveySimps

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Welcome Steve. I am moving this thread to the lighting forum so it is posted in the right place. There also may be some useful info regarding MIDI the the Sound Forum, so feel free to search. Enjoy CB!

~Dave
 
I just finished automating a full show for a regional touring band using midi/DMX. I wanted to go one step further and have the show fully automated start to finish so a tempo track template was needed for each set. I initially started with a laptop and Cuebase which is recordinmg studio software that also records midi commands. After a lot of time and tears I've simplified things quite successfully to a small inexpensive DMX/midi controller triggered by the midi sequencer of a Yamaha Motif XS8 keyboard.

In your case this will be much easier. You will have to get a DMX controller. I personally recommend the Optima DMX Monster for simplicity and cost. Yes, I did try the Obey 70 and some of the larger Elation controllers but the Optima Monster was quickest (and easiest), least expensive, and had more than enough memory (30 banks, 8 scenes each). You will have to program your scenes into the controller... meaning you must first assign your midi compatible dimmer packs to appropriate channels, set your lighti scenes using the DMX controller's faders, store each scene to memory. Then, you run the midi out of your Behrenger to the dimmer pack's midi input. Each scene will come up as a note number which the foot pedal will transmit in default setting I believe. If not, use the owners' manual to set the foot pedal commands to transmit midi note numbers.

I was able to program fairly complex show with a very large amount of varied fixtures, fixed, moving, and effects. More than enough to dazzle medium sized venues and have adequate control with an inexpensive midi compatable DMX controller. The show is very impressive, mainly because so many subtle dynamics can be automated with the sequencer which gives instant access to all scenes. this does require the drummer to monitor a tempo track with in-ear monitors to keep the band's show in sync with lighgts but it has worked perfectly for dozens of shows at this point. Doing it manually with a foot controller will limit your options because you will have to advance scenes manually, (you won't be able to execute a barrage of quick, dynamic changes unless you can tap dance) but should still give you what you are looking for.
 
Oh, and to answer your question about chase scenes. You can only step through them manually using the foot controller. You can however program eight scene chase sequences in each of the "thirty" (in the case of most inexpensive DMX controllers) memory banks. Then input a signal from your drummers kick or snare and have that trigger the steps through those eight scenes (over and over) in the Auto/Music mode. Be advised that you will have to have very good control over the level of the drum signal going to the DMX controller to get the threshold just right so that only those beats are triggered.
 

kersey

Member
That all sounds very promising, thanks Allinthebox. I've just had a look at the DMX Monster and it looks like it could be what I'm, looking for although, like most of the other DMX controllers, it doesn't quite tick all the boxes. The Sound activation mode is via an internal mic and not a line in. The built in mics don't seem to offer the same sensitivity gievn by a line in from the desk, so I may need to look into other stuff. Do you (or anybody else) know if the Sound active mode stays on when you select or change a chase via MIDI or do you need to re-select the sound active mode each time a new chase is selected?
 
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No, the sound active mode is defeated when triggering with midi. I'm not sure if any will stay active in both modes. I will check and see how these work in real life use. I have the Obey 70 here as well as several others. Somehow I doubt they will operate in two modes at once but I've been wrong many times before. I believe the nature of midi note number on/off commands would eliminate the opportunity for the scene steps to continue to advance with sound because each step in a scene is a note number command.
 
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kersey

Member
I've tracked down a few controllers that allow the 'sound' mode to be enabled by MIDI. The Chauvet Stage Designer 50, Stage Designer 48 and the Showtec Lightdesk Pro 136 can all ao this. It looks like you can select the chase via MIDI and then enable the 'sound' mode with another pedal push. Now if I can find something smaller which does the same thing, I won't have to ask the bass player to stand with the crowd! :lol:
 

jmissall

Member
I just finished automating a full show for a regional touring band using midi/DMX. I wanted to go one step further and have the show fully automated start to finish so a tempo track template was needed for each set... this does require the drummer to monitor a tempo track with in-ear monitors to keep the band's show in sync with lights.

Now that's like over the top man and so cool! What does the drummer hear? A metronome click track in his ear? Could this have also been done with a couple squencer leds infront of the set, switching back and forth to the beat.

I LOVE this application and would like more information. My idea is to have each song preprogrammed as a scene in software which is changed by the foot controller. Each musical set would be run as a different show. A seperate foot controller would activate 'solos', and beat changes (steps within each scene-song) would be controlled either by the:

bass (via Sound input) OR
drums or (via click track) OR
keyboards (via Midi)

the ONLY problem with that is the band would have to play the same songs, in the same order, in the same set rotation.

The other problem is actually PROGRAMMING seperate foot switches (1 for scene changes, 5 for different stage zones for solos). What would also be cool, is if on the first foot stomp, the house lights would dim while the stage scene comes up.

Again what ALLINTHEBOX is saying is a KILLER APP, and can be used with great success in many different venues.
 
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Goatfish

Member
Hello,

I'm new and I hope someone here can help me find a solution to my DMX/MIDI problems.

I've been scanning the net looking for info about DMX/MIDI and all of this makes total sense and should work but in my case it's just not. I have a band that doesn't use sequencing or click but I am using a Ground Control/GCX MIDI foot controller to change patches on 2 audio effects processors along with 8 audio loops for pedals and such. I figured I could set up my pedalboard to change lighting scenes and chases with every audio change that I do during the show. I have an Elation DMX Operator Pro with some custom built LED's and 2 Chauvet Scorpion GBC Lasers. I was told to get a MIDI Solutions Event Processor to change the MIDI triggers to MIDI notes but It's still not working properly. What am I'm missing?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

bssch

Member
Can one control the intensities of the light, other than what is set in the scenes?
Also there are 240 possible scenes on my dmx controller, but there are only 128 midi note numbers. How do you activate the other 112?
 

Chris15

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Departed Member
Can one control the intensities of the light, other than what is set in the scenes?
Also there are 240 possible scenes on my dmx controller, but there are only 128 midi note numbers. How do you activate the other 112?

This information is likely to vary from device to device, so you'll need to let us know what the controller in question is if we are to be of assistance. You'll possibly find the data you're after in the user manual for said controller.

But welcome to Controlbooth, drop on by the New Members Baord and let you know who you are and what you do...
 

bssch

Member
Can one control the intensities of the light, other than what is set in the scenes?
Also there are 240 possible scenes on my dmx controller, but there are only 128 midi note numbers. How do you activate the other 112?
Do you know if there is a general guide to what dmx effects respond to what midi controllers? I can't seem to find one on the net. Because dmx and midi are both established protocols, I would assume there is a general map of midi controller/note number/event to dmx values.
Any help appreciated.
Thanks
 

gcpsoundlight

Active Member
Do you know if there is a general guide to what dmx effects respond to what midi controllers? I can't seem to find one on the net. Because dmx and midi are both established protocols, I would assume there is a general map of midi controller/note number/event to dmx values.
Any help appreciated.
Thanks

Unfortunately no, as although the protocols are standards, what happens is dependent on the device you are controlling


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I am here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-37.804124,145.128174
 

AhClem

Member
Our chief designer has written a white-paper on MIDI Control of Stage Lighting
http://www.lightinmotionshowcontrol.com/support/downloads/midi-dmx.pdf
that may be helpful.

Our BlueLite X1 DMX controller offers SMPTE timcode input/output to sync down to 1/30 sec. and it can also recognize MIDI Input while using the Live Panel feature, which offers you 3 different "mapping" modes, allowing you to choose between different combinations of Note/Controller Channel combinations for control.

We also have "sample apps" (think of them as "helper apps") that allow you to "sync" to your Windows Media Player playlist, a CD tracker, a MIDI Note sample as well as a MIDI Loader Trigger sample that allows you to use the your timed segments in the Event List by selecting Star and Stop times and triggering that segment using MIDI control.
 

bssch

Member
Our chief designer has written a white-paper on MIDI Control of Stage Lighting
http://www.lightinmotionshowcontrol.com/support/downloads/midi-dmx.pdf
that may be helpful.

Our BlueLite X1 DMX controller offers SMPTE timcode input/output to sync down to 1/30 sec. and it can also recognize MIDI Input while using the Live Panel feature, which offers you 3 different "mapping" modes, allowing you to choose between different combinations of Note/Controller Channel combinations for control.

We also have "sample apps" (think of them as "helper apps") that allow you to "sync" to your Windows Media Player playlist, a CD tracker, a MIDI Note sample as well as a MIDI Loader Trigger sample that allows you to use the your timed segments in the Event List by selecting Star and Stop times and triggering that segment using MIDI control.

I already have a dmx controller and an using Cubase to generate audio.
What I want to do is syncronise my lights to a music sequence.
I already know that note on values trigger scenes, but I want to know what other things can be triggered in dmx by midi - eg what is controlled by the various midi controllers etc.
Thanks
 

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