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Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Clifford, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    San Diego, California
    I wasn't sure where to put this thread, so I put it here.

    Anywho, for an upcoming event, there are some musical performers to accompany a choral show. One of the band members approached me and asked if I new what the difference between DMX and MIDI was. Now, I know they both have 5 pins, and they have a similar pin layout. I thought they were just types of formatting that could share the same cable. I know DMX can self-check and is what we use in lighting for sending info to the dimmers and for intelligent/moving lights, and MIDI is used in sound. Apart from that, I don't have a lot to add and I didn't want to give the guy any information that wasn't accurate. I told him I knew people who would know about it, and that I'd ask them. You are those people. I couldn't answer his question, can you?
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

    Likes Received:
    NJ & NYC
    For one, MIDI uses MIDI cable, which has special MIDI connectors. DMX uses 5-pin XLR connectors. DMX is an RS-485 based protocol, whereas MIDI is it's own protocol. Basically, completely different things. However, you can use MIDI to fire cues on a light board, and some old dimmer packs even accept MIDI and MIDI notes can be used to turn channels on or off. MSC, or MIDI Show Control, is a subset of MIDI used to control functions on a light board such as calling and firing cues, etc, as well as many, many other show control functions.

    ...And here comes the inevitable book recommendation! John Huntington's Control Systems for Live Entertainment (now in the third edition) is a great book for learning about protocols and show control in the entertainment industry. I have the second edition and plan to get the third soon. It's an amazing book. (It has all of the subsets of MSC listed as well...)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    North Wales PA
    Actually... DMX is only one way. (no error check) Also, current DMX only uses 3 conductors. 1,2,3. 4&5 just look pretty.

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