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Author Topic: DONGLE and Software suggestions  (Read 1531 times)

Patrick Campbell

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DONGLE and Software suggestions
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:52:10 pm »

Hey Friends,

I have 24 par 4 LED's by Chauvet, 4 Elation 250 movers, some other small movers and DMX fog machines.

What would you recommend if I have a laptop already  ?




Jeff Lelko

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Re: DONGLE and Software suggestions
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 04:38:27 pm »

Hi Patrick,

The best answer to this question really depend on which software you plan on using.  MagicQ PC and M-PC are two of the more popular platforms on the market right now, but there are others.  Some support third party interfaces (dongles), others don't.  I used MagicQ paired with and Enttec DMX-USB Pro for nearly a decade before switching over to an ETC product.  The Enttec unit will work with both MagicQ PC and M-PC, along with many other programs.  If you like M-PC in particular, for a little more money than an Enttec interface you can buy an M-Touch, which in addition to acting as an interface also acts as a compact control wing, which is by far the most cost-effective on the market right now.  I'll let the more experienced users speak to that in particular, but most software platforms allow you to download a free demo, so try a few out and see what seems to be the best fit for you.  Hope this helps! 

Dave Garoutte

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Re: DONGLE and Software suggestions
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2017, 11:24:10 pm »

The M-PC software is free, as are most of the other companies' software; they expect you to buy their dongle of controller.
Download the interesting ones and see which you like.
Then get the hardware that works with it.
Nothing can be made idiot-proof; only idiot resistant.

Events.  Stage, PA, Lighting and Backline rentals.
Chauvet dealer.

Kevin McDonough

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Re: DONGLE and Software suggestions
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2017, 03:26:56 pm »

I'm a big fan of Magic-Q.

When you first download it and install it, it seems super scary and confusing (or did to a sound engineer who knew what a DMX address was and not much else!  ;D)

However a little perseverance for a couple of hours and some online tutorials and it really actually becomes pretty simple and straightforward. And while I don't do LOADS of lighting work in general, I've managed to program a few pretty complex theatre style shows with exactly the kind of small rig you describe, one even just this week, with little to no hassle at all.

There's also a very good facebook user group unofficially supporting it who (while the may tell you to RTFM a couple of times for simple questions lol) are very helpful in learning to get around it and get the best out of it.


Lyle Williams

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Re: DONGLE and Software suggestions
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 12:40:40 am »

Lots of packages allow at least one universe (512 dmx channels) to be controlled via Artnet.  Artnet is DMX run over ethernet.  Artnet to traditional-DMX interfaces start at about $100.

Running with a touchscreen is a possibility, but a physical control jnterface is going to be needed at some point.


Tim McCulloch

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Re: DONGLE and Software suggestions
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 04:06:37 pm »

What I'm seeing artists travel with on the 700-2000 size room circuit - Chamsys MagicQ with a PC Wing Compact.  Sometimes with an Extra Wing Compact, too, and a few times just the laptop.

As computers go using what you already own is a good way to start out.  What I've seen traveling LDs using - Macbooks, Mac Mini (only once, but with a touch screen), and Lenovo and Dell A-O-I touchscreens from the business/commercial lines, not home models.

The AOI setup have packed a 19.5" into a Pelican case with the PC Wing and patch/network/AC stuff... very compact and handy.

There is a shop in Nashvegas that use MagicQ and the Chamsys time code module to build shows for bus and trailer touring - no LD, the audio and backline guys hook it all up; uses Artnet for DMX transport.  The drummer triggers the cues when he starts his click track (time code is part of his click system).  It's pretty slick when it all works.
"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut
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