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Author Topic: MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?  (Read 499 times)

Stuart Anderson

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MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?
« on: May 02, 2018, 03:04:12 pm »

Iím looking for a lighting controller or interface box that supports the following for my band that plays with a backing track and synchronized MIDI (but not from a PC / DAW):

  • DMX output
  • MIDI input to control at minimum:
    - Selection of previously programmed scenes
    - Changes to the fade speed (between programmed scenes from immediate to slower cross-fades)
  • Can operate in playback without a PC (i.e., works fine with any MIDI input source; no need for a PC during live performance). The unit will be racked and not physically manipulated during performances.
  • Pre-programming of scenes can be by any method it supportsÖ integrated sliders/buttons, PC sw, tablet sw, etc. (Iím not picky about programming method since this will never be done in a live show)
I've found controllers that do most of the above, but they seem to be missing the MIDI control over fade speed. (Iíd like some songs to transition immediately between scenes, but others do so slowly.)

Moreover, Iím a newbie to DMX-controlled lighting (my last work with MIDI lights was with an NSI board decades ago!); so I may simply not understand how variable cross-fade times can be controlled with MIDI automation without MIDI control of a fade time parameter.

Thanks!
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Bob Charest

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Re: MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 04:19:15 pm »

Iím looking for a lighting controller or interface box that supports the following for my band that plays with a backing track and synchronized MIDI (but not from a PC / DAW):

  • DMX output
  • MIDI input to control at minimum:
    - Selection of previously programmed scenes
    - Changes to the fade speed (between programmed scenes from immediate to slower cross-fades)
  • Can operate in playback without a PC (i.e., works fine with any MIDI input source; no need for a PC during live performance). The unit will be racked and not physically manipulated during performances.
  • Pre-programming of scenes can be by any method it supportsÖ integrated sliders/buttons, PC sw, tablet sw, etc. (Iím not picky about programming method since this will never be done in a live show)
I've found controllers that do most of the above, but they seem to be missing the MIDI control over fade speed. (Iíd like some songs to transition immediately between scenes, but others do so slowly.)

Moreover, Iím a newbie to DMX-controlled lighting (my last work with MIDI lights was with an NSI board decades ago!); so I may simply not understand how variable cross-fade times can be controlled with MIDI automation without MIDI control of a fade time parameter.

Thanks!
Hi Stuart,

I went from an NSI FOOT CONTROLLER to a DMX controller many years ago. The one that I went to is made by Lanbox, but if youíre not used to doing DMX programming to control the lights, it can be quite daunting. Also the founder passed away several years ago, and some that Iíve spoken with have told me that the support is not what it once was.

I use 10 pre-programmed scenes. All fades/cross fades are individually assigned by device as well.

Best regards,
Bob Charest


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Stuart Anderson

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Re: MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 03:02:35 pm »

I went from an NSI FOOT CONTROLLER to a DMX controller many years ago. The one that I went to is made by Lanbox...

Thanks Bob, I was unaware of the Lanbox... from the manual it indeed looks like it supports very deep control via MIDI.  The form factor looks good for my purpose too.  I'll have to spend some time reading this a few times to make sure I understand their concepts and how I might program the scenes it and then trigger it appropriately...
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John L Nobile

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Re: MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 03:27:52 pm »

I used a Lanbox LCX for at least 5 years but always hired someone to program it yearly for a new show. They all complained about what a pain it was to program but never about its ability. I did learn some basic programming. It is hard to use.

We used it to run our lights which were triggered by midi commands from Logic. Worked very well but you also had to know your way around midi.  At the end of it's life, the Lanbox was controlling 80 conventional cans, 12 LED's and 4 older moving mirror lights.

I looked at their website and it doesn't look like the Lanbox LCX has changed over the years. I'm not sure how hard it would be to control any moving lights with it. I see that they have a newer LCXi model. It's over twice the price though

You used to be able to download the software and connect to a "demo" Lanbox to audition the software. I'd highly recommend that if still available.
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Stuart Anderson

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Re: MIDI to DMX controller, with MIDI fade-time control?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 02:44:35 pm »

Thanks for the tips, John...

Quote
We used it to run our lights which were triggered by midi commands from Logic. Worked very well but you also had to know your way around midi.  At the end of it's life, the Lanbox was controlling 80 conventional cans, 12 LED's and 4 older moving mirror lights.
Good to know... I have just a small duo performance, so I'll have much fewer lights!  I'm OK with MIDI (used to write firmware for MIDI devices long ago), though I can see there would be a sizable learning curve involved in cracking LCX's programming model. My current DAW (Reason) is not particularly adept at entering /editing arbitrary MIDI events (and in some ways a step back from what I used in the 90s.) So part of my assessment is how easily I'll be able to enter the particular MIDI events the controller needs in Reason.  (FYI, during performance I actually don't use a PC or a DAW... just a simple iOS app that plays audio recordings and an SMF.  The DAW / PC, etc. is used only for prep work.)

Quote
I see that they have a newer LCXi model. It's over twice the price though
Yes, I really like that form factor a lot (for racking), but that's a pretty massive price jump, and I doubt it has any incremental features over the LCX I couldn't live without.

Quote
You used to be able to download the software and connect to a "demo" Lanbox to audition the software. I'd highly recommend that if still available.
I'll check that out... I was able to download the software for Windows, but haven't installed it yet.
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