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Author Topic: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?  (Read 6798 times)

Loren Aguey

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DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« on: September 19, 2012, 12:09:52 pm »

Were upgrading our setup at the club. On the way is an X32 and we'll be purchasing a new desktop PC that will run Reaper to track the bands that ask for it.

As for lighting, I'd really love to run DMX software on this same PC with a touchscreen and have an all in one solution. Reaper itself, is very lightweight and doesn't tax CPU or memory much at all even when recording up to 32 tracks. It has been rock solid for me on an old ass dell laptop with 3g ram and core 2 duo processor. It doesn't even break a sweat with Reaper.

However, I'm not familiar with how much processing DMX software uses. I'm considering one of the free options like Freestyler or MagicQ + the enttec dongle.

Ideally we'd have a dedicated lighting PC but if we're gonna do that I'd probably just get a Show designer 1. But I've worked in clubs with touch screen setups and as for running sound and lights at the same time I've come to prefer that over a hardware controller.

Another thing is that more often than not the sets won't be recorded, only when bands ask and are willing to pay, which is maybe 15% of the time. So usually it'd just be the DMX software running, and some music playback in between sets.

The PC I'm considering has 12g ram, i5 3.1 GHz processor. I really don't imagine that this would be too much on the system, but was maybe thinking that perhaps DMX software and audio software don't play nice with each other...not sure. Absolute worst case scenario would be the PC locks up and we'd lose lighting or they'd do something weird, but we can always keep the basic elation controller we have now as a backup.

Has anyone done something similar?
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Thomas Bishop

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 01:30:20 pm »

As someone coming from a remote/live recording background, I would highly recommend against using one system for everything.  But the only way you'll know for sure is by testing the rig yourself.  Get the computer, set it all up, arm every track, and give it a test run.  Then you'll know exactly what to expect.
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Scott Wagner

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2012, 02:27:37 pm »

There's a lot more to running multiple software packages on a single computer than RAM and CPU.  Let's not forget interupt and port conflicts, things that require different versions of the same libraries, etc.  You have to test to be sure.  Personally, mission critical applications get their own dedicated machine.  Computers are cheap - why risk it?
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Scott Wagner
Big Nickel Audio

DanGlass

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 07:29:33 am »

It can physically be done but like Scott said there are alot of other factors to consider. Even if after testing you discover that they can both live on the same PC and run together you also have to consider that anytime you will access one of them you will have to intewrupt the other.  Meaning that even though the recording software will be running in the background any changes that need to be made will most likely mean that the lighting guy will have to stop for a moment while you work on it and vice versa.  I would definetely run them on separate PC's if for no other reason than if you have an issue either software or hardware based you wont shut down both systems.  I would hate for the recording software to have a port conflict that will then shut down your lights till it is resolved.  when choosing your lighting control software I would say +1 on the MagicQ.  It has a small learning curve but once you put in the time for setup you will have an easy time running them.
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Loren Aguey

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 08:29:41 am »

All valid points guys thanks. However the lighting guy in this case, is me also.

Perhaps we can get another smaller desktop that does only lighting and run a KVM switch or something because two monitors in the booth would be a bit much. And it appears the hardware requirements are pretty minimal.

Thanks guys. As for MagicQ, can the UI be made suitable for a touch screen? Not a fan of mousing lights at all.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 10:12:23 am »

All valid points guys thanks. However the lighting guy in this case, is me also.

Perhaps we can get another smaller desktop that does only lighting and run a KVM switch or something because two monitors in the booth would be a bit much. And it appears the hardware requirements are pretty minimal.

Thanks guys. As for MagicQ, can the UI be made suitable for a touch screen? Not a fan of mousing lights at all.
The MagicQ UI is extremely suitable for a touch screen - it's the same software they use on their physical desks, which are touch screens.
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DanGlass

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 03:53:36 pm »

It is very touch screen friendly.  You can also assign keyboard shortcuts for playbacks for additonal ease.
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Loren Aguey

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 01:25:03 pm »

It is very touch screen friendly.  You can also assign keyboard shortcuts for playbacks for additonal ease.

Good to know thanks.

I also just noticed that Chamsys makes their own USB dongle. Would there by any benefit to using that one over the Enttec or would it not really matter?
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DanGlass

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 06:49:02 am »

The dongle choice depends on how much DMX you need to transmit.  The Enttec dongle works great but can only be assigned to universe 1 (or A) no matter how many you have.  For most people this is perfectly fine but if you ever need to send more than one universe you will need a Chamsys dongle. 
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Thomas Bishop

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Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 11:12:50 am »

I have two Chamsys MagicDMX Full dongles and one Enntec unit.  I like the Chamsys because it's small, compact, and light weight.  I added a short tail with a 3 pin XLR so I don't have to use an adapter with it and I always have an option.  If you need more than one universe Chamsys makes a two universe interface: http://chamsys.co.uk/dualdmx
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: DMX software + multi-track recording. Too much to ask from one PC?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 11:12:50 am »


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