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Author Topic: Sound activated method that works  (Read 5276 times)

Scott Olewiler

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Sound activated method that works
« on: March 31, 2017, 07:11:03 am »

Has anyone come up with working solution for sound activate lights that do not change too quickly? I have individual fixtures that work OK on sound mode, but I need to be able to control pre programmed chases using multiple fixtures  with sound.

I have an Obey controller that runs on sound but if the volume get too loud the chases change way too often.

 Is there a way to set up sound activated chases so they  will only trigger on the bass drum hits? I'll buy a new controller if it solves my problem.

This is for throw and go band lighting or sometimes with client operated DJ set ups. There will not be a light operator ever.

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Drew Kirkland

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 07:15:08 am »

You will probably have to use some computer software to be able to specify bass, snare hat etc. But most fixtures have a sensitivity setting which if you set all the fixtures in master slave mode you should be able to create a coherent effect if you do want to go down the program route look at showcad or madrix.

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David Allred

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 09:37:27 am »


 Is there a way to set up sound activated chases so they  will only trigger on the bass drum hits?


Does the OBEY have midi?

I'll go a little absurd, but maybe it will trigger a thought.
Open up the Obey and remove the mic.  Extend the cable so you can freely experiment.  Put it in a metal box, plastic box, cardboard box, wrap with foams, etc to kind the best filtered response.
Do you have an old gate or compressor unit with a side-chain trigger?

Even kick hits for light changes would become boring pretty quick.  What you need is a way to register (count) the bass drum hits and have a random or programmed pattern using a PLC that then outputs to the sound circuit.  Every 8th hit, 4th hit, 12th hit, etc, or at 3, then 10, 2,2,6,8,1,1,1,1,3,6,1,etc.

I did say absurd?  It depends on how badly you want it.
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Terry Martin

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 12:10:08 pm »

Freestyler used to have that same functionality.  Been a long time since I looked at it, but you could set the number of key notes before a scene change would occur (from a kick drum mic, for example).

It was called Sound 2 Light, if my memory is correct.

Does the OBEY have midi?

I'll go a little absurd, but maybe it will trigger a thought.
Open up the Obey and remove the mic.  Extend the cable so you can freely experiment.  Put it in a metal box, plastic box, cardboard box, wrap with foams, etc to kind the best filtered response.
Do you have an old gate or compressor unit with a side-chain trigger?

Even kick hits for light changes would become boring pretty quick.  What you need is a way to register (count) the bass drum hits and have a random or programmed pattern using a PLC that then outputs to the sound circuit.  Every 8th hit, 4th hit, 12th hit, etc, or at 3, then 10, 2,2,6,8,1,1,1,1,3,6,1,etc.

I did say absurd?  It depends on how badly you want it.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 01:06:36 pm »

Maybe I should rephrase,  and simplify, my problem statement. Can anyone recommend a controller with a working sensitivity adjustment that can be properly fine tuned?

I have noticed that the adjustments on the fixtures I have go from off to too fast when they are barely turned on rendering them useless..  My fear is that any controller with a sensitivity knob will suffer from the same issue. 

What I dont want to do is buy another sound activate controller and have it also be useless.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 04:56:50 pm by Scott Olewiler »
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Nate Zifra

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 01:15:09 pm »

Freestyler Sound 2 Light works pretty well.  I use an X32 rack, and ran Freestyler on the same laptop that I was multitrack recording with.  Set Sound 2 Light to the kick drum channel, set the divider section (so it would take several kicks to change a scene), and it was set and forget.

You may want to look for a controller that has a mic or aux input.  I'm not sure if there are any out there, but if so and you had an extra Aux out from your mixer, you could just send it the kick.

Freestyler used to have that same functionality.  Been a long time since I looked at it, but you could set the number of key notes before a scene change would occur (from a kick drum mic, for example).

It was called Sound 2 Light, if my memory is correct.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 01:42:58 pm »

Maybe I should rephrase,  and simplify, my problem statement. Can anyone recomend a controller with a working sensitivity adjustment that can be porperlt fine tuned?

I have noticed that the adjustmnets on the fixtures I have go from off to too fast when they are barely turned on renedering them useless..  My fear is that any controller with a sensitivity knob will suffer from the same issue. 

What i dont want to do is buy another sound activate controller and have it also be useless.

Do you have a spare aux on your mixer? You could buy a DMX controller that has an audio input. Now put a mic on the crash cymbal. Next create a chase, and set the board to trigger from the audio source. I've done this before and it worked well but it was a long time ago, pre dmx (NSI Microplex). When I was recently controller shopping I created a list of features, and the following boards have an audio input:

Magic 260 - rca
Operator 192 - rca
Operator 384 - 1/8"
Operator Pro - rca
Freekie - yes but unknown input
Stage designer 50 - yes but unknown input
Sunny DMX512 - 1/4"
Showdesigner 1 - yes but unknown input

Some of these are cheap, off brand boards, so be careful.

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Len Zenith Jr

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2017, 05:47:10 pm »

ShowXpress from Chauvet is a software controller that will do what you want. After you program the chases you can tell it to change to the next scene every beat, 2 beats, 3 beats, 4 beats, etc. Different fixtures can be on different chases and different beat triggers. Lots of options once you go to software.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2017, 07:59:03 am »

Do you have a spare aux on your mixer? You could buy a DMX controller that has an audio input. Now put a mic on the crash cymbal. Next create a chase, and set the board to trigger from the audio source. I've done this before and it worked well but it was a long time ago, pre dmx (NSI Microplex). When I was recently controller shopping I created a list of features, and the following boards have an audio input:

Magic 260 - rca
Operator 192 - rca
Operator 384 - 1/8"
Operator Pro - rca
Freekie - yes but unknown input
Stage designer 50 - yes but unknown input
Sunny DMX512 - 1/4"
Showdesigner 1 - yes but unknown input

Some of these are cheap, off brand boards, so be careful.

I will check these out. I am really trying to avoid software based control. Right now we do wireless dmx from the rack mounted controller to the lights. Just put the lights up and connect one powercon on each T bar and we're running. I use auto chases with fades between scenes which gives us a passable light show for bands but it would be nice to have beat driven chases for when these are being used in DJ situations or for heavier bands.

I's hate to have to spend more of the little set up time we get now setting a laptop up but it looks like I might just have to bite the bullet if I want to expand the lights.
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Andrew Henderson

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2017, 09:08:38 pm »

The Obey controller I've used with one band I run sound for has a 1/4" input for sound active mode. I feed it with an aux send from the mixer that only contains the kick drum.


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Steve Garris

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2017, 04:49:28 pm »

The Obey controller I've used with one band I run sound for has a 1/4" input for sound active mode. I feed it with an aux send from the mixer that only contains the kick drum.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Which Obey controller is it?
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Andrew Henderson

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 05:59:04 pm »

Which Obey controller is it?
Oops, my mistake. It's the Chauvet Stage Designer 50.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 12:45:10 pm »

Oops, my mistake. It's the Chauvet Stage Designer 50.

Good to know. I have a spread sheet and only noted there was an input, so now I added that it's 1/4".
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2017, 04:35:57 pm »

May or may not be helpful, but in my band playing days I used an Obey 40 to run a few strip-LED type fixtures over DMX, taking a midi control change signal from my guitar pedalboard (tc electronics) so that as I changed patches, the lights changed scenes.   I had a lot of programs in my board for various songs, so I could pick a "look" that went with that particular part of each song.  It was as on-beat as my toe-tapping effects changes allowed, and we were pretty tight in our heyday so it worked well enough for small gigs (bigger gigs the fixtures just didn't keep up, and we had a lighting tech for those).

My drummer and I often talked about expanding this concept with some form of drum trigger in his kick drum for additional input.  It's easy to generate a midi signal from a trigger, and the Obey 40 was pretty inexpensive.  It's been many years, but I seem to recall there were midi devices that would generate a tempo command based on a "tap tempo" type of input, which is what we wanted to do since our songs changed time signatures too often/didn't play to a click so sometimes the pre-programmed tempo of the lighting scene wasn't quite on par (although some of the scenes made a good "silent" click track sometimes).  This is where I think it might expand to something more useful to you, I just can't remember the names of any of the devices we were looking into and it never came to fruition (like our third album).

In our application, we owned the lights as a band and the drummer hand built his drums, so it would have been easy to integrate trigger in the kick with a midi connection on the shell.  Not so much for the sound provider side, but I see no reason you couldn't use a similar concept using an audio source as a trigger like Andrew suggested if your board allows it, but the midi workaround for me worked very well and midi gadgets are relatively compact and inexpensive (i'd wager cheaper than any software/computer setup if you're not already bringing that out). Perhaps there's something out there that can take an audio input and generate a midi tempo?  Then it would just be a feed from the board or a Y cable on the kick mic or something simple.
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Re: Sound activated method that works
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2017, 04:35:57 pm »


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