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Author Topic: Recommendations for software dmx controller  (Read 771 times)

Bart Jansari

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Recommendations for software dmx controller
« on: September 26, 2018, 06:10:31 pm »

Hi I'm new to the dmx universe and now have 2 moving heads and 6 par cans.

Id like to be able to have some control over my lights e.g

Make them all strobe
Make them all react in colour x
Change the colour on the moving heads to white and spin

Then use sound active when I want too

So I would be happy to add small midi controller too to give me some buttons to which I can assign these functions

Therefore I'd like recommendations for a software dmx controlling system that I can either run on the same laptop as my dj software or a 2nd laptop if needed.

As I said I don't think I need to do anything too crazy and I'm unlikely to be adding to the lights any time soon?

TIA Bart

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2018, 07:09:59 pm »

Hi Bart, this is a much discussed topic here on PSW, so if you haven't given the forum a browse you can probably find some good suggestions by doing so.  Regarding software, MagicQ PC and M-PC (which is now Onxy by Obsidian) are two of the larger contenders on the market right now, but there are many others.  While the consensus is always that software is better bang to buck (which it is), is there a reason this needs to be software?  Your rig is quite small and since you don't plan on expanding soon, you might be better served with a small hardware board such as something from the Chauvet Obey series or a used Elation Show Designer. 

If you do go the software route I strongly recommend keeping that on a separate computer than your DJ software.  While you can probably get away with both running on the same machine it's just good practice, especially if stability and glitch-free audio is a priority.  You might also be a good candidate for a tablet-based controller such a Luminair if you don't mind the extra logistics needed for wireless control.  Good luck!
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Bart Jansari

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 07:16:22 pm »

Thanks Jeff

My reason for looking at software is that from what I understand it will be a lot easier to program using a laptop over a hardware board. I understand with the latter it would be a lot more manual to program?

For either of the 2 software that you mentioned whaf hardware interface would you have recommend?
Hi Bart, this is a much discussed topic here on PSW, so if you haven't given the forum a browse you can probably find some good suggestions by doing so.  Regarding software, MagicQ PC and M-PC (which is now Onxy by Obsidian) are two of the larger contenders on the market right now, but there are many others.  While the consensus is always that software is better bang to buck (which it is), is there a reason this needs to be software?  Your rig is quite small and since you don't plan on expanding soon, you might be better served with a small hardware board such as something from the Chauvet Obey series or a used Elation Show Designer. 

If you do go the software route I strongly recommend keeping that on a separate computer than your DJ software.  While you can probably get away with both running on the same machine it's just good practice, especially if stability and glitch-free audio is a priority.  You might also be a good candidate for a tablet-based controller such a Luminair if you don't mind the extra logistics needed for wireless control.  Good luck!

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Bart Jansari

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 07:29:21 pm »

Foa tablet based solution I assume I need a high end tablet as I only us we a Amazon fire tab which I use to stream and watch TV and movies

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 07:34:53 pm »

My reason for looking at software is that from what I understand it will be a lot easier to program using a laptop over a hardware board. I understand with the latter it would be a lot more manual to program?

Yes, that's generally a true statement.  The small hardware boards can be tedious to program sometimes, especially if you're trying to do complex patterns or motions.  They're also usually more difficult to modify programming on, simply because you don't have much of a display to work with when compared to a software board or a full-blown console.  The reason I make the suggestion though is that from what you've said so far, it doesn't seem like you'd need to be creating or modifying programs too often.  It's one thing to need new programs every gig, but if this is a program once and recycle type of thing I don't think the programming is insurmountably difficult.  At the same time, most software programs have an overall steeper learning curve due to their increased complexity, so pros and cons to both.

For either of the 2 software that you mentioned whaf hardware interface would you have recommend?

It's hard to go wrong with an Enttec DMX-USB Pro.  It's compatible with both programs and many more.  If you want interfaces with both DMX output and buttons/faders then you'd be looking at buying the wings available for the software you choose.  While each person is different, don't underestimate the usefulness of having physical buttons and faders to drive a show with.  That's also why I brought up the possibility of a hardware controller too.

For tablet based solution I assume I need a high end tablet as I only us we a Amazon fire tab which I use to stream and watch TV and movies

I don't think so, but I'm sure like most things it depends on what you're trying to do with it.  I use my iPad Pro to remote control my ETC Congo Kid, but aside from playing around I've never deployed a full-up tablet solution of my own.  The ones I've used seem somewhat agnostic to the tablet itself.  There are a number of Luminair users here who can probably answer that better than I can!  Hope this helps!
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Bart Jansari

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2018, 07:42:14 pm »

Is this the dmx interface?

Enttec - Open DMX USB Dongle https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O9RY664/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_FJbRBbPFW1N1R

This is the midi controller I'm thinking about?
AKAI Professional LPD8 Portable 8 Pad USB MIDI Pad Controller for Laptops (Mac and PC) - Black https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002M8EEW8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_zKbRBb0HHXA2D

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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 07:55:20 pm »

Is this the dmx interface?

Enttec - Open DMX USB Dongle https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O9RY664/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_FJbRBbPFW1N1R

No, it's this one.  There are a few differences between the two, namely compatibility, isolation, and how the box handles driving a DMX signal.  I both own and always recommend the "Pro" - this is one of those things you want to get right and not mess up by trying to save $100 - the consequences are much more than that.

Regarding MIDI, MagicQ PC must be used with a dedicated MIDI interface.  I believe M-PC will accept third-party MIDI solutions, but I've never tried it and can't speak with authority on it.  While MIDI certainly has its advantages in certain applications, going this route will add more cost and complexity to your setup compared to a simple hardware board given what it is you want to do. 
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Bart Jansari

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2018, 01:39:15 am »

Thanks for clearing that up

Re hardware controller so that i understand complexity to set up.

How would I for example set 1 to change the moving heads to white and spin around

Or

Get the par cans to turn blue in a chase?

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Bart Jansari

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2018, 09:05:09 am »

ok so Ive had a  look online at a couple of videos for using a hardware controller and for the par cans it seems quite easy to change colours , not sure how I would strobe with it?

however is controlling moving heads and selecting gobos and colours , pans etc a hold different problem with just a controller?

if so i have seen a few controllers - for what I want is there much difference in them?

see below

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/American-1322000051-DMX-Operator-Mixers/dp/B00S2VV3YQ/ref=sr_1_8?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-8&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/192-Channel-DMX-Controller-Joystick/dp/B0046ZUSZC/ref=sr_1_6?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-6&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/CHAUVET-DJ-Universal-DMX-512-Controller/dp/B001E9X7X8/ref=sr_1_4?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-4&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Recommendations for software dmx controller
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2018, 01:19:58 pm »

ok so Ive had a  look online at a couple of videos for using a hardware controller and for the par cans it seems quite easy to change colours , not sure how I would strobe with it?

however is controlling moving heads and selecting gobos and colours , pans etc a hold different problem with just a controller?

if so i have seen a few controllers - for what I want is there much difference in them?

see below

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/American-1322000051-DMX-Operator-Mixers/dp/B00S2VV3YQ/ref=sr_1_8?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-8&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/192-Channel-DMX-Controller-Joystick/dp/B0046ZUSZC/ref=sr_1_6?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-6&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/CHAUVET-DJ-Universal-DMX-512-Controller/dp/B001E9X7X8/ref=sr_1_4?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1538052733&sr=8-4&keywords=dmx+controller&refinements=p_76%3A419158031

In another thread you said you bought the Pioneer interface.
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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