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MIDI to DMX Controller, fade-time capable?
Old 2nd May 2018
  #1
Here for the gear
 

MIDI to DMX Controller, fade-time capable?

I’m looking for a lighting controller or interface box that supports the following for my band that plays with a backing track and synchronized MIDI:
  1. DMX output
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. Pre-programming of scenes can be by any method it supports… integrated sliders/buttons, PC sw, tablet sw, etc. (I’m not picky 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. (I’d like some songs to transition immediately between scenes, but others do so slowly.)

Any ideas, or am I missing something about dealing with fade times?
Old 6th May 2018
  #2
Gear Head
I'm looking for something similar, I think. I'm just getting started looking into this, and our band uses backing tracks too. But we run everything from a laptop, so I don't need the midi interface. I think if I get a USB to DMX interface like the
Entec Open DMX USB, and something like DMX Control or Freestyler, I should be able to program a midi track for each song...?

My biggest concern is cpu load... I'm already running pretty high, do you know how much cpu load these free dmx programs use? Thanks
Old 6th May 2018
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Hi strings n sax:

Quote:
we run everything from a laptop, so I don't need the midi interface. I think if I get a USB to DMX interface like the Entec Open DMX USB, and something like DMX Control or Freestyler, I should be able to program a midi track for each song...?
Yes, I think using a laptop, particularly if you use a DAW for your backing tracks, should open up a lot more alternatives. You may be able to use some DMX software 'directly' for your lighting automation, not involving MIDI at all. In my case I want to avoid using a laptop, since we already have a solid system using iPads to play backing tracks (previously created on an DAW), display synchronized lyrics & chords, and play MIDI for simple guitar & vocal fx patch automation. To keep it simple (less potential points of failure), I want to also control the lights through the MIDI files.

Quote:
do you know how much cpu load these free dmx programs use?
No, but I'd guess they are not too bad since there's nothing like audio codecs involved. I suspect most DMX event playback not a lot more taxing than MIDI, which I've had working fine even in the 80s on the original IBM PC.
Old 10th May 2018
  #4
Gear Head
Thanks Fret12. just curious, what do you use on the Ipad that plays lyrics and chords in sync with the backing track?
Old 10th May 2018
  #5
Here for the gear
 

I use BandHelper, which I'm very happy with.

I used backing tracks with PC-based sequencers sending MIDI to a rack of synths, drum machine (and lights) for many years starting in the 80s. So in recently re-booting my duo act it took a while to warm up to the idea of pre-producing the backing tracks from a DAW into plain audio files, then just playing the audio files live. (Mostly fear of losing the ability to tweak the mix of the backing track instruments on the fly.) But now I find it to be much more reliable and convenient than the old DAW/sequencer-driven method, and I don't mind the lack of live granular backing track mixing (which realistically we never did much anyway!). And having synchronized lyrics and 'cheat sheets' displayed on your mic stand... priceless!

Now if I can just get the lights driven by MIDI... my latest inclination is to use Luminair software running in the background on an iPad, receiving MIDI from BandHelper, and transmitting ArtNet wirelessly to a simple Wi-Fi router and ethernet-DMX box.
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