DMX stands for Digital Multiplex. This is a type of protocol that uses digital signals to transmit data over long distances and allows control of multiple devices from one central location. It is used in many different industries, but it is most commonly known for its use in the lighting industry. You might be considering buying a DMX 512 controller if you do not already have one, so this article will help answer some common questions about DMX controllers with product review and tips on how to use them correctly.
What is DMX 512?
DMX512 stands for digital multiplex 512, which means 512 channels are controlled digitally through 1 data cable. The channel is a set of 255 steps that are assigned to control attributes in each light such as color, strobe, or pan/tilt.
The advancement from analog to DMX 512 was a welcome change, where you would connect each console wirelessly to a receiver. You only need to plug in one cable. Data goes down this wire as pulses of electricity from a lighting console. You will need to attach these wires to your light fixtures that can be put together like a chain.
DMX cables are used to link lighting fixtures, and the first DMX cable must be plugged into the first fixture.
DMX is a type of lighting that you can control with any console. They can be made by different companies. You do not need to have a DMX console from the same company as your lights.
What are the common DMX 512 controller types?
There are two major types of controllers: a standalone unit and an insert card for consoles such as D-Show or Proshow Producer. A standalone is simpler because you do not have to resize your console, which can be time-consuming if you already created content with it before adding your new control surface. Insert cards are more expensive but allow access from any computer that has the software installed on it, making them easier to share between multiple users since they serve as just another input device alongside keyboard and mouse. If you have a laptop running Windows OS then we recommend using an insert card so that all accessories will work seamlessly together.
How does it differ from other lighting control systems?
DMX 512 is not the only type of lighting control system in existence. DMX was a revolutionary step forward from analog, but these systems have their own disadvantages as well. The biggest downside to using DMX512 is that it has a limited amount of channels – for example, if you want to use more than 256 colors then you will need two cables and split up your palette between them. Digital Multiplex can also be expensive because every device needs its own receiver/transmitter combo which are sometimes sold separately rather than being included with the product itself.
Why should you use DMX 512?
The main reason to use DMX 512 is that it’s a digital protocol. A major downside of analog lighting control systems was the lack of stability, which meant you had to constantly be adjusting your lights and never knew what color they would next show up as. With DMX512 you can have solid colors without worrying about them fading in an out or flickering on stage.
Benefits of using a DMX 512 Controller for Lighting
- DMX is a cheaper alternative to other lighting control systems
- It has more channels than analog and can be used for any console
- You can use multiple consoles on one set of lights by plugging in the first cable into each device
Drawbacks of using DMX 512 Controller for Lighting
DMX512 controllers are not compatible with all types of equipment, such as strobes or truss rigs. For this reason it would not work well if you were doing something like an outdoor show where those kinds of fixtures may be needed.
How do I know how many DMX cables am I going to need?
The number will depend on how many devices you’re connecting together, but typically there should only ever be one DMX cable running from the console to each device.
- DMX is not a universal protocol, so you need to make sure that your lighting fixtures are compatible with it before purchasing them
- If this isn’t an issue then use DMX 512 because of its many benefits
The Best DMX 512 Controllers for Lighting
The DJ controller for your light show. Designed with simplicity in mind, the ADJ Products DMX Operator is a lightweight and compact control device that instantly lets you manipulate all of your channels. Unlike other controller devices on the market, this unit is designed to take charge of 12 individual fixtures at once without any hassle and create entire shows before you even get them plugged into wall outlets! It can be used alongside a computer or as a standalone unit. Best yet: it’s compatible with most third-party light fixtures, no matter what brand they are!
Operate conventionally and moving lights across 192 DMX channels.
- The DMX Operator puts programming, playback and live manipulation of Scenes and Chases at your fingertips.
- Easily record up to six chase pattern sequences that can each be individually adjusted during playback using the fade and step speed operations.
- Fixtures with less than 16 DMX channels may be combined on 1 Channel Fader Record up to 6 programmable chases with fade times and different speeds.
Things to Consider when Purchasing a controller
A DMX controller will help you control your lights more efficiently and with greater precision. You can use the device to set up scenes, adjust individual light levels or color temperatures, synchronize colors for a moving spot or strobe effect – there are many different things that you could do with one of these products.
The type of console is important when purchasing a DMX 512 Controller for Lighting because they all have specific features but may also require some adjustments in order to make them work correctly. For example, if you’re going into live theater then it would be best to purchase an insert card rather than a standalone unit that doesn’t come with any software pre-installed on it by default. If not certain about whether D-Show or Proshow Producer would be more appropriate for you.
The DMX 512 Controller with built-in software that comes in a number of different configurations – this includes monitors and lighting fixtures being sold together as an all-inclusive package. Depending on what type of setup you’re looking for will determine whether or not it’s worth purchasing these types of controllers from companies such as Chauvet Professional.