DMX & The World of Lighting


DMX is a standard for digital communication, mainly used for stage lighting & effects. Its intended use was initially used for controlling dimmers, which displayed incompatible proprietary protocols. This resulted in it becoming a method of linking lighting controllers, which can control lighting as well as special effects.

DMX Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of using DMX

  • Allows for easy synchronisation with different fixture brands & models.
  • When using fixtures, you find sometimes the built-in patterns are poorly made, however using DMX enables you to have full pattern control over these fixtures.
  • Lighting control is enhanced to allow for use of scanners & moving headlights to be used like spotlights with accurate positioning abilities.
  • Synchronisation with music allows for custom light shows to be created, to create the desired atmosphere for those epic moments.
  • Another musical advantage is most built-in programs can not synchronise tempo with lighting when it comes to slower songs.

Disadvantages of using DMX

  • More cabling is required, which effects setting up time.
  • Organisation is important as it takes time to build your lights show before your event.
  • Cheaper lighting features may not be DMX compatible.
  • If you are inexperienced, built-in lighting patterns may be better for you, due to DMX programs being complex.

The Future of DMX
With having robust cabling and having a great topology which is commonly referred to as a “daisy chain” topology are key factors to why many believe the DMX method of lighting is going to continue.
The daisy chain method allows for different lighting products to be connected, without having to run each device to a switch. Which means that when you connect your lighting console you only need a single a DMX line to your first device, whereas its rival ArtNet which travels over ethernet needs each product to be connected individually through the system.
ArtNet can be daunting this is due to is having many different standards which means a lot more knowledge is required for the user to comfortably understand how the system works. In addition to this the user needs to be versed in TCP/IP protocols, and with only being developed in 2007, we are only now recently seeing devices having the technology built into products.
All in all, from the points above DMX is not going to see its end anytime soon.

3 Best DMX Software of 2018

Beginner – Elation Emulation: Elation Emulation DMX lighting control is one of the leading lighting control software’s out today. Coined for “out the box” ease of use Elation Emulation working with Art-Net or DMX, providing an intuitive GUI makes this the perfect option for a newbie or hobbyist.
Its cuelist system is analog to the systems used on larger lighting consoles. It features separate Delay, Fade in & Fade out timing and comes with a shape generator and programmer window.

Intermediate – Nicolaudie Architecture: Great for clubs, live shows, and theatres Nicolaudie bring you a range of options for hardware depending on your intended use. With an intuitive GUI on its software, it has become the industry standard for advanced DMX control. It is overall one of the best DMX software hands down.
Being able to program your lighting with an easy to use editor and visual timeline interface. The software also has a selection of pre-sets, which are customisable through palette and cycle features which in turn allows you to control on real time through a console hub, smartphone or tablet.

Advanced – MADRIX: Being an open source software MADRIX allows for customisation of hardware, supporting all major industry standards the software itself has multiple layers which start from a free downloadable demo from here you can purchase a range of product keys which unlock more and more features.
The basic version consists of 16 different universes and majority of the features a professional would use. Another great option MADRIX has given is that if you purchase a product key that does not fulfill your needs you can upgrade by paying the difference rather than paying for a whole new product key.

However, the downside to this software as it is aimed at professional it is a high-powered software which will affect the usability of your computer, so it would be recommended running this on a standalone machine if you are a DJ.

DMX Receivers

Having a DMX receiver that is compatible is key for any of the above software to interlink with your equipment. It simplifies the wiring and connections of your DMX projects. Fewer cables and components mean less hassle.

Click Here to see the different types of receivers, to find the one that suits your project best. All the receivers displayed are compatible with the software discussed above.