DMX stands for Digital multiplex512, it is a regular device used for digital communication networks that are used to control stage lighting effects. The 512 channels are controlled digitally through one cable allowing users freedom from multiple cables running from their DMX controller to their lights.
DMX was developed so lighting manufacturers could build fixtures that would all be compatible with each other, instead of having individual control stations for each set of lighting.This gave the Audio Visual industry freedom to control everything from one single source enabling more flexibility when it came to creating lighting shows.
Intelligent lights and devices cost a little more than your standard lights, but they also tend to be built for more demanding usage. It contains elements which can be controlled remotely; this may involve a moving head (pan and tilt), patterns, or you the colour or a dimmer.
These lighting systems used to be costly territory used mainly by professionals; but with the growth of cheaper electronics and control systems, incredible lighting effects are now within the reach of a novice DJ. Whether you’re planning a large club night, or want to enhance your Christmas lighting, DMX systems allow you to do this simply and effectively.
Combined with a controller, the user can simultaneously send a signal to hundreds of devices, sequencing them with a pre-organised show, or live operate the effects on-the-fly. You may choose to pre- record the lighting effects and just play it back at the right time, giving your audience a consistent and uniform experience.
DMX is reliable, but can be subject to interference which makes it unsuitable for hazardous effects such as pyrotechnics. Similar to most digital cables, the repeaters can be used to split the signal but the signal quality deteriorates over long distances especially if the user tries to add over 32 devices on one single run of cable. Devices can be daisy chained together in a single cable and ceased with a special plug; a single DMX master is used to control, while other devices are known as a slave.
When looking at your DMX system you will see that each device on the DMX “universe” must have an address set on the device itself; most devices will take up more than one channel, some of the more complicated lights might have up 12 different channels; a combination of which controls various effects. Identical devices can be set with the same address and these will both react to those directions. The control system also needs a “profile” for each device which tells it what the device is capable of and what signals to send for each effect.
DMX isn’t limited to just lighting; you can get smoke machines, a wide variety of lighting fixtures and accessories that are controlled over DMX.
DMX controlled lighting systems are used in many professional settings, including concert lighting, stage lighting, studio lighting, theme park attractions, and much more. In recent years, DMX is being used more frequently in architectural lighting projects, including illumination of building exteriors, accent lighting and high-end residential lighting.
DMX is an excellent way to make any DJ set or musical performance look as good as it sounds. From venue owners to nightclub DJ’s the DMX controller is likely to suit your needs. There is a wide selection of controller’s available offering excellent features and compatibility with lighting fixtures.