Jump to content

DMX Foot controllers?


Recommended Posts


I play bass and sing in a rock band in the US. We run sound and lights from stage. I've been running a par can light show for 10 years with my left foot. However, we are switching to LED Par cans and moving-head lights.

My new show contains:

12 American DJ LED Pars (6 DMX Channels each)

4 American DJ Spot 250's (6 DMX Channels each)

By my calculations, that's 96 total channels. But all the foot controllers I see barely have 16!

Why in the world can't I create a scene, store it to a foot controller bank, and hit a button and have that scene appear? I've done it with bulb cans, but can't find a foot controller that will help.

If anyone has suggestions, I'm listening!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am currently running with 8 AMDJ LED 64s and they are awesome. I assigne them each their own DMX channel so when set up I can program almost anything from chases to fast color changes from all the same to strobing etc. It is an awesome setup.


Bass players must get all the glory when running stage lighting. We use the Behringer FCB-1010 which is a midi controller. We use it to control the programs, chases, and shows saved in our ROBE DMX COntroller. I used to have the K:S I-SCAN scanners and could set these together or separate from the LED lighting using the DMX Controller. Take notes if you do this as you will need to program the footboard to trigger the changes of the DMX Program. I am not sure of the specs but I think you could setup up to 16 banks of 10 pedals. Each of the 10 pedals corresponding to a change through the DMX controller of the lights.


Example - (all pedals programmed to trigger a scene/chase/or show on the DMX controller)

Bank 1/Pedal 1 - Full on Red (All Lights Static)

Bank 1/ Pedal 2 - Full on Blue (All Lights static)

Bank 1/ Pedal 3 - 2 outside lights red, 4 scanners Blue (Static)

Bank 1 / Pedal 4 - Chase Pattern all lights one by one left to right and changing colors.

Bank 1 / Pedal 5 - Strobing and color programmed.

Bank 1 / Pedal 6- A Show with programmed static and chase sequences.

Bank 1 / Pedal 7 - A Show of Scanners only

Bank 1 / Pedal 8 - A Chase of just the LED's

Bank 1 / Pedal 9 - Show with Scanners and LEd's.

Bank 1 - Pedal 10 - BLACKOUT (YOu have to program this)


**** Now do this for the next 16 banks or so of proamming changes.


Anyway, for under US $500 you should be able to get a similar DMX Controller and a Midi foot board to trigger the changes.


The light show will look great!

Here are a few pictures of our basic setup:

1) http://www.56daze.com/56daze.com/images/Al...07/IMG_4052.jpg

2) http://www.56daze.com/56daze.com/images/Al...ty/DSC05139.JPG



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your situation is almost identical to mine, ( it's my original post that mark has linked to earlier )

Trying to get everything out of an all in one foot controller that isn't built by nasa and costs the same as the shuttle is just going to get frustrating ( trust me I've tried).

The best solution I've found so far is: a midi pedal ( I got a roctron midi mate ) controlling either a laptop software prog or a physical desk. picking which is where I'm at at the mo (see the post midi in to desk)

You can set the foot controller to do all the lights and nothing else, but it gives you the ability to change anything else in the signal path too.

You can have 4 buttons for light show cues/effects/amps changes and leave 4 set for constants ie blackout/full on/ etc.

So every 4 songs just click up a bank and carry on or if you use one for just lights you can set it on instant and just click your way to 99.

Which way you go with actual light control s down to space, trust (laptop), budget.

If it's always going to be you controlling then software may be the way, If you sometimes have a lampie then maybe a desk that can go foh occasionally may be the way.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are a muso on stage controlling stuff there is only one way you should be doing this now we are in the 21st century: You only need one pedal, it's the 'next' pedal, and use something (probably a PC show control type program) to operate all your gizmos.


If you take Boogie's suggestion of the excellent Rocktron MIDI Mate, you can run it in controller mode, and dedicate a top row button to "next", leaving you bottom row access to programmes and still have four top row effect on/off controllers as well. Even better is the model up, which has MIDI in, thus allowing the show control PC to help you along.


ShowMagic is a very good show controller, but either BlueLite X1 or PCStage would be lower in cost, however, each of those three packages offers different approaches and differing strengths and weaknesses, so the choice of what exactly to do is way more complex than price. For example, PCStage will easily out-cue-list and out-MIDI the other two, but it's control of moving lights is much weaker.


Whatever, the choices available to do this today are just so much better than a decade ago.


And be careful of the MIDI implementation of lighting consoles, if you really want a lighting console: in particular, the Frog doesn't do MIDI at all, and I'm not convinced (but may be wrong) that desks like the jester are useful in a MIDI controlled context, as I think it supports MIDI note on, but for channels, what you really want is MSC supporting cues, and/or scenes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Most pedals only transmit Program Changes and not Note


Numbers - Here's how to get around that:

I just got the MIDI Solutions "Event Processor" box. ($119 US)

It works like a charm! John, the designer at Midi Solutions (midisolutions.com) was very helpful and really fast replying to my several emails.


Here's how it works:

You first program it using your PC with a MIDI OUT port with a really simple easy programming tool (free) you download from their site. (You can do it now and test it out - I did.) (NOTE: If your PC doesn't have a MIDI OUT port, then you can get a MIDI IN/OUT cable that you can plug into the game port (Joystick connector) on your soundcard for $20)


Using the software, you "tell" the box to convert MIDI PROGRAM Change messages to MIDI NOTE NUMBER messages. It will do numbers 0-127 or 1-128. (It can also do many other functions.)


You insert the box into the midi chain (in between your pedalboard and DMX controller) and it intercepts the MIDI transmissions and like any good hacker, changes them to something you need it to do, in this case, converting the Program Changes to Note Numbers.


I had 2 questions about the Software and how to make it do what I needed. John walked me through it via email, and in less than five minutes after the box arrived, it was up and running!


I am using my PODXT Live pedal MIDI OUT to transmit Program Changes (0-127)to the DMX Light Controller...and the "box" converts them to Note Numbers (0-127). How easy is that?


The "box" is approx. 5 inches long, 3 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Your typical Radio Shack P-Box and weighs less than a pound. You can find them at any major outlet online and by all means go to the website: www.midisolutions.com - don't let the techno-capabilites scare you away from this easy to use "box."


...And to think I almost bought one of those big honkin' pedal boards!


DISCLOSURE: I told John that if his "box" works, I would tout testimony to the user groups looking for a solution. It works well. Thank you John.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I'm a bass player too and design and run the lights. Here's my solution. I run 4 PAR 64 LED cans, 2 LED washes, and 2 moving mirror 250W scanners. Obviously that's plenty of channels. I control all through an old Elation Show Designer. With the old Show Designer you can call scenes using midi notes. I program all the scenes I want into the Show Designer - the scanners make great spot lights when I don't pull up a gobo! Also, I have a custom gobo of our band logo that goes up on the wall behind us between songs and at breaks! Anyway, the real trick is calling up the midi notes via some sort of foot controller. Here's my very cheap solution. I pulled the guts out of a $30 midi keyboard. By doing a little soldering to the 12 middle notes of the keyboard - just jump around the old switches - and using a foot pedal I made from a bunch of foot switches and some steel plate (you probably could use an old guitar foot pedal board but I wanted a full 12 foot switches) I made my own midi note foot controller. I also added two more foot switches so I could move the octave up and down. Thus I have 12 scenes available to me immediately with any number of banks of 12 (by moving the octave up or down). I also had to add a slightly more complicated circuit with an LED indicator of what bank I was on. If you aren't a electronics gear-head, find some college EE and give them a challenge. Any decent EE or electronics tech should be able to figure it out and build it for cheap. The real advantage over any purchased solution I could find was the almost unlimited banks of 12 scenes that I could reach with a single stomp or two. When it is up and running it blows people away - moving gobos, spot lights on lead singers that move to the soloist and back, band logos in lights, etc. It is quite a show. Even when I go light and just haul the LED cans it turns out great as I have the cans programmed to "white spot" the lead singer, soloist, etc. Yeah, I love my lights almost as much as my Warwick bass!
Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.