Proper setup for controlling ENNTEC hardware from midi in DAW


I am researching how to properly setup the system I am building. This is an art project where I need to control various lights and robotic actuators where all are driven by playing a midi file with a dozen+ individual midi tracks.

I believe I will need to be using a DAW program like Cubase. In there I will built my midi tracks mapping a song out.

Then I need to trigger actions in my external real world equipment through some kind of physical IO device. I’m looking at the ENTTEC DMX USB Pro or the ENTTEC DMX USB Pro2. From there I can use DMX compatible lights or relay boards to interact with my electronics.

The area I am fuzzy on is bridging the world between my DAW software and the ENTTEC DMX USB hardware. I’ll need each electronic device (think solenoid) tied to a single midi track with a single note on it (Think snare drum).

It appears that I will need to use the EMU software and set up a VST3 Plugin/device in the DAW software? This is what I’m not clear on and any help is appreciated.

Is what I want to do possible? Am I headed in the right direction or missing some steps?


Really? DMX from a DAW?
There is special software available that does what you need.

There are many apps for running DMX hardware, A music DAW might not be the best choice.

here’s a google search to help you get started: dmx controller app windows mac - Google Search

I need to trigger events from a midi piano roll. So I’m looking at DAW programs that play piano rolls. If you have a suggestion I am all ears. But clearly I’m posting for suggestion. “There is special software for that” doesn’t help at all. How about mentioning the software?

You can use Cubase or any midi sequencer for that if you want to, but there will be no DMX specific features. It’ll be 100% manual.

Why? Normally, such software uses a timeline and places everything on that.

Too many possibilities.
Chamsys or GrandMA is good on the DMX part and can use MIDI as input. And there are more DMX capable programs.
Stumpfl Wings or Pixera Show Control are the go to solutions… but there are alternatives.

And of course, there are hardware solutions available. Chamsys, Brightsign, MALighting, Avolites, GreenHippo, Pandoras Box…

Thanks for the reply. Some of those software links look good for the video side of things.

The need for the piano roll midi is because that is where I’m getting my trigger data from. There will be dozens of tracks with each instrument broken out already on a timeline ready to go. Even the individual drums will be broken out onto individual tracks. So we are talking thousands of datapoints very tightly squeezed together. I could spend days or weeks replicating that in a different format for no reason if I can simply send the midi out of the DAW program and into a DMX converting program and that in turn talks to the external hardware.

Another downside of the DMX lighting software is that many of them are very heavy on setting up standard lights on a stage and I’m not doing any of that. I’ll only be using a few standard stage lights and 90% of the rest is custom build electronics. Microcontrollers with their own sub-programs talking to motors, relays, etc. All I need is a “turn on now” signal which is easiest to get from the original piano roll. So a “regular” DMX program isn’t geared towards this project. I would be paying for and not using 95% of the program. I just need midi to fire external IO devices.

It would seem that I could use some DMX software/hardware to bridge from midi to electronics. That way I can stay in a DAW program which natively has a GUI for working on midi tracks and simply assign each track to an output on a DMX channel.

Hope that helps explain the project some more. Appreciate the advice.

The problem with MIDI is that it has no exact time information (musical tempo can change).
It’s always relative to the clock of the device sending the data.
Some programs can import it and use it as it is, so no need for reprogramming.

DMX can produce very heavy load on the machine where it gets generated.
That depends on the complexity of the operations wanted.
And simple converters just use one universe.

Nobody said that it’s paid software.
Chamsys software is available with no cost. Magic-Q
You just need the hardware to get out the DMX. That hardware starts under 100€ for just one universe. And the software can simply use the Midi signals, just needs to be configured.

Yeah, time information is pretty crucial, lol. I didn’t know that could/would be lost. I’m seeing now why you are advising staying in a dedicated lighting software package after spending some time reviewing MagicQ. It looks like I will have to build my timelines in such a program. I still think that it would be very helpful to work off midi tracks in timelines, so I’ll continue to research how to integrate that.

The other side of this project which I haven’t gotten into is that I will have many screens/projectors as well playing dozens of brief video clips. These will all need to be synched in milliseconds. I will also have dozens of LED screens and LED strips that I’ll need to synchronize. Those would be easiest to handle in some kind of software that has a CAD render I can build of a room. In the end I’ll need to sweep color bands across rooms and up and down hallways made up of many many individual displays and LED strips. (Also synch these to to sound traveling with them) So that is an entire other arm to this project. I just saw that MagicQ works with Capture and am watching videos on that.

If you know of other software or plug ins etc that lend themselves to that area that would be helpful.

I also have no problem purchasing the software and hardware. I didn’t mean that in the last post. This isn’t a DIY project. It will cost some money :slight_smile: I just didn’t want bloated software of features I’m not using, but it looks like I would in the end be using a lot of the software features in a program like MagicQ.

How long is your project to be shown?


A show would be 8 to 40 minutes depending on how you break it up.

Have you checked out Steinberg VST Live?