VST Live DMX Users Unite!

Hello all. “Long time listener, first time poster.”

I’m curious as to how many of us have been/are using the DMX features of VST Live Pro. While like most of you, I primarily purchased VSTLP for the <insert name of your preferred live performance VST host here, like Forte, Cantabile, Mainstage, etc. which I have/am using>-like capabilities, I was also excited about the DMX control capabilities. So much so that I purchased a DMX interface and some lighting to integrate that into our band’s live performances.

DMX Users - Can you please share your experiences/successes/failures to date so that we relatively new “lighting directors” can all benefit from our efforts?

I’ll start with a couple of things. As a point of reference, I’m on a Windows 10 system using an ENTTEC Open DMX USB interface with an Eliminator Lighting Min PAR bar fixture. I’ve tested this configuration and confirmed that it works successfully with both DMXControl3 and Q Light Controller Plus.

Now for some issues that I’m experiencing.
. Basic testing of the DMX track from “Ghosts.” Results are unsuccessful. The DMX track appears to only work in the DMX Visualizer. I have tried two routing options as follows:

* Routing to the DMX Mixer.  According to the VST Live - Operation Manual  page 92,  *To view the fader movements of a DMX Track on the DMX Mixer, set the output to the DMX Mixer.*  I think this is the routing that they are describing:

(Would include an image but I’m a new user and only get one media post)

When I play the song and look at the DMX window, no moving faders.
DMX Users - Has anyone else tried this, and if so what are your results?

  • Routing to my DMX interface: In this case, I’m routing the DMX output to my ENTTEC Open DMX USB interface. Here’s the DMX Connections panel (I’m including this as my one media so you can see my DMX connections):

And here’s the track routing:
(Would include an image but I’m a new user and only get one media post)

Again, no activity on the fixture. FYI my Mini PAR Bar has Macros on Channel 1, Macro Options on Channel 2, and Strobe/Fade speed on Channel 3. So given that the DMX Visualizer suggests R/G/B on channels 1/2/3, hence I’m assuming the DMX track is using Channels 1-3, I would expect at leas some crazy activity from the fixture.
DMX Users - Same question but with external DMX interfaces - Has anyone else tried this, and if so what are your results?

2. New DMX track in New Project. Since the demo project appears to be somehow “locked” (meaning I can’t arm individual tracks), I created a new project with a new DMX track. My fixture uses Channels 4-8 for Master dimmer and R/G/B/W dimmers, so I recorded a bunch of fader moves in the DMX Mixer and created a new track. So far, so good. But the output doesn’t go anywhere. I’m assuming the DMX visualizer doesn’t work with other channels (based on the legend (RGAB = Channel 1|2|3), but I had no luck in routing the input to either the DMX Mixer or my interface and fixture.
DMX Users - Have you tried creating new DMX control tracks, and if so what are your results?

Sorry, the post is too long already but I am having no luck with the VSTLP DMX options.
A couple of thoughts that I’ll probably cross-post to the features. These assume that at least the advertised DMX capabilities work.

  • Ability to assign any DMX channels to the DMX visualizer (for example, I need to see Channels 5-8 for my Min PAR Bar fixture).
  • Ability to import DMX tracks created in VSTLP. I could probably re-use my lighting scenes if there were some way to add one that I already created - creating a new track from scratch is quite the process.
  • An in-tool DMX editor. Someone else mentioned the ability to set specific values in the DMX mixer (agree); I’d like to see something like the Lyric editor where I can tweak the DMX channels and values in the song timeline, similar to the way the Lyric editor works. The ability to fine-tune or create a series of moderately complex lighting channels and settings at specific timestamps, or copy/paste/move them in the timeline, would be really cool. I know that you can drag the DMX track around in the Tracks window, but have an event displayed in a timeline window would really take the lighting capability to the next level.

Thank you all for reading and I’m looking forward to your comments!
~Onionhead (Keyboardist and vocalist by day, lighting designer by night!)

1 Like

Just a thought - have you tested the DMX interface with any other software to prove it working?

Hi CliveJ, thanks for the suggestion. I did mention that early in the post… that’s the problem with my long-winded thoughts.

I have confirmed the interface and fixtures work in two lighting environments - DMXControl3 and Q Light Controller Plus. I’m just keeping things simple in both, using the Channel Overview window in DMXControl3 and the Simple Desk in Q Light.

Just re-confirmed and the fixture works nicely.

BTW, I neglected to mention that I’m using VST Live Pro v1.0.20.852, in case anyone is wondering.

Ah - my mistake. Even so some apps are picky about which interfaces they’ll talk to, even if they see them.

I’m interested to see where this goes as I’m looking at automating lights.

Steinberg - do you have a list of interfaces you have tested DMX with, and on which platforms?

We sure do. On my desktop is a DMXIs (which should resemble your ENTTEC), and a Botex Netcon 1-3, both working flawlessly.
Right now loaded demo project, selected DMX track, replaced visualizer output with the DMXIs and my LED bar shows expected activity.
The question is if whatever you connected expects the data played out from the DMX track? Don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t work.

Thanks for the reply, musicullum@Steinberg. So that’s two, are there any others? I’d really like one of my interfaces to work with VSTLP but so far not dice, and I think I have some insight for you and the Steinberg VST Live development team.

For general consumption, I just tried a different, and relatively inexpensive, DMX interface based on the open-source uDMX project (Lixada USB to DMX interface) in two control environments and VSTLP. I had 100% success with DMXControl3 (DMXC3), about 50% success with Q Light Controller Plus (QLC+), and 0% success with VST Live Pro (VLSTP). My ratings:
100% (DMXC3) - The software recognized the installed hardware/driver and all 8 channels of my Eliminator Lighting Mini PAR Bar worked as expected with the software and interface.
50% (QLC+) - The software recognized the installed hardware/driver but only Channels 1-3 of the Min PAR Bar worked as expected.
0% (VSTLP) - The software didn’t recognize the installed hardware/driver.

So I don’t have a 2nd point of reference for VLSTP other than one of my interfaces is recognized and the other is not.

But wait, there’s more and I’ll just speak to it instead of including all of the graphics, since this isn’t a developer thread. musiccullum, I’d be happy to sent more details in a PM, but I’ll provide a brief description since this is way more detail that a VST Live Pro user needs. In addition to being a keyboardist/vocalist, I am a semi-retired electrical engineer and software developer (consulting on firmware and FPGA design projects). As such, I can’t leave a good problem alone, so this morning I got my oscilloscope out and measured the DMX signaling at the terminator after my fixture. I have a plethora of screen shots measuring the DMX signal from DMXC3, QLC+ and VSTLP, and there are significant differences.

First, both DMXC3 and QLC+ continuously transmit DMX frames. And those frames have noticeable and measurable inter-frame gaps, SPACE and MARK after BREAK (MAB) elements. VSTLP transmits “bursty” DMX frames, some which appear to overlap, and do not appear to have measurable SPACE and MAB elements. I’ll include one representative capture from each software package, all at the fixture end of the DMX cable for your reference.

  1. DMXC3 frames and beginning of frame with SPACE and MAB (Measurement of SPACE).

  2. QLC+ frames and beginning of frame with SPACE and MAB (Measurement of SPACE).

  3. VSTLP frames with no identifiable or non-standard SPACE and MAB. Also note that the 2nd and 3rd frames are back-to-back (refer to the upper oscilloscope trace) with no inter-frame gap.

The only other comment that I’ll make is that with the DMXC3 and QLC+ software + ENTTEC Open DMX USB interface, I also see my fixture’s “DMX activity” LED blink but don’t see anything with the VSTLP software. That suggests that however the VSLTP software is interacting with my simple COM-port like interface, it doesn’t create DMX frames that can be recognized by the fixture. Based on my (admittedly novice) of DMX framing and physical layer signaling, it’s understandable if the VSTLP + ENTTEC Open DMX frames are missing SPACE and MAB signals and if the frames overlap.

Having said that, I can’t explain why musicullum’s interfaces are working. At the basic level, a USB-DMX interface is essentially a USB-to-RS485 bridge, but on the other hand there are obviously (as yet unknown to me) differences between a $100 and $350 DMX interface.

So, two questions for Steinberg:
#1. To follow up on CliveJ’s question - have you tested VSTLP’s DMX capabilities with other interfaces? If so, to what extent? Will you/can you publish a “white list” (which hopefully will include the ENTTEC Open DMX USB interface in the future :wink:).
#2. For the “white list”, have you tested in both Windows and MacOS environments?
#3. Any comments on the measured DMX signaling differences between the two Windows-based DMX packages (DMXC3 and QLC+) and VSTLP when using the ENTTEC Open USB interface?

Please let me know if there’s anything that I can do to help improve VSTLP’s DMX capabilities - I’m extremely positive about the product and do recognize that there are growing pains, especially when adding extra capabilities (sync’d lyrics, DMX control, etc.) above and beyond current offerings

Best to all!

Sorry, that was actually three questions :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

And to your comment regarding what an interface (“… whatever you connected…”) is expecting, I’d say at minimum the USB equivalent of standard DMX512 signaling ( what I guess to be the lowest common denominator for open interfaces). I would actually liked to have probed the USB side of the interface and compare the 3x environments, but I no longer have access to the high bandwidth scopes from Tektronix, Keysight, etc. with differential probes and USB analysis software :wink:.

That’s a lot, so let’s take this step by step.

Does that mean VST Live does not show the interface in the connections panel?

That means yes, and that we’re already way above 0% :slight_smile: And you getting DMX data from VSt Live, that’s a good start.

Note that applications don’t “create” anything, they merely pass DMX data to the driver. You told us what hardware you use (incl. fixatures, that’s what I meant by “what is connected”), so we may be able to pick up on that. Thanks for the osci pics but again, the application software has nothing to do with the physical output, it just sends DMX data to the driver which is responsible for managing the hardware to do the right thing. That said, it doesn’t mean we doubt any of your observations, but we do need to create a situation where we can reproduce them and have a chance to check what is different from working test environment. Thanks for helping!

Hey musicullum, thanks again for the reply. Again, I think the length of my posts get in the way of clear communication, so here’s a somewhat shorter or at least more concise summary. Hopefully we can get out of the details of this issue and up-level the topic back to the stated purpose - to get some feedback on other VST Live Pro (VSTLP) DMX users’ experiences.

My situation - VSTLP DMX features do not work with my ENTTEC Open DMX USB or Lixada uDMX interfaces and my Eliminator Lighting Mini PAR Bar lighting fixture.

My environment:

  • OS - Windows 10 Home, Version 21H1

  • DMX interfaces - #1 = ENTTEC Open DMX USB, #2 = Lixada USB to DMX (based on uDMX)

  • Lighting fixture - Eliminator Lighting Min PAR Bar (DMX Channels 1 - 8).

  • DMX control software - DMXControl 3, Version 3.2.3 (DMXC3), Q Light Controller Plus, Version 4.12.5 (QLC+), VST Live Pro, Version 1.0.20.582 (VSTLP)

My experience:

DMX interface #1, ENTTEC Open DMX USB.
Works 100% with DMXC3 and QLC+ - Software recognizes the installed hardware/driver, and all 8 channels of my Eliminator Lighting Mini PAR Bar work as expected with the software and interface. Measurements of the DMX signal show well-formed DMX packets being transmitted continuously, even when faders are idle.
Does not work with VSTLP - Software recognizes the installed hardware/driver (see the following image), but the fixture does not respond to the transmitted DMX signals. Measurements of the DMX signal show DMX packets that appear to be lacking start-of-frame information (no discernable SPACE and MARK after BREAK signals), are “bursty” (appears to transmit frames only on DMX transitions) and in some cases overlap each other with no inter-frame gaps. To your comment,

with respect to this ENTTEC Open DMX USB interface I absolutely agree and will provide more information as/if you require.

Here is the driver configuration and the VSTLP connections configuration screen for this interface.

DMX interface #2, Lixada USB to DMX.
Works 100% with DMXC3 - Software recognizes the installed hardware/driver and all 8 channels of my Eliminator Lighting Mini PAR Bar work as expected with the software and interface.
Works “50%” with QLC+ - Software recognizes the installed hardware/driver but only Channels 1-3 of the Min PAR Bar work as expected.
Does not work with VSTLP (aka “0%”) - Software does not recognize the installed hardware/driver (see the following image), so I can’t provide further information. This is in reply to your question

and the answer is yes, VSTLP does not show the Lixada interface in the connections panel.

Here is the driver configuration and the VSTLP connections configuration screen for this interface.

So this is my situation at this point in time (In passing, I’ll just note that whatever DMXC3 is doing with respect to communicating with my two DMX interfaces, their drivers and hardware, it certainly works well, and I hope that VSTLP will be able to work with one or the other in the near future). Please let me know if I need to clarify anything or provide further information.

Next, I’ll repeat my questions again just in case they got lost in the sauce.

To clarify, with respect to other interfaces, I mean beyond the DMXIS (DMX) and Botex Netcon 1-3 (ArtNet) interfaces that you mention. And finally, I definitely understand and agree with your comment :+1:

As I mentioned, please let me know if I need to clarify anything or provide further information. Since I have nothing else to add DMX-wise, I’ll go back to exploring the rest of VST Live and let other DMX users share their experiences :slightly_smiling_face:.

Thanks again for listening!

Oops, I actually do have two more DMX-wise questions.

Here’s the 1st:

As I noted above, according to the VST Live - Operation Manual page 92, To view the fader movements of a DMX Track on the DMX Mixer, set the output to the DMX Mixer. I think this is the routing that you are describing:

If that’s correct, I don’t see any fader movements in the DMX Mixer when I do this.

I this is not the correct routing…
Can you please describe the correct routing to view the movements of a DMX track on the DMX Mixer?

Here’s the 2nd:
I know that manual updates will be forthcoming, but I can’t find any description of this element of the DMX track:
Mystery control

Can you please explain the function of this control?

Thank you!

Sort of a “Monitor” button (thru, just like with audio/video/MIDI).
As for your other remarks, thanks, we are investigating.

Thanks for the explanation! That’s certainly a useful feature.

Looking forward to the next release of the manual and future tutorials!

… sorry. It’s a bug, it has been fixed and it will be added to the next update,
Michael.

Thank you very much for your help and report, we see the problem with certain devices and are investigating.

Hey Spork/Michael and musicullum, thanks for the information. Good luck with the investigations and I’ll be looking forward to the next update!

Even with some rough edges, VST Live is looking so bright, I gotta wear shades! :sunglasses: