Thinking of doing DMX Stage Lighting through C3 - best practice?


My second C3 device that only organize light-device’s states - Scenes

…now simplyfied/reduced to 3Songs/Lightlevels

All Color-combinations are depending on the selected Maincolour.
…all other settings like Gobos/Moves/Strobes/Runninglights are defined in the states of the 3 Level’s

so in each real Song I have the Maincolour-Rack and Racks for 3 Levels

…i think about how to have only one Rack of this active

means—> if I choose an Item in the Level3 Rack the both others should be deactivated (maybe with solo button??)

because at one time only one rack can be active…

here I am searching at the Moment for the best way.

Also I could do all Levels in 1 Rack but then it becomes very confusing.
So I think 3 Racks is the better way

Anyone a better idea to solve this problem??


In a programming context I’d look to set a flag variable when you select something on level 3.

Then check that variable in each of the other racks, and if set, then change rack state to something eg. “off”.

So what to use as a variable that is accessible from all of your racks - custom button? trigger? gain slider perhaps?

EDIT- not a custom buttom because they don’t accept inputs.


…good Idea to set other Rack’s to an ‘OFF-State’…
sometimes I’m just not creative enough :wink:

in my newest version I only use one Song in my C3-Lightjam-Instance

so i didn’t have to change songs with latency…
Levels are now set by the LSB(32)

I think for better viewing it is advantageous to have each Level in a own rack
rest is working fine only this little thing I have to solve.

Thanks for your help


I think I give up for that is cantabile probably not made

… I will probably send all Programchanges from a single rack because everything else becomes too complicated


I downloaded the Lightjams demo, and didn’t even get 10 minutes into it before I was completely lost. :frowning: Cantabile is SO much more intuitive. @Brad should write some lighting software, too. Actually, that’s a great idea, I’d easily pay another $200 USD for Cantabile DMX+ :smile:

I think I’m gonna stick with QLC+ for now, and probably just use a media player with a MIDI file to control the lights. It’s gonna be a lot of work initially, but at least I know where to start. And hopefully once I get it figured out, I’ll be able to add future songs without too much trouble.


if you understand how dmx works you also can understand the system of lightjams…
oh yes at the beginning it can be very confusing
…not so easy and intuitive like the dmxis-plugin

but extrem powerfull is it if you have checked what to do…


Hi Robb, Mathieu the lightjams developer has updated the tutorials page with 3 new videos at the top which might help get you up and running.


That seems fucking amazin’! I’m thinking if I should buy a DMX controller, We hardly ever play with a lighting guy so the lights are “basic”, but I don’t know a thing about DMX. Is it hard to learn? Will I be able to use DMX in almost every stage? (We usually play in small places less than 200 people). Thanks!


How many lights and what kind? If you’ve only got 8 older style PAR cans, the investment in time/money to go to automated DMX would be overkill. If you’ve got 8+ LED fixtures, then it is more worthwhile (that’s just my $.02). We’ve got 14 LED par cans, 3 LED light bars, 2 derby lights, and 2 wide-wash lights, so having it run by PC is a requirement. (Hoping to add 4 moving heads in the near future too).

And, before I sink $100 into LightJams, I’ve had a thought. I’m going to use a midi track (recorded in Cantabile) to “play” the lights in QLC+. I think between program changes, CCs, and notes I’ll have plenty of flexibility with the light show. And more importantly, it will work whether or not we’re playing to a track with an audio click or just a metronome click from Cantabile. And most importantly, it’ll be relatively fast and easy to add new songs.


That’s what I do with DMXIS. I might look at LightJams sometime but for now, DMXIS driven from a MIDI file in Cantabile fits my need.


Sorry as I said, I have no idea how DMX works (although I work for a street lighting company) I fancied that I could program a basic set of movements for every song and with a DMX it could be done in almost every bar/theater/etc. I can borrow plenty of lights and lamps, but I don’t want to set them up in every show. Is that possible? Or unless you brought all your lights it couldn’t be done?
I’ve never research in that field, but now I’d like to use a program of lights for small shows and I thought that I could be not that hard.
Thank you!


There’s a bunch of DMX videos to get you started. This guy in particular has a 4 part series that will get you a basic understanding:

QLC+ (the lighting software that I use) is free and will run on just about any PC you want to put it on. You’ll also need a DMX interface (USB to DMX being most common). You could design your shows with an idea of what lights you’d be bringing so that you’d never be stuck using 1 particular setup. Changing would be as easy as opening a different show file.

It really isn’t that hard. I’ve found it just requires sticking with it until it “clicks” in your mind. (That’s why I’m so hesitant to try LightJams, I feel really dumb before the “click” happens).


Ha! We built a light controller with an 80286 pc/at using the parallel port for 5v output. BASIC to poke bytes into memory. One of the guys had some scavenged light controllers we had to clean the wasp nests out of.


Reminds me of the triac expansion for my C64 I soldered together in the bad old days. Ran a self-coded light program, combining a BASIC GUI and some native 6502 assembler code to control 8 100W PAR bulbs. Pretty mad, having to carry around a coke-crate sized box containing my C64 and periphery, but it booted flawlessly without any user intervention on every gig…

Old times…


So here’s where I’m at with this:

Cantabile Performer, used for backing tracks (with audio clicks) and metronome clicks (with MIDI clicks). QLC+ for controlling the lights (44 fixtures), has an audio option for tracking a beat, but doesn’t support ASIO input/output, so in order to use it I’d have to run a separate audio connection from the mixer to the PC just to set the beat time in QLC+ (bleh! DUMB).

So, you’re thinking “Why not use the MIDI beat clock?”. That’s a good question, and the reason is that every time the MIDI beat clock is updated, the chase/effect/whatever that is running to the beat starts over!! I tried everything I could think of to make it work, and it just frustrated me every time I tried.

So, now we arrive at the current configuration. There are two parts, one for audio beats and one for MIDI beats. The audio beats are obtained using some pizMIDI plugins *(Go download them before the author wises up and starts charging for them, they’re amazing). For audio, I’m using the pizMIDI midiAudioToCC and midiDuplicateBlocker. The first plugin takes the click track, and converts it to CC 4 with values based on the amplitude of the click. These MIDI values are sent to a Controller Map filter in Cantabile, changing the amplitude values all to 0. This output goes to the midiDuplicateBlocker, which blocks all the CCs but one, and then forgets that it blocked them before the next beat, so that it can block all but one again. That gets me a single CC value per audio beat, which is good. If QLC+ supported any kind of beat division, I’d be done here. Of course, if QLC+ did support beat division, the MIDI beat clock would’ve worked without issue. In any event, the output of midiDuplicateBlocker is then sent to a Cantabile Latch filter. This latch changes the values of the incoming beats sequentially to 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7. After the latch filter, the Controller Map filter allows me to filter out all the CC messages except the 0. Which is then sent to QLC+ to automatically adjust the beat to 1/8th of the clicks. I’ve also got the same setup but using the latch filter for 0,1,2,3 so that the lights change every 4 beats instead of every 8.

Congrats if you’ve read this far!

The other type of setup (the midi counter/clock/beat thingy), uses a binding to send a single midi note to the pizMIDINoteRepeater. This plugin sends the same MIDI note repeating over and over every time the metronome changes. This MIDI note is sent to the pizMIDI plugin pizNotesToCC. This changes the MIDI note to a CC of 0. This goes into the Cantabile Latch filter to make the 0s change to 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or 0,1,2,3, and is then filtered with the Controller Map filter.

So, my next step is to use this created functionality to use the beats counter to set the length of time a scene/chase/other runs , and the beat clock to set the speed of the chases themselves.

I’ll report back where I end up in a few days.This post is kind of to share information and kind of to document how its working now for when I break it later.


…I am at the Moment working at the same functions.

My problem was to work with Midi Clock because Light is always in time but no chance to check out if Keyboard is (when4/4) at beat 1,2,3 or 4…

So I now send also a modificated Clock generated by CC-Stepper that gives my a straight “1” …to give the Light and Movepositions a hard defined StartPoint… Looks much better than bevore.

Also I am sending different Bar-Messages to use for specific Scenes ore Cue-Sequenzer and the abylity to Multiply the actually selected Lightprogram

so I can use the same Cue-Sequences for Slow and Fast songs and also change the Mastercolour in each state/song…

That all gives me to work easy in my song - but also the maximum flexibility to do what I want… So it is also able to make a song specific Lightshow.

I’am happy with this workflow but it was a hard way.
Only a few trifles I have to change then It work’s 100% for me.

…so I finaly I have a Template for all my Songs with 3 Rack’s for
the Lightshow

(here the last Rack is for my Main-Template Lightshow that point’s to second Instance of Cantabile/Song ----- (there a Song = Show / Cues and Cuelist’s are Rackstates ))


I had to add in another controller map filter on the audio click tracks in between the midiAudioToCC plugin and the midiDuplicateBlocker. This filter blocks anything other than CC4:0, because there were too many other CCs being sent for each click. I tried using a noise gate before the midiAudioToCC to limit it, but that was too persnickety.

On songs that have an audio backing track, some have a 4 count, some have an 8 count. Some are 4 beats per measure, some are 8 per measure. On a song that’s got a 4 count intro and a 4 beat measure, or a song that’s got an 8 count intro and an 8 beat measure, the latch/controller map filters are set to 1. On songs that have a 4 count intro and an 8 beat measure, or vice versa, the latch/controller maps are set to 5 instead of one. This works out perfectly, took me forever to wrap my head around how to make it work though (even though it seems stupidly obvious now).

As of right now, I’ve got 4 (4 beat audio, 8 beat audio, 4 beat MIDI, 8 beat MIDI) racks that can just get plugged into Cantabile, and their output to QLC+ is always identical. Yay!

I’ll share the racks if anyone is interested.


Since one of my bands decided to pull the trigger on some cheap lighting, it has been left up to me to make sense with what they purchased. Is DMXIS the only VST software controller? I planned to eventually run lights thru C3, but after reading, and re-reading all the threads about DMX here, and searching the internet, I am finding that I may have to use a proprietary interface, and use software outside of C3. Am I correct in my findings? Or, is there another way I am not realizing?


DMXIS is the only one I ever found myself that works as a VST and which you can drive via a MIDI sequence (or mapped cues from your keyboard).

With Cantabile’s new server/scripting features then it may be possible to use external software to do the same?

But I like DMXIS. Been using it for years with Cantabile to drive my band light shows and rock solid.


Thanx for the input Derek. We are just getting started on the cheap. They bought a hardware controller, a few PAR lights, wireless transmitter and receivers, and a USB DMX “cable” (not working). Lights work great manually, but not enough hands available to run controller while playing. I wanted to do DMXIS, but that would have to be a future investment. I was not looking for an elaborate stage lighting show, just some dimming and color change for now. I am extremely busy in this particular band, playing several instruments and singing, switching instruments during songs in progress. I am constantly changing states with footswitches, and was hoping to incorporate a few light changes with the state changes. We use no midi tracks, and no backing tracks. Improvisation is a staple in our sets.