With Daslight 4, it's time to rethink DMX lighting control. This new generation of DMX software offers the ultimate design, the latest tools and is now available on PC and Mac computers. The new Show mode allows you to build a completely customized screen.
While some DJs prefer the hands-on controls offered by DMX controllers, outboard controllers can’t compete with the programming capabilities of DMX software. Using software allows you to pre-program complex sequences and cue up multiple sequences at once. Software is also infinitely more upgradable than DMX controllers, allowing you to easily install new fixtures, features, and plug-ins. There are a lot of good options for DMX software on the market today, four of which are explored below. These are the best DMX lighting software on the market:
Blizzard Lighting EclipseDMX Controlling Software
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Sunlite Suite 2
Enttec DMXIS 70570 Controller & Software
Other Considerations re the Best DMX Lighting Software
In order to use your new software to run a lightshow, you need to be able to get the signal from your computer to the lights themselves. In order to do this, you’ll need a designated USB to DMX adapter (see a bunch here), plugged into DMX cables. Some DMX software—like the Sunlite Suite above—comes with a USB/DMX adapter. If it doesn’t, you can find a variety of USB dongles online for not much. The cables consists of two shielded pairs, typically with 5 pins, though 3-pin versions exist that can be used with microphone XLR cabling. Like other digital cables, the signal quality will degrade over long distances, and you may need to invest in repeaters to increase the effective range depending on the size of your lighting set-up. It should also be noted that while DMX signals are generally reliable, they are subject to interference and should not be used for potentially dangerous effects like pyrotechnics.
While a good computer can run both DJ software and DMX lighting software at the same time with little trouble, most professional DJs prefer to use a two-laptop set-up for convenience during their shows, with one designated for light and one for sound. DMX software doesn’t require much processing power to run, and an older laptop should be able to handle it easily. If you don’t already have a second laptop, you may want to also factor that into your budget when preparing to shop for lighting software.
In order to be controlled by intelligent light, the light fixtures themselves have to be able to receive the DMX signal. Most stage lights made today are designed with intelligent lighting in mind and are DMX compatible, but if you are using older lights in your set-up—or incorporating non-lighting elements, like fog machines or animatronics—you will likely need to purchase an analog to DMX converter. There’s a wide range of these available online, with a variety of voltage and channel outputs. Make sure whichever one you choose can handle the fixture you want to incorporate into your intelligent lighting set-up to avoid any damage to either the converter or the fixture.
While most intelligent lighting systems are aimed at musicians, DJs, and venue owners, there is a growing community of hobbyists using it for home entertainment and décor. The best DMX software can be used to program your Christmas lights to change patterns in time to a selection of carols, or to make a Disco dance floor at a backyard party. As advancements in technology continue to lower the cost of DMX compatible fixtures, intelligent lighting is becoming more available to professionals and hobbyists alike.
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Bring your own DMX interface: USB, Art-Net, sACN, or ESP-Net.
Lightkey’s built-in FX engine takes your light show to a new level.
Easy to learn, quick to set up. Engineered exclusively for Mac.
Bring Your Own DMX Interface.
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Save the cost of expensive proprietary DMX hardware: Lightkey works with a wide range of USB interfaces plus any Art-Net, sACN, or ESP-Net-compatible device, thanks to the Open Lighting Architecture. Whatever DMX interface you have, there’s a good chance that Lightkey supports it—simply download Lightkey for free, plug in your interface, and give it a try.
Choose from a wide range of USB–DMX interfaces from various manufacturers
Or use any Art-Net, sACN, or ESP Net network interface
Enhance Your Experience.
Do you prefer the physical controls on a lighting console? Then you can have the best of both worlds. Lightkey integrates seamlessly with any standard MIDI controller and DMX console (through DMX-In). You can map each hardware control to whatever feature you like and build your own custom-tailored show control desk to trigger cues, presets and sequences, adjust fixture properties, tap the beat, and whatever else you need.
Designed for Creativity.
Take Your Light Show to a New Level.
Designed for the needs of creative lighting designers, Lightkey breaks free from the old thinking about DMX values and channels. Thru advanced fixture profiles it understands all your fixtures’ properties—like Color, Gobo, Shutter, Prism, Zoom—, and provides specially-designed, easy-to-use controls for each of them. The current state of your fixtures is always visible in the live preview. Simply concentrate on the perfect light show and let Lightkey translate it to the proper DMX values.
Virtual light beams show your lights’ real-world positions and also reflect intensity, color, focus, zoom, iris, frost, shutter/strobe, and prism states.
The built-in graphical editor lets you recreate the stage or dance floor on the screen. Apart from your fixtures you can add shapes, trusses, and custom images.
Easily copy and paste properties and effects between fixtures – even fixtures of different types. Of course, you can undo as well.
Little “bubbles” in the Preview show you at a glance which fixture properties are overridden or defined by a preset, sequence, or cue.
Quickly change any fixture property on the fly—perfect for nightclubs and parties where you don’t have a song run sheet in advance.
The Design view automatically adapts itself according to your fixtures and their properties so you only see the controls you really need.
Lightkey’s powerful effects engine makes it easy and fun to create amazing dynamic looks. Choose from over 50 effect templates or create your own pattern, curve, or movement effects. Effects can be applied to almost any fixture property and stored in presets and cues while staying editable all the time. Apply effects to multi-beam LED strips and matrixes. Synchronize effects to music. Overlay multiple effects for countless possibilities.
Always in Sync.
Run Your Lighting From Ableton Live.
The unique Live Triggers feature makes it quick and intuitive to trigger lighting cues directly from Ableton Live: Simply drag cues you created in Lightkey to the Ableton Live timeline. If you’re a live performer, you can create a light show that’s perfectly in sync with the music without any manual operation during the show.
An interactive assistant guides you through the entire setup process: Configure DMX output, patch your fixtures, create a visual representation of the stage. And if you ever need a fixture profile that is not in the built-in library, simply send us the DMX specs and we’ll create it for you within a few days.
Don’t waste your time shuffling windows and panels around. Everything you need is cleanly arranged in a single window, providing you with exactly the controls you need at any time. The elegant, white-on-dark UI has been specially designed for use in low-light environments—it even adapts itself to the light colors.
The single-window user interface has been specially designed for full-screen mode.
All controls have large clickable areas and work great with touch screens.
Pinch, swipe, scroll, force click: With a Multi-Touch trackpad you can change fixture properties in a natural way. (And it’s fun too.)
A clever, well-structured, and extensible system of keyboard shortcuts lets you control virtually every application feature.
State of the Art.
Lightkey handles even the most sophisticated fixtures with ease. Its smart fixture profiles support multiple modes (“personalities”), 16-bit output, conditional properties, RGB/CMY color mixing, multiple color and gobo wheels, custom beam layouts, and much more. Lightkey comes with a huge library of over 2500 high-quality fixture profiles for all popular manufacturers, and it can import thousands of freely available profiles in the formats SSL2, FXT, and PFF.
To make fixture profile creation as easy as possible, Lightkey’s fixture editor has the same layout as a typical DMX chart. (Click the image for a side-by-side comparison.) And it’s built right into the application so changes take effect instantly.
Made for Your Mac.
Lightkey was engineered from the ground up as a native Mac app, so it’s finally goodbye to the Windows emulation. It perfectly matches your Mac’s look and feel and comes with all the familiar features like Dark Mode, full screen view, autosaving, copy and paste, unlimited undo, or automatic updates. Under the hood, Lightkey takes full advantage of your Mac’s capabilities including 64-bit processing, multicore computing thru Grand Central Dispatch, support for Retina displays, and pristine graphics using Apple’s Core Animation and Metal 2 technologies.
Editions & Pricing.What’s your Lightkey edition?Simply determine how many output channels you need.
in US Dollars
$ 69per year
$ 179per year
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Lightkey uses the Open Lighting Architecture, an open-source framework by the Open Lighting Project.
Download the source code here or get the latest version on GitHub.