MIDI to DMX

 

MIDI to DMX512 Bridge Converter

Click photo to enlarge

This system has been discontinued

and replaced by the DecaBox Protocol Bridge.

Click Here for more detail

The photo above shows our full-featured chassis. It (and the included circuitry) can handle conversion between DMX, MIDI, serial and IR. For the MIDI -> DMX bridge, we stripped out the unneeded connectors to save some money.
Check out this nifty demo video: http://vimeo.com/4193173
The MIDI to DMX converter has several modes of operation.

MODE 1: 128 Channels, 7 Bit Resolution
Mode 1 is the simplest: 1 (user selectable) MIDI Channel is monitored. The system watches for ‘Note On’ messages related to that channel. Since there a total of 128 notes in a MIDI chanel, the system outputs 128 channels of DMX. The 7-bit [0 127] note velocity value is doubled to make an 8 bit [0 255] DMX channel value.
This works well for driving incandescent lights and other equipment which doesn’t require 256 steps of granularity. It may not be the best choice for slowly panning intelligent lights. As always, your mileage may vary.
The DMX stream is refreshed at around 28 Hz.
Further, the system responds to the MIDI control channel messages $BX $78 $YY and $BX $70 $YY (‘all notes off’, ‘all sound off’) where X is the MIDI channel being used and $YY is any value.
To turn DMX channels off, this mode to responds to ‘Note On’ messages where the note velocity is zero. In effect, this turns off the desired DMX channel by setting its value to zero. It also responds to ‘Note Off’ messsages at any velocity.
Mode 2: 119 Channels, 7 bit resolution using MIDI Control Channel Messages
Mode 2 is very similar to Mode 1, except that MIDI Control Channel data is converted into DMX channel values. The first 119 control channels of any MIDI channel are converted into DMX data. The 7 bit [0 127] value of the control channel is doubled and sent out the door as DMX channel data. 1 (user selectable) MIDI Channel is monitored.
Further, the system responds to the MIDI control channel messages $BX $78 $YY and $BX $70 $YY (‘all notes off’, ‘all sound off’) where X is the MIDI channel being used and $YY is any value.
MIDI control channels above 119 are system specific and contain messages such as ‘reset system.’ For that reason, they are ignored, with the exception of Notes Off and Sound Off
We included Mode 2 because some customers were more comfortable progamming this way than by using Note data.
Mode 3: 512 channels, 8 bit resolution

Chart of MIDI Notes and Octaves

C
C#
D
D#
E
F
F#
G
G#
A
A#
B
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
0
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
1
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
2
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
3
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
4
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
7
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
6
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
7
96
97
98
99
100
101
101
103
104
105
106
107
8
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
9
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
Midi note velocities are usually calculated on a 7 bit scale and range from [0 127].
To create 8 bit [0 256] DMX values, we combine the values of two adjacent notes pairs. The chart above shows that C and C# are grouped together. Likewise, G# and A are grouped together.
The first note of the pair is translated to the lower [0 127] values and the second note is translated into the upper [128 255] values.
Here’s an example:
DMX Channel
Level
Note 1
Velocity
Note 2
Velocity
1
10
C-1
10
C#-1
0
1
128
C-1
127
C#-1
1
5
33
G#-1
33
A-1
D
64
255
F#9
127
F9
127
64
0
F#9
0
64
0
G9
0

Thus, by combining the 128 different 7-bit notes available in a single MIDI channel, we end up with 64 8-bit values. Thus, one MIDI channel can be converted to 64 DMX channels at 8-bit resolution.

Notes

The most recently received MIDI note ‘on’ message always takes priority.

C-1 10 | C#-1 127 | C-1 50

would result in DMX channel 1 being set to 50.

The system monitors up to 8 consecutive MIDI channels. Since a MIDI channel can generate 64 DMX values, this results in a full DMX universe.

If the system’s MIDI Channel Address is set to channels [1 9] an entire DMX universe can be generated.

If the MIDI address is set to channel 10, only channels [10 16] will be monitored. Thus, 64 DMX channels x (7 MIDI channels) results in 448 MIDI-DMX Conversions. The DMX channels above 448 will always remain at 0.

Likewise, MIDI address 15 will allow up to 128 DMX channels to be generated. 2 MIDI channels x 64 DMX channels = 128 conversions.

Etc.

Further, sending the MIDI controller message
$BX $78 $00 ‘All Notes Off’
where ‘X’ is equal to the system’s beginning MIDI address will clear the DMX output packet and set all channel values to zero.

Mode 5: Midi Note ON/OFF + Continuous Controller

Mode 5 is a hybrid of modes 1 & 2 as listed above. The system listens for both Note on/off messages and continuous controller messages on the same MIDI Channel. DMX Channels 1-128 can be controlled with note messages; DMX channels 1-119 can be controlled with MIDI CC commands.

System Power: 9-15v DC, 200 mA, center positive, 2.1mm barrel connector. One power supply is included with your order. The connector size is fairly standard, so it’s easy to replace when lost.

Available now for $189. Grab yours in the online store today!

From the field…

I have been scouring the internet for the last few years trying to find a MIDI to DMX converter. The units I have found were either vaporware or did not do what I (or probably what anyone else) needed them to do. When I came across this Engineering Solutions website, I inquired about their box via email and received a response (no pun intended) immediately. I was given a name and phone number to contact if I needed further info. I then called John who had answered all my questions and confirmed the converter would do exactly what I needed it to.

When I received the unit I wired it up and contacted John again for some further setup questions. He gave me a quick tutorial and I was up and running in no time. Now that’s customer service!!

The Midi to DMX unit is exactly what it should be the box is awesome! John thanks for your help, my three year dilemma is now solved.

All The Best,

Dennis Durante

4D Post Production

“I do live dance music performance that uses lots of MIDI and synthesizer tweaking.

I thought it would be interesting to spice up the set with some sync’ed LED DMX color effect displays. There are a few products that use a software application and a USB->DMX dongle. However, I did not want to clutter our laptop with those extra applications and drivers.

We already use Ableton Live, so I just wanted the lighting data to go out on a MIDI channel just like a synth melody. The Engineering Solutions MIDI->DMX Converter was the only product I could find suited for this application.

This device had two modes, where DMX data was translated from either MIDI note/velocity data, or Continuous Controller data. However, I talked to John about having both modes simultaneously. This would allow me to easily draw out long color sweeps in a Logic’s Hyper Editor, AND have quick rhythm-synced flashes from MIDI notes.

John was able to add this feature and deliver me the box in a matter of days. Now I am enjoying a new dimension to producing my music: doing a full custom designed and sync’ed light show to accompany it.”

– Troy Sheets

 Posted by at 4:38 am