Sep 282011


Converts between MIDI, DMX, RS-232 Serial and IR

The DecaBox Universal Protocol Bridge - Click to Enlarge

Technicians at a theme park were building an interactive exhibit.  The display would include a variety of MIDI trigger pads, which of course output standard MIDI Note messages.

The goal of this project was to let the trigger pads drive larger and more complex lighting cues from the venue’s lighting console.  The console had a MIDI input jack, but the console’s firmware would only accept MIDI Show Control messages.

“Would it be possible,” they asked, “to develop software for the DecaBox which could translate between the two languages?”

Further, they wanted the system to be dynamically configurable.  The MIDI notes to be processed, and the corresponding lighting console cues triggered, might change from show to show.

So, we developed a firmware personality for the DecaBox which utilizes a simple text file stored on the system’s internal SD memory card.  Here’s what the text file looks like.

Clearly, any MIDI note can be mapped to any numerical lighting cue.  In this case, the firmware only responds to ‘Note On’ messages, but other variations are certainly possible.

One DecaBox with this firmware was used by Arc3design as part of a performance by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

A standard MIDI keyboard generated note messages, which passed through the DecaBox and were converted to MIDI Show Control ‘go’ messages.  An ETC console received these messages and triggered various cue stacks as appropriate.

The evening was reviewed by the New York Times here.  (Note that if NYT asks for a password, just delete everything to the right of the ‘?’ character in the link.  Here, in plaintext, is the link:

Thanks for the chance to help make this production a success!

This firmware is available now in our online store.  Or, contact us if you need something a little different.  We’re always happy to help.


 Posted by at 7:38 pm

  2 Responses to “Case Study: MIDI Notes to MIDI Show Control”

  1. Hmmm… So do you think, this product, coupled with another box ( will allow me to transmit OSC values via iPad, wirelessly into midi notes then through your box to MSC and then trigger cues via Jands Vista or other MSC-able desks?
    Have you guys ever dabbled with OSC or wifi?

  2. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. We’ve poked around briefly with OSC, but nothing wireless yet.

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