What is DMX 512?
DMX 512 is a controller that is used for professional lighting systems for stage performances such as plays or concerts, other shows such as ice skating or gymnastic events as well as nightclubs and bars. DMX is actually short for "digital multiplex" which refers to the ability to handle multiple digital inputs and outputs and the number 512 refers to the number of channels that the unit can process simultaneously. This doesn't necessarily mean that 512 different pieces of equipment can be run on a DMX 512 controller because some types of equipment use more than one channel due to the variety of functions they can perform.
A DMX 512 controller can be run through a computer and run by a special software program. Using the right software enables an entire show to be preprogrammed with lighting and special effects performing their various functions at a specific time and/or in a specific sequence. It can also be programmed to run according to the beat of the music which is especially handy in a nightclub or bar setting where the show may need to be adapted to the music which is sometimes driven by the request of the patrons of that establishment.
It is vital that only DMX cables are used when connecting lighting and special effect fixtures such as fog or haze machines up to the controller because erratic and unpredictable results can occur when the wrong cables are used. DMX cables have a greater capacity to transfer electrical information between lighting and special effects components and the controller and this is necessary for the entire operation to function properly and to its fullest potential. Lesser cables save only a small amount of money that is in no way worth the amount of uncertainty and instability they provide.
There are endless possibilities when creating a show or club experience with a DMX 512 controller and they are used for a vast array of performances every day. DMX 512 is the industry standard for controlling lights and special effects like fog machines, haze machines and LED light show displays. There really is no other viable alternative to a good DMX 512 controller and the right software package for operating a variety of components to create a coordinated show or club experience although there are a variety of different types of DMX 512 units available depending on the needs and budget of the show or nightclub in question.