Lighting Rig Update

608 Sound & Light is pleased to announce that we now offer a few different lighting rig options – from basic LEDs on tripod stands to full trusses with moving heads and laser effects. You asked for it and we were happy to oblige!

We explored several options for controlling our new lights – from small DMX controllers to software DMX to full-scale lighting desks… We tried a few options before settling-in on software with MIDI controllers.

For anyone who may be struggling with configuring their DMX controller, allow us to share a few tips/tricks that we discovered along the way.

Our base system consists of: Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2, a MacBook Pro Retina, QLC+ software, and a Novation MIDI controller. This rig will likely handle most of our real-world jobs – to deploy the full rig would cost more than most folks will want to spend.

Our MacBook Pro runs OS X 10.11.6 (“El Capitan”) – we haven’t made the jump to Sierra quite yet. Our Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2 had its firmware upgraded to the latest and greatest (4.12). We tried using QLC 4.10.4 (current version), but had numerous issues with it… we reverted to 4.10.3a instead.

The biggest issue we had was with DMX output – no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get QLC+ to send a DMX signal to any of our lights. We tripled-verified that our lights were properly addressed and assigned, yet the room remained dark.

After spending the better part of a full day researching, we discovered that QLC+ is *extremely* sensitive to FTDI drivers, and Apple doesn’t apparently play nice with these drivers. Other software (Chameleon, LightJams, D Pro) didn’t seem to care as much, but we really liked the QLC+ interface, so we were determined to resolve the issue.

If you encounter a scenario where your Apple Mac computer won’t output DMX with QLC+ and an Enttec DMX Pro USB Mk2, you *must* locate and run a third party FTDI driver conflict resolution package called “D2XXHelper” – if you don’t, chances are your lights will never operate properly. As soon as we ran FTDICHIPS D2XXHelper and rebooted our laptop, everything functioned properly.

To ensure consistent results, we’ve reverted to QLC+ 4.10.3a – it seems to be more stable than the newer versions (as of this writing). Once we had these items in place, we set about programming our fixtures, scenes, cues, and chases, and I must say – things are looking great.

So there you have it – hopefully a helpful tech tip for anyone else who may be having problems with DMX output on a MacBook. We’re going to get back to programming… we’ll see you at a show, soon!

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