SoundSwitch Wants To Replace Your Lighting Guy

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Watch our video of this light show, that demonstrates how SoundSwitch can automate your lighting.

OK, so you haven't got a lighting guy, right? You don't have somebody dedicated to pressing faders and buttons on a dedicated DMX lighting desk to give your DJ sets a bit of something "extra"? Of course you don't! Who does? And that's where SoundSwitch wants to help.

The issue is that, of course, us DJs want to DJ, not have to operate lights as well. That's great if you DJ as part of a big production or in a huge venue where there is a lighting tech taking care of that stuff. But if you're a mobile DJ, party DJ, bar/lounge DJ looking to either add a few lights to your set-up or improve on your light show to differentiate yourself from the competition, what are your options?

Well, set your lights to the dreaded "automatic", if you want to put everyone to sleep. Set them to "sound-to-light" (not quite as bad, but still boring"). Maybe use a remote control or foot pedal to at least have them do something new every now and then. Or, much better... use SoundSwitch.

What is SoundSwitch?

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The SoundSwitch unit needs a spare USB and a standard DMX cable to your first light.

SoundSwitch comprises of a box that plugs between your laptop and a cable heading off to your lights (you only need one cable: your lights link to each other in a "daisy chain" from that first cable onwards). Therefore it works with any DMX lights (lights that you can network, in other words - which is basically all of 'em).

The second part is a bit of software that resides on your computer. The clever bit is that you pre-prepare each of your tracks adding light info: colour, intensity, strobe and movement, info that gets embedded in the MP3 itself. Then, whenever you play that track in Serato (SoundSwitch only works with Serato for now), you always get the exact same light show.

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SoundSwitch has partnered with Chauvet to bring you this product, although it works with any DMX lights in theory. (You'll need Serato DJ, though.)

The benefit is that you can properly program your lights ahead of time, so for instance, have all your yellows flashing madly, or all your reds sweeping, or a strobe on your drop, or your laser on the dreamy breakdown, and so on. In other words, you can pre-programme all the amazing stuff a lighting tech might do for your own personal DJ show, so when you're DJing, you can just, y'know, DJ.

Furthermore, when you move the faders altering track volume intensity of lights changes too, and when you crossfader between tracks, you crossfade between their light shows.

We liked the demo at NAMM, and we're looking forward to reviewing it properly, but on the face of it, this is a great leap forwards for a whole section of DJs. Fun stuff!

Video demo

• SoundSwitch costs US$499, and you can find out more at the company's website. Meanwhile, here is a demo video form NAMM 2017 showing a light show being controlled by SoundSwitch.

Do you like the look of this? Let us know your thoughts on SoundSwitch in the comments.

Comments

  1. Mike Gerth says:

    I am definitely going to get this. The question I have now, is that since it saves the data to the MP3, will that same data work when it is released for Traktor? Or is saved to only be readable by Serato since that is the only software compatibility at the moment. Will I need to re-edit the light shows for all the tracks to be used by other platforms?

    • SoundSwitch says:

      Hey Mike,

      You are totally correct, the SoundSwitch data is standard no matter the DJ Software, however its the communication between each software the differs.

      A lot of people say, "why not just use a Midi Clock" well thats pretty much a metronome and doesnt provide rich enough information to sync a lighting stem to an audio file, so SoundSwitch requires a custom API from each DJ software that we would like to integrate with.

      These discussion take time and a lot of commerical considerations from all parties.

      Hopefully Traktor will be supported soon.

  2. Would buy this if it worked with Traktor and Flac format. When I fantasize about playing certain tracks, I Always imagine how the lightning should be, so it would be fun to program the lightshow myself.

  3. DJ Vintage says:

    One slight snag I think one might encounter is that DMX is based on addresses and channels. Effectively every fixture has an address-range (based on the number of channels) and often can be set to several modes. So far so good. Should you swap out gear for some reason (upgrade, replacement of defect no-longer-available unit, etx.), then the modes and commands might no longer correspond. Meaning you would have to redo your entire lightshow. Another thing would be if you regularly rent lighting equipment based on venue, event and budget, meaning every lighting rig is different.

    Granted, I haven't read up on how this is handled in SoundSwitch, so perhaps they have great and clever way to handle this issue, but for me at this point that would be the thing that would keep me from buying in to this concept (and it not supporting Cross at this moment LOL).

    • SlimePlays Plays says:

      Your master light show, or Autoloops play across any venue you set up in SoundSwitch. You can create overrides on each fixture as you wish also.

    • Darrell Osborne says:

      That's a good point. Thinking about the way Luminaire handles that, you give the fixture a "starting address". If you simply change the staring address of whatever fixture you want, then all the following channels move with it, and the show stays the same. It would be great if SoundSwitch handles it just as easily.

      • DJ Vintage says:

        Not so much worried about the starting addresses and such.

        Example: you have LED Par fixtures that have three modes, 4-6-7 channel. You use them in 4-channel mode.You set your lighting for a track to run through various colors, then go to blind at the drop to finish with strobe (crazy, but let's just say that is what it is). Now you buy new fixtures that have 5 and 6 channel modes only (or you decide you want an effect that is in your current fixture but only in 7-channel mode) . The relevant DMX commands will be different. If you don't change anything the lights will probably react but not in the way you set.

        Now in true lighting (DMX) software, this is solved by the equivalent of mappings for controllers, which are effectively tables that hold all the DMX commands in each mode. In this software you pick the fixture from the list, give starting address and mode (the software handles the rest) and the software now knows how to make the fixture do the things you want it to, i.e. strobe, blind, run, fade, etx.
        Clearly the success of such software is in no small measure dependent on the amount of available "mappings". While you can make your own, like with DJ software, you don't really want to.

        As SlimePlays says, you can "set up" SoundSwitch for every/any venue you play. Unfortunately you need to know quite a bit about each setup/fixture in order to get things right, at a minimum address, mode(s), brand, model, are fixtures grouped (i.e. several fixtures with one address), etx. And with the lights up in the rafters at 12 feet high this is not always feasible.

        Clearly I can see how it would be nice if you have your own fixed setup to take to mobile gigs and such. Set it up once and done after that. I get that and it sounds like a good plan for that.

        I am not suggesting anything negative, just very curious how a solution is practically implemented.

        • SoundSwitch says:

          Hey DJ Vintage.

          Seems like you have a pretty good understanding of DMX modes, channels and fixture profiles.

          SoundSwitch has a Fixture Library containing mappings for over 7000 individual fixtures with all of the DMX modes defined. Not only does SoundSwitch have the DMX channels and control ranges in each channel defined but we also have information relating to Color and Gobo Wheels.

          This means that our software can achieve what you've described and more, for example SoundSwitch will automatically move the Color Wheel of a fixture to match the RGB value set in the software. So if your LED pars are displaying a blue color your movers will also display blue, or the closest color available on the wheel.

          In addition to this, we have create a system that allows your light shows from one venue to automatically port to another venue, regardless of the lighting setup. We call this feature the "Master Track". All of the lighting effects created by a user in the Master Track are standard across all "Venues" but you are totally correct, this is only achievable because we have such a comprehensive fixture library.

          To agree with you more, we believe that users shouldnt have to build their own mappings. To solve this, the fixture library in SoundSwitch is cloud based, this means that as soon as a user requests a fixture mapping, we create it for them and the mapping is automatically updated in every single users library, no install required. So as one user requests a fixture and it is built, everyone gets it.

          Over time as our user base grows, pretty much every light should be covered, if its not, we can turn a fixture request around in a day or two at the most.

          I totally understand not wanting to climb a ladder to find out the fixture settings, this is a hassle and due to the nature of DMX it is what it is, having said that we have worked with a number of DJ's who have been able to get this information from the lighting tech, or management of the venue the work at, and we have made it so that users can easily share the venue information.

          We'd like to make this cloud based in the future too.

          I hope this answers your questions.

          Please let me know if there is anything else you'd like to know.

      • I'd like to see more regarding moving lights (like ballyhoos, lasers, and projectors like the Barco digital moving luminaire) before I chime in. It appears that most of the (L1) lighting operator jobs are starting to be the job of the video operator (V1's) job now (as they set the lighting for camera work). Is this something to be addressed, or are we just talking about simple DMX commands?

        • SoundSwitch says:

          Hi Cusp,

          Controlling Moving Heads is very simple.

          In SoundSwitch you can easily set a position for a fixture using the DMX Pan and Tilt control with a simple X/Y user interface, then you place these positions as "Cues" in line with changes in the music.

          For example you might want to have the lights move from pointing straight down at the beginning of a song, to pointing in the direction of the DJ booth as the chorus starts.

          Whats important to understand is that SoundSwitch takes a pretty unique approach to lighting design which might not fit with most LD's existing design patterns or thinking, however, adding cues to an Audio file is something that DJ's and lighting newbies are familiar with so we designed out workflow this way.

          Is there a specific question had in mind relating to moving fixtures?

          The video in the following link shows you how SoundSwitch handles moving head fixtures.

          Whats also important to note is that we feel LD's and lighting techs will benefit from using SoundSwitch and shouldnt feel threatened by the product.

          That would be a little like a builder getting upset about the invention of the power drill, SoundSwitch is hear to make DMX lighting easier to understand and work with.

  4. Darrell Osborne says:

    One of the issues, which SoundSwitch claims will be resolved in a upgrade that was supposed to be released last week, is that it doesn't handle attributes such as gobo, prism and zoom yet. Definitely looking forward to seeing how they handle that.

    • SoundSwitch says:

      Hi Darrell,

      This update is currently working its way through our in-house Beta testing, so its close.

      Basically, you will be able to control all attributes of a given light, from Zoom to Gobos using a "Cue" based work flow.

      For example, find a point in the audio track where you'd like the Gobo to change, then using a slider you will able to choose the Gobo, Zoom level or Prism setting (or a combination of the lot) and place this as a "Cue" in the Master Track.

      As the song plays through and hits these cues, your lighting will change as you designed.

      Pretty simple.

  5. DJ Big Daddy says:

    Does SoundSwitch have a more in-depth tutorial that what was on their site a few months back? We have several questions that we'd love to have addressed that the site didn't address at release time.
    SlimePlays Plays, you seem to have some insight into the programming. Are you with SS?

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