Stage Lights


My Obey light controller uses MIDI “notes” to activate scenes that I am currently sending from OnSong. Are you using the notes from the BB or something else to control your lights? It just got me thinking that IF that works, it may be an easier way to get the timing right for the light scene changes.

My MIDI path set up in order is: OnSong (iPad) - - > MODX Synth - - > BB - - > Obey 70.

Your thoughts?

You could use direct notes from the BB – just add them to a specific Channel for your Obey, and that will work. However, I’ve found that the Obey 40 (OB40) has some serious weirdness going on, so what I’ve done is use a MIDI Solutions Event Processor (EP) between the BB and the OB40. I set the BB to send Next Section (CC102) and Starts to the EP, and I have added a single note for all colour changes (NOTE-01). Then I programmed the EP to step through a series of predefined notes when it receives a START, NOTE-01, or CC102. Seems to work quite well.

The upsides to this approach are that it only sucks up one note, and that songs with no additional programming at all will still change scenes at the beginning of every new part (because of the CC102); the downside is I get A new scene, but not a specific new scene.

In practice, it has not been an issue – a change is a change – and it’s still a lot more than most bands in my area do.

That makes a lot of sense. Very slick. I didn’t know such a device existed (EP).

Thinking this through… I am new to adding lighting so forgive my “processing.”
I’m thinking a typical song would need these scenes:

  1. Pre Song (in between songs for interaction with audience, probably just white light)
  2. Intro
  3. Verse (maybe different scene for each verse…unless we doing something with a bunch of verses like Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald or American Pie (yikes!))
  4. Chorus
  5. Outro
    then back to pre-song scene. So 5 scenes per song minimum.

Now a typical BB song has intro, main loop 1, fills (usually 3), transition 1, accent 1, main loop 2, fills (usually 3), transition 2, accent 2, and outro. Do each of these send a CC102?

The Obey only uses notes to make scene changes so each BB part would need …my head hurts…

We have kind of hijacked the thread. Maybe we should start a new one?

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Thanks @persist for starting a new thread!

@JerryAshton, we’re over here now!

So, to run my light show from the Beat Buddy, I use the following equipment:

  • Beat Buddy (BB): Set to send MIDI on Channel 1 (my downline gear listens to Channel 1). I have turned on Start: Main Beat, Notes, Next Part. Everything else is currently off.

  • MIDI Solutions Event Processor (EP): Programmed to convert MIDI info in Channel 1 to a sequence of notes. I use an Event Processor Plus, which gave me 24 notes (, and, because it requires power via MIDI, I had to add a Power Adaptor:(

  • Chauvet Obey 40 (OB): the single most finnicky and problematic piece of gear in the system, but the Event Processor lets me manage its idiosyncracies.

So, short-ish verson…

The OB responds to MIDI notes to switch to mapped scenes. For example NOTE 0 = Bank-1 Scene-1, NOTE 1 = B1S2, and so on. In the EP programming, I built a sequence of events that are a repeating list of notes. Whenever it “hears” START or NEXT-PART or NOTE-1 (more on this in a minute) on Channel 1, it moves to the next step/note in the sequence I built. When it reaches the end, it restarts.

The biggest downside to this approach is that, if, unlike me, you are a proper lighting designer and you want a specific scene for each part of a song, this approach only gets you the NEXT SCENE in the sequence, and not a SPECIFIC SCENE. So if you have to have that magenta-on-orange scene for that sweet tuba solo, well, you can’t have it; instead, you get whatever scene is next in the sequence, and you must suffer the wrath of the magenta-enamored tuba player (dude plays Bird quotes, man – friggin’ BIRD QUOTES!!).


But, if, like me, you’re not that set on being really artsy-specific, this approach works well. And, if you think about the lighting systems out there that are being used by your bar-, wedding-, and party-playing competition, quite frankly, it’s actually a LOT more than any of them are doing. They may have lights, but the operation of them has nothing at all to do with the music. You will have a proper light show (albeit with random-scenes).

Well, unless you live in Ottawa, Canada. In which case, none of this works, don’t even try (I like being the only duo in town that sounds like full-on power trio and has a real light show). So – and this only applies to Ottawa – this will not work for you, not at all. Something about magnetic north and a galvanic reaction with the typical bar/event room carpeting.


Meanwhile, back to our regularly-scheduled program…

The net effect of this approach is that every song in the BB will run my lights at least minimally: The scenes change with each part because the BB announces them via MIDI, and the EP translates that into NEXT SCENE for the OB.

Wait: Did I mention NOTE-1?

I did say I’d talk about that. So here’s the deal on that: I edit the actual drum MIDI files to include a NOTE-1 in MIDI Instrument 1 wherever I need a lighting punch. So, for example, if you think about the resolve at the end of the verse in a song like Hard to Handle, for example, there’s a big BUM-BUM-BUM to end the verse; by adding a NOTE-1 to each of those punches, I get the lights singing along as well. There’s a video where you can see it happening, here:

Apologies if there’s a sync problem on that. It seems to be a random YouTube issue. Anyway, you’ll want to jump ahead to about 1:25, or 2:00, because I didn’t do much with the first verse (it’s mostly just doing what the BB is sending).

So, does that all make sense? Hopefully it helps.

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Alrighty! Looked good (sounded good too!) NICE JOB!. Trio trio trio… BB is the 3rd? Ovation huh? What pedal you going into?.. diff. subject… back to it…

I understand the concept and I think I get the details. My OB (listening on Channel 3) is the same for notes switching to specific scenes.

I was wondering about the inclusion (editing) of the BB songs (drum kit actually—Instrument 1, 2, 3, 4, etc) So when that “instrument played” (sending a MIDI note) at a particular spot in the song, it would trigger a specific scene. Like what I saw yours do… very cool btw. Am I thinking about this correctly?

I envision only about 10 or so scenes being used at first. I imagine I will need to find 10 unused instruments on the BB, program the scenes to the specific instrument number on the OB, add them to each kit I use on the BB, edit each song with the proper scene note trigger on the BB, … drink a few beers along the way.

Do you use chases? I imagine you would trigger them in the same way?

Thanks for the kind words!

Trio: Mark on bass, me on guitar, Waldo (our BB) on drums and occasional keyboard.

Ovation? No, Taylor T5z (

Pedal is an Atomic Amplifire 6 (

I could not eliminate the MIDI Solutions bits and speak directly from the BB to the OB, because the BB is an all-or-nothing affair: It sends every note in the file, including every note associated with every beat of the drums, as well as the lighting commands. So, even if you put the lighting commands on a specific channel/instrument within the drum file, the BB will pass everything.

That’s why I needed the EP: The first thing I’ve programmed it to do after “Listen to Channel 1” is block EVERYTHING except NOTE-1. So it “hears” all of the BB’s notes, but it only “listens” and reacts to NOTE-1.

Now, if you wanted to pull specific scenes at specific times, you could add notes to the drum files and have the EP translate those notes played to notes sent to the OB, but that seemed like a lot of work to me, and I’m totally okay with a series of scenes that plays in sequence rather than specific scenes for specific parts. Again, this means that any BB song will run my lights at a rudimentary level with no special programming required (because START=MAIN and CC102 drive my sequences). But if you want to be more specific about scenes, you will have to program.

An aside: I do add NOTE-1s to most of the songs we play, so the lights give me punches along with the music, but not all, and it’s not strictly necessary.

I’m using 24 scenes. That turns out to be barely enough if you’re using a sequence rather than specified scenes, as the rotation happens surprisingly quickly.

I like that Taylor. I played one in San Antonio when visiting and really enjoyed it. The 5 settings on top are pretty cool! The guy I play with ordered one then decided to go with a 414 instead.


I getcha now why you are using the EP. Seems like a nice and simple solution. Since I don’t have one, I’ll mess with the idea of adding more than 1 instrument to a kit in the BBM to trigger specific scenes. Scenes are easy to program in the OB so that shouldn’t be much of a hassle to experiment with.

I’m guessing what you’re calling a “sequence” is what the OB calls a “chase”… which can be triggered via MIDI. Just not sure how to stop it…maybe send a blackout then another scene? Just thinking out loud.

I enjoy learning about this and appreciate your insights!

I don’t use chases in the OB, because I have not been able to get it to step through the defined chase one step at a time. But the concept is similar.

I actually have defined the cycle of scenes in the EP. The way it works is you define the steps, and then you define the triggers that make the EP step through them. The only thing I have programmed in the OB are the actual scenes.

For example

  • You might define three scenes in the OB in B1-S1, B1-S2, B1-S3. You know these are assigned (in the OB) Note-0, Note-1, and Note-2.
  • In the EP programming, you would define three-step sequence – Play Note-0, Play Note-1, and Play Note-2.
  • Then, also in the EP, you’d define the triggers – CC102 and MIDI-START each trigger the next step in the sequence

There are other things you need to program (block certain things, some administrivia, etc.), but that’s the basic approach.

The learning curve is not steep, but it is incremental. But John (who owns MIDI Solutions) has been a huge help along the way. Chauvet, far less so.


RE: This, the problem you’re going to run into is that the BB is an all-or-nothing note passer, which means your OB id going to see (and respond to every note the BB plays. The EP Plus is the only way I found to manage it, because it will allow you to block notes from passing to the OB.

@JoeInOttawa So I set it up using the ROCK drum kit with 7 “new” MIDI instruments that correspond to scenes I have already programmed. I inserted them into one song…and now I understand even better what you are telling me. Yep it does exactly what you describe. I watch the LCD screen on the OB and it is dominated by the snare MIDI instrument. I of course have no scene associated with that MIDI note so my light is just looking at me with a blank stare. :neutral_face: I’ll put one in there to test soon but gotta run here in a few minutes.

So question about the EP. I understand it is programmable. Can it be set up to listen for specific notes (more than 1) and “translate” them into other specific notes that it sends? Are there other devices that can do this that you know of or have run across?

Man this is in really interesting!


The EP is a really, really flexible tool. Let me take a swing at what you’re trying to do…

So, let’s say you decide to build two sets of four scenes – a Blue Song set and a Red Song set, each with scenes for Verse, Chorus, Bridge, and Solo. To keep things simple, you decide Bank 1 is Blue and Bank 2 is Red. Which means you have:

  • Blue Bank 1, Scenes 1-4 (notes 0-3)
  • Red Bank 2, Scenes 1-4 (notes 8-11)

You have two options to do what you’re trying to do.

Option 1:

  • Add a set of notes in the BB MIDI files (let’s say, Notes 0-7).
  • Have the EP block all notes
  • Have the EP translate what you’ve added to the required notes for the OB (0-3=0-3, 4-7=8-11) on its channel

Option 2:

  • Add a set of notes to the MIDI file that correspond to the required notes in the OB (0-3, and 8-11)
  • Set the MIDI Send on the BB to the channel for your OB so it can speak to it directly
  • Have the EP block all notes except the (range of the) control notes. So, in your case, block Notes 12-128

Either approach will work.

OK back at it…

I’m guessing you meant EP rather than BB in Option 2, third bullet point.

Maybe Santa will bring me an EP. :santa: ho, ho ,ho!

Just for fun I’m going to put scenes in every instrument that I use in 1 song on the rock drum kit to see what happens. And then I’m going to write a quick song with just a few instruments in use… maybe I’ll just do that for time’s sake. Let the experimenting begin!..well continue actually… :roll_eyes:

The high temp tomorrow here in north Texas is 42F. That’s just wrong. It’s 70 today.

I did, and I edited…

…so I no longer have any idea what you’re talking about!



Successful experiment!

I just have to recover from the seizure induced by the strobing color changes with every freaking beat… but it did exactly what it should have! Interesting that when the OB receives the same note in succession it actually toggles the lights …over and over and over… hence the strobing.

I wonder if the midi maestro can do the “filtering” that the EP can do. hmmmm. Just what I need is another pedal.

Another question or 2 regarding how you’re set up:

I think what I understand is your EP is set up with a “sequence” of scenes (24 of them). This is something you set up (the sequence) in the EP programming? The trigger the EP listens for, to advance to the next scene in the sequence is either MIDI Note-1, CC102, or MIDI-start. This is also something you programmed into the EP?

You say you need the power adapter as well. Why is that?

Did I mention the OB has some odd idiosyncrasies? Another fun one it took me forever to figure out is that you can’t jump from one scene to another assigned to the same program number in a different bank (e.g., B1-P3 to B4-P3) or it blacks out as well.

Having fun yet?

Anyway, the sequence I have defined in the EP is composed of Notes that map to the 24 scenes in the OB. Then I programmed the actual scenes in the OB.

  • I programmed the OB with 24 programmed scenes (6 Programs in each of 4 Banks).

  • I have programmed the sequence into the EP as notes that map to the scenes I created (0-1-2-3-4-5 8-9-10-11-12-13 16-17-18-19-20-21 24-25-26-27-28-29).

  • Next, I programmed the EP to block all notes (i.e., nothing passes through to the OB)

  • Then, I programmed the triggers that step through the sequence (MIDI-START, CC102, and NOTE-01).

  • Finally, I set the BB to send START-MAIN and Next Section (CC102).

  • Bonus, I added NOTE-01 in the MIDI files wherever I wanted a scene change that wasn’t at the change of BB part.

The net effect is that the OB sees NOTHING from the BB, it only sees what the EP sends in response to what IT sees from BB. The EP is way smarter than the OB, the OB is way dumb. So I found it best to talk to the EP.

Getting clearer?

It really took me a long time to not just figure this all out, but to really absorb and understand it. Hopefully, this is helping you.

If Santa brings you an EP, make sure it’s the EP PLUS for all the extra capacity to run programs – definitely worth the extra scheckels.

And why a Power Adaptor? The EP/EP+ requires power to run, and the OB doesn’t put out power on it’s MIDI jacks, and nor does the BB. Found that out the hard (and impatient) way.

That said, the EP+ and PA might seem expensive for what you’re doing, but getting access to John is worth the price of admission. The guy is both brilliant and helpful.

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