Good Starter DMX Controller

Hi all,

Any recommendations for a long lasting DMX controller that’s not to complex/pricey?


Are you talking like a lighting board? Or a way to output DMX from TouchDesigner?

If you’re talking Lighting Boards, are you looking to control moving lights or just single channels and RGB/LED stuff (aka just colors)?

For cheap moving light control, I’d reccommend the Onyx stuff or maybe the Chamsys stuff; though both of those are kinda complex in their own ways - really anything dealing with moving lights will be.

For good quality NON-moving light control AKA RGB/LED stuff, I’d reccomend ETC ColorSource or any of the Jands / Leprecon / NSI / ETC stuff on the cheaper end of

If you’re just looking to get DMX out of TouchDesigner, I’d reccomend the DMXking ArtNet / sACN stuff:

But stay away from USB to DMX dongles (especially off-brand ones) if you can.

Hi @Peeet.

I’m looking for just a good starting controller board, but yes I would like to be able to hook it up to work with TouchDesigner. I’m not looking for moving outright, but just anything that is a good starting place for working with DMX.

If you’re just looking for lighting board style control in TD, you can save a LOT of money and get much more functionality by just using MIDI controllers like the Akai APC40 MK2.

The problem with what you’re asking is that most cheaper “starter boards” output just static channels on faders over 5pin DMX, and you would STILL need a USB to DMX input device to get that into TouchDesigner. At that point, you’ve already spent over $1000 on a DMX controller board instead of $100 for a Korg NanoKontrol which will get you the exact same ability to control TouchDesigner with faders.

If you want to learn about DMX in general and how to use it with TouchDesigner, you can mess with the software for any of the major Lighting Control ecosystems (GrandMA, ETC Eos, WholeHog, Elation Onyx, Chamsys MagicQ, Jands Vista) and never need to purchase a controller board.

I second all @Peeet suggestions, and would like to add another option to the list.

You could buy an artnet / dmx device like the dmxking that Peeet suggested above, and use the free MA dot2 lighting software (1 universe = 512 channels).

I think it’s a good starting point because the artnet device will allow you to control lighting from a dedicated lighting software (I. E. Ma dot 2, or Martin, or others) and/or from TD, so plenty of options for experimenting.

The ma dot2 software is definitely not my favorite choice for controlling lighting, but I must say that it’s designed to be simple to use, and it is, it’s free, it let’s you control anything (dimmers, led, moving lights etc…), the internal library is massive and yiu can build your own fixtures if needed. i have used it very successfully in the past for projects, haven’t used it in a couple of years now though.

Any syntax you learn on dot2 will be useful on ma2 machines if you end up using a much complex lighting desk down the track.

It is possible to connect a midi device to dot2 if you need buttons and faders.
you can also have TD and dot2 controlling lights at the same time if you want to use dot2 for cues, gobos, colors, and TD for controlling moving lights pan and tilt from a kinect for example.

I hope that helps!

Hi all,

I think perhaps I might not have been super clear at first. What I’m looking for is a control box to hook into my computer that I can control lights FROM TouchDesigner. I know that there’s other software, etc that work better perhaps, but I’m really wanting to be able to have discreet control over lights via TD. This tutorial from one of the previous summits might help clarify.

P.S. If the Korg or other devices similarly allow me to do this then awesome! But from what I say it’s just a controller, not an actual means of connecting the hardware to my desktop.

Sure thing, I guess there’s a bit of confusion here regarding what you call a controller, and what you need to control.

Those two tutorials you have linked are specific to control addressable LED strips (look up on google), in which case, you can use an LED pixel controller like for example a small DMXking LeDMX4 , ideal for small projects and testing in my opinion.
Enttec makes also nice products to control LED strips.

If you want to control dimmers, moving lights and similar, you can use an Artnet / sACN device like this one (1 universe 512 channels) or this one (2 universes = 1024 channels).

If you want to do both you can use an Advatek board like this one.
This board might seem a bit complex to use at first, but offers a lot of options; it will let you control a pretty reasonable amount of addressable LED strips, as well as 4x universes of moving lights etc…

All the above work with TD: feel free to do your research to find more brands and pricing.
I feel obliged to say that when experimenting with LED strips you will need to research also how to wire them up properly and safely, to avoid damaging the LED strips, or the LED controller, or yourself.

I hope this clarifies a bit and helps to get you in the right direction

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