Low key light show

Recent threads have got me thinking a bit about performance aspects of what we do. I’d like to incorporate something visual into my rig that somehow helps an audience connect with the sound. “Sound reactive lighting” sent me down a rabbit hole of DJ gimmicks (the RGB lasers were maybe the highlight of that web surfing session) and left me with this desire to do something visual to express certain qualities of the audio I’m generating, but in a way that feels decidedly organic and low tech.

Is there a nice way to voltage control a simple dimmer for an Edison socket, containing an incandescent bulb? If you had to DIY it from scratch, what would you want to keep in mind?

Check this out:


For dimming you probably want this one: http://www.powerswitchtail.com/pssr-zc-tail

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Sweet. Thank you…

I’ve actually been working on a similar idea. I saw a performance a few months ago where they just had a regular table lamp on stage, and the bulb was loose so it flickered with the music. It was so engaging, I asked how they did it and they said it was just a lamp from back stage…

I’ve been playing around with relays and LED lamps to try to mimic that behaviour, but the product @kisielk linked to looks much simpler than what I’ve been trying to do.


commission for @instantjuggler

but @Rodrigo did it way more elegantly at our show in manchester-- tons of control via dmx.


that’s great for on-off.

here’s a dc-controlled dimmer i used: http://www.vellemanusa.com/products/view/?country=us&lang=enu&id=521945

but seriously, dmx isn’t that expensive.

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The regular powerswitchtail is for on and off. The pssr-zc-tail detects zero crossings and lets you do dimming. They even include the arduino sketch so it’s pretty easy to get started.


i just played a show with a fellow who used a light to control his synth. nice big soft incandescent bulb on a full size wall dimmer. he had a little photo-resistor next to it (inside a pingpong ball) which was connected to the “breath control” input on his yamaha cs01. every time he’d crank the dimmer up it would open the filter on the cs01. very simple, but oh so nice.


DMX seems to be pretty cool and you can also get DMX control for the modular:

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I tried doing a DIY thing years ago, and it was just a lot of hassle, a DMX interface is quite cheap, as are DMX dimmers (if a bit bulky), but then you have total control from all sorts of places as its such a standardized protocol. Which also means tapping into venue lights if that’s something you want to do as well.


I like the concept of the SY1 but does it seem a bit high HP for 1 RGB channel?

I might look outside eurorack for a DMX interface. Certainly open to suggestions!

I guess that’s technically 3 channels though?

And dimming 1 bulb for each color component would allow for a beautiful range of washes. Maybe that’d be enough…

Yeah, you got a point there. I don’t have much experience with DMX… we usually stick to having our video guy project his oscillographics onto us! :slight_smile:

Highly recommend checking out dmxis, a USB dmx converter box / software / plugin bundle. used one to write my band’s first light show and loved it, even with no previous dmx experience. Able to be performed live like a normal light console, sound reactive modes, oscillation, accepts written midi automation from a daw or controller, and probably lots of other stuff I haven’t even gotten into.


Very nice, thank you!


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I do have some Hue bulbs. They’re pretty fun!

You mention lasers, you can get an LZX Cyclops as a standalone module and a cheap chinese RGB laser and control it through your audio rig…


I have the Hue Starter Kit… :wink:

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Would certainly provide an interesting challenge in terms of figuring out good things to do with those X and Y inputs.