ESTA Streaming ACN [sACN / E1.31]

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ESTA LogoStreaming ACN [sACN/E1.31] is a protocol that transfers DMX data over Ethernet. It is another network-based DMX protocol. It is a standard created by ESTA [Entertainment Services and Technology Association; web link »].




There are several steps required to set up Streaming ACN products in MADRIX 5. This chapter is only part of the process. You need to set up other configurations as well [such as virtual LED matrix, DMX Devices, MADRIX Effects, Audio, etc.].



Step-By-Step Configuration

1] Configure network settings in Windows.

2] Activate Streaming ACN in MADRIX 5.

3A] Configure single DMX devices.

3B] Configure multiple DMX devices.

4] Choose if you are going to use your devices as output or input interfaces.

5] Set up the correct DMX universe.

6] Set up the Frame Time.

7] Choose to send optimized frames or full frames.


1] Windows Network Settings

MADRIX 5 automatically sets up Streaming ACN network settings for you.
[MADRIX 5 supports multicast Streaming ACN. Data is automatically sent to all corresponding sACN devices in the network. Unicast ist also supported.]

You only need a computer with a network card and a valid IP address.


You do not have to change the IP address settings in Windows for Streaming ACN!

The IP address range for sACN devices is 239.255.X.X according to the Streaming ACN specifications.
[Even if your sACN devices are set to a different IP address range, you may try the connection from MADRIX 5 to your devices.]

Make sure that your Firewall does not block data of the 239.255.X.X IP address range!

Check the settings of the Windows Firewall.

Learn more »Tips [Microsoft Windows / Networks / USB]


2] Activating Streaming ACN

Go to the menu Preferences > Options... > Devices Network
[Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+O > Devices Network]

Activate ESTA - Streaming ACN

Choose your network card from the drop-down list. Make sure to select the correct network adapter that will be used for Streaming ACN!
[The IP address and Subnet mask label should help you select the correct adapter. It is not necessary to change any of these networks settings.]
[Please note: A loopback adapter is also available. Learn more »Loopback Adapater []]

ACN Device Count - Set up how many you are going to use.
[This is the total amount of OUT and IN devices. Please set the exact number of devices you are using. If the count is higher, this creates unnecessary network traffic.]

Click Apply

Devices (Network)


ACN CID - Being a network protocol, Streaming ACN sends a so-called CIDs [Component Identifier].
- Every single ACN device has such a unique ID.
- When using Streaming ACN, your MADRIX 5 Software is one of those devices.
- When you start MADRIX 5 for the first time, this ID will be generated automatically for you. From this point onwards it will be used on your PC.
- With this ID your MADRIX 5 Software can be easily identified in the network. Interfaces can detect this unique ID and can be configured to receive data from this particular device. Please note that the ACN interface must support this feature.
- Do not change the ACN CID, unless you are an experienced user!

Click OK to close the window.


3A] Configuration Of Single Devices

Go to the menu Preferences > Device Manager... > DMX Devices
[Keyboard shortcut: F4]

MADRIX 5 automatically creates and adds the number of interfaces to the list.
[According to ACN Device Count]
[Devices are disabled upon creation.]

ACN DMX Devices


Select a device in the list and click

A new window will open.

ACN Configure Device

Set up the following settings for your devices:

Source Name - Allows you to set up a specific name for the device. This name is send via network as well. Therefore, interfaces may be able to retrieve this name and can be configured to receive data from this source.
- If you are using the default name MADRIX U:X, the universe will automatically be displayed in the name [represented by X: 1, 2, 3, etc.].

ACN Universe - Defines the DMX universe of the device.
- Set up the same universe that is set up in your sACN device.
- According to the Streaming ACN specifications, MADRIX 5 will automatically change the ACN IP Address according to the ACN Universe.

ACN Priority - Was implemented for backup solutions. Valid values range from 0 to 200, which is the highest priority.
- For example, you may have set up two MADRIX PCs. One gets a priority of 100. The second PC gets a priority of 50. If the first PC fails and only if it malfunctions, data will be automatically received from PC #2.
- Data will always be received from the device with the highest priority. Please note that the ACN device must support this feature.

ACN Protocol - Automatically selects the ANSI 2009 standard.

Use Multicast
ACN Multicast IP Address - Displays the IP address of the device as automatically assigned by MADRIX 5 according to the Streaming ACN specifications. The last 2 digits match the assigned DMX universe.

Use Unicast
ACN Unicast IP Address - Uses a specific IP address to send data to.

Click Apply to confirm your changes.

Click OK to close the window.


3B] Configuration Of Multiple Devices

You can configure several interfaces at the same time.

Follow the steps of 3A, but select multiple devices and click

A new window will open.

ACN Configure Multiple Devices


Set up the settings as described under 3A].

For ACN Universe, you have now additional options for Numbering:
Auto Numbering Off        Click the button and MADRIX 5 will automatically increase the ACN Universe number for all the selected devices [which can be seen in the DMX Devices tab of the Device Manager], starting with the value you have entered.

Click Apply and OK to confirm your changes.


4] Output or Input

Make sure that your device is still selected under Preferences > Device Manager... > DMX Devices

A] Right Mouse Click on the column OUT / IN to set to OUT for data output if you wish to send data to this device in order to put it out onto your LED fixtures.


B] Right Mouse Click on the column OUT / IN to set to IN for data input if you wish to receive incoming data through this device.

In input mode, you will not be able to select the ACN protocol. MADRIX 5 will automatically select the correct protocol version.

Learn more »DMX-IN / Art-Net Remote / sACN Input


Note: If you are loading a MADRIX 5 Setup, please check if the number of ACN devices in your setup corresponds with the number that is activated. The Setup stores the number of devices. But if you changed the amount and then loaded the Setup, the newly defined number will be activated.


5] Activating Devices

Devices need to be activated.

Go to the menu Preferences > Device Manager... > DMX Devices
[Keyboard shortcut: F4]

Select your devices in the list.

Right Mouse Click on the column State to set from Off to On [indicated by green light].



6] DMX Universe

Make sure that your device is still selected.

When using your device as an output device, set up Universe
- Right Mouse Click or Left Mouse Double-Click on the column Universe and enter the required number.

This setting assigns a specific DMX universe [of the Patch] to the device or the port of the device. Learn more »Virtual DMX Universes

Make sure to assign the correct universe according to your requirements.

Learn more »Glossary


7] Frame Time

Make sure that your device is still selected.

Set up the frame time for your device.
- Right Mouse Click or Left Mouse Double-Click on the column ms / FPS and enter the required number.
- The frame time [in milliseconds; ms] affects the frame rate. The frame rate specifies how fast data is sent to the device or received from it [in Frames Per Second; FPS].
- Increase the frame time in order to decrease the frame rate [e.g., 40 ms = 25 FPS].
- Decrease the frame time in order to increase the frame rate [e.g., 20 ms = 50 FPS].
- The default value is 30 ms / 33.3 FPS.
- Some LED fixtures might have problems with a low frame time / high frame rate. Then, it is recommended to increase the frame time / decrease the frame rate.


8] Optimized Frames Or Full Frames

Make sure that your device is still selected under Preferences > Device Manager... > DMX Devices

Choose how to send data.
- Right Mouse Click or Left Mouse Double-Click on the column Frames to choose between Optimized and Full
- Per DMX512 standard, MADRIX 5 only sends the number of DMX channels that is configured [optimized frames]. For example, if you are using 312 DMX channels on a DMX universe, only 312 DMX channels will be sent with every single frame on this universe.
- Activate Full Frames if devices should always send full frames on a particular universe, instead of optimized frames. Sending full frames means that always the full 512 DMX channels of a DMX universe will be sent with every frame [even when you are using less than 512 channels on the universe].
- Activating Full Frames is recommended if problems with the data output of your devices occur.



Terminating sACN Output

In addition to sending the last frame as black frame, the software sends the STREAM_TERMINATED flag when terminating sACN output. This lets interfaces know about the termination and anticipates running into a timeout otherwise.

sACN output is being terminated in case:
- The software is closed.
- Streaming ACN devices are being disabled in the Device Manager.
- Streaming ACN is being deactivated in the Options.



Additional Functionality

DMX Devices

Learn more about setting up devices under Preferences > Device Manager... > DMX Devices here »DMX512 [DMX-OUT]



Important Notes

Please switch off your Firewall or configure your Firewall accordingly. sACN might not work with a Firewall!

It is recommended to run sACN in a separate network without internet access. Else, the internet connection may not work properly.

Keep in mind that network devices, if activated, cause network traffic!

When using a network-based output protocol and when the startup option Start MADRIX After Booting Windows is used, it is highly recommended to also activate the Startup option Start With Timeout (s) with a value of 30 or higher.




If you are encountering problems, please work through the following checklist:

Make sure to set up the Windows Firewall correctly or deactivate the Windows Firewall if possible [only if no connection to the internet is available]. Learn more »Tips [Microsoft Windows / Networks / USB]

Use Start With Timeout (s) in the MADRIX 5 Options to make sure network is initialized correctly before MADRIX 5 starts. Learn more »Startup

If output problems occur, decrease the output frame rate [FPS] in the Device Manager.

Make sure that sACN is set up as an individual network and separate from the Internet.

Double-check if routers and switches in the network allow communication and IP address forwarding for the 239.255.X.X range of IP addresses.

Double-check if your sACN devices support multicast Streaming ACN and are configured accordingly.



Further Configuration

Remember to configure your light matrix in the »Matrix Generator or »Patch Editor

Make sure to save your MADRIX 5 Setup after the configuration process.


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