Virtual DMX Universes

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Introduction

Even though Ethernet communication protocols are most commonly used in projects nowadays [Art-Net, sACN], these still are based on DMX512 and its concepts of DMX universes and DMX channels.
A DMX universe contains 512 DMX channels. To control more than 512 DMX channels, more than 1 DMX universe needs to be used.

Installation sizes span a wide range, from the smallest to the largest projects. Using, and thus requiring, a large number of universes has become the standard.
The MADRIX 5 Software allows you to configure and manage such large pixel-mapping projects both in terms of what the software offers for configuration as well as its license system.
Throughout MADRIX 5, a number of places are ultimately needed for this configuration process.

To make patching easier, the concept of virtual DMX universes is used.

 

 

Virtual DMX Universes In MADRIX 5

Overview

The concept of virtual DMX universes separates the assignment of universes in the software from the on-device configuration of devices themselves.
In this way, the configuration is much more flexible.

Among other advantages, devices can be easily replaced should it become necessary or a Patch might be used for another project without many changes if at all required.
Or the pixel-mapping section is part of a much larger overall lighting setup and its network nodes need to be assigned to as specific range of universes within the entire configuration, for example.

 

Patch Editor

Patching hereby refers to the process of not only placing and positioning fixture profiles [that is, basic definitions of how a lighting fixture works] on the virtual LED matrix, but also assigning the correct DMX start address and DMX universe.
For complex patches, the Patch Editor is the tool of choice in MADRIX 5.

For ease of use, patching usually starts with DMX channel 1 in DMX universe 1.
Of course, the DMX assignment can be freely done.
However, the maximum DMX universe that can be assigned is limited. It is limited to 2048 universes by default, and can be increased to 4096 in the Options. [More on that below.]

In the Patch Editor, in the Voxel Map or DMX Map, navigate to DMX Addressing > DMX Universe to change the assigned virtual DMX universe.

 

Device Manager

Any device that is added appears under Device Manager > DMX Devices. Navigate to Universe and you can assign the virtual DMX universe of the patch in the Patch Editor to this output device.
That is why the maximum universe here is also limited to 2048 universes by default, and can be increased to 4096 in the Options. [More on that below.]

 

Device Configuration

Art-Net 4 allows to assign devices up to universe 32768.
sACN allows to assign devices up to universe 63999.

MADRIX 5 allows you to set these numbers in the Art-Net Device Configuration and ACN Device Configuration. They define the universe that is sent out by the device.
However, when using ArtPollReply packets and output devices are found automatically [Art-Net nodes], the assignment is already reflected in MADRIX 5 and cannot be changed anymore, since it is ultimately a setting of device itself [usually via web configuration].

Changing the universe assignment on the devices themselves is especially needed when using Art-Net in broadcast mode.
When using Art-Net in unicast mode, you can even leave the assignment on the devices themselves and also occupy universes multiple times across the devices, since each device only receives the data that is specified for this particular device.

Take 3x MADRIX LUNA 8 for example. By default, on their web configuration they each have assigned their output ports DMX 1 - DMX 8 to universes 1 - 8. In the Device Manager > DMX Devices, you could simply assign the virtual Universe to 1-8 for the first device, 9-16 for the second device, and 17-24 for the third device. Since they would receive data in unicast mode, they would receive the correct data nevertheless, although the output universes are 1 through 8 for each device.
DMX fixtures connected to those Art-Net nodes only need the correct DMX start address set up for them, since the universe is determined by the DMX line they are connected to.

 

 

MADRIX 5 License

The limit of 2048 virtual universes in the Patch Editor and Device Manager > DMX Devices relates to the maximum number of universes the largest MADRIX 5 License is able to output.
But note this: The MADRIX 5 License does not license the number of universes, but the number of channels!
To make it easier to comprehend, the number 2048 is often referenced. But actually 1,048,576 DMX channels are unlocked [which is 2048 x 512 channels calculated].

However, you might only wish to use a certain number of channels per universe, and not the full amount of 512 channels.
For example, when fully using MADRIX 5 ultimate and assigning 256 channels per universe, you would use 262144 DMX channels not over 512 universes but across 1024 virtual universes.

If you would do the same with with MADRIX 5 maximum, you would not only use 2048 universes, but require 4096 virtual universes.
That is why, the limit of 2048 can be changed in the Options, as explained below.

 

Options

You can change the maximum limit that can be assigned as virtual universe in the Patch Editor and Device Manager > DMX Devices [which is also used in the DMX Fader Tool].

Go to the menu Preferences > Options... > Performance > Virtual DMX Universes > Output

The default value is 2048

The maximum value is 4096

Confirm changes with Apply and OK

 

MADRIX 5.5.
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