When it comes to creating great lighting, the single most important tool you have besides yourself is your lighting console.
Having a great console will take your light show from simple to extraordinary, and allow you to move to the next level as a DJ.
In the DJ world, there really isn’t a better console to get started with than Chauvet ShowXpress. This is a software package that Chauvet has designed specifically for DJ’s, and it shows.
I remember the first encounter I had with ShowXpress over 4 years ago. While I wasn’t expecting to be sitting down and programming a charity dance on a console I didn’t know, that’s how it happened.
I was able to learn and execute a pretty good show, without ANY knowledge of ShowXpress at the beginning of the day. As I continued to learn the console, I quickly found out exactly how powerful ShowXpress can be.
Getting Started With ShowXpress
ShowXpress is a PC-based lighting console, and is completely free to download and test on your computer. The software download is full-featured, and you can save and build new shows, but you cannot output DMX signal to your lights.
In order to do that, you need one of Chauvet’s 3 DMX interfaces.
The first interface they offer is the Xpress 100 – at the time of this writing it is $200, and can control up to 10 lights OR 100 DMX channels. It’s other limitation is that it only runs on Windows, so the Mac version of ShowXpress will NOT work with this interface.
I don’t recommend buying the Xpress 100 unless you really don’t have the money for the Xpress 512 interface, because it is so limited and you’ll outgrow it quickly!
Even if you personally own less than 10 fixtures, what will happen if you have a big show and rent someone else’s fixtures to add to yours? Suddenly, you’ll find yourself in a pickle!
The Xpress 512 – $400 at the time of this writing, gives you a FULL 512 channels of DMX control, and has Mac support as well. This is the interface I recommend, because it’s not going to hold you back in the growth of your lighting.
Chauvet also offers and Xpress 512 Plus, which gives you the ability to run stand-alone shows without a computer and is priced at $700.
Honestly, unless you have a specific circumstance where you have some installed lighting or something like that where you need to “set it and forget it”, I don’t think the 512 Plus is necessary.
Inside ShowXpress – How to Use the Software
ShowXpress is pretty easy to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s instant – there is a small learning curve.
Thanks to the power of the internet, we are able to sit under the command of ShowXpress trainer Darren Field to learn the basics of ShowXpress.
In his first video, Darren covers how to download and begin with ShowXpress:
From there, it’s time to get your lights patched in and get the 3D visualizer setup:
In the rest of his videos, Darren gives a really good overview of how ShowXpress works and what it can do. If you use ShowXpress or are considering it, I highly suggest you give all of this videos a view:
- Video 3: Steps and Generator
- Video 4: Pixels
- Video 5: Live
- Video 6: Live Mobile App
- Video 7: ShowXpress in a Live Show
- Video 8: MIDI Board Integration
As you can see, ShowXpress really is an easy but versatile way to control your DJ lighting. It’s easy to imagine where you can take your DJ lighting, just from watching these videos.
Are you new to DJ lighting? Click Here to get the 4 Things You Need to Know Before You Begin with DJ Lighting!