If you’re new to the lighting world, you may have come across the term “lighting universe” and wondered what it means. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explain what a lighting universe is and how it’s used in the lighting industry.

Quick Answer: A lighting universe refers to a single group of 512 channels Each channel corresponds to a specific function of a lighting fixture, such as intensity, color, or movement. Multiple universes are used when you need more light fixtures or parameters for a particular event.

What is a DMX Universe

DMX Cable

DMX is a protocol used for lighting control in the entertainment industry. A DMX universe is a single group of 512 channels in the DMX protocol. This is the maximum amount DMX data that can be used on a single DMX cable.

Each lighting fixture typically uses one or more DMX channels to control its functions, such as color, intensity, and movement. A DMX universe is the maximum number of channels transmitted in one cable. For example, if you have 51 lighting fixtures that each use 10 DMX channels, you would need 510 channels total, which would take up a full DMX universe.

If you need more lighting fixtures, then you would need to add a second universe to your setup.

Related: How To Program DMX Lights

Making DMX Universes Easy To Manage.

Multiple DMX Outputs
Multiple DMX outputs coming from a single lighting control. This can be used to control separate lighting universes.
Chauvet Professional NetX ii

If you’re working on a large event and require multiple DMX universes, there are two options to consider:

  1. Connecting a DMX cable to each output on your lighting controller and running them to the stage.
  2. Using a networking protocol like ArtNet or sACN. This allows you to deliver up to 32,768 unique universes of data to the stage with just one ethernet cable.

By using a networking protocol, lighting technicians can easily manage lighting at large events as lighting data is transmitted over a network, allowing lighting control systems to be located in different areas of the venue.

To utilize this method, connect your lighting console to a networking node such as the Chauvet NetX using a single ethernet cable. The node will then transmit multiple universes of lighting data to the stage. Lastly, connect your light fixtures to the network node using DMX cables.

Related: XLR vs DMX Cables, is there a difference?

DMX Lighting FAQs

What does universe mean in lighting?

A lighting universe refers to a single group of 512 channels. This is the maximum amount of lighting data that can be run on a single DMX cable.

How many channels in a DMX universe?

A single DMX universe can have up to 512 channels of data. Each channel can have a value between 0 and 255.

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