Chapter 36. Audio

36.1. Audio Input

Audio input can be used in many ways on MagicQ - to bump a Cue Stack from step to step, to set a Cue Stack tempo, to set the virtual level of the playback fader and as part of the MagicQ Pixelmapper.

Audio bump functions can also triggered from the remote input port.

36.1.1. Audio input ports

Audio input can be achieved on both MagicQ consoles and MagicQ PC via PC Sound card. Note on PC Systems a ChamSys Wing or Interface (not MagicDMX) is required to enable Audio input on PC.

Audio input is also supported directly on MagicQ consoles and Compact PC Wings via dedicated audio ports. In Setup, View Settings, Ports set Audio Input to Console Inbuilt Port.

MagicQ Pro 2014 consoles require the latest Pro 2014 kernel (dated 4th June 2014) downloadable from the ChamSys download site, Docs page.

From v1.6.0.9 MagicQ PC / Mac supports audio input through the PC / Mac sound card when the PC/Mac is connected to a MagicQ Wing or Interface (not MagicDMX). In Setup, View Settings, Ports set Audio Input to PC/Mac sound card.

36.1.2. Audio options

The audio signal is analysed into 7 different frequency bands – consisting of 63Hz, 160Hz, 400Hz, 1KHz, 2.5KHz, 6.2KHz, 16KHz, 63KHz. The levels for each channel can be used on MagicQ to set the level of Playbacks, to step through cue stacks and to set the speed of chases.

When connected, a graphic equaliser display is shown in the Status Display showing the current levels of the inputs. Audio trigger level should be set to 0.

36.1.3. Global audio settings

In order to use audio input on MagicQ set the setting Setup, View Settings, Ports, Audio, Audio Input. The options are

  • None
  • Energy only ChamSys audio
  • ChamSys audio interface
  • ChamSys audio left only
  • Console inbuilt port"
  • PC/Mac sound card".

On MagicQ PC / Mac systems select "Pc/Mac sound card". Audio input is only supported when the PC/Mac is connected to a MagicQ Wing or Interface (not MagicDMX).

On MagicQ Consoles the audio is received via dedicated audio ports - choose the option "Console Inbuilt Port". MagicQ Pro 2014 consoles require the latest Pro 2014 kernel whilst MQ40, MQ60 and original MQ70 require the latest firmware.

When using an external MagicQ USB Audio Interface then choose "ChamSys audio interface", "ChamSys audio left only" or "Energy only ChamSys audio". When set to “ChamSys audio left only”, any signals received on the left channel are automatically duplicated onto the right channel. This is useful in situations where only a mono audio feed is available. When set to "Energy only ChamSys audio" all 14 received channels are averaged into one level and all MagicQ audio options will use this one level.

MagicQ supports global minimum and maximum audio levels to enable the levels to be matched to the received audio. Both the Minium Audio Level and the Maximum Audio Level default to 0 indicating they have no effect.

The minimum is used to adjust for noise whilst the maximum can be set if the audio signal is particularly weak. When set to non zero values any levels below the minimum or above the maximum are ignored and the levels are scaled appropriately.

36.1.4. Cue Stack audio options

In the Cue Stack options there are 4 possible audio modes – Audio Controls fader level, Audio bumps go, Audio sets BPM, Audio jumps Cue Stack. Audio modes are not active until the Cue Stack is activated by raising the fader or pressing the GO button.

Double click on the Audio channel to select the channel to respond to. Audio level, audio parameter 1, and audio parameter 2 should be set to 0.

“Audio Controls fader level” enables the level of the fader to be controlled by the received audio level on the chosen channel. In this way you can control all sorts of different functions depending on how you set the Fader options - HTP, LTP, FX Size, FX Speed etc… For example, you could control the iris opening of a moving light by also setting the Fader controls LTP (IPCB) chans option, or you could control a Master Intensity fader. When using this mode, then Audio P1 and Audio P2 can be set to control the response:

Audio P1 = 0 Normal (direct trigger from level)

Audio P1 = 1 Decayed (decays by Audio P2 each sample)

Audio P1 = 2 Pulse (triggers at Audio Level, Audio P2 is duration of pulse)

Audio P1 = 3 Pulse decay (triggers at Audio Level, decays by Audio P2 each sample)

Audio P1 = 4 Switch (triggers to on/off at Audio Level)

Audio P1 = 5 Slow (increases/decreases by Audio P2 each sample)

“Audio bumps go” causes the Cue Stack to bump to the next step every time a peak in the audio is detected on the specified channel. This enables a Cue Stack to follow the beat of the music. This is best used with the Cue Stack set to Cue Timing instead of Chase Timing. Audio parameter 1 is used as a divider – set it between 2 and 16 to divide the received beat frequency by a value between 2 and 16 times.

“Audio sets BPM” causes a Cue Stack set as a chase to automatically set the chase speed to the timing of the peaks on the specified channel. The Cue Stack should be set to Chase Timing.

“Audio jumps Cue Stack” enables the level of the specified channel to determine which step in the Cue Stack is executed – for example if you have a Cue Stack with 10 steps, then a level of 0% will execute step 1, 10% will execute step 2 whilst a level of 100% will execute step 10. This is very useful if you wish to program different Cues onto LED or media servers.

36.1.5. Pixel Mapper and Audio

The Pixel Mapper Audio FX support comprehensive Pixel Mapping using audio triggering.

36.2. Audio play

MagicQ supports playback of audio files triggered from Cues within Cue Stacks for playing back sound effects in theatre shows and for playing back Cues timed to audio.

Audio output is available direct from the ports on the rear of the MagicQ Pro 2014, on the jack port front left side of MQ500 consoles and from the audio port when using MagicQ PC on Windows, Mac and Linux. MagicQ Compact consoles/Pro2010 consoles do not have audio output ports.

First place the audio files in the show\audio folder. They can then be selected directly from the Audio field in the Cue Stack.

Each playback supports play of one audio file at a time. If a Cue executes with audio then any audio playing from a previous Cue in the CueSatck will be stopped. Multiple playbacks can be used to play multiple sounds simultaneously.

The audio field can also take some special commands as well as specifying new audio files to play. The following commands are supported:


Plays filename.wav (also supports other file types)


Stops playing the file


Stops playing the file and closes the audio port


Jumps within the current audio file to the calculated position (timecode only)


Changes to use output device d

param 1,g

Changes gain level (volume) where g is value 0 to 100

In the Cue Stack use Encoder A to select View Mode to Media to choose and view the audio clip for each Cue step.

When using WAV, only 8 and 16 bit formats are supported.

36.3. Control of Winamp

MagicQ supports control of a Winamp instance on the same PC by patching a Winamp personality. The Winamp personality can control track number, play mode, track position, volume, and audio pan.

The PC must have a MagicQ Wing or MagicQ Interface connected to enable Winamp control.

Simply patch one Winamp head anywhere in the patch - MagicQ treats the heads as a special head and ignores the DMX address.

Winamp does not need to be configured - MagicQ automatically connects to it.