Chapter 1. Introduction

MagicQ supports an extensive array of features to enable lighting designers to quickly and easily realise their innovative and imaginative designs.

MagicQ has been designed to be as flexible as possible so that it can be used equally well for pre-programmed shows / tours or for busking festivals. All parameters can be changed during run at the touch of a button.

Ease of use and speed of programming have been at the forefront of the design process ensuring patching and programming a show in the minimum amount of time without complex button sequences and multi level menus.

The first few chapters of this guide describe an overview of MagicQ including scenes, chases, fx and playbacks. If you wish to go straight into programming a show then turn to the Quick Start section.

1.1. MagicQ software and consoles

MagicQ software runs on PCs, Macs and MagicQ consoles and has the same features and user interface on all systems.

MagicQ software enables shows to be pre-programmed on a PC (Windows, Mac or Linux) enabling Lighting Designers to design and program their shows in advance. Shows can be transferred between PC, Mac and MagicQ consoles using USB memory sticks, or via direct network connection.

MagicQ PC / Mac supports the same functionality and user interface as the physical consoles making it easy to move between the two products. MagicQ PC / Mac can also be used to run complete shows, either as a back-up to the main console or as console in its own right.

MagicQ consoles are available in several different models all using the powerful MagicQ software on a Linux operating system giving a reliable operating environment for programming and playback of shows. A show can be programmed on one model and then played back on a different model.

MagicQ supports 202 playbacks in total – which can be accessed through physical playbacks or through the touch screen. The different models in the MagicQ console series have different numbers of physical playbacks and buttons, enabling the size of console to be matched to the show.

Connecting MagicQ USB Wings to MagicQ PC / Mac gives the playback and programming control of the MagicQ consoles (faders, encoders and buttons) but with a small low cost lightweight solution.

DMX512 serial outputs are available from MagicQ software on PC/Mac using the MagicDMX interface, directly from all MagicQ consoles and from the Mini Wing, PC Wing and Maxi Wing.

MagicQ supports Art-Net I,II,III and IV, Pathport and streaming ACN network outputs from PC, Mac or MagicQ consoles. MagicQ consoles have multiple network ports for connecting to Art-Net, Pathport and sACN installations.

1.2. MagicQ MQ500 Stadium Console


The MagicQ MQ500M Stadium is the latest control console from ChamSys designed to operate at the highest level of show control. MagicQ MQ500M Stadium enables shows to be designed from concept to reality including lighting, media, LED and scenic design.

MQ500M Key Features:

  • 256 universes onboard direct from the console without the need for external processing.
  • Motorised playback faders and playback encoders
  • Backlit keys, illuminated faders and encoders
  • Dual multi touch displays in full HD with adjustable viewing angle and gesture support.
  • Inbuilt MagicVis 3D visualiser with high quality beam and gobo rendering.
  • Intensity wheel and 100mm split crossfaders for theatre control

The picture below shows the connections on the MagicQ MQ500 Stadium console.

The MQ500M rear panel has:

  • 4 port Network switch
  • 4 Direct DMX ports
  • LTC In and Out
  • Midi In and Out
  • Remote input
  • RS232 Port
  • DVI-D monitor output
  • Audio Input
  • 3 x USB ports


1.3. MagicQ Compact Series

In 2020 the MagicQ Compact series comprises the MagicQ MQ50, MagicQ MQ70, and MagicQ MQ80 consoles together with the MagicQ Extra Wing for more faders and buttons.

Previous models included the MQ40N, MQ60 and the original MQ70.

1.4. MagicQ Wings for use with PC/Mac

The MagicQ Mini Wing, MagicQ PC Wing and MagicQ Maxi Wing connect directly to a PC or Mac. The PC or Mac runs the MagicQ software and processes the Cues whilst the wing acts as a physical surface with faders, buttons and encoders and outputs DMX.

1.5. Plugging Up

All MagicQ consoles and SnakeSys interfaces have auto ranging power supplies and can accept 110V to 240V AC on the powercon socket.

  • Connect the power lead to the power socket labelled LINE INPUT.
  • Put the console lamp(s) into the console lamp socket(s)

MagicQ consoles support USB keyboards and mice. It is not necessary to connect the mouse. The mouse is only required if the touch screen becomes damaged.

Note that the power cable lead should be connected before other connectors and should remain connected at all time that other connections such as DMX, network, serial, USB or video are connected to the console. This ensures that the console is correctly grounded.

1.6. DMX Connections

MagicQ consoles have 4 direct DMX outputs on the rear of the panel so you can connect your DMX cables direct to the console.

Alternatively you can connect to an Ethernet network using the Art-Net, Pathport or ACN Streaming DMX protocols and use external Ethernet to DMX converters to output the DMX.

The network ports on MagicQ consoles all have auto MDI/MDIX detection so a normal or inverted network cable can be used to connect to other network devices. Most modern laptops and computers also have auto MDI/MDIX detection.

ChamSys offer a range of Ethernet to DMX convertors branded SnakeSys. These can be used to convert any of the 200 Art-Net or ACN Streaming DMX universes to be output on DMX512 serial. For systems requiring all 200 universes on DMX512, multiple interfaces may be used connected via network switches.

1.7. Powering Up

To power up the console press the power switch on the rear panel. The blue LEDs on the ten S buttons will light up in turn. After a few seconds the screen will come to life and you will see the operating system quickly performing self tests. Once the self tests are completed the MagicQ application is started.

1.8. Powering Down

To power down the console it is necessary to quit the MagicQ application. The console operating system then performs an automatic shutdown and turns itself off when complete. To quit the MagicQ application, press the SETUP button and then the QUIT soft button. When asked for confirmation, press YES.


Note that just removing the power cord to the console will not have the desired effect since the internal UPS continues to provide power.

If for some reason you are unable to power off the console then you may need to reset it as below.

Note that the power cable should remain connected at all time that other connections such as DMX, network, serial, USB or video are connected to the console. This ensures that the console is correctly grounded. The power cable should be the last connection removed.

On MQ500 it is possible to press the rear power button to power off the console.

1.9. Resetting the Console

Under rare circumstance it may be necessary to reset the console.

To reset the console, press SETUP to go to the Setup Window and press SHIFT and QUIT. This performs an immediate soft reset of the console - the MagicQ application will be running the show again within about 2-3 seconds.

If for some reason the console does not respond to button presses then try pressing CTRL BREAK on the external keyboard (hold CTRL whilst pressing BREAK).

1.10. Hard Reset

If s software reset has no effect then a hard reset may be required. Hard resets should be avoided as they bypass the operating system shutdown procedures and may cause problems with the file system.

To perform a hard reset, press and hold the reset button on the back panel for 5 seconds. On Compact consoles the reset button is inset, so a thin object like a pen is needed to operate the button.

To force the console to power off completely, press and hold the reset button on the back panel until it powers off (approximately 10 seconds.)

To force a MQ80 to power off, remove all the cables from the rear panel except the powercon connector. Then remove the powercon connector and then hold the reset button for 10 seconds. For safety reasons the powercon cable should be the last cable removed.

1.11. Power Supply Protection

MagicQ MQ60, MQ70, MQ80, MQ100, MQ200, MQ300 and MQ500 consoles have an internal battery designed to protect the system against short term power losses on troublesome power supplies. The internal battery is not designed to support the running of the console for long periods of time. If the power is lost then the console will prompt the user to fix the problem or to shut down the console. The battery when fully charged will support the console for between 5 and 15 minutes.

To maintain the life of the UPS battery, the console should be run for a period of at least 12 hours constantly every 2 months to ensure the battery remains fully charged at all. Note that the console needs to be powered on and running MagicQ for the battery to charge.

If your version of the console does not have an internal battery then we recommend the use of a UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supply).

1.12. Care of your MagicQ console

  • To keep your MagicQ console in best condition please observe the following recommendations:
  • Keep liquids away from the MagicQ. Drinks split over your console may cause irreparable damage.
  • Keep the console out of direct sunlight – place the console in the shade.
  • Do not use the console outside its operating temperature range.
  • Handle the console with care when moving or transporting it. The console contains components that may be damaged by shock. Always use a padded flight case or padded bag wherever possible.
  • Do not use solvents or cleansers to clean the console. Do not rub firmly on the metal or plastic surfaces – this may cause the paint or lettering to be removed. Gently use a damp cloth to clean the panels.
  • On consoles with motorised faders avoid creating macros or automatation that causes excessive or repeated movement of faders - this can cause reduced life of the faders.

1.13. Safety Information

  • Do not open the front, rear or lower panels of the console unless you have electrical expertise. The console contains components with voltages that may shock.
  • Always disconnect the power cable before opening any panels.
  • Do not use the console if the power cables are damaged in any way.
  • Repairs should only be undertaken by authorised service representatives.
  • If liquids are spilt over the console then remove power immediately, and seek advice from your authorised service representative.
  • On motorised consoles be aware that faders may move in response to macros/timed events or other networked consoles.

1.14. Security Information

Lighting consoles are designed to be used on private networks which are assumed to be secured. Where consoles are used remotely over the internet we recommend the use of secure network tunnels to protect the lighting network from access from the internet.

ChamSys explicitly denies any responsibility for security of MagicQ consoles or their use in safety critical roles. Users must assure themselves of the security of their networks - if in doubt ensure the WIFI options are disabled and do not connect to the console network ports.

In situations where the network is not secure then we recommend ensuring that only the required network protocols are enabled in order to reduce the likelihood of unauthorised access. See the System ManagementSecurity section in the MagicQ manual for full details.

1.15. Disposal Information

Please be aware that ChamSys products must be disposed of in accordance with the WEEE disposal and recycling regulations. ChamSys products must not be disposed of through normal household waste. For non UK customers please contact your local distributor. For UK customers, please contact us on +44 (0)23 8023 8666, or email

WEEE Producer registration number WEE/FF5605UX.