I am looking for some software what could react to music in realtime and could create some visual effects from given presets.
Simply I am looking some kind of software what could partiality replace VJ.

  • Which platform?
    – DoktorHauser
    May 14, 2012 at 14:57
  • It does not really matter. PC is more preferred thou.
    – Povylas
    May 14, 2012 at 14:59
  • I hacked together a patch once that would make little visual animations appear in response to MIDI notes using Quartz Composer on Mac OS OS 10.4 once. It's not a proper solution but might be a fun start.
    – Warrior Bob
    May 16, 2012 at 18:45
  • Nice idea. I would like to hear more opinions maybe somebody could recommend a forum which more specialized in this there I could ask around...
    – Povylas
    May 18, 2012 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


My knowledge in this arena is far from comprehensive, but if you don't mind weird generative visuals, I've heard of people putting together rather elaborate video-processing patches using Max/MSP and Jitter.


Rather than automatically generating visuals based on sound, which is difficult to do meaningfully, why not make your own music performance more visual? This way you don't need a VJ, you can create a visual show, and people will be watching YOU instead of the visuals you project?

You can use input devices that are impressive to watch in a live performance setting, and hook them up to software for live performance, like Ableton Live.

One example of such an input device are the audiocubes by percussa. The audiocubes are smart cubes that can change colours through built in lighting, and they can generate MIDI based on their position and orientation. The cubes integrate with Ableton Live through MIDIBridge, a free app for audiocubes.

Alternatively you can also use grid controllers which have LED matrices, like the akai APC40. With these kind of controllers the movements you will be making will be mostly finger movements, so hard to see from a distance. With the audiocubes the movements are larger (because you move actual objects), so they are easier to see by the audience. Also check out this blog post: http://www.percussa.com/2012/09/01/how-to-engage-the-audience-when-performing-live-with-a-laptop-featured-question/

Another possibility might be to use DMX lighting, and hook that up via a USB-DMX bridge to software like Max/MSP, which could analyze audio in realtime, and then map that to DMX messages for the lights. This does require quite a bit of programming though.


The subject about sound to light conversation gets pretty rare even in the year 2019. = 2 different worlds of particular artists. Following this issue I've found the company Enttec producing various DMX controllers, introduced DMX to MIDI device -> DMXIS, including particular software that converts 7bit MIDI data into DMX 8bit ligt_show domain. This way you can select a separate MIDI track in your DAW /(Digital Audio Workstation)and edit & arrange it's parameters in the entire music composition for the particular universes of the Lightshow equipment. Ableton Live, Cubase, Reaper etc are mentioned as suitable music software to be used for this purpose. Selfevident you need but special part of the software or code that knows and understands the MIDI to DMX conversion, sent it then to the various DMX light controller software. QLC+, Freestyler, etc. Regards!

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