Audioreactive photographs


I’m looking for advice/suggestions about an idea of installation.

That installation will be 4 translucid photographs backlighted and each backlight is reactive to one sound/music track which people can listen with headphones.

My question is how to control 4 lights (60 W i mean) with 4 tracks and eachpart is independant:

  • heavy solution : 4 OFexes in one single computer with 4 sound cards / one DMX controller
  • light solution : 4 independant Arduinos controlling lights and playing sounds (does arduino will be good for sound quality ?

Does someone as an idea ? what the cheapest ? what is just possible ?

Thx in advance, i’m pretty sure that someone here has something to say about it…

what are “OFexes”?
one 4-channel (or more) soundcard should be sufficient (imho)
I would control lighting with dmx. arduinos are too much hassle (except if you are heavily into DIY) for something which has an industry-tested solution (dmx controller and/or dimmer pack) - you’d have to design a circuit or get a shield which can switch 250-300W safely without frying your computer…

Thx for your help,

I fear that a sound card with 4 stereo outputs will be expensive, but…

PS : OFexes is an_acronym_in_bad_english_from_french_guy which means OF executable programs :slight_smile:

more expensive than 4 single soundcards? :wink: (and the gray hair associated with running those and 4 oF instances?)

Huh you’re right even if gray hair is cool :slight_smile:

I’ll throw my advice in here: it’s much easier to work with multichannel devices in rtAudio/fmod than trying to run multiple OF instances. Something like the Edirol FA-101 would do just fine (not cheap, but not crazy expensive). Arduinos can play back MP3 files but you need a chip to decode mp3 data from an SD card (or other source) so the cost starts to add up pretty quickly (i.e. close to the price of a 4 out card).

In terms of just controlling lights, if you want to play with electricity you can use a single arduino with 4 heavy-duty switchers/dimmers. If you look around for “triac dimmer circuit” you’ll find instructions on how to do that. Otherwise, DMX is probably the easiest. This post (and the following ones) are pretty clear:


Thx for these great and precious posts…

Can be interesting to go to electronic stuff, Edirol sounds good also.


And I finally find ready made power control on sparkfun shop