With the rise of social media, lots of studios are focusing more and more on aesthetics. Plus, having a visually inspiring work place can be a good thing! One element of a good aesthetic for your studio is lighting. That brings us to the question of how to sync LED lights to music. There are lots of options out there at many price points, so today I’ll be going over some options you can use to create a great mood in your studio. We’ll start with some smaller, sound activated options (great for plug and play) and then I’ll share what I use to synch LED lights to music with computer programming (great for on stage)!
Option 1: Automatic Syncing Options (Sound activated LEDs)
One option you have is to get sound activated LED lights! This is a quick way to get lights moving to the music without much hassle. If you’re looking for something that fits on your desk, these rechargable sound controlled LED lights are a fun option!
I grabbed a pair to put on my desk while I record music. Since they’re rechargable, they fit almost anywhere on your desk! They also have several different modes and color palates to choose from, making them fun to tinker with. They’re surprisingly vibrant and bright in person, too! Amazon is chock full of various lights, lasers, and LED strips that are all sound activated, so check out their full selection and see what fits your vibe!
Option 2: PAR Cans (Sound Activated)
The next, more robust option is sound activated PAR cans! PAR actually stands for “parabolic aluminum reflector” which is a reference to the internal reflector that’s inside older PARs. However, LED PAR cans typically don’t have a reflector, making this name a relic of the past!
Again, Amazon is full of sound activated LED PAR cans, so take a look and see which options fit your budget! I’ve had good experiences with Chinese made lights from Amazon, but the brand names change often, so it can be hard to suggest a specific brand. I’d suggest you read the reviews to make sure they’re legit.
Unlike option 1, these lights are typically not rechargeable, so you should expect to plug them into a wall outlet or power strip. Also, LED PAR cans typically have a built-in fan to stop them from overheating, so they aren’t totally silent. For that reason, I wouldn’t suggest using them in a recording studio. Adding background noise to a studio setting is never a good idea. However, these are a great option for DJs, parties, venues, and rehearsal spaces.
I’d also suggest grabbing lights that have DMX inputs and outputs, which lets you use them for our third option: programming!
Option 3: Programming via DMX
The third, and most labor intensive option, is programming your light show via DMX! If you don’t know, DMX is a way to control lights and effects to create a light show. You can flip between colors, settings, strobe effects, and more, without having to touch your lights!
For the full scoop on DMX programming, you can read our band lighting guide! However, we’ll briefly explain the process of using DMX to set up your lights here!
To start with DMX, you’ll need a light that uses DMX (there are tons to pick from), a DMX controller (Rockville makes a pretty solid entry-level option), and DMX cables (grab a few now since you’ll need more every time you add lights)!
This is definitely the most advanced way to sync LED lights to music. You will either need to pre-program your lights to sync with your music (using something like a USB to DMX interface to send the DMX signal to the lights), or you’ll need someone to manually operate the lighting controller. This is a great option for bands, DJs, or music venues, but it’s probably overkill for someone who just wants some cool sound activated lights that sync up with their music at a party.
Whether you’re looking for something automatic…
…or you want to manually control your lights with DMX, there’s a great big world of lights out there!
If you’re just looking to add some fun, sound-activated lights to your recording studio, music listening room, or home theater, the first option is where I’d start. If you’re someone who likes to tinker, customize, and automate, DMX lighting is an awesome way to express some creativity!
Either way, we hope you enjoy adding some LED lights to your setup!