ADB ISIS® instrument definition files

Stage Color 300Introduction

Complex DMX devices, such as moving lights, have multiple parameters that can be controlled by the operator. Other devices, such as colour changers, can be attached to a conventional luminaire - the two components can then be regarded as one complete unit. Any unit with multiple parameters is called an “instrument”.

ISIS® software allows all parameters of an instrument to be integrated into a single control channel. When such a channel is selected, immediate control is given not only to the intensity of the lamp, but also to the other parameters of the instrument, such as position, colour or focus. The operator only needs to use a single channel number to gain control of all these parameters.

The software is intelligent enough to recognise the difference between intensities and other parameters, so that a scroller or moving light position is not affected by the Grand Master or Blackout functions. ISIS® software also gives the operator maximum flexibility by allowing each parameter to be set to any of the operating modes HTP (Highest Takes Precedence), FTP (First Takes Precedence) or LTP (Latest Takes Precedence).

Channel definitions

Every control channel has a “definition” associated with it; this tells the system what sort of channel it is and how it should be treated internally by the software. If a channel is not required to have additional parameters, it uses the ‘standard’ definition - which is in fact a single parameter: intensity. This type of control channel is termed a “generic” channel.

When the ISIS® system is first initialised, all channels are allocated the 'standard' definition. The standard definition, which has identification number 1, cannot be changed or deleted as it is critical to the working of the system. If a channel is to be used for the combined control of a luminaire with a colour changer, or for a moving light, the channel is allocated a specific definition. The definition is selected from a list to match the type of instrument being used.

The ADB Pool

Definitions 2 to 900 are pre-defined instruments, and stored within the “ADB Pool” of moving light and colour changer definitions within the ISIS® software. They cannot be changed by the operator; however from ISISPLUS software v2.45, they can be updated via the menu.

The User Pool

Definitions 901 to 999 are user-definable and can be created, modified and deleted at will (providing that they are not in use when modification is attempted).

A note on Patching

Allocating channel definitions is not the same as patching. Each definition determines the number and type of parameters (or attributes) that the channel will use, and therefore the number of DMX channels required. The control channel must still be patched to the required DMX start address after its definition is allocated.

Updating the ADB Pool of instrument definitions

Since ISISPLUS v2.44, it has been possible to update the built-in ADB Pool of instrument definitions. A periodic update is provided, which provides definition files for new fixtures and instruments, as well as modifications and enhancements to existing definitions.

The process is simple, and does not require the system to be restarted or saved. Any existing custom-made fixtures will still be available in the User Pool and will not be removed.

The latest official ADB Library is available on, together with instructions on using the update facility, and a list of the new and updated definitions.

Updating the User Pool of instrument definitions

We would like to create a comprehensive list of definitions for new instruments that have not yet been added to the ISIS definition pool. These will be forwarded to ADB, for inclusion in the next official ADB Library update.

Please send any definitions that you have created, or amended, in order that they can be shared between ISIS users and prevent everyone from having to create the same files!

New instrument definition files, generated by, are provided in the User Definitions page.

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