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SMPTE Timecode Output Options?

Started by Donnie, September 05, 2023, 10:17:04 AM

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More info on application available if desired, but didn't want to muddy the waters any more than necessary lol...

I need to pass SMPTE Timecode to a fireworks controller via mp3 in order to synchronize lights and pyro.  I thought of a few options, which I'll list here along with brief thoughts on each:

1. Split my show audio track so that Left has combined show audio (what was Left and Right) and Right has the SMPTE track... split the audio output with hardware and send the show track to the sound board and the SMPTE to my fireworks controller.  This would work well for me, except I don't see an option to mute one half of the audio track in xLights for scripting / testing, and don't want timecode signal blasting out of the laptop speakers.  Suppose I could use separate audio files, but that seems like extra steps that could be a pain on show day.  I'm not against this option I guess?

2. Run everything off of FPP and just use a second FPP device in remote to play the SMPTE track.  Think this would work, but I would lose some of the freedom and power that comes with diagnostics in xLights compared to FPP.  The 'Test' tab in xLights has been very nice, and also is a way to arbitrarily set temporary colors, etc.  MAYBE THERE ARE SOME TROUBLESHOOTING TOOLS I'M MISSING IN FPP?  I know there are some, but they don't seem as powerful as the xLights control.  

3. Run the show (with show audio) from xLights, but have a separate device (FPP, other options?) slaved to play in sync to xLights?  This seems like the option I'd most prefer, but don't know if it's a possibility.  Would basically run my lights (and some DMX flame projectors) off of xLights via ESPixelsticks (already do and like this for lights), but have a remote audio device that plays in sync delivering the SMPTE timecode to my firing system controller for the fireworks.

Thoughts?  Wasn't sure whether to ask here or in the FPP sub...  Thank you in advance!!! 


Couple other options to consider:

1) Get a 5.1 or 7.1 USB sound device for FPP.  Create the media such that the SMTPE timecode is in one of the other channels.   xLights would ignore it.  FPP could be configured to send it.

2) Use the fpp-smtpe plugin generate the timecode automatically.  (admittedly, this likely hasn't been tested in a while, but if there are bugs/issues, I'd like to get them fixed.)

Daniel Kulp -


Thanks, Daniel!  Both interesting options that I'll research.

Just started looking at the documentation for the SMPTE plugin, and it looks like you can also accept timecode IN?  

I'm going to flash an sd card with the latest FPP release and start digging around.  I'll see what's available for this plugin and maybe start some testing in the next couple weeks.  Need to get the SMPTE upgrade installed / tested on my firing system controller as well.

Do you have a preferred USB-5.1 or USB-7.1 converter?  Or at least brand?  I've been using a SoundBlaster Play 3 when I use FPP, and it's a nice upgrade over my 3b+ integrated audio, but still just stereo.

Again, thank you.  I'll stay in touch, and maybe can help troubleshoot if some of the plugin is broken.

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