I have an old discolitez 8ch SSR box that I built back in the 2000s to flash some lights to the music being played on WinAMP (anyone remember that gem?). It used your computer's parallel port to directly drive SSR. I threw it all in a project box with a pair of two-gang outlets (8 total) and some neon indicator lamps and used it for a little while before the novelty wore off.

I'd like to resurrect it and replace the parallel input with either an arduino board or ESP8266 that I could either store sequences in or control from Vixen. What microcontroller do people typically use here and what is the preferred protocol? I am new to DMX, Renard, E1.31, etc. I have a few WS2811/2 strips & strings that run standalone (driven by an ESP8266), but other than that, I am working with a clean slate. Down the road, I'd like to be able to do sequenced light shows and am already eyeing up the ESPixelSticks for my addressable LEDs.