Tech Specs

System requirements

  • Mac computer with Apple or Intel chip
  • macOS 13 or later (fully compatible with macOS 14 Sonoma)
  • 8GB of memory
  • 790MB of available storage
  • Screen size of at least 1200 × 700 pixels
DMX output
  • One of the supported USB or network interfaces
Smart lights (optional)
  • Philips Hue bridge version 2 or newer (square shaped), firmware version at least 1948086000
  • Philips Hue compatible smart lights
Live Triggers (optional)
  • Ableton Live 9 or newer on the same computer

Get Lightkey for older macOS versions

Key features

  • Control DMX fixtures and Philips Hue smart lights
  • Live preview reflects the state of fixtures, including fixtures with multiple light beams
  • 3D virtual light beams for moving lights, PARs, LED bars, and other kinds of fixtures
  • Effects engine with 70+ fully editable effect templates
  • Built-in fixture editor allows on-the-fly changes
  • Extensive keyboard control, multi-touch gestures, and Touch Bar
  • External control through DMX-In, MIDI, customizable keyboard shortcuts, Open Sound Control (OSC), and Shortcuts app

User interface

  • Single Window and Dual Window modes
  • Supports full-screen mode and Split View
  • Extensive Touch Bar control
  • Project-wide search feature
  • Lock projects and preferences with a password or Touch ID1
  • On-screen controls optimized for touch-screens
  • Haptic feedback on Force Touch trackpads
  • White-on-black user interface optimized for usage in dark environments
  • Adaptive background color
  • Optimized for macOS Dark Mode and high-resolution Retina displays
  • Localized in English, German, Italian

1 Requires Mac with Touch ID sensor.


  • Engineered from the ground up as a modern 64-bit macOS application for Apple and Intel chips
  • Virtual light beams rendered through Apple’s Core Animation and Metal 2 technologies
  • Highly efficient DMX output engine, decoupled from user interface
  • Abstract control model based on logical values—defers DMX generation to the final stage
  • Device communication through the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA)
  • Application-wide support for auto-save and undo
  • Automatic download and installation of app updates

DMX output/input

  • DMX output/input through numerous USB interfaces and network protocols through Open Lighting Architecture (OLA)
  • Can integrate with an existing OLA server (optional)
  • Distribute fixtures to any number of DMX universes (total number of output universes and Hue bridges must not exceed 15)
  • Any number of DMX input universes
  • DMX Monitor shows live channel values for input and output universes or selected fixtures
  • 16-bit output across two channels

USB–DMX interfaces

  • DMXking eDMX2 MAX2
  • DMXking eDMX2 PRO2
  • DMXking ultraDMX MAX
  • DMXking ultraDMX Micro
  • DMXking ultraDMX Pro
  • DMXking ultraDMX RDM Pro
  • DMXking ultraDMX2 PRO2
  • Eurolite USB-DMX5123
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO MK23
  • Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO Cable3
  • Jese DMX-TRI
  • Jese RDM-TXI MK2
  • Jese RDM-TRI MK2
  • Robe Universal Interface
  • Robe RUNIT WTX
  • USB-DMX Stage-Profi MK2
  • USB-DMX Stage-Profi MK3

1 All required device drivers are included. To output more than one DMX universes we recommend using an interface with multiple output ports. 2 Lightkey can only use a single port on the DMXking eDMX2 MAX, eDMX2 PRO, or ultraDMX2 PRO when connected via USB. Both ports are available through Art-Net or sACN. 3 These USB interfaces require that an administrator password is entered at startup.

DMX network protocols

  • Connect one Art-Net node with up to four ports/universes
  • Art-Net versions 1, 2, and 3
  • Automatic node detection through Art-Poll
sACN (streaming Architecture for Control Networks)/E1.31 Multicast
  • Connect any number of sACN interfaces or fixtures
  • sACN universe priorities
ESP Net (Enttec Show Protocol)

Smart lights

  • Control up to 100 Philips Hue smart lights, including bulbs, LED bars, plugs
  • Connect multiple Hue bridges simultaneously
  • Select built-in effects

Controllable fixtures

Controls any type of DMX512-compliant fixture, including:

  • PARs
  • Moving Heads
  • Scanners
  • Blinders
  • Lasers
  • LED Strips
  • LED Matrixes
  • LED Bars
  • Panels
  • Strobes
  • PAR Arrays
  • Moving Head Arrays
  • Fog Machines

Fixture properties

Natively supported properties
  • Position (Pan/Tilt)

    8/16 bit, support for fixtures with up to eight separate heads

  • Infinite Movement
  • Movement Speed
  • On/Off (smart lights)
  • Dimmer

    8/16 bit, beam level control with optional master channel

  • Color Mixing

    8/16 bit; RGB or CMY + warm white, cool white, amber, lime, ultraviolet; beam level control with optional master channel

  • Color Wheel

    Up to three separately controlled color wheels, split colors, rainbow effect

  • Color Temperature

    8/16 bit, beam level control

  • Green Saturation

    8/16 bit, beam level control

  • Xfade to Color

    8/16 bit, beam level control

  • Gobo Wheel

    Built-in or custom gobo images, up to three separately controlled gobo wheels

  • Gobo Indexing 8/16 bit
  • Gobo Rotation
  • Gobo Shake
  • Focus 8/16 bit
  • Zoom 8/16 bit
  • Iris 8/16 bit
  • Frost

    On/off, 8/16 bit linear, pulse effects

  • Prism

    Various prism types, up to two separately controlled prisms

  • Prism Indexation 8/16 bit
  • Prism Rotation
  • Shutter

    Beam level control

  • Strobe

    Constant speed, synchronized, random, sound-active, lightning effect; beam level control

  • Shutter Pulse Effects

    Beam level control

  • Lamp
  • Fog
  • Command

    Channel value is held for a predefined duration

  • Operating Mode

    Conditional properties

Custom properties
  • Discrete options (e.g. built-in macros) or continuous parameters (e.g. speed)
  • Display continuous parameters as percentage, DMX value, or in a custom value range
  • Default option and/or default value
  • 16-bit output across two channels
  • Up to 40 custom properties per fixture

External control

  • Input from any number of DMX universes
  • User-definable triggers and actions
  • Capture triggers when a channel in an input universe changes
  • Automatic detection of control type (button vs. fader)
  • Save, import, and export DMX-In configurations
  • Compatible to any standard MIDI controller and other MIDI-enabled applications
  • Connect multiple MIDI controllers at the same time
  • Supported MIDI commands: Note On/Off, Control Change (CC), Program Change, Pitch Wheel
  • User-definable triggers and actions
  • MIDI Learn: Capture triggers when a button, fader, or other control is operated
  • Automatic detection of control type (button vs. fader/rotary knob)
  • Support for 14-bit faders
  • Support for jogwheels (“encoders”) for continuous parameters
  • Separate assignments with Shift key, if available
  • Customizable MIDI feedback for LEDs, motorized faders, knobs etc., including extended feedback for many popular controllers
  • Save, import, and export MIDI configurations
  • Extensive keyboard control throughout the application
  • Context-sensitive shortcut display
  • User-definable keyboard shortcuts
  • Save, import, and export keyboard configurations
Open Sound Control
  • Control cues, presets, fixture properties, and many other features through OSC messages
  • Receive OSC over UDP or TCP
  • Full support for OSC address patterns
  • OSC service discoverable via Bonjour
macOS Shortcuts
  • Integrates with the system-wide shortcuts feature in macOS
  • 15 different action types are available in the Shortcuts app
Multi-Touch gestures1
  • Control Intensity, Master Intensity, color hue and saturation through scroll wheel or swipe gestures
  • Control Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris through pinch gesture or force click
  • Multi-touch gestures are user-configurable
Touch screen
  • Main user interface optimized for touch screens
  • Controls have large click regions for comfortable touch control
  • All essential functions accessible without a right mouse button or scroll wheel

1 Scroll gestures require Apple Magic Mouse, trackpad, or mouse with scroll wheel. Swipe and pinch gestures require multi-touch trackpad or Apple Magic Trackpad. Force click requires trackpad with Force Touch.

Live Triggers

  • Drag lighting cues as clips to the Ableton Live timeline
  • Lighting cues are activated/deactivated in sync with the music
  • Lag-free communication through MIDI messages
  • Works with cue buttons and cuelists1 

1 Lightkey can create up to 128 clips per page, on up to 128 pages.

2D visualization

  • Arrange, resize, and rotate fixtures according to their physical locations
  • Freely edit the shape of LED strips
  • Flexible placement of fixture name tags
  • Add built-in or custom images, shapes, trusses, and text labels
  • Resize and rotate multiple objects at once
  • Various style options for shapes and images
  • Smart alignment guides allow precise placement of objects on the same horizontal or vertical axis
  • Smart spacing guides allow equidistant spacing of objects
  • Commands for flipping, aligning, distributing, and layering objects
  • Virtual beams simulate pan/tilt angles, intensity, color, gobo and gobo movement, focus, zoom, iris, frost, shutter/strobe
  • Fixture position (pan/tilt) control uses polar coordinates to reflect actual beam positions
  • Customizable perspective for stationery and moving lights
  • Customizable limits for pan and tilt ranges
  • Maintain relative pan/tilt offsets when positioning multiple fixtures
  • Display multiple instances of a fixture (for identical fixtures with the same DMX address)
  • Visualization adapts itself to screen size
  • Visualization can be hidden for live control

Design mode

  • Intelligent selection commands
    • “Type selection” quickly selects fixtures with a common prefix or individual fixtures
    • Groups allow selecting multiple fixtures with a single click
    • Keyboard shortcuts to select fixtures by position (Arrow keys) or name (Control-Tab)
  • Copy and paste values and effects between fixtures, including fixtures of different types
  • Change properties relative to current state (supported by Dimmer, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris)
  • Define per-fixture defaults for fixture properties
  • Unlimited undo for all fixture property changes
  • Individual beam control for multi-beam fixtures (intensity, color, shutter/strobe)
  • Fanning spreads property values across a range of fixtures or beams (supported for Dimmer, Color, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris, Frost, Fog, custom properties)  improved
  • Design view adapts itself to the patched fixture’s properties for optimal use of screen space
  • Rearrange fixture properties and hide unused properties
  • Color mixing for RGB and CMY with hue, saturation, and brightness controls
  • Synthetic Dimmer control for RGB fixtures with no Dimmer channel

Presets & sequences

Presets and groups
  • Store arbitrary combinations of fixture properties as presets
  • Auto-assigned preset names and icons, depending on content
  • The selected preset’s contents are displayed in the visual preview
  • Add the contents of a preset to the overridden properties by drag and drop
  • Quickly add the overridden fixture properties to a preset
  • Organize presets in nestable groups
  • Various playback options: repeat, forwards/backwards, autoreverse, random, freeze on completion
  • Define hold and crossfade times for entire sequence or individual steps
  • Beat-controlled sequences with various timing options
  • Create smooth pan/tilt movements through predefined points
  • Reverse of shuffle sequence steps
  • Adjust speed and beat multiplier from Live view

Live control

  • Store an unlimited number of cues comprised of an arbitrary selection of presets and sequences
  • Built-in or custom fade curves for each cue, including special fade curves by property or fixture
  • Modifiers allow changing various aspects of cues during a show: Speed, Beat Multiplier, Time Offset, Fade Time, Dimmer, Hue, Color Temperature, Green Saturation, Xfade to Color, Pan Angle, Tilt Angle, Focus, Zoom Angle, Iris Size, Frost Amount
  • Auto-activating cues at startup or before quitting
  • Copy and paste cues between Live view pages
Cue buttons
  • Build custom control panels containing buttons, faders, text labels, and frames
  • Smart alignment guides help with precise placement
  • Attach buttons to create a group where only one button can be active at a time
  • Toggle or flash behavior
  • Assign priorities to cue buttons and frames
  • Button colors are automatically derived from cue contents
  • Step through buttons in a frame with Previous/Next buttons
  • Recall cues in a specific order
  • Cuelists combinable with cue buttons
  • Organize cues in nestable groups
  • Automatic cue numbering
  • Crossfades with predefined durations or manually with Xfade slider
  • Advance to next cue manually or after predefined hold time
Live control
  • Blind mode allows making changes without affecting the output while cuelists, sequences, and effects continue to run
  • Freeze output and seamlessly resume cuelists, sequences, and effects
Beat control
  • Synchronize sequences and effects to music
  • Adjust the timing of a cue or frame with the Beat Multiplier modifier
  • Tap the beat and Lightkey will learn and continue the tempo
  • Synchronize to external sources with MIDI Beat Clock or Ableton Link

Effects engine  improved

  • 70+ fully editable effect templates
  • Effects remain editable at any time, even when stored in presets or cues
  • Apply effects to multi-beam LED strips and matrixes
  • Synchronize effects to music
  • Adjust speed, time offset, and beat multiplier from Live view
  • Copy and paste effects between fixtures or presets
  • Overlay multiple effects for the same fixture property
  • Save custom effect templates
Fixture order options
  • Order by position in Preview, by short name, by address, or randomly
  • Order from/to center
  • Select fixtures or individual beams (LEDs)
  • Group consecutive pixels
  • Repeat pixel indexes
Pattern effects
  • Basic patterns: Chase, Scanner, Yo-yo, Fill, Rain, Meteor, Sparkle, Fire, Jellyfish, Snakes
  • Apply pattern effects to Dimmer or Color properties
  • Configure pattern samples and parameters
  • Color pattern effects can include additional color components (cool/warm white, amber, lime, ultraviolet), color temperature, green saturation, xfade to color
Curve effects
  • Design arbitrary curves which determine the fixture property’s value at a given time
  • 16 built-in curve templates
  • Apply curve effects to the following fixture properties: Dimmer, Color, Position, Focus, Zoom, Iris, Frost, Fog, custom properties
  • Colors can be split into components using three different color models: HSB (hue, saturation, brightness), RGB (red, green, blue), CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) plus additional colors (cool/warm white, amber, lime, ultraviolet)
  • Pan/tilt mirroring allows inversion of the pan or tilt angles on one side
  • Relative position effects: Pan and tilt angles are added to the positions defined elsewhere
Movement effects
  • Uses closed movement paths to define pan/tilt movements
  • 14 built-in, fully editable movement paths
  • Integrated movement path editor uses polar coordinate system to show actual beam positions
  • Translate and scale paths
  • Reverse and flip movement paths
  • Interpolation modes: smooth, linear, points
  • Save custom movement paths for reuse
  • Pan/tilt mirroring allows inversion of the pan or tilt angles on one side
  • Relative position effects: Pan and tilt angles are added to the positions defined elsewhere

Fixture editor

  • Integrated editor for fixture profiles—changes take effect immediately
  • Built-in, searchable library with 5000+ native fixture profiles
  • New fixture profiles can be downloaded from online fixture library
  • Manage fixture profiles in the application—no need to track individual files
  • Edit an unlimited number of fixture profiles at once
  • Supports multiple fixture modes (also called “personalities”)
  • Import fixture profiles in the following formats:
    • .lightkeyfxt (native format)
    • .ssl2 (Sunlite 2)
    • .fxt, .pff (DMX Freestyler)
  • Export and share fixture profiles in .lightkeyfxt format
  • Assistant for creating new fixture profiles
  • Built-in color library includes Lee Filters, GamColor, Roscolux
  • Built-in library of 600+ gobos
  • Live warnings as profile is edited
  • Full undo support for all changes to a fixture profile
  • Copy and paste settings between fixture modes or profiles


  • Unified user interface for managing DMX universes, Hue bridges, and fixtures
  • Set refresh rate and priority (sACN output) for each DMX universe
  • Patch fixtures by drag and drop from the fixture library
  • Auto-assigned short names
  • Patch multiple identical fixtures to the same DMX address
  • DIP switch display
  • Reassign a different profile to existing fixtures
  • Print an overview of all fixtures including patching information and comments

Note: This page describes the features of the current Lightkey version. Some features may not be available in earlier versions.

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