Lightkey User Guide.
Take an in-depth look.
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After buying a license we send you an email with your order details. It contains a link to your invoice:
If you can’t find the email, please contact the FastSpring team (who handle payments for us) at questionacharge.com.
If you’re buying on behalf of an organization that is exempt from U.S. sales taxes we can either refund the tax after the purchase, or we can create a custom order that doesn’t include sales tax.
Please contact the FastSpring team (who handle payments for us) at questionacharge.com, and include a copy of your tax exemption certificate and, if you already placed an order, your order number.
Lightkey warns you at startup if your license is about to expire within the next two weeks.
To renew the license, simply buy a new license in our online store. If your old license is still valid, enter its expiration date in the License Begin field so they don’t overlap. On that date, choose Lightkey > Activate Lightkey… from the menu bar and paste the new license key.
To keep it simple, we don’t have user accounts and you don’t need to know your old license to renew it.
All Lightkey editions—even the free edition—include the full set of features. The only difference is the number of output channels you can use.
|Lightkey edition||Enables DMX output for…|
|Free||… the first 24 channels of one universe|
|256 channels||… the first 256 channels of one universe|
|512 channels||… a single DMX universe|
|1024 channels||… two full DMX universes|
|2048 channels||… four full DMX universes|
All editions enable up to two input universes.
A license can only be active on one computer at any time. However, you can move it to another computer easily and as often as you like. Note that if you want to use a computer only for preparing a show without actually outputting DMX, the computer doesn’t need a license at all.
If you want to use Lightkey on multiple computers at the same time, you need a separate license for each computer.
Just follow these steps:
Lightkey remembers the license key if it has been activated before, so you can switch between computers more quickly.
If you no longer have access to the computer with the active license, please write us a short message.
If you work in a pre-installed environment where all fixtures must use a particular universe (e.g. universe 2), but you only have a license for a single universe, you can do the following: Configure universe 1 for DMX input. Then universe 2 counts as the first output universe. See “Configure Universes” in the Lightkey User Guide for more information.
Sure! Lightkey can create a file which you can send to us from another computer with Internet connection. Simply choose Lightkey > Activate Lightkey… from the menu bar, click “No Internet connection?”, and follow the instructions.
The current Lightkey version requires macOS 10.15 or later. You can download older versions here:
Although there is no specific iPhone or iPad app for Lightkey, you can use the app TouchOSC to remote-control Lightkey via MIDI. The app allows you to build custom control surfaces for iPhone or iPad which you can bind to any feature in Lightkey thru the External Control settings.
To connect TouchOSC with Lightkey, you need the free Mac app TouchOSC Bridge.
Yes, Lightkey has been specially designed for Macs and can’t be used on other operating systems.
We sure do.
Unlike other manufacturers, we don’t sell DMX hardware through which we subsidize our software. Instead Lightkey gives you the freedom to choose from a wide range of DMX hardware from various manufacturers, allowing us to put all our effort in creating the best lighting control software possible. That’s why we must charge a price for our software.
Lightkey licenses are valid for one year, after that you have to buy another license. If we sold unlimited licenses, we’d unfortunately have to charge a much higher price. We believe that a time-based model is an ideal solution for everyone: You can try Lightkey at a low price for one year, and if you are not satisfied—which we don’t believe!—, you save a lot of money compared to a perpetual license.
On the other hand, this licensing model allows us to release updates much more often—which we do, as you can see in the Release Notes. Manufacturers with perpetual licenses often save new features for big, paid updates that appear in longer cycles.
The Open Lighting Architecture (OLA) is an open-source software framework for sending and receiving DMX through numerous hardware interfaces and protocols. It is being developed by the Open Lighting Project. Note that Monospace is not affiliated with the Open Lighting Project.
The OLA “daemon” (olad) is installed on your Mac as a separate component by the Lightkey installer (you can even choose to install OLA alone). The OLA daemon is open-source software distributed under the GNU General Public License (a copy of the license is placed at /Library/Documentation/OLA); the source code is available from GitHub or our website. You can use OLA independently of Lightkey; see http://www.openlighting.org for more information.
Behind the scenes, Lightkey starts the OLA daemon and uses it to output DMX through USB or Ethernet interfaces. If you already have an instance of the OLA daemon running on your computer (e.g. a newer or self-compiled version), you can even configure Lightkey to use the existing daemon instead.
Yes, please take a look at our Affiliate Program.
Lightkey is built on top of the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA), which makes it compatible to many USB–DMX interfaces from various manufacturers. Here’s a list of USB interfaces that work with Lightkey.
Lightkey is also compatible to any DMX network interface which supports either Art-Net (versions 1 thru 3), sACN, or ESP Net.
Sometimes Lightkey may recognize a USB interface that’s not on the list of supported devices. That’s because some devices are based on the same microchips as others. Some of those devices are technically identical to a supported interface and will work, but others will not.
Important: There’s no guarantee that those DMX interfaces will work with Lightkey. Only the devices on this list have been tested by us and are guaranteed to work.
Here’s a collection of helpful tips:
First of all, check if your interface is on the list of supported interfaces. Other interfaces may not work with Lightkey.
Go to the DMX Output pane of Lightkey’s Preferences window and make sure the correct output option for your interface is enabled. The first three options are mutually exclusive, so only one of them can be enabled at any time.
|To use this DMX interface…||…enable this option|
|Enttec Open DMX USB||Open DMX Interfaces|
|Eurolite USB-DMX512||Open DMX Interfaces|
|Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO Cable||Open DMX Interfaces|
|Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO MK2||Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO MK2|
|Any other USB interface||Serial USB Interfaces|
If a wrong option was initially enabled, macOS may have associated your interface with the wrong device driver. In this case it helps to unplug the DMX interface and replug it after about one minute. If this doesn’t help then you should restart your Mac.
There may be conflicts if other applications try to access your DMX interface. Please quit all other lighting control applications, then choose Lightkey > Reset DMX Output from the menu bar. If your interface still doesn’t appear, restart your computer and then open Lightkey again.
Lightkey can find most Art-Net interfaces automatically. Follow these steps:
Connect the Art-Net interface directly to your Mac with a patch cable (Ethernet cable). There should be no router between the computer and the Art-Net interface. It may help to disable all other network interfaces in the Network pane of System Preferences.
Assign your computer a static IP address that starts with “2” or “10”, for example, “220.127.116.11”. The is done in the Network pane of System Preferences. The IP address must be different from the DMX interface’s IP address, and your computer must be on the same IP subnet as the Art-Net interface.
Check with the manufacturer if a firmware update is available for your interface.
Reset your interface to factory settings (see device documentation).
Make sure the output universe is patched to Art-Net:
The Art-Net interface must be configured to use the same universe number as Lightkey (e.g. universe 1). Make sure it doesn't use universe 0. See the documentation for your Art-Net interface on how to change the universe.
Some interfaces (e.g. DMXking eDMX) use universe numbers which are offset by one from Lightkey’s. In this case you must add 1 to Lighkey’s universe numbers when you configure your Art-Net node.
|Universe in Lightkey||Universe in node configuration|
If you selected Manual mode in the Art-Net preferences, check if the Net and Subnet values in the Preferences window match your DMX interface’s values.
Usually this is not possible (there are a few exceptions, please contact us for details). To output multiple universes you should use a DMX interface with multiple output ports.
During the installation of Lightkey you may see a message “System Extension Blocked”. This security mechanism which was introduced in macOS High Sierra and requires you to explicitly allow the use of system extensions.
Lightkey relies on several system extensions to communicate with USB–DMX interfaces. Before you can use Lightkey you have to allow loading these extensions in System Preferences.
Open System Preferences and go to Security & Privacy > General.
In the dialog that appears, select the two items and click OK.
Lightkey needs an administrator password to communicate with the following USB interfaces:
Enttec Open DMX USB and similar interfaces
Eurolite USB-DMX512-PRO MK2
Unless you have one of these devices, you can disable them in the DMX Output preferences. You do this by enabling the Serial USB Interfaces output method.
Lightkey comes with a library of over 3000 native fixture profiles, and you can find more in our growing online fixture library. Lightkey can also import any profile in the popular formats SSL2 (Sunlite) and PFF/FXT (DMX FreeStyler), of which thousands can be found on the Internet. In total, Lightkey can read more fixture profiles than any other DMX app!
In addition, we’ve built a powerful, easy-to-use fixture editor right into the application so you can create custom profiles or make changes to the imported or built-in profiles.
If a fixture profile is not included in Lightkey, we recommend the following:
Our constantly growing online fixture library contains high-quality profiles in Lightkey’s native format. This is the first place to look for missing profiles.
We can create a profile for your fixture if you send us the DMX specification (often available as a PDF). Simply use this web form.
Create a profile using Lightkey’s built-in fixture editor or import a profile in the formats SSL2 (Sunlite) or PFF/FXT (DMX FreeStyler). There are thousands of profiles available on the Internet. Imported fixture profiles may need a bit of editing in the fixture editor before they work correctly with Lightkey.
Absolutely. Lightkey includes a powerful, easy-to-use fixture editor built right in the application. This way you can quickly jump to a fixture’s profile and don’t need to restart the app after making changes.
When you connect lights through a dimmer pack, it is best to patch several of the generic one-channel profiles (e.g. PAR Wash, PAR Spot, Switch, depending on what you connect to the dimmer pack) to consecutive DMX channels. This way the lights appear like real fixtures in Lightkey’s Preview.
Lightkey sends feedback to any connected MIDI controller so it can reflect the current software state through LEDs or motorized knobs, faders etc. Beyond that, some MIDI controllers can display multiple states with different colors.
Currently Lightkey supports this extended feedback for the following controllers:
|MIDI controller||Feedback type|
|Akai APC mini||dual-color feedback|
|Akai APC20||dual-color feedback|
|Akai APC40||dual-color feedback|
|Akai APC40 mkII||multi-color feedback|
|Novation Launchpad||dual-color feedback|
|Novation Launchpad Mini||dual-color feedback|
|Novation Launchpad Mini MK3||RGB color feedback|
|Novation Launchpad MK2||RGB color feedback|
|Novation Launchpad Pro||RGB color feedback|
The faders on a Behringer BCF2000 MIDI controller can send high-resolution 14-bit values to Lightkey. In this case the faders provide a range of 16384 steps as opposed to 128 steps for standard resolution.
Program the fader (Edit button) with the following options:
For more information see the Behringer BCF2000 User Guide.
To make the LEDs on the Akai LPD8 controller light up when a cue is active, ensure the following:
The Consolidate feature in Ableton Live can be used to merge multiple clips into one. This is particularly useful when you want to transfer a clip to Session view.
You can use this command with Live Triggers, but only for cues on the same Live page.