Lightkey Help Center
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Can I use my DMX-USB interface with Lightkey?
Lightkey is compatible to many DMX-USB interfaces from various manufacturers. This is possible because Lightkey is built on top of the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA). Here’s a list of USB interfaces which work with Lightkey.
Even if your device isn’t listed but similar to a device on the list, it may work with Lightkey. When in doubt, simply download the free edition of Lightkey and try if your interface is found. If it works, be sure to let us know!
Can Lightkey output DMX over Ethernet (e.g. Art-Net)?
Yes, Lightkey works with any Ethernet-DMX interface which uses Art-Net (versions 1 thru 3), Streaming ACN (Architecture for Control Networks, E1.31 standard), or ESP Net (ENTTEC Show Protocol).
How many fixture profiles exist for Lightkey?
Lightkey comes with a library of over 900 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.
Where can I find fixture 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). Please use our contact form. We will usually send you the profile within seven days.
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.
Can I create my own fixture profiles?
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.
If you create your own profiles (or make improvements to the built-in ones), please email us your new profiles so we can make them available to other users.
Are there any fixture profiles for dimmer packs?
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, 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 does not show my USB–DMX interface
Here’s a list of helpful tips:
First and foremost, check if your interface is on our list of supported interfaces. Interfaces that are not listed may not work with Lightkey.
Connect the USB–DMX interface to your computer, then choose Reset DMX Output from the Lightkey menu. Now check if your device is found.
Lightkey requires a number of device drivers to work with the various USB interfaces, which are installed by the Lightkey installer. If a driver is missing, a warning will appear in the DMX Output section of Lightkey’s Preferences window. When in doubt, run the Lightkey installer again.
If you have an Open DMX (or similar) interface, make sure option “Open DMX Interfaces” is enabled in the DMX Output pane of Lightkey’s Preferences window. On the other hand, if you have a serial USB interface, make sure the option “Serial USB Interfaces” is enabled. Only one of these two options can be active at a given time.
Sometimes it is necessary to restart your computer after installing Lightkey, to make sure the device drivers are properly loaded. This is usually necessary only once after installing Lightkey.
In some cases it helps to unplug the device and replug it after about one minute. Sometimes it helps to plug the interface into a different USB port.
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. If your interface still doesn’t appear, restart your computer and then open Lightkey again.
DMX output through Art-Net, sACN or ESP Net does not work
Here’s a list of helpful tips:
When you set up an Ethernet interface for the first time, connect the device directly to your Mac using a patch cable (Ethernet cable). There should be no router between the computer and the device. Make sure only one network interface is active on your Mac, and disable all other network interfaces. (Examples for network interfaces are Wi-Fi or the built-in Ethernet port.) You can manage network interfaces in System Preferences > Network.
Assign your computer a static IP address that starts with “2” or “10”, for example, “126.96.36.199”. It must be different from the DMX interface’s IP address. Your computer must be on the same IP subnet as the DMX interface.
Check if Lightkey looks for the DMX interface on the correct network interface. Choose Lightkey > Preferences > DMX Output, click the desired output option (Art-Net, sACN (E1.31) or ESP Net), and select a network interface. If you are not sure it may help to look at the Network pane of System Preferences and check which network interfaces are in use.
For Art-Net, check if the Net and Subnet values in Lightey’s DMX Output preferences match your DMX interface’s values.
When you set up your DMX interface, make sure you assign the correct DMX universe to each input/output port. This can be tricky because some devices number universes differently from Lightkey (which uses numbers 1 through 6):
Some Art-Net interfaces (e.g. ENTTEC Open DMX Ethernet) begin numbering universes with 0, which is often the default. Lightkey has no universe 0, so you have to change this to a number between 1 and 6.
Some interfaces (e.g. DMXking eDMX) use universe numbers which are offset by one from Lightkey’s:
Lightkey universe number Device universe number 1 2 2 3 ⋮ ⋮ 6 7
In this case you must add 1 to Lighkey’s universe numbers when you configure your Art-Net node.
If you are using an ESP Net interface, make sure the ENTTEC “Node Management Utility” (NMU) is not running. Otherwise, the “ESP Net” output option may not appear. Quit the NME application, then start Lightkey again.
If your Ethernet interface is not compatible to Art-Net version 2, you must enable broadcast mode. Choose Lightkey > Preferences, click “DMX Output“, and select “Use broadcast mode”.
Check with the manufacturer if a firmware update is available for your interface.
Reset your device to factory settings (see device documentation).
Why does Lightkey ask for an administrator password each time I start the app?
Lightkey needs an administrator password to communicate with Open DMX USB interfaces, but not for any other interfaces. Unless you have an Open DMX interface, you should disable the Open DMX Interfaces output method in the preferences. You do this by enabling the Serial USB Interfaces output method (because these two output methods are mutually exclusive).
Can I synchronize light shows to music?
Sequences in Lightkey can be played in sync with music so the sequence is advanced on each beat. Simply select “Beat-controlled” in the sequence’s info window. However, Lightkey itself cannot perform any audio analysis to detect the beats per minute (BPM). For this you need other software which generates MIDI clock signals.
If you use a DJ software which sends MIDI clock signals, you can connect it to Lightkey. This is usually the most accurate form to detect the BPM.
Alternatively, you can use a software like Waveclock which analyzes an audio signal from sources like the microphone or another application (e.g. iTunes) and generates MIDI clock signals. To set up Waveclock, open Lightkey’s BPM settings (in the bottom-left corner of the Live tab), click MIDI, and then select “Lightkey Input”. Next, start Waveclock, open the Preferences window, and select “Lightkey Input” as output device.
Can I control Lightkey from my iPhone or iPad?
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.
Can I set up two moving lights so that they are always mirrored?
You can set up two moving lights of the same type to always behave identically, except that the pan angle of one of them is reversed. The moving lights will both appear in Lightkey’s Preview with the virtual light beams matching the actual positions.
Configure both moving lights to use the same DMX address. In Lightkey’s Fixture Manager, set the Count field to “2” so two fixture icons appear in the Preview. See “Add Fixtures” in the Lightkey User Guide for more information.
Invert the pan angle on one of the moving lights.
Calibrate the light beam positions in Lightkey’s Calibration HUD. In the Rotation tab you should select different directions for the two fixtures. See “Set Beam Directions” in the Lightkey User Guide for more information.
What’s the relationship between Lightkey and the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA)?
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.
Does Lightkey only work on Macs?
Yes, Lightkey has been specially designed for Macs and can’t be used on other operating systems.
Where can I download an older version of Lightkey?
Lightkey 2 requires macOS 10.11 or later. If you still use macOS versions 10.9 or 10.10, you can download Lightkey 1.6.3 here:
Why isn’t Lightkey free?
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.
Why are Lightkey licenses limited to one year?
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 therefore believe that a time-based model is fairer to you: You can try Lightkey for a small price for one year and compare it to your old lighting control solution. If you are not satisfied—which we don’t believe!—, then you have saved a lot of money.
Also, the one-year license includes free updates! We can listen to your feedback and get new features into your hands as quickly as possible. Manufacturers with unlimited licenses often save new features for major, paid updates that are released in much longer cycles.
Can I activate Lightkey on a computer with no Internet connection?
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.
Can I move my license to another computer?
Yes, you can transfer licenses between computers an unlimited number of times. However, Lightkey can only be active on one computer at a time.
To transfer a license, open Lightkey on the computer where it is currently activated and choose Lightkey > Deactivate Lightkey… from the menu bar. After deactivating successfully, you can activate Lightkey on the new computer by choosing Lightkey > Activate Lightkey…
If you no longer have access to the computer with the active license, please contact us.
Can I use Lightkey on multiple computers?
An Lightkey license can only be activated on one computer at a time. However, you can transfer a license to another computer.
If you want to use Lightkey on multiple computers at the same time, you need to buy a license for each computer.
Can I make money by promoting Lightkey?
Yes, please take a look at our Affiliate Program.
Didn’t find your question?
If your question hasn’t been answered here and you’d like to get in touch personally, please use our contact form.