Can I Use The M-Touch and M-Play with Onyx without a Touchscreen?

Recently, I had received a challenge from one of our Learn Stage Lighting Labs members wanting to know how much can we do using only the M-Touch and M-Play on Onyx without a touchscreen.

This is definitely a challenge especially with Onyx being designed to work well using a touchscreen or a mouse. Just using the M-Touch and M-Play you won’t be able to do everything that you need especially when programming a new show.

Setting the F Keys

During this challenge, I had found that it would be easier to assign certain functions to an “F key”. For example, there is no “Group Key” on the keypad so I assigned this function to one of the “F Keys”.

To do this you would click “Edit” and then “F Key” mode on the keypad. In the console, you will then select “Unlock”, then click “Functions” on the left sidebars, from there you can select a Command, and finally assign it to one of the “F Keys”.

This will be very handy if you decide to try to work more from the Keypad. Not all functions will be available but you can cover most.

Creating a New Show

Onyx was designed to be used with a mouse or touchscreen. That’s what makes this a great challenge! There will be times that you’ll have to use a touchscreen to program the new show. But in this tutorial, I can direct on everything that you can do by just using the M-Play and M-Touch.

Setting the M-Play Keypad

To start a new show file you will have to use a mouse or touchscreen to get started. Once you get the show file launched you will want to set your M-Play keypad to the Number Pad mode. To do this you will click “Select” and then the “+ sign”. On the screen, it will display NU.


Patching the lights can be more difficult using the keypad and you will need to use a mouse or touchscreen to get you started. On the top left screen, click “Menu” and then select “Patch”.

To add the new fixtures you will need to use the touchpad or mouse. In lower left menu select “Commands” and then “New Fixture”. From here you can add the fixtures you want for your new show.

Setting the Groups

Now that you have light fixtures patched in you can move forward to setting up your groups. On the left sidebar select “Group Presets”.

From here you can select the fixtures that you want to be grouped. For example, your LED’s are set as 1 – 10. In the Command Bar type 1 through 10, then click “Enter”, Press Record”, Press Group”, Assign a Name or Number, and finally press “Enter”.

Setting the Parameters

After you’ve grouped the Lights you can now set the parameters up for your groups. Just select the Group of Lights to get started.

Using the M-Touch you can select Intensity, Pan Tilt, and Color to get started. Located on the far left you will be able to select the colors or percentage you want to set your lights to.

When done dialing in your parameters just click Record. When creating a Cuelist you won’t be able to select the type without using a keypad or mouse.

Not Using the Touchscreen or Mouse – My Conclusion

This was a challenge and forced me to really think about how to not use the touchpad or mouse. I will say that Onyx was designed to be used with a touchscreen or a mouse.

Programming the shows is where this challenge was most difficult. But once you have everything programmed the Playback can most definitely be used with just the M-Play and M-Touch.

At the end of the day, let’s try not to undermine the design of the Onyx team!

If you’re on a budget, the most efficient way to run Onyx is via a touchscreen laptop – there are many, many options available for really reasonable prices (especially on the refurbished market!).

I would rather go without an M-Touch/Play on a budget, and instead, put the money into a touchscreen – it’s going to help you program the quickest!

About the author