A MIDI controller that you can configure with knobs and sliders as different modules seems to be a bit of a Holy Grail. They seem to pop up on Kickstarter from time to time as someone has another way of doing it and this time it’ll be awesome. The people behind Monogram were fairly awesome 5 years when they successfully launched the Palette Gear modular production tool. Well, they’re back, they’ve learned a lot and have now fully funded the Monogram Creative Console which could be the modular controller you’ve been waiting for.
It looks really nice! It’s all based around the “Core” component which stores and selects the profiles for your controls. The Core looks a bit like a minimalist phone but it has magnetic edges that help it connect to the different controllers – a little bit like the ROLI Seaboard and Blocks gear. You then snap in place blocks of 3 knobs, 3 buttons or the larger 3 faders. You can have them in any orientation and combination and in any shape or pattern provided they all connect up. They have a new controller they are calling “Orbiter” which is designed for being a colour wheel and 3D navigator and potentially a jog wheel. Apparently every module can support up to 135 functions.
This is very much aimed at all sorts of creative professionals, not just music makers and so there are profiles for video editing, Photoshop and I imagine anything you want to create a profile for.
All of the modules are beautifully designed, made from aluminium with an anodised aluminium coating and soft-touch ABS plastic underneath. Oh, and it’s backwards compatible with the older Palette Gear modules.
The minimal “Traveller Console” kit consists of the Core plus one of each of the faders, knobs and buttons. This is going for CA$339 on the Kickstarter special. Next up is the Studio Console that adds the Orbiter and replaces the faders with more knobs for CA$457. And then there’s the Master Console with 3 Orbiters (why?) 3 lots of knobs and 2 buttons for CA$798. There doesn’t seem to be any option to mix and match or come up with your own configuration, at least not at this stage.
They are looking to delivery in February 2020 and are already 278% funded on their first day.
It does look rather fabulous and could offer a way of configuring a set of controls designed just for your workflow. These things do have a habit of getting expensive very quickly and I think this is no exception.
- Monogram Kickstarter page.