Author Topic: Monogram Creative Console  (Read 1505 times)

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Offline JedTheMaker

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Monogram Creative Console
« on: Fri, 07 May 2021, 10:06:39 »
Somehow it looks like no one on here has brought it up, so I thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone has questions about it as a settled in user.

Monogram has had two kickstarters, the first called Palette Gear, the second called Creative Console. Both are modular macro input devices that magnetically couple in tetris like fashion, using a proprietary 7 pin interconnect and a controller unit with OLED and usb type C. The second generation is compatible with modules from the first, which increases the already staggering number of potential configurations. Monogram themselves would do a better job introducing the basics and some of their intended use cases, but here are some brief details I can add:

It runs via an app that is Mac compatible and currently kept up to date. It does not function without this app active, which could be troubling if the company shutters and ceases updates. The app itself allows for custom simultaneous key macros via its GUI, which avoids having to flash the unit. The GUI also updates the firmware. It allows for different profiles that are triggered based on the currently active app, with customizable LED rings on each module to help you keep track of what the keys are currently set to trigger. The GUI is still a little clunky and unfortunately doesn't allow for sequential key macros to my knowledge, preventing its potential use as character string shortcut keys (this would be nice in my case for repetitious data entry in spreadsheets or quickbooks, where I might type the string "sales - commission" then tab then begin entering a customer name).

That being said, as rotary encoders become more popular, many might find their dial modules attractive. The creative console units have two sizes, the larger of which is unlike anything else on the consumer or prosumer market, designed for pan/tilt navigation in 3d apps.

Nothing else is anywhere near as customizable as these are, almost to a fault if you are both OCD/perfectionist and fidgety (in the sense of always trying different things and looking for something better). I suspect many on these forums would identify with both of those descriptions, or else you would not be subscribed to a forum dedicated to being fidgety about the most OCD level of basic computer appliances. If you find yourself attracted to android for its customization options, but realize it's too dangerous a time-suck to constantly configure a productivity tool and thus not be productive... maybe stay away. Likewise, if you have learned to only buy solder pcbs because otherwise you use the hot swap sockets to the point of failure, you fall in this category at risk of paralysis of choice. The tiles themselves satisfyingly hot swap position in Tetris fashion to one another, which does allow for finding custom ergonomic solutions.

I've lobbied the company heavily to make a compatible modular mechanical keyboard that is compatible with the system, and possible mx switch hot swap modules, as I believe this would be the kind of form factor shake up that this industry could presently use, particularly if someone found a way to make compatible 3rd party modules. Presently the market for high quality aluminum case macro pads seems demand heavy and supply scarce. If this sounds attractive to you, they seem to be fairly open to hearing feedback, having started with kickstarter and sent out multiple user surveys. Once the market fully saturates with color combinations of TKL and ~60%s, I suspect there will be a shift toward considering utility and productivity, especially as more work from home transitions become officially stable, doubly so if the space theme market continues to build and people want their own mission control consoles at home.

On top of rotary knobs, there are slider units which have little middle ground between useless and amazing. In a recoloring context, be it video or stills, their nature as unpowered sliders mean the position you set on one will automatically be carried to everything else you touch. If you have settings you'd like to physically set and auto apply to newly added clips, this is a timesaver. Otherwise, when used for things like opacity, you'll just keep wondering why layers keep disappearing and then remember you used a slider the day prior.

The older revision has modules made with arcade buttons, which can be very satisfying as single key macros or various system controls that may not have regular shortcuts.

If you have any specific questions, ask away and I'll see if I can answer.

Overall, these are expensive enough and still practically in public Beta compared to their potential. I'd argue they could use more people from this community giving feedback to grow to that next level of which they're capable.