Palette was founded in 2013, when a few Canadians decided they were not satisfied with the current state of human computer interaction and set about developing a modular input device for content creators in particular. A successful Kickstarter campaign followed by the public release in 2014 led to the startup now having an international presence and focusing on their MIDI controller system. Thanks go to Palette for providing a review sample of their intermediate Expert kit for us to take a look at today.
The astute reader may have by now figured out that this is not a keyboard, although you can actually use it as one if you are so inclined. The Palette solution is a collection of buttons, dials, and sliders that use the MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technical standard to perform a variety of functions that can be assigned to them. This is not a new thing, mind you, with similar products having been created for musicians and artists alike. However, Palette has also put additional effort in to simply make that one of several possible functions, with other modes directly translating raw data streams from the core module to work with specific programs, including Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Capture One, etc. As such, Palette uses either HID or OS-level media playback APIs (MIDI, for example) or has extensions/plugins that interact with and control third-party software (Adobe CC, for example). What makes the Palette kits even more interesting is Palette's modular concept and use of individual small-form-factor modules which are then controlled by a dedicated GUI-based driver for multiple different applications and even multiple different profile sets for the same application. We shall take a look at this and more in this review and begin as we always do: with the specifications. However, these are merely limited to what you get in the kit owing to the product's special nature.
SpecificationsThe Palette Expert kit contains eight modules:
- One core with a color screen
- Two buttons
- Three dials
- Two sliders
Operating Systems: Windows, OSX/MacOS
Operating Modes: Software plugins, keyboard, joystick, MIDI