Inexpensive Palette Gear Alternative: Control Lightroom with a MIDI controller

Cheap Palette Gear Alternative Cheap For Lightroom

Use Lightroom with a MIDI controller: You use Lightroom and want to improve your workflow, but you don't want to spend hundreds of euros to use the buttons, sliders and knobs of Gear Palette to buy? Then you should look in the direction of the MIDI controllers and MIDI consoles. I also recently discovered this affordable alternative to Palette Gear; but find it ideal for everyone who wants to save and doesn't necessarily have to have a modular system. Somehow it sounds logical too, doesn't it? Why not operate Lightroom with a MIDI controller?

Operate Lightroom with a MIDI controller: photo editing with a USB mixer.
Operate Lightroom with a MIDI controller: photo editing with a USB mixer. (Image sources: Amazon / Adobe)

Cheaper than Palette Gear: MIDI controllers are an alternative

MIDI controllers, i.e. mixing consoles that are actually intended for creating, mixing and other work on music, offer an inexpensive alternative to Palette Gear. For a fraction of the price and with software that lets you connect MIDI consoles to Lightroom, you can speed up your workflow cheaply. In this article I would like to introduce you to a few MIDI mixing consoles for Windows PC, Apple Mac or MacBook as well as Apple iPad. I have also put together links to the appropriate MIDI software for Lightroom;)

Recommended reading: In-depth article on Palette Gear (and a bit of Loupedeck)

MIDI mixer for controlling Adobe Lightroom

Modern MIDI controllers are no longer attached to the Mac or PC in a complicated manner with adapters and dongles, but simply plugged in via USB. You only need a corresponding adapter (to Lightning) if you want to connect the USB MIDI desk to the iPad. Here I have found you four MIDI controllers for use with Lightroom. For a very flexible workflow, a wireless one is also included (but you can also choose the cable version at a low price on the product page):

KORG nanoKONTROL2 with eight channels
Instead of using Palette Gear, you can simply use Lightroom with a MIDI controller for 55 euros, for example with this one. Eight channels each have a rotary control and a fader (slider). The MIDI desk with USB connection is available in black and white (to match the Mac).
AKAI Professional LPD8 Wireless
This wireless MIDI controller can be connected to Mac, Windows PC and iPad via Bluetooth. You can get the wired version for just under 50 euros. There are more details on the Amazon product page.
The third MIDI controller with which you can operate Lightroom cheaply via a mixer. The Samson model also has eight channels. Ideal for adjusting the most important settings.
NOVATION launch control
Operate Lightroom with the MIDI controller? This also works with this model from NOVATION, which, however, has a long delivery time. Pads and two rotary controls per channel provide many possibilities.

Rotary knobs, sliders and pads for graphic settings

The rotary knobs, sliders and pads can be used for music production in Adobe graphics programs as well as for image processing and post-processing of photos. For example, if you keep using the same settings (brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.), simply place them on the sliders and forget about mouse and keyboard shortcuts - just turn and slide!

The Gear Alternative range "in the making": loud deck

The right software belongs to the hardware

Thanks to these programs for Windows PC, iPad with iOS or Mac with OS X or macOS, you can operate Adobe Lightroom via MIDI controller and use the various controls via haptic control units:

  • knob room (Lightroom MIDI plugin for Mac, MacBook, etc.)
  • PF fixer (ready for Lightroom 6 / CC and macOS Sierra)
  • MIDI2LR (OS X 10.9 and higher; Windows 7/8/10; Lightroom 6 / CC)
  • Paddy (Windows and iOS on the iPad; not yet for Lightroom CC)

Controlling Lightroom with a MIDI controller: your opinion

Do you use Palette Gear, are you waiting for Loupedeck or do you tend to prefer the cheaper alternative in the form of MIDI controllers? For little money and with the right software and a little time to adjust all the sliders, buttons and pads, you can put together a good Lightroom control here, right? If you use Lightroom with MIDI controllers, please leave a comment! Thanks :)

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2 thoughts on “Cheap Palette Gear Alternative: Control Lightroom with MIDI Controller”

  1. Hello :-)

    great article.
    Can you then also save presets on the buttons? So presets from Lightroom?

    Have a nice weekend


    1. Hello, tobias! Exactly ... you can use the P1-P8 buttons to define any number of presets that will then be used. LG and you also have a nice WE! Jens

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