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Have you ever been playing a show and wishing that you could be doing more live? A MIDI foot controller now makes this possible. No matter what instrument you are playing, you can use a controller to launch scenes and clips that you’re not able to play. This makes it so you’re not just running backtracks when playing live all of the time.
My personal experience with MIDI foot controllers is I use one every night on tour. I play keyboards in a synth-heavy band and we are always looking for ways to be playing everything live. The foot controller does just that for us as it allows me to play keyboards with my hands and launch clips with my feet. We will launch intros and outros from our controller without having to rely on a track system that can easily fail.
The MIDI foot controller that I recommend is the Behringer FCB1010. It’s hands down the most reliable and affordable option available right now. I have used this for the past 2 years averaging about 100 shows a year and I have yet to have a problem with it.
Let’s take a look at my favorite MIDI Foot controllers
Best MIDI Foot controllers
- Professional and ultra-flexible MIDI foot controller
- 10 banks of presets, each with 10 fully user-editable presets
- 2 expression pedals with freely assignable MIDI channel, controller number and range
- Simultaneous transmission of 5 MIDI program change commands and 2 MIDI controllers per preset
- MIDI note commands for trigger and tap-tempo applications
The Behringer FCB1010 is an extremely reliable and versatile trigger pedal. This is a stompbox-style foot controller and I like how easy it is to hit when playing. It has 10 different pads you can program and they all are lit up. This helps when performing live because you can actually see which pedal you’re hitting in the dark. The construction is also very durable. You don’t feel like you’re going to break it when you hit it with your foot.
You can use this controller to take control of your amp as well. Say you want to use one of the pedals as a wah or tremolo and use another as a volume or chorus effect. This is made simple by the Behringer FCB1010.
Programming this controller is rather easy. I have seen some people saying it’s difficult, but it’s really not. Once you get your first thing programmed it all follows the same easy formula to program.
- Powerful MIDI Footswitch Controller and DAW Controller in one device - perfect for recording and for live performance
- Hands free control of your DAW's transport and navigation functions - great if you can't easily sit behind the computer desk when recording (eg. when playing a guitar, etc. )
- Hands free control of MIDI gear, such as hardware guitar amps, or a software effects rack
- Fully programmable so you can customize your set-up, but also ships with presets for some of the most popular guitar amps and effects devices
- Enables connection for up to 4 expression pedals, 2 additional footswitch pedals, and 4 relays (for channel or FX switching on a non-MIDI amp)
The Nektar Pacer is a very in-depth look at a MIDI foot controller. You can use this with your guitar rig or with your DAW to launch clips and scenes. Its light-weight makes it really nice for touring bands. This controller has a small learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you will be flying through its pre-sets and effects.
I like the durability on this controller and it also has back-lit LED screens above the pads so you can see what you’re doing. Nektar has stated that they made this controller to kind of streamline the abilities that a musician can have in a foot controller. Over the years it has been a rather difficult thing in the music world, however, the latest controllers have gotten much better.
Portability is the first thing I think of with this controller. This is the first Bluetooth MIDI foot controller and it actually works pretty well. It comes with 4 back-lit buttons that you can easily assign.
You can read more about this Bluetooth MIDI controller here.
The neat thing about this controller is that you can use it with your cell-phone or tablet and connect wirelessly. Overall, I like this product for its portability and ease of use.
Be careful when using the Irig Blueboard that you don’t let your computer go to sleep mode. You will lose connection to your device if this happens. You can go into your computer settings to easily fix this and set it to never sleep.
This foot controller is designed to work with laptops and PCs. For this reason, it draws its power from USB. This is really common in the MIDI controller world today as it cuts out having to have a separate power source.
You need to be connected to a device in order to start programming this. This means that if you don’t have your PC or Laptop with you, you won’t be able to program it until you do.
I like this, but I prefer the Irig Blueboard over this as it is also wireless and can do the same things as the Logidy UMI3.
This is a different kind of MIDI foot controller built by Nord. This is built to resemble the Hammond B-3 pedals and it works with your Nord keyboards. I have played on this and I was really surprised at how well the foot pedals work and feel. They actually feel close to a Hammond-B3 and I know a lot of people in the community agree on this.
The swell pad that this comes with, however, feels a little bit on the cheaper end. You can use these pedals to cover the bass with your feet. Keep in mind that if you haven’t played organ before, this will definitely take some time to get used to. This is built to be portable, however, I wouldn’t feel comfortable touring with it since it is so expensive.
My quick overall thoughts on this controller are that it is great for guitarists looking to control their effects quickly. You are able to switch pre-sets easily by just hitting one programmed switch. This controller is a little bit larger in comparison to others, but with that comes more features and abilities at your control.
You can get a lot out of this controller for the price. It is 17 x 11 x 2.5 inches making it a pretty average sized controller.
We hope you found this review on MIDI foot controllers interesting and helpful. All of our reviews are based on personal experience and hours of research to give you the most non-biased reviews. I have spent many years touring with bands I have been using these controllers now for years. Leave a comment in the section below if you have any questions.