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Looking for a foot controller - help?

0

I am looking for a foot controller and need some help finding one. These are my criteria:

  • up to $100
  • can be bought used
  • 4 or 5 (silent) buttons (record, layer, loop, undo, play)
  • the buttons have to send note on/off messages, otherwise it won't work with the deluge
  • 5 pin midi, so that I don't have to hook up the deluge to a power supply
  • takes its power either via midi or with an internal battery
  • doesn't need a display or a foot pedal, I wouldn't know what to use that for anyway

I'd have already bought the foot controller offered by synthstrom, but the product page is password protected and I think there were some problems with actition (the manufacturer) not getting them out fast enough, though I don't know for sure. Either way, I don't feel like there's a realistic chance to get an official one soon.

I should mention Hans, which I think would be perfect, though it's currently too expensive for me (almost twice my budget).

I'm not getting anywhere with my research.
Any suggestions?

Comments

  • 0
    DaEmbassyDaEmbassy SydneyPosts: 54

    I don't know of any pre-built solutions that hit your price point.

    I was searching online last night for MIDI CONTROLLER ideas and came across a heap of DIY solutions based around ARDUINO/TEENSY boards, MIDI libraries, cheap SPST foot switches, and a bit of soldering. The parts would cost less than $100, but you would have to construct the device yourself.

    Once I finally figure out how to make the Deluge play a multi-instrument tune (I'm a beginner), I plan to make a foot pedal with 5 buttons using an Arduino. The most challenging part, I think, will be finding a housing/box for the switches and the board that doesn't blow the budget.

    Cheers,

    MBC

  • 0
    DaEmbassyDaEmbassy SydneyPosts: 54

    Hey @Heptagen I just joined the DISCORD group - https://discord.gg/6DhXwKJ - and looked in the channel "do-it-yourself" and the thread there talks about using a TEENSY to create a 10-button pedalboard.

    Totally worth a Look!

  • 1
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    Thanks I'll take a look! :)

  • 1
    DaEmbassyDaEmbassy SydneyPosts: 54

    Hi @Heptagen I've been looking online on YouTube for tutorials that would help you roll-your-own MIDI controller so that you can get what you want within your budget.

    I found a guy "Nerd Musician" who has posted three videos showing you how to create a MIDI controller with an ARDUINO. Search for "How to Build a MIDI controller with an Arduino: The DIY MIDI Controller Workshop 2.0" if you are comfortable with prototyping and with simple coding. He also has made other videos where he builds custom MIDI controllers (i.e. a Theremin, a controller for a DJ)

    If you need a tutorial on building your own MIDI controller, but want a little less enthusiasm than the Nerd Musician, take a look at "Notes and Volts" on YouTube. He has a multi-part series of videos showing step-by-step how to prototype a MIDI controller using and Arduino. Search for "Arduino MIDI Controller". He is also a real fan of the Arduino, and has made many videos on building a Synth from an Arduino, as well are low-level detail about MIDI and Arduino.

    There are quite a few other people on YouTube who can show you how they made their own MIDI controller, but none I've found offer a How-To guide with as much detail as the two guys I've found.

  • 1
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    @DaEmbassy Wow thank you for your detailed research!
    I think my problem would be the time and energy to pull something like this off. I have to really manage and plan out my resources and I'm pretty sure there's no room for a project this size at the moment.

    I've been thinking outside the box lately though: Couldn't I just use a Korg nanoPAD2 as a foot controller? Since I never play on stage and don't wear shoes in the studio, I'd be able to use it precisely enough with my toes. Its fairly cheap and I could also use it as a drumming pad or the x-y-pad to control effects, so it's more versatile than a traditional foot controller.
    (It doesn't have a battery and 5 pin MIDI though, thats a shame. But I can't have everything.)

  • 1
    hexagon5unhexagon5un MunichBeta Tester Posts: 112

    @DaEmbassy said:
    I plan to make a foot pedal with 5 buttons using an Arduino. The most challenging part, I think, will be finding a housing/box for the switches and the board that doesn't blow the budget.

    This. You're probably looking at $2-$3 for an Arduino Nano clone, $1 for a MIDI 5-pin socket, and almost nothing for a 220 ohm resistor. Say $5 in "electronics".

    The rest of your budget is in the switches and the case. Get a nice $20 Hammond box and some $4 switches and you're looking at $40-$60 easily. Or use whatever switches you've got, and mount it on a cardboard box, and you're sitting pretty at $5, but don't take it on tour.

    Actually, no matter what your eventual plans, I recommend cobbling something together out of cardboard and hot glue, just to test it out. Do you actually need 6 switches? Only 3? Would some indicator lights or a numeric screen be helpful? What's the most comfortable layout? Etc. These kinda things you can only know by testing, so you might as well do it cheap and quick. Then splash out on the aluminum case and the powder coating when you're sure.

  • 0
    DaEmbassyDaEmbassy SydneyPosts: 54

    @Heptagen said:
    @DaEmbassy Wow thank you for your detailed research!
    I think my problem would be the time and energy to pull something like this off. I have to really manage and plan out my resources and I'm pretty sure there's no room for a project this size at the moment.

    I've been thinking outside the box lately though: Couldn't I just use a Korg nanoPAD2 as a foot controller? Since I never play on stage and don't wear shoes in the studio, I'd be able to use it precisely enough with my toes. Its fairly cheap and I could also use it as a drumming pad or the x-y-pad to control effects, so it's more versatile than a traditional foot controller.
    (It doesn't have a battery and 5 pin MIDI though, thats a shame. But I can't have everything.)

    I understand what you are saying, @Heptagen . Time can be the most valuable resource.
    The Korg Nanopad you showed looks very promising, as long as you can get the Deluge and it to talk over USB. I think a powered USB Hub would allow you to connect both devices, and it may work.

    I don't know where you are located, but here in Australia there is Gumtree and Ebay, and both have pre-loved MIDI controllers available to buy. A couple of items I saw could be used as foot controllers, and perhaps where you are you can find something old that you could buy cheaply, and use with your foot.

    Cheers,

    MBC

  • 0
    IcoustikIcoustik NorwayModerator, Beta Tester, Mentor Posts: 982

    @Heptagen said:
    @DaEmbassy Wow thank you for your detailed research!
    I think my problem would be the time and energy to pull something like this off. I have to really manage and plan out my resources and I'm pretty sure there's no room for a project this size at the moment.

    I've been thinking outside the box lately though: Couldn't I just use a Korg nanoPAD2 as a foot controller? Since I never play on stage and don't wear shoes in the studio, I'd be able to use it precisely enough with my toes. Its fairly cheap and I could also use it as a drumming pad or the x-y-pad to control effects, so it's more versatile than a traditional foot controller.
    (It doesn't have a battery and 5 pin MIDI though, thats a shame. But I can't have everything.)

    I was just gonna suggest to you to use something like that!
    The Nanopad will work fine, the pads can send notes.
    And it should be tough enough to handle a bit of abuse :)
    An old Launchpad even more so.

    ~ Distinguished Delugate ᕕ( ◎_◎)ᕗ

  • 0
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    @Icoustik said:
    An old Launchpad even more so.

    I thought about that as well. Avalanche of questions incoming:
    What do you use your Launchpads for and which version do you recommend? And how customizeable are the MIDI settings? For example, can I split it into 4 zones, each sending midi data on their own midi channel? And I heard that the deluge doesn't send midi data back to the controller, so the buttons can't show any visual feedback. Is that true?

  • 1
    IcoustikIcoustik NorwayModerator, Beta Tester, Mentor Posts: 982

    @Heptagen said:
    What do you use your Launchpads for and which version do you recommend? And how customizeable are the MIDI settings? For example, can I split it into 4 zones, each sending midi data on their own midi channel?

    I use Launchpad Pro for playing instruments and drums, and also trigger mutes/unmutes and loop, rec, undo/redo etc. But with my hands though, to be clear :P

    The new Launchpads (mk3 and X) are quite customizable, you could split them into zones as you said, but personally I route my devices through iPad + Midiflow app, which is more customizable.

    If you're only gonna use for foot control, a simpler one with no velocity sensitivity is fine (like the Mini).
    The Pro has velocity and aftertouch. You could probably get a second-hand Launchpad Mini for super cheap. but do you really need all those pads if only for foot control? Maybe not, its just that the LP's are robust. But, the Nanopad is pretty solid too, although the XY pad is a bit more vulnerable.

    And I heard that the deluge doesn't send midi data back to the controller, so the buttons can't show any visual feedback. Is that true?

    Yep, no midi feedback currently!

    ~ Distinguished Delugate ᕕ( ◎_◎)ᕗ

  • 1
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    Alright thank you that was helpful! :relaxed:

  • 0
    IcoustikIcoustik NorwayModerator, Beta Tester, Mentor Posts: 982

    @Heptagen said:
    Alright thank you that was helpful! :relaxed:

    Awesome :)

    ~ Distinguished Delugate ᕕ( ◎_◎)ᕗ

  • 0
    TengaugeTengauge Posts: 8

    Line 6 hd400 onward all send midi note data. I got a hd500 for $125.00 I have the bottom buttons as undo play, record, loop, layer. plus I get some pretty good effects.

    The BEST foot pedal that I cannot afford at the moment would be the Nektar pacer. for $225. I would stay away from the Behringer pedal not because of quality but because of complicated programming.

    My issue though is that I cannot get the Deluge to accept note data commands from my pedal but also my keyboard so that I can trigger loops from my keys and my guitar.

  • 0
    masterstatusmasterstatus Wales,UKPosts: 1

    You could try a used Behringer FCB1010, or (like I use) a Disaster Area Midi Baby with a cheap dual external footswitch, gives you up to 5 switches if you include held-down presses

  • 1
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    Since y'all have been so helpful I thought I'd fill you in on what happened in the meantime.
    I got the Korg nanopad2 and it worked just as I had hoped: I could use it as a midi foot controller and the small form factor was amazing. However, I was a bit disappointed about the sensitivity of the pads. I wanted to use it for finger drumming as well and for that use case it's not good. It might be enough to trigger loops and phrases, but not for rhythmical playing. Also I couldn't find a way to map the x-y-pad to the gold knobs, since when I touch it, it always sends both CCs out, so I could only map one axis. Also as a foot controller I've had a fair share of glitches which were very annoying (like triggering "layer" two times very quickly, making the deluge create a ton of looping rows which were only a fraction of a second long.)

    So I got the presonus atom for comparison, since the youtube channel "quest for groove" recommended that as a budget finger drumming controller. I got it as a b-stock unit, so it wasn't that much above my limit.
    It's so much better than the nanopad it's ridiculous. The pads glow and change color when a midi note is sent (so it doesn't rely on an answer from the midi host, which is great. The nanopad doesn't have light at all). The pads are bigger and easier to hit with my toes when I'm using it as a looping pedal and they're much more sensitive. There are also more (useful) settings available directly from the unit without needing a computer.

    Two disadvantages though: The form factor (it's a square, so it takes up more space and can't be placed between myself and the deluge) and the fact that the eight different banks send out midi on the same channel. I can switch the midi channel for all eight banks, but only with a bit of menu diving, so nothing for a live setting. That means that it's only really comfortable for use with kits or with one synth.

    So yeah, I'm definitely keeping the atom, the nanopad2 goes back.
    As a foot controller it's still a compromise, but for now I value the twofold use of the atom as a foot controller and a drumming pad more than having more (dedicated) gear.

    Thanks for your help and attention!

  • 2
    IcoustikIcoustik NorwayModerator, Beta Tester, Mentor Posts: 982

    @Heptagen said:
    Since y'all have been so helpful I thought I'd fill you in on what happened in the meantime.
    I got the Korg nanopad2 and it worked just as I had hoped: I could use it as a midi foot controller and the small form factor was amazing. However, I was a bit disappointed about the sensitivity of the pads. I wanted to use it for finger drumming as well and for that use case it's not good. It might be enough to trigger loops and phrases, but not for rhythmical playing. Also I couldn't find a way to map the x-y-pad to the gold knobs, since when I touch it, it always sends both CCs out, so I could only map one axis. Also as a foot controller I've had a fair share of glitches which were very annoying (like triggering "layer" two times very quickly, making the deluge create a ton of looping rows which were only a fraction of a second long.)

    So I got the presonus atom for comparison, since the youtube channel "quest for groove" recommended that as a budget finger drumming controller. I got it as a b-stock unit, so it wasn't that much above my limit.
    It's so much better than the nanopad it's ridiculous. The pads glow and change color when a midi note is sent (so it doesn't rely on an answer from the midi host, which is great. The nanopad doesn't have light at all). The pads are bigger and easier to hit with my toes when I'm using it as a looping pedal and they're much more sensitive. There are also more (useful) settings available directly from the unit without needing a computer.

    Two disadvantages though: The form factor (it's a square, so it takes up more space and can't be placed between myself and the deluge) and the fact that the eight different banks send out midi on the same channel. I can switch the midi channel for all eight banks, but only with a bit of menu diving, so nothing for a live setting. That means that it's only really comfortable for use with kits or with one synth.

    So yeah, I'm definitely keeping the atom, the nanopad2 goes back.
    As a foot controller it's still a compromise, but for now I value the twofold use of the atom as a foot controller and a drumming pad more than having more (dedicated) gear.

    Thanks for your help and attention!

    Cool! Thanks for the report :)
    Few things: About XY mapping, you can make pretty much any XY pad send only one of the CC's at a time by brifely dragging finger at the very edge in one direction, upwards on left side for Y and along the bottom for X.
    Also, the sensitivity of the nanopad can be changed in Korg's editor. But indeed, their pads are not great for drumming.

    ~ Distinguished Delugate ᕕ( ◎_◎)ᕗ

  • 0
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    brifely dragging finger at the very edge in one direction

    Yes I tried that, but then the unwanted CC sent a zero. But maybe it's just how I tried it. Doesn't matter in my case, because either way I wouldn't be able to use it smoothly.

    Also, the sensitivity of the nanopad can be changed in Korg's editor.

    I did that as well ;) The triggers were still too inconsistent for me. Again, possibly it's just how I play it.

    Still good to have this information documented here for anyone interested in the nanopad.

  • 3
    jeffbr13jeffbr13 LondonPosts: 2

    Jumping on this a bit late just to report that, similar to the Korg Nanopad idea, I'm using an Akai LPD8 as a MIDI foot controller. It's reasonably priced new (~£40), can send MIDI notes as well as CC & PGM change messages from the velocity-sensitive pads, and also has eight knobs that I'm yet to use for anything. But they're there, and I'm sure I'll start mapping them to FX parameters at some point.

  • 0
    lordcasiolordcasio Kingston, NYPosts: 3

    It’s out of the price range, but in the guitar effects world, the best of the best is the Morningstar Engineering stuff. Crazy amount of control options and a dead simple web editor.
    https://www.morningstarfx.com/shop

  • 0
    betobeto Bodega Bay, CA, USAPosts: 1

    I use this $25 footswitch with success: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256803006670954.html

    The footswitch can connect via USB MIDI, TRS MIDI or Bluetooth. I have my Deluge connected to a Raspberry Pi zero, and the footswitch connected to the Raspi via Bluetooth, and it works amazingly well. Perfect for guitar looping.

  • 0
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    @beto That product does not exist anymore. Can you post a picture of it or some information on the name and brand?

  • 1
    broughtonfilmbroughtonfilm New YorkBeta Tester Posts: 66

    @Heptagen said:
    @beto That product does not exist anymore. Can you post a picture of it or some information on the name and brand?

    Seems to be the: https://www.walmart.com/ip/M-VAVE-Chocolate-BT-Wireless-MIDI-Controller-Rechargeable-4-Buttons-Portable-MIDI-Foot-Controller-Pedal-APP-Control/559733794

  • 0
    CowboyCowboy Beta Tester Posts: 3
    edited August 23

    FWIW, I'm using a HOTONE Ampero Control 4-button MIDI footswitch and it works great. It supports DIN and powered USB MIDI, each footswitch can be a momentary, latch or toggle, it can send MIDI Note On, Note Off, CC, PC messages, and can be expanded with 2 more single/dual switch controls or expression pedals. And it's pretty compact.

    I got it on Amazon recently for less than $100 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097BBWVBK

    Post edited by Cowboy on
  • 0
    YanYan CanadaPosts: 3

    @Cowboy said:
    FWIW, I'm using a HOTONE Ampero Control 4-button MIDI footswitch and it works great. It supports DIN and powered USB MIDI, each footswitch can be a momentary, latch or toggle, it can send MIDI Note On, Note Off, CC, PC messages, and can be expanded with 2 more single/dual switch controls or expression pedals. And it's pretty compact.

    I got it on Amazon recently for less than $100 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097BBWVBK

    Hi! I just got my Ampero a few days ago and am having trouble setting up the Global Commands in the MIDI config... I managed to make the Deluge recognize the notes sent (Note ON) from it with a synth that makes sounds when I click the pedal switches. But whenever I try to make the Deluge learn the MIDI global commands, it just won't register (just shows "none" in the menu". How did you configure yours? Thanks!

  • 2
    YanYan CanadaPosts: 3
    edited August 28

    Got it finally working! Found a post (https://forums.synthstrom.com/discussion/4337/ampero-control-midi-foot-switch-controller/p1) that explained all the details. I was not holding the LEARN button for the global MIDI commands since it was already blinking... Now that I held it while pressing the switches, it works fine! :smiley:

    Post edited by Yan on
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