Opinions on best MIDI foot controllers?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Nordic Groover, Nov 27, 2013.


  1. Nordic Groover

    Nordic Groover Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Hi folks,

    Wondering if people might be able to offer experience / opinions regarding options for the following:

    - MIDI foot controller with at least 4 switches
    - Not fussed about expression pedal
    - Able to run on battery

    To be used for live looping with:

    - Ableton Live (laptop)
    - Loopy HD (iPad)

    Options that seem like possibilities:

    - Behringer FCB-1010
    - Roland FC-300
    - Keith McMillen SoftStep

    Looking to be able to loop stuff on the fly with the flexibility to lay down verse <--> chorus <--> bridge and move between them as separate tracks/loops with the ability to mute certain layers/loops selectively as necessary.

    Seems a dedicated hardware looper is not going to cut it and given the expense of chaining 2 or more hardware loopers together... the better (and ultimately far more flexible) option would seem to be to do it in software with a MIDI footswitch & interface.

    Cheers,
    Chris
  2. uOpt

    uOpt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    I hear people praise the ART X-15 (but haven't owned one).
  3. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    I have an X15.
    2 control pedals, 12 buttons, MIDI i/o/t, and a FS jack.
    Pretty versatile, but doesn't run on batteries.
    Also a little on the large side.
    Will run on a variety of voltages, though.
  4. sowilson

    sowilson

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    I've been using the ART X-15 for a long time, works very well.
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  6. Nordic Groover

    Nordic Groover Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Someone selling a slightly beaten up / well-used but perfectly functional Art X-15 "locally" (i.e. in Australia) for $85 AUD.

    I'm kind of liking the MK SoftStep, though.

    The iRig BlueBoard (wireless) option is groovy, too, but (a) only has 4 switches, and (b) tragically both my iPad and iMac are too old to support the necessary Bluetooth 4.0 standard.. *doh*
  7. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    I had a softstep, it has some templates but is not plug and play&#8230; a bit complex to program the software. I also found for the size of the pads I couldn't get comfortable with all the functions, it had very little "feel" to it, for lack of a better term. I just wanted something simpler so I ditched it. Supposedly the 12 step is much easier, more along the lines of what you are talking about.
    I also had an fcb1010 and will say that i'd own one again. Once you figured out the programming sequence on the pedal board it was pretty easy, just time consuming. It was nigh indestructible, threw it around for years and it never had any issues. And you don't need to run software for it, it is self contained.
  8. fokof

    fokof Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    At one time , I had both SoftStep and FC300.

    FC300 is built like a tank , versatile , dependable , would be my first choice for what you seem to need.

    Softstep would be my choice if size and weight is a concern , no battery operation there BTW.
    Extremely flexible with the software , maybe too much if you are not into much techno stuff.


    I sold the SoftStep , kept the FC300 and got a 12Step instead.


    I wouldn't touch Behringer products with a 20' pole&#8230;.too much bad experience (real bad experience , not just iNet reading)


    Had an X-15 with the Nightbass , god that processor was horrible &#8230;.. X15 worked great though.
    20 years passed since then , better products now, more flexible.
  9. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Got Bluetooth? IK Blueboard looks interesting.
  10. Nordic Groover

    Nordic Groover Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    The IK Blueboard would be perfect, but both my iPad and iMac are a generation or two too old and don't have Bluetooth 4.0, which the Blueboard requires.
  11. BruceWane

    BruceWane

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I spliced a 9V battery connector into the power input jack section inside my X15. The underside of the X15 isn't flat; there's a pretty big hollow concave area, plenty of room to mount a battery clip underneath the chassis and it'll still sit flat. Drilled a little hole in that area for the 9v connector wires to feed through. Works perfectly.

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