Audiobus: Use your music apps together.
What is Audiobus? — Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.Download on the App Store
Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.
MIDI FOOT CONROLLERS (Mega Thread).👀🔥👎👍🦶👣🧀🤮
I’ve just bought an Actition usb midi foot controller and couldn’t be happier about the purchase. It is small yes switches are well spaced out, usb powered, does pc, cc (momentary or toggle) and modes can be switched from the device. Also has an TRS input for an expression pedal. The switches are smooth, make noise but not excessive.
I’m not in any way affiliated with this Hungarian guy who makes and sells them but I thought I’d give him a bit of a shout out since his product is in my top 2 of all of the controllers I’ve used.
I thought I’d start this thread to gather all of the opinions of foot controllers out there and which ones are worth considering and why.
My other contender is McMillen’s Softstep 1 but after some modifications.
I suffer from codophobia and always try to avoid using software that requires coding to redirect/change midi messages but all suggestions are welcome.
So far I’ve owned several foot controllers most of which I’ve sold as I’ve evolved my set up. I’m including all of those in the poll and hope you can add yours if not there and give reasons for why you like it. Cheers
Actition (12, 8, 4 button versions) also with available Bluetooth. I have a 8 button, no bt one. Seems great with Loopy. Some of the pedals cheat with momentary by implementing double toggle which Loopy doesn’t like.
Behringer FCB 1010 Very flexible but steep learning curve. Can be programmed from the unit. very big and heavy. No usb or bt midi. Requires power cable (kettle lead).
Roland FC 300 has both PC and CC modes. Quite big. Can be programmed from the unit. Battery or mains powered.
Softstep 1 and 2 Very flexible, like with all other McMillen products it is very customisable, every switch can be an X/Y controller with pressure. While this sounds great in theory it is extremely hard to control. It is light and powers via usb. Flat form factor might not suit everyone. Comes with a flimsy case and a very long usb cable. Needs software to program.
Harley Benton (or midi commander) MP 100 well built, battery powered, can be programmed from the unit. PC and CC messages. Loopy doesn’t like its fake momentary implementation.
IK Multimedia BlueBoard light, battery powered (4xAAA), bt enabled. Has standalone mode (no IKM app required) but it needs firmware update, which requires registration. So be mindful when buying used as it may be a hassle if already registered (come on IKM!!). Switches don’t provide much physical feedback but do light up.
ICon G-Board small 8 switch unit. Solid feel and stays put while on the floor. Usb powered. Needs software to program. Switches are cheap and prone to breaking. Theres also reports of USB port breaking if not careful. Uses fake momentary so not ideal for some loopers.
Air Turn BT 200 S light and portable.
Line 6 FBV MK flexible, powers off the usb!
Yamaha MFC 10
Positive Grid BT 2 (4) 4 switches, BT enabled. Software glitches and latency have been reported on online reviews.
Digitech RP 20 Multieffect pedal that can also be used as a midi controller via 5pin midi out.
RFX (Nobels) Midi Buddy solid construction, midi PC only, power adapter required, MIDI din out.
Not sure why it doesn’t let me edit the poll. I thought it will let participants add their favourites like on Failbook. Ah well.
I can’t speak on the ones I don’t own having never tried them but the blueboard has been working great for me personally, plus the fact that it works over Bluetooth is great, I guess the only thing to consider is that it does run on 4 AAA batteries, and I don’t use it everyday, so how long the batteries last depends on the user. I would love if it were a rechargeable battery inside but hey, you can always buy rechargeable AAA batteries 🤷🏽♂️
My vote goes to the AirTurn BT-200S series for super value, compactness and easy programmability.
The Actition ones do look excellent. Especially with the exp pedal input.
I have an Actition as well and have also been very happy with it, I use it for light 4 button looping duties. When I want more I use the hugely versatile Line 6 FBV mk II, with lots of buttons and a Wah (though it is also possible to plug an expression pedal into the Actition).
Both of these I use over Bluetooth with the (sadly discontinued) Yamaha UD-bt01 dongle, a very short USB cable and a Duracell PPS2 USB battery. I mention the battery because it's low profile has an on/off switch, means no plugging/unplugging necessary. They're old, but available cheap on eBay and those I've bought have a good battery life.
I've also just made my own DIY bluetooth footswitch, but that's a whole other story for another time...
Great suggestions there guys @steve99 @TimRussell @Strizbiz
I’m going to scrap the poll thing and just manually update the list with pros and cons. Let me know if I messed up anything (likely). Cheers
I use the two-button AirTurn BT200S-2 for page turning. Rugged and dependable.
I use KMI SoftStep 2 for looping and effects control. It's cool and flexible (literally!), but the spongy action is sometimes a problem.
My new SY-1000 has 8 fully programmable Boss foot switches and supports external expression pedals. I expect to use it instead of the SoftStep, as long as I have a SY-1000 cabled at my feet...
Before I got the rugged AirTurn for page turning, I used a Puck.js that I programmed to send MIDI CC.
I've also made some BLEMIDI controllers for fun.
I'm curious if the Blueboard will actually run on rechargeable batteries. They have a different power output than regular AAA batteries. I'm thinkin' not based on this from the manual:
I hate the idea of the environmental impact and cost of constantly replacing non-rechargeable batteries, so would love to hear if anyone has been successful ... and didn't get exploded (or lived to tell the tale).
I've found the Audiofront Midi Expression devices very useful. The iOS config app works really well and the big plus for me is that you can use your own pedals and switches. I also bought an IK Blueboard a few months ago; I had put off buying one because of mixed reviews but I'm really pleased with it. I do wish that the switch lights worked properly in the midi over bluetooth modes though.
Touchè? Marketed as a expression pedal for the hand, I’d imagine that it could perhaps be used gently with the foot.
I'm using Nektar Pacer and it is great. After Blueboard (not bad BT connection... till iOS13, and I felt totally lost and abandoned by the company because they couldn't help me how to update firmware). Then I get Airturn - great app and configuration but I was losing the BT connection. Pacer work perfect for me
How is pacer in terms of midi output? Does it send both PC and CC, CC momentary and toggle? Can Cc number assigned or is it fixed? Also can you set a range between on and off? For example softstep can be set to open filter to 127 on first press, then partially close to say 50. I use it to control Novation Circuit and it works very well.
line 6 fbv mkii - This is my baby right here. I found one used from Guitar Center. These are funny beasts because they are designed to be some sort of accessory to a Line 6 amp, which I have no knowledge of. They have an ethernet port that connects direct to the amp from what I can tell.
But the little secret is that they also function as a standard USB midi controller. It DOES NOT need a power adapter, gets all its power over USB and works great. There is a Mac/ PC app that you can use to program it, very simple visual interface thats good for us codophobes.
Another weird detail is that there are two models of this pedal. one is the “Fbv express mkii” and the other is the “fbv shortboard mkii”
Guess which one has 4 footswitches and which has 10 switches... nope. The shortboard is actually the bigger one with 10 footswitches.
I have the bigger 10 switch “shortboard” and I love it.
If you're a little bit handy with a saw and want 16 foot switches for not much money, may I present to you my incognito Korg Nanopad, with 4 switchable configurations, can send CC or note. Purely physical, nothing electronic going on outside the Nanopad.
You win @SimonSomeone
What a clever idea and beautiful design. How well does it work?
Thanks It works pretty well. It does take a level of pressure to flex the 4.5mm MDF the required amount. But I've used it live to trigger looping and playback and mutes etc in Mainstage, and it was fine. The top panel sits a little above the nanopad, and there are felt pads (like you get for putting under chair legs etc) beneath that make contact.
It's all a bit trial and error - the 'levers' are different lengths, and the knobs on them at different points in relation to where they flex.
This is V2 - the first version had knobs that were aligned with every second pad on the nanopad, so all the levers were parallel. But the knobs were a little close together. So I thought I'd try to design something where they were further apart, which made the design more complex and kind of random looking. There are also holes for changing the presets, and seeing the preset lights. I'm a graphic designer so after I'd settled on a layout I drew it up in InDesign. If anyone wants to build something similar I could send them a vector file of it.
That’s very cool @SimonSomeone It definitely looks the part, before even going into the electromechanical nature of it. Thanks for sharing.
That is a fabulous creation. Just wondering how inventions like that hold up your music making? I took some time out to make some music over the last few weeks and seem to have spent 80% of it building midi controllers. That’s not to say it’s not without reward, but every time i’ve nearly finished one i’m off designing a new enhanced version.
Is there ever an end point?
Tell me about it!
Sorry, the Audiobus forum compression algo has rotated the pics but you get the idea.
Yes when some brand releases something enough useful and almost affordable like Nektar Pacer... but diy is a way of life so don't be so hard on yourself.
@supadom is that also a NanoKontrol ? Looks great.
Personally I don’t think I have the patience to learn how to solder for a project like that.
Especially if you don’t get to complete it like in my case. Yes it is nanokontrol 2 I had lying around. It turned out it was quite impossible to solder wires to minute paths of the buttons so I ended up trying to solder them to sliders which gave me random midi messages. One day might use the casing for something else.
That is very clever and quite beautiful!
I made a simple four-pad overlay for my Sensel Morph, intending to use it as a footswitch. it works, but really needs some level of 3D pads stuck on top to help make it easier to use.
I'll probably just get a Blueboard one of these days though. Good enough for my use case, which is just triggering loopers, I think.
TBH I'm not super into making things. I would rather have bought something, but money is a factor, and I also wanted a ton of switches. I was using this with mainstage where I'd have 3 loopback instances, and assign a row of knobs for each: Record (2nd press overdub), play (after recording), stop (so loop recording would stop, and wouldn't immediately play), clear. So that's 12 knobs right there. plus 4 for other things. So my use case inspired me to make something cheap and within my lack of knowledge of electronic stuff.
However, all the other things do get in the way indeed. reading forums, looking at apps on youtube. It's so easy to get hooked on stuff ABOUT what you want to do, rather than DO it. So yeh, that's a problem...
Yes, there’s no time like now to be distracted. Toys, toys, in virtual as well as physical worlds. I think it is a great time to be alive but focus is the real name of the game
After seeing @SimonSomeone masterpiece foot switch I want one myself. Seems like this one I found googling looks doable,
Any other options for non-handyman?. Don’t care if it looks like crap!.
huge fan of this guy….
Kind of shit we get into. Right? 😂. Now I really need a shity looking foot controller!.
@tahiche Thanks for your kind comments... my glued back bit of mdf broke again this afternoon! Ideally I'd use a bit of suitably springy metal. Maybe I'll look into that. Getting it laser cut or something.
I also have a budget midi keyboard sitting on the floor, with tape marking some spaced out keys. Certain midi notes are mapped, the others aren't so I can splodge my foot down and as long as I only hit one of the marked ones it's ok. I have it mapped out for playing bass notes, or mapping chords in Tonality chord pads. But i don't use it much
Roland EV-1-WL coming soon https://www.boss.info/us/products/ev-1-wl/
Just ordered the MeloAudio Tone Shifter Mega, on Cyber Monday sale.
I play bass in a 3 piece, no keyboard player but we want synth parts in some songs so plan is to use this to tap tempo in AUM (for rhythm sync - our drummer can be a bit unpredictable!) and then trigger sequences and samples on my ipad here and there through the gentle art of stomping.
Nice thing about it is it’s an audio interface as well as a midi foot controller, so reduces overall kit needed.