Recommendation Requested: Standalone MIDI Expression Pedal

tl;dr - Do you have a recommendation for a Standalone MIDI Expression Pedal?

Standalone: ie does not need a controller to convert the 1/4" connection to MIDI data
MIDI Expression: Can send CC11 or CC7 or be programmable, all fine - my data gets run through a Translator anyway
Pedal: Gotta be rugged and worthy of the abuse devices can get on the road. (I avoid too much plastic)

The blah-blah-blah version:
Situation (Best Laid Plans and all): I’ve been using a keyboard synth for a controller for my sequencing escapades, but find a need to inject one more continuous controller. My hands are occupied and I want to use an Expression Pedal. My only keyboard synths do not send out MIDI data when an Expression/Volume Pedal is connected - they only modulate onboard parameters.

(Sidenote: controller in question is a DSI Prophet 12 and my familiarity with the device and the manual indicates the Mod Matrix only allows local destinations. If you have other information, I’d love to hear I’m wrong)

So I need a standalone MIDI Expression Pedal. Oh joy!

Okay, so I’ve Googled a few options, which brought me to either one of the several possible solutions from BeatBars or maybe using MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller.

BeatBars offers several options, from the very thing I’m looking for which also switches between USB and DIN MIDI (nice!) to even just a module that will convert an existing pedal to MIDI CC. (Another side note: I’m quite fond of the Yamaha FC7 contoller, so if I went with BeatBars I’d probably get one of their little boxes and inject the data right into my USB Hub/Translator)

MIDI Solutions has a box that accepts the Foot Controller 1/4" input and injects the MIDI Data into an existing stream (possibly because it needs the power connection on that side because that’s how MIDI Solutions stuff works). (Note: I tend to avoid stuff that uses the power from the MIDI data stream, so I’d probably also get their power box for that bit)

I’m not familiar with BeatBars stuff, so if you have experience (positive or negative) I’d love to hear. I’m familiar with MIDI Solutions.

Kenton seems to have one (just ran across it but haven’t done the deep read yet), but it is Out of Stock. My only experiences with Kenton is that I never have to think about them, which is great IMO.

I know I could probably use an Axoloti, but to me that’s like powering up a computer to add some numbers together.

Sorry for the query - somehow I feel like I’m missing something because I’d think this kind of device would be more common. (See also: crazy pills)


Search for midiplus SPY. I have one but haven’t used it yet so I don’t know how good it is.
Very few if any standalone pedals. The only one I’ve seen was discontinued and expensive.

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Thank you for that suggestion.

I’m finding many of the links I’m following end up at the deadends of discontinued items. Joy!

I have the MIDIPlus SPY on my list now, thank you.
It seems a bit tough to source, tho.

And to add info to the thread in case anyone searches/lands here:
Also finding MIDI Baby from Disaster Area - they have a tiny box that can convert TRS data such as Expression Pedal into MIDI data. I’m still waiting on a bit of info to ensure it will work in my rig.

Also if one does not mind another item sitting on the floor, there is the Logidy UMI3 which offers some buttons and connections for Expression Pedals I believe. I’m discounting this because what I’m looking for is something much smaller.

Might be more than you’re bargaining for, but eg Behringer FCB1010 has not just one but two programmable expression pedals + a whole bunch of other programmable footswitches (enough to keep both feet busy :smile:), outputs MIDI directly. Roland FC-300 is similar but with more of everything, including price.

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Thank you for that suggestion.
Honestly I avoid Behringer as I find their products & support to be cripplingly substandard. YMMV

Yeah, probably case of you get what you pay for. The Roland equivalent looked more like it when I skimmed through the manual for my own purposes.

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Way more than I need!

But still: I would have thought a MIDI Standalone Expression Pedal would be a more common thing and not require a massive piece of stage real estate and its own carry bag! LOL

I’m a big scenario builder. I can see the advantages of the big devices, but my direction is a bit different: I have to be able to modulate on 4 levels at the same time, so one foot pedal is best, plus two fingers and a thumb and I have Morph, Complexity, Intensity, and Crescendo meta controls for all my sequences.

nom nom nom

Sorry for nerding out.
I’ll shuddap.

Thanks for the suggestions, Paul!


midiplus Midi Controller (SPY)

3 in stock and cheap. In fact make that 2 in stock. I’m getting another.

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Thanks for the update!
I’m in Ontario, Canada though, so it gets a bit weird. is showing $144CAN ($106US) with $24 shipping and not arriving until mid-August from the same supplier/item. :slightly_frowning_face:

I just ordered a MIDI Baby tho since a local supplier has them in stock.
I should have that by tomorrow.

Things were already tough getting stuff shipped to Canada and Coronavirus has made things worse. Gotta say that DHL is the best, tho - considering my last shipment from Squarp!

Plus for DHL. I got a couple things from Andertons in the UK in a week. That’s clearing customs in Cincinnati and then sent on to nor cal. For like 10 bucks shipping each. I’ve had Fedaxe and Oops take longer from NY to Cal.

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I don’t have a p12 , but the manual states they can send cc - when assigned to breath and foot controller

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In the Mod Matrix they can be Source, but not Destination

General settings , p 8?
then the midi section says it’s transmitted - one of the appendix

( it’s not about the mod matrix , it’s just general setup)

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Thanks everyone for your input.
I decided to go with a Disaster Area MIDI Baby as interface and I’m fond of the Yamaha FC7 because I know from experience it is rugged enough to handle drunken gigging (because I used one with my DX7 back in the 80s when I used to play in a band (semi) regularly…and we drank…a lot)

It took me all of about 3.5minutes to program it after I installed an appropriate browser (requires Chrome or Opera, and I don’t usually run either).

I use USB MIDI, and the MIDI Baby runs off my USB Hub once it is pgm’d, and translates my foot controller data to MIDI and injects it into the data stream, which incidentally gets run to a BomeBox and then translated and distributed to the appropriate synths (which changes based on which ‘song’ or portion of a project I’m on).

Really a no-brainer.
Which is good for me because: immanidiot

Advantage of using a translation device for me is that I don’t have to have a keyboard plugged into my rig, which means I can use my rig in the dining room when I don’t have a chance to be in the studio (most of my synths fit in a rack case, or set on top of the rack case - just carry the case upstairs, plug it in, and go), plus I have a button/knob controller that I can use in place of the keyboard controller. I’m only missing one synth from the studio rig, so I’m okay with this.

Interesting discoveries that I somehow missed from the pre-sales documentation:

  • You can pgm up to 16 actions for the External Expression Pedal - that is 16 combinations of Channel, CC, Low Value & High Value. Wow!
  • Data is sent/received as SysEx, so…great they have a browser based editor, but the next step for me is to see if I can just edit the hex since I’m not doing any super high end modifications of the single button that is on the MIDI Baby (the device will probably get attached to an internal rack shelf in my rig which also has a BomeBox, the USB Hub, a 2x2 MIDI Interface, and a Kenton Thru box)
  • And, as data is SysEx, I want to see (if I decide to send more than just a single set of values that are modified and distributed by the BomeBox) if I can copy that SysEx data and send it out via the BomeBox to reconfigure stuff when I load up different Pyramid Projects (In my rig, I have a control channel in the Pyramid that sends data to the BomeBox to reconfigure it (changes in variables for destinations, hival, loval, cc’s, channels, etc) for each song or portion of a song)

So, since we had a convo, wanted to get this quick review in.
Also if anyone decides to search for this subject in the future, they’ll find this info.



I´m using the beat bars MIDI Expression pedal in my studio.With Logic Pro X, I usually control MIDI volume when I´m playing virtual synths and samples.This way I can play with my both hands and still control the volume.
I may control something else, for example filter openings.
See on Reverb:

It’s cool and has good reviews