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Swell pedal hardware

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Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:09 am

I am getting my VO into shape now with 2 Alesis Keyboards and a Midified 1905 pedalboard set around an Ikea desk and with a Launchpad.
Regarding a Swell pedal ( I only want 1 at the moment), many people seem to favour the Behringer fcb 1010 but I was wondering if anyone has used a single "expression pedal" such as the Behringer fcv100 or the Alesis F2 routed through the Keyboard.
If this works, it would seem a much cheaper option than the 1010 as they cost only about £25 per pedal.
Again, any advice gratefully received.....
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby deWaverley » Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:14 pm

My personal feeling is that the swell pedal is one of the most important things to get right with a VPO. These cheap little 'rock' pedals don't do the job for me (although I haven't tried Behringer); for one thing they never have the right friction/feel to make the adjustments on the fly needed for organ playing.

These lovely Hoffrichter/Fatar pedals are available here in the UK for £85 from Douglas at DHMidi-Organs. You would need to buy a little MIDI encoder from Roman Sowa, but they are the real deal.
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:12 pm

Thanks, DeW.! I'll take a look at these - they certainly LOOK the part!
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:37 am

Further to the above post, I have had a look at these Swell pedals - can you advise about which is easier to connect - the Potentiometer one or the Light cell one? Also I am not having much luck finding one for sale - no reply from 2 possible suppliers so far, and the Fatar website a bit of a dead end!
Again, any hints or tips appreciated!
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby amun » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:02 am

There are two editions:

- the light cell system, which use the current (i) produced by the photo-cell for volume control. For example all WERSI-organs are equipped with it, but only for the instruments volume. The MIDI data are produced in a secondary process.
Until now I didn't hear of any current controlled MIDI-encoder.

- the potentiometer system. They use voltage (u) and AFIK are standard for MIDI-encoders.

IMHO instead of putting things together a Behringer board
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/FCB1010.aspx
would do better.

You will get two swell pedals and programmable 10 toe studs as a plug and play system for about 120&.

Rgds,
amun :wink:
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby deWaverley » Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:26 am

Well, as I say, I have no experience with the Behringer pedals. But the point of the Hoffrichter ones is that they are specifically designed to have the feel of a proper pipe organ swell pedal, with that lovely resistance and solid feel; whereas the Behringer ones must be primarily aimed at guitarists - so presumably the pedals must be loose enough to be used as wah-wah pedals if required (?).

You do have the complication with the Hoff ones that you will have to have a little MIDI encoder (quite cheap) to wire it into, rather than the Behringer which will have a MIDI plug built in and ready to go. Although if you are using Alesis keyboards, you might be able to plug the Hoff pedals into a volume pedal socket on the back of one of the keyboards??

Obviously the 'toe studs' provided by the Behringer would be useful to have.

Anyway, all you have to do is contact Douglas at DHMidi-Organs, and he will answer all your questions and supply the pedal for you, if that's the one you choose.
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby amun » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:02 am

"deWaverley "'s post discusses the pro and cons correctly.

I would like to add two questions:

- what kind of organ do you want to play: theatre or church?
For VTPOs two swells are almost a must ( control of the shades of two separate chambers with important influence on the sound "picture" and removing the RF from them under performance is quite seldom.
For most of the church organ music one swell will do, unless you intend to control also the crescendo feature, which IMHO is a control for advanced and ambitious organists.

- did you check your Alesis keyboards wether they convert the direct volume control of the instrument into MIDI?
This can be checked with a free software called Midi-Ox - if not known: it is a very usefull and mighty tool for your further work.
And: IMHO it would probably cause problems if a Fatar is plugged into the Alesis Volume control socket, what anyway would not control the shades through HW.

Rgds,
amun :wink:
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby deWaverley » Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:29 am

I may be wrong, but my memory is that the actions of a volume pedal plugged into a keyboard are sent out with the 'MIDI out' data from that keyboard, so would be usable by Hauptwerk.

...that is, if the Hoffrichter pedal is suitable for use with your Alesis keyboard (which I think it should be).
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:25 am

Thanks, Amun and DeW - It's interesting that this subject is not clearer than it is. I guess this indicates the large number of possible solutions! BTW, Amun, it is for church rather than theatre....
I think I am going to try for the simplest one first and get a basic volume pedal and connect it through the keyboard. If that works and the pedal has sufficient "feel", then problem solved. If it works but feel is not acceptable, then the Fatar/Hoffrichter pedal is the way forward.
If it doesnt work at all, then it can go back and I go for a Fatar and encoder combo.
That's the plan and on the basis that there may be others in my position, I'll post back with the results.
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby deWaverley » Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:41 am

That all sounds very sensible.

But that's the beauty of Hauptwerk - you can start simple and cheap, and then work towards perfection as the obsession starts to overtake you!
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby Erzahler » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:38 am

I have just added 3 Yamaha FP7 pedals that have quite a realistic feel and are a good price;
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/music-pr ... bal_search
http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musica ... mode=model
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:38 am

Thanks. I presume you refer to the Yamaha FC-7 pedal? The FP-7 doesnt seem to be available anywhere I can find.
I have got an FC-7 but it does not work through the Alesis keyboard, presumably as the socket is a Mono type and the plug on the pedal is Stereo.....sadly none of the blurb on either the keyboard or the pedal state this!
It does seem good and solid and of reasonable feel so I am currently looking at an encoder from John's Organ works to make the connection.....
Having the option of joining the FC-7 together looks good too.
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby Erzahler » Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:56 am

FC-7 I meant. You need an encoder to connect it via midi. Wire the plug - tip to 5 volts from circuit board, shank to pedal pin and sleeve to earth
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:29 pm

Thanks, Erzahler! I have the FC-7 mounted on my pedalboard and an encoder on order from Johnsorganworks.
Can't wait to get it working - you don't realise how much a Swell pedal adds to the experience until you don't have one!
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Re: Swell pedal hardware

Postby k2bhm » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:02 pm

Sorted! Got my Yamaha FC-7 mounted on an MDF plinth on my pedalboard, and connected to a Designtech SSC-1 Encoder using Stereo jack and socket (thanks, John! An excellent job!) and into a Midisport 2x2 Midi USB hub.
Restarted Hauptwerk and it all works! Well, after re installing my keyboards and pedal board.....for some reason after installing the swell pedal, my Launchpad started behaving like a pedal keyboard!
But it all works and the Yamaha swell pedal feels pretty good!
And I have ordered my Basic License, so will graduate from the Freebie forum section soon too!
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