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MIDI foot controls

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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MIDI foot controls

PostWed Aug 05, 2020 8:17 pm

I am looking for an easy and relatively cheap way of adding toe studs or equivalent to my console. My understanding is that unless you are lucky enough to get them off an old console toes studs can be quite expensive, and in any case are just switches which would require a MIDI encoder of some kind, which might get overly complicated.

There seem to be a number of commercially available foot controllers aimed at keyboard and guitar players and I was wondering if any of these might be suitable. Many of them seem to be intended for use with specific hardware, but as Hauptwerk seems to be able to use a wide variety of MIDI messages as controls I am hoping that won't be a problem. However, I am not sure which of these units have their own power supply, rather than taking power from the keyboard or whatever that they are supposed to be used with (I don't think the MIDI standard includes supplying power, unlike USB, but perhaps I am wrong here).

The Behringer FCB1010 would do what I want but is too big to fit. Does anybody have any experience of other foot controllers?
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IainStinson

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 11:01 am

You can find some on eBay, see https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/kimber-allen-organ-toe-studs-pistons-519517404 and use a midi encoder. This would probably be more satisfactory than the units designed for guitar or keyboard performers. I think MidiBoutique have an encoder which works with pedal contacts which should do the job.
Iain
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 11:43 am

Iain,

Thank-you for your thoughts. There doesn't seem to be much on eBay at the moment and as far as I can see they are very expensive to buy from Kimber Allen.

I have various USB controllers (such as a Launchpad and something made by Korg) which are a useful addition to my thumb pistons. Although not made for Hauptwerk they were instantly recognised. There are many foot controllers available and I am sure some of them must work in a similar way, but it is quite hard to tell from advertisements quite what they are and how they are specified.

Of course proper foot pistons with a MIDI encoder would be the best solution, but I have health problems which make it increasingly difficult to rummage around in the workings of my HW set-up as I found recently when I had to replace the potentiometer in one of my swell pedals (I found it almost impossible to get into a position where I could access it with a soldering iron). I am after a quick and easy solution if possible, mainly to control the stepper and turn pages when I am reading music on-screen, though I could find a use for a few additional switches.

Julian
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murph

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 12:39 pm

This looks quite useful (and has inputs for 2 extra expression pedals!). It's usb too. 2 of them with 4 swell pedals could be a winner....

https://www.thomann.de/ie/harley_benton ... roller.htm
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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 12:43 pm

There are quite a few out there. I wouldn’t worry about the MIDI messages sent, Hauptwerk should be able to figure it out, provided the foot pedal is not sending on the same channel as your other MIDI hardware. Here is a list I found:

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/heavy.com/t ... rface/amp/

I don’t have any experience with these, but I am wondering if the MeloAudio one would be appropriate?
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IainStinson

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 2:15 pm

There are some guitar amp control pedals which send midi commands. For example [url]https://www.thomann.de/gb/synergy_r5_midi_pedal.htm[[/url] which you could perhaps relatively easily mount on the console. This one sends fixed CC messages and has a din midi output which would connect to a standard midi interface see http://synergyamps.com/shop/syn-r5-midi-pedal for details.

You might also find that a service engineer could help. You could try asking Colin Peacock at Renatus (Biddeford) for a recommendation.

Best wishes
IainStinson
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Aug 06, 2020 6:30 pm

I think you have all done the same Internet search that I have. What I was really hoping for was somebody who has actually used one of these.

The Harley Benton and the MelAudio units look like the same device rebadged (and maybe reprogrammed). I the expression pedal inputs might be useful - I was wondering about using pedals intended for an electric piano (which you can get quite cheaply as single, double or triple pedals) so presumably it would pass along any MIDI messages from them. I would certainly prefer a MIDI connection rather than USB as I have a couple of spare ports on my MOTU MIDI interface.

The Synergy R5 also looks as though it would do the trick, and at least it is mains powered. It doesn't have so many buttons, but I think I might find it hard to easier to hit the right one with only one row of them.

Much to think about...
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damuehlbauer

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 5:15 pm

Built an add-on to my pedalboard with six 'toe studs' using guitar foot switch buttons. They are connected to a Teensy board and that is sent to the computer from a USB connection. They are obviously much smaller than real toe-studs, but for my purpose (Theatre organ and primarily drum sounds), they work pretty well. I can provide more details if anyone is interested. I'd attach a photo, but that function is horrible on this forum.
David Muehlbauer
Mesa, Arizona USA
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engrssc

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostSat Aug 08, 2020 9:03 pm

JulianMoney-Kyrle wrote:What I was really hoping for was somebody who has actually used one of these.


Dare I say you be looking for some first hand "foot on" personal experience? :roll: (Yeah I know. It's been a long week in spite of spending a day in the hospital, not too bad overall). Very thankful for the outcome that I don't have cancer or covid-19. (What the good doctor was looking for.)

On the last conversion, I installed real toe studs. Can say of that experience, not that much fun crawling around on the floor. And not what the"pros" do. If you ever watched the Allen factory tour video, you saw the consoles were lifted to a convenient working height for that low stuff. Must be nice. :wink:

Rgds,
Ed
Rgds,
Ed
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 3:57 am

Ed,

I'm glad it turned out to be nothing serious. I'm afraid what doctors do is to consider not only what is the most likely cause of any symptoms but also what is the most serious, and they tend to do arrange whatever investigations are needed to exclude that (obviously they don't want to miss a cancer, even if that is probably not what it is). Once they are happy, they often send you away again, still with your old symptoms. Though usually by then you are so relieved (there is nothing more worrying than waiting for test results) that you have forgotten the original problem.

I am not getting at doctors - I am an oncologist and this is how we think.

But yes, hands-on experience is what I am after, but also any specific knowledge, as there are dozens of gadgets that might fit the bill if only I could find out what they actually do.

Julian
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voet

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 10:23 am

I use IK Multimedia's iReg Blueturn wireless switch. It sends a Blue Tooth message to my score reader. It is powered by two AAA batteries.

Many switches are quite large and I wanted something that would rest on the ledge of my pedal board. The iReg BlueTurn is 4.75" wide by 3.5" high. The switches are far enough apart so you do not accidentally hit the wrong one.

Here is a link to a review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9b-b9Swowo

I also took a picture of the unit as I use it. I was not able to include that pic here, but I will send it to you if you PM me your email address.

On another note, I would like to add toe studs to my console, since it only has manual pistons. I believe someone could do nicely with members of this forum if they came up with an elegant solution for this.
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Sep 24, 2020 12:12 pm

Still on my quest...

Unfortunately it isn't always easy to know what a device does on the basis of how it is advertised, and the retailer isn't always particularly informative. Bearing that it mind, I decided that it was worth a punt to spend £28 on Amazon to buy a Bugera FSB106A footswitch which is supplied with their guitar amplifiers but also available separately.

When it arrived it was built like a tank and had six good-sized foot switches, as well as fitting nicely on the edge of my pedalboard - it could go either side of the swell pedals. It had quite a long cable terminating in a DIN plug (the same pin configuration as a MIDI cable). However, without the amplifier to plug it into there is no power supply, so it is effectively dead. It does have MIDI IN and OUT sockets, so presumably it can provide a MIDI signal of some kind (otherwise why would you simply want to pass it through?).

So...
1. Possibly I could rewire it with an external power supply (if I can find out what voltage it requires) and hope that it will then generate a useful MIDI signal that Hauptwerk can understand.

2. Possbly I could gut it and just keep the chassis and switches, which I could wire to a MIDI encoder. I'm not sure how to go about doing that, or exactly what hardware I might need (or even whether I could piggy-back it onto the encoders elsewhere in my system, though I would be a bit wary of that as I don't want to damage something that currently works).

If ether of these solutions were feasible I could buy another of these units to give me a total of toe pistons. Or maybe I should just return it and keep looking.

I am a bit less wary than I was of rummaging around on the floor as I have had a coronary stent fitted since I started this thread and although I have other health problems I am feeling enormously better.
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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Sep 24, 2020 12:35 pm

Personally I would call Bugera and ask what voltage the Trirec outputs to the pedal set, and which contacts on a 1/4 inch cable transmit the power. Then I would buy a power supply with adjustable voltage, cut off the connector, solder on a 1/4 inch cable end, then plug it into the amplifier port. Saves a lot of time rewiring the pedalboard. You could also return it, and find another solution, but I wouldn't go to the trouble of trying to rewire the pedalboard unit if possible.
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magnaton

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Re: MIDI foot controls

PostThu Sep 24, 2020 1:13 pm

I have used these Boss FU switches for years:
https://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/boss-fs-5u-nonlatching-footswitch/421382000000000?source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKCAjwh7H7BRBBEiwAPXjadgmnN6O5_KOCbN800f85Z2nq4ufUPYZhgVx0rCWT46zWLJ0KlJq6whoC404QAvD_BwE

Not as toe studs mind you, but as foot switches for stage keyboard use. They sort of resemble the switches found on the Behringer FCB1010 unit.

They take a standard 1/4" plug so will you still need to MIDI endcode them. Notice the tongue & groove on the sides that allows easy connections for multiple units. Probably not the cost efficient direction to take.

Another idea is to call around to any organ shops and see if they have any old consoles laying around that you can pick the toe studs off. A friend started his HW project by picking up an old, non working electronic organ for free. He salvaged the bench, AGO pedal board, swell shoe, and music rack as these are not as available as a keydesk (table) or MIDI keyboards. :-)

Danny B.

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