Guitarists have had the right idea for a long time: when you
run out of hands, get your feet in on the action. Now with us
keyboardists busying ourselves with complex synth patches and
triggering grooves from Ableton Live in live performance, the time is
right for mainstreaming the stompbox-style foot controller.

Strangely, finding an affordable (sub-$400) foot controller is hard to do these days. The first model I found was Behringer's FCB-1010
– but I was immediately suspicious. Behringer usually means a) cheaper
than hell (good), b) will fall apart after a couple of weeks if not
already dead on arrival (bad), and c) ripped off from someone else
(unethical). Ethics aside, cheap means nothing if the gear is crap.

Sure enough, the design of the Behringer is ripped off verbatim from Roland's FC-200,
which has a street just above US$360. Even the typeface and pedal shape
and layout is the same, for crying out loud! (See Roland's lawsuit against Behringer
for ripping off their effects pedals.) I'll opt for the Roland because
I trust the company, though if you're the sort who likes buying fake
Rolexes in Chinatown, be my guest with the FCB-1010.

So, I'm set to give the FC-200 a try — but has anyone else found other
MIDI controllers that are better? (And do me a favor, please don't buy
up the entire stock of FC-200s before I get mine!)

  • Guest

    You have every right to be wary of Behringer, but really the FCB1010 is very decent and actually has more features than the Roland.

    It can send more CCs per preset, can change MIDI channels on a per-preset basis instead of globally, there is a user-made editor that is easy to use so you don't have to program it with your feet, and it has two pedals instead of one. It's a solid piece of gear and actually improves on the concept instead of right rippin' it off.

    I use mine for controlling Ableton Live and my miscellaneous drum shit while playing guitar and it works like a dream after the initial setup process – like all MIDI gear, somewhat of a pain.

  • admin

    Well, and improving upon concepts IS something manufacturers should do. I like the programmability options here, that would make it more usable than the Roland.

    Maybe I will take a chance with this. I could always paint over the brand name. ;-)

  • Guest

    I don't know what you want it for exactly, but I've always had good luck playing bass lines on a Roland PK-5 Dynamic Foot Pedal which is a well-built MIDI controller that runs for $300-400. It's for folks who want Hammond organ type foot pedals.

    Cheers,
    Kevin http://www.TheNettles.com

  • Guest

    while it's a pain to program at times, the FCB1010 is a great piece of gear for the price.. it's EXTREMELY sturdy, great features and two expression pedals. i, for one, really don't care about the fact that they copied roland's design.. it's a good design! behringer deserves a chance on some of its kit – especially this one.

  • Guest

    behringer does make a lot of crap, but the fcb 1010 is an excellent foot controller and is built really well. I'd say its the best peice of equipment behringer makes. The one flaw is that you often have to calibrate the low-hi values for the two expression pedals, the lowest value may stop at some number (like 10) or the hi (like 120) instead of going all the from 0-127.

  • admin

    Well, I said I'd eat my hat before I'd buy another piece of Behringer gear. Consider it eaten; I'll pick one of these up.

    And it's stunning to me that in this case, they're the only vendor with a truly programmable foot pedal. Ableton Live is going to radically increase demand for this.

    M-Audio, are you listening?

    I'll report back on my FCB-1010 experiences . . .

  • Guest

    I'm with all the guys who use the FCB-1010. It's a bit fiddly to program but it's a great bit of kit. I've gigged it for over 2 years – dropping it countless times and it doesnt complain.

  • Guest

    i already wrote in about how great the FCB-1010 is.. glad to hear you're going to eat that hat of yours and give it a try – however, M-Audio, if you ARE listening, STOP! we all know that the only thing that could result is a foot-controller made entirely of SILVER PLASTIC.

  • julian

    Hi,

    last post march 05, ah well lets give it a try.

    Has somebody experience controling ableton live with the fcb1010. I´ve already set the buttons "1-10" to send note onoff commands. Works great, but i have problems with the expression pedals. Live wont respond to any pedal movement.

    Any clues?

    thnx

  • http://myspace.com/mattersdunaway André O

    Does anyone know if the FCB-1010 would be able to turn various effects in Live on and off (i.e. Ping Pong, Reverb, Saturator) by programming different Midi channels? Can you assign different effects to different channels? I'm thinking of picking one of these up. I can't believe it considering I bought the Virtualizer Pro a few years ago. Oh my.

  • http://hueytilley.com huey

    i have just bought one for use with ableton live and do not have a clue where to start with programming it.

    been sitting with manual on lap for 2 days now.

    I must say, its been a while since I've had to worry about midi after reason and live came into my life.

    heeeeeeeeeeeelp meeeeeeeeeeeee pleeeeeeeeeease

    alfapresley

  • bangbangbeats

    huey, GET controlAID a small freeware program that maps midi functions to complex keystrokes

  • http://www.huey.tv huey

    thanks bangbangbeats

  • Sebastian

    I'm thinking of using this to improve my company's work, which is: We get a digital audio of a radio show, and we output the text file. Currently, we're using cool edit to play audio, and constantly alt-tab from cool edit to word. I'm trying to find a way to control Play, Stop, Rew and Fwd with pedals, so the person typing can only have Word in focus. Anyone has experience with such usage, or idea if that would be possible with this type of gear?

    Thanx for any feedback! Cheers

  • http://n/a avi

    To every one with FCB 1010;

    The roland FC-200 is able to accomodate external expression pedals(5-6 if Im not mistaken). I know of the 2 input jacks at the back of the FCB 1010 for controlling amp foot switch. Can you plug in 2 expression pedals into theses jacks? Is there a modification that can be done to accomodate external expression pedals?

    Thanks