The 10 Best MIDI Foot Controllers and Pedalboards (2024)
MIDI foot controllers are a great way to add extra control to your music without having to use your hands. Your hands may already be full with playing another instrument or tweaking other controls, so get your feet involved!
MIDI foot controllers come in different varieties, from basic footswitches to feature-rich devices. These can be used live on-stage to improve your performance, as well as help to improve your workflow in the studio.
My top recommended pick is the Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller which is an excellent and durable foot controller with a very affordable price, frequently used and quality tested.
My second recommended pick is the Tech 21 MIDI Mouse. If you want a budget-friendly option, this is the one to go with, as it’s one of the most affordable options out there.
- The Best MIDI Foot Controllers and Pedalboards (2024) – At a Glance
- 1. Behringer FCB1010
- 2. Tech 21 MIDI Mouse
- 3. Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller
- 4. Nektar Pacer MIDI Foot Controller
- 5. Voodoo Lab Ground Control
- 6. Line 6 FBV Express MkII
- 7. Boss ES-8 Effects Switching System
- 8. SoftStep 2 USB MIDI Foot Controller
- 10. Fishman TriplePlay FC-1 Controller and MIDI Interface
- What is a MIDI foot controller and how does it Work?
- What are the benefits of having a MIDI foot controller/pedalboard?
- What to look for in a MIDI foot controller/pedalboard when buying?
The Best MIDI Foot Controllers and Pedalboards (2024) – At a Glance
And now onto the full list:
One of the household names when it comes to MIDI pedalboards, the Behringer FCB1010 has a lot to offer. This model is a bit older, but because it’s so good it still lives on.
- Superb value for money
- Player-friendly design
- Customizable mods available
- Multi-chain functionality
- Not as sturdy as some other competitors
- Quite bulky
This foot controller comes with 12 stomp buttons and two separate pedals through which you can fully control everything on this board. On the inside, this board comes with ten banks of presets, all of which are fully editable and user-controlled if you want them to be.
The software for this pedal is open-designed, so anyone can take a look at it and create software, which can be found on the Behringer website.
This pedal gives you full versatility, whether you’re on stage or in the studio. It can initially seem a bit complicated to set up everything, but it’s quite simple to use once you get going on it. All in all, this is a high-quality, comprehensive, all-in-one midi foot controller.
2. Tech 21 MIDI Mouse
The Tech 21 MM1 MIDI Mouse is certainly an intriguing device. With a unique look, it’s pretty small, meaning it’s very compact and easy to carry around, all the while being very easy to use and very affordable as well.
- Very affordable device
- Compact, easy to use and carry around
- Excellent controls and features for the given price
- Maybe too small for some
- Could benefit hugely from more footswitches
It’s specifically made to make the MIDI process easier for musicians with 3 footswitch options that tackle Up – Down which switch between 128 patches on 16 selectable MIDI channels with the third switch, which is the Active/Search, to toggle the action.
A very user-friendly interface at an affordable price. So, if you’re looking for a smooth yet affordable option then the Tech 21 MM1 MIDI Mouse might be worth your while.
3. Roland FC-300 MIDI Foot Controller
Another iconic name on this list and a MIDI foot controller that’s one of the most famous ones on the market – and for a good reason as well. The Roland FC-300 is a high-end quality item that’ll fulfill any need you might have for a foot controller.
- Popular, professional choice
- Backlit LED screen
- Superb control and features
- Made with quality in mind
- Rather large
This baby comes with nine stomp buttons and two separate pedals with which you can control the MIDI output while standing up. You also get eight smaller buttons with which you control the whole board and a bright backlit LED screen.
This controller is great when used with the Roland VG-99, a famous (and mighty) guitar effects processor, where it can be connected using a standard LAN cable.
4. Nektar Pacer MIDI Foot Controller
The Nektar Pacer is another high-quality foot controller that has a lot of options. With this foot controller, you’ll get ten switches, one switch for control over the footboard, and a wheel for controlling the board.
- Very well-built
- Versatile device
- Clear LED display for good navigation
- Great value-for-price ratio
- Does not support all software
- Could benefit from more controls and commands
As far as the presets go, you can have 24 presets at max, which are all easily accessible by the use of different buttons.
Connection-wise, there’s a MIDI I/O, a USB jack, and six different ¼” jacks. These enable you to use external pedals and footswitches or to make use of them as programable relays for your guitar amp. This controller gives you a great amount of freedom and control when working with it.
5. Voodoo Lab Ground Control
The Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro is a high-end, high-quality programmable MIDI foot controller.
- High-quality design
- Stage and user-friendly
- Durable build quality
- Great selection of connectivity options
- No on/off switch
- No expression pedal jack
The main feature of this controller is that you can control up to eight different devices at the same time, and everything in the build of this controller is stage-friendly. The footswitches are easily controllable by your feet without having to look at them.
The case is made out of metal, with 15 differently used metal buttons and a large, brightly lit LED screen, that’s easy to read even in the dark.
As for the connectivity, there’s MIDI I/O and two ¼” jacks through which you can add more footswitches or pedals. If you’re looking for a pro option with great build quality, then this is something worth considering.
The Line 6 FBV Express MkII is an excellent small pedal that keeps things simple while still allowing room for flexibility and creativity.
- Simple, small, user-friendly design
- Good connectivity options
- Very affordable
- Cannot change channels, only switch between sounds
Express II is a smaller pedal by design, with 4 footswitches and a pedal. Apart from that, you have just an LED screen and the chassis is built out of steel, so it’s very sturdy and road-happy.
Connection-wise, it comes with a USB and RJ-45 cable (similar to an ethernet cable). It is marketed for use with the Line 6 Spider line of amps, but you can, of course, use it with anything you like that you can connect to it.
This is a great mid-range controller for people who need some versatility, but don’t want to spend money or drag with them huge pedalboards everywhere they play.
7. Boss ES-8 Effects Switching System
The BOSS ES-8 Effects Switching System is a pro-grade, high-end foot controller with a bunch of useful and creative features and functions.
- Professional controller
- LCD/LED display
- Vast onboard memory
- 8 programmable loops
- Very pricey!
- Rather small screen
This analog circuit system features 8 programmable loops, 800 Patch Memories, switchable buffers, and an amazing LCD/LED screen for superb navigation. Granted, the price is very steep, however, the features and functionality you get are unparalleled.
The onboard memory storage is sufficient for any customizable preset and the footswitches have switch-noise mute capability, making performances that much more embellished. The 7-segment LED LCD display is naturally a huge plus with this system.
All in all, if you want professional quality with high-end functionality, the BOSS ES-8 Effects switching system is a choice you will not regret.
The SoftStep2 is a mid-range MIDI foot controller that is more than suitable to get the job done. It’s compatible with Mac OS, Windows, and iOS, all the while being USB-powered. Also, you can use this device with any Digital Audio Workstation.
- Multi-compatible device
- User-friendly design
- Durable build quality
- Slightly complex setup
- A bit pricey
The great thing about this controller is the build. It’s made from special rugged elastomeric and Graphite composites that even have carbon fiber backing, meaning that it’s liquid-proof and can last a long time!
It has 10 sensitive pads which are fully customizable so you can shape your sound while having a comfortable interface to work with. The sensitive pads also allow for easier pressing.
The Rocktron MIDI Raider Pro is your run-off-the-mill MIDI foot controller with a very simplistic and easy-to-use design. Not only that, but the build quality makes it a top contender for a reliable choice.
- Simplistic and easy to use design
- 18 metal switches
- Very durable build quality
- Great visual display and connectivity options
- Linear preset selection
- Bulky design
- A bit pricey
This foot controller features 18 all-metal switches with a tactile feel, a 16-character fluorescent display for better navigation and control, two expression pedal ports, and MIDI control ports. However, some would argue that the bulky and large design hinders the overall experience.
The MIDI Raider Pro is still a quality foot controller built with longevity in mind and is fairly easy to use for beginners as well as veteran musicians. Granted, the price is a bit steep but not too much to be a dealbreaker.
All in all, if you want something simple and durable enough to last you a long time, with easy visual navigation, the Rocktron MIDI Raider Pro is a good choice.
The Fishman TriplePlay FC-1 MIDI foot controller is also a simple and easy-to-use device with 3 footswitch options available. The 3 options are Patch-, Patch+, and Hold Loop. It’s safe to say that the options are pretty self-explanatory.
- Simplistic, beginner-friendly design
- Customizable options and features
- LCD display for easy navigation
- Plug-and-play functionality
- Slightly complex initial setup
- Could benefit from more options and controls
This device, with its built-in tuner and simple customizable options, is good for those who don’t want overcomplicated things and want to keep it simple. With an LCD display, this user-friendly option should be a good pick.
Overall, the Fishman TriplePlay FC-1 MIDI foot controller is a straightforward plug-and-play foot controller that can get the job done!
What is a MIDI foot controller and how does it Work?
MIDI foot controllers are devices that are used to switch between channels, effects, and controls, or used to control entire pedalboards. They usually incorporate footswitch mechanics with the additional expression pedal here and there, although, not every foot controller has the same things.
Controllers work in basically two ways, one is with saving presets that are pre-programmed with a specific goal in mind like the clean, mute, and tuner, that can be used when needed and stored on the foot controllers log. The other way is direct effects, meaning that when pressed, it will give you the selected effects for immediate use.
What are the benefits of having a MIDI foot controller/pedalboard?
The benefits of having a foot controller/pedalboard are the ease of use and the practicality of it all. Both will make playing, customizing, and even transporting way easier. Also, they add a lot of variety to your playing, especially for live performances.
These tools are modern ones that are becoming more frequently used as time goes on, I’d say for good reason. They offer a more modern approach to music through practical means but also through progressive means as well. Making playing easier and thus improving your sound.
What to look for in a MIDI foot controller/pedalboard when buying?
First and foremost, you should always focus on the practicality and portability of the given product. They are made for the specific reason of making things easier not harder. Ease of use is important so make sure you choose a nice, portable, convenient foot controller/pedalboard.
Secondly, the number of effects and controls is super important. Having a versatile MIDI foot controller/pedalboard is key to achieving different sounds and progressing further in your music. A large variety of effects can give you that.
Lastly, the price should always be considered. Oftentimes, the best MIDI foot controller does not mean the most expensive. Consider your skill level and whether or not you need a professional foot controller/pedalboard. If you’re a beginner then go for something affordable and good as a start, however, if you’re a veteran then consider something more professional to upgrade and take it further.
MIDI foot controllers are becoming more popular with the rise in electronic music. They are also being used more and more by live bands, giving these musicians a whole new way to interact with their DAW, synthesizers, and sample pads, all while giving them an added layer of expression.
My top pick is the Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller. This controller is very durable yet affordable and offers a well-rounded quality base.
My budget pick is the Tech 21 MIDI Mouse. If you don’t want to devastate your pockets but still have a solid and sturdy foot controller, then this one will get the job done!